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May 7th 1948

King Alfred School, Plön

Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

 

The evening was beautiful, starry and clear. The day had gone to sleep and the night was still -- so still that one ached with listening. Then far away we could hear the gradual approach of the train; a sound too faint at first to be definable, as the line curved behind woods and hills. The whole school was hushed and waiting and one could feel a tenseness and expectancy in the very bricks and mortar of these fine buildings.

Suddenly peace was broken by the jubilant whistling of the train; a triumphant, exuberant whistling, and then faintly the cheers of the children as they reached the station came to us. Long moments passed and then we heard the unmistakable rumbling of the big school buses as they chugged up the hill from the village. Their headlights swept around and lit up the gate; a pause while the white barrier pole was raised in salute and the buses surged through to the respective houses. Each courtyard was filled with a crowd of children of all sizes and all shapes, festooned as they were with baggage, parcels, coats, bats, fishing tackle and so on. Into the common-rooms they streamed and cocoa and food was handed to eager grimy hands. The white bread of sandwiches emphasised only too sharply the grubbiness of travel-stained faces.

But within half-an-hour, soap and water had passed over hands and faces, like a cloth over a dusty painting and there were revealed individual expressions and characteristics of these 460 new faces, the first pupils of King Alfred School, Plön.

by A.A in "Red Dragon" Summer 1948