A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 84: Love Life

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Now I have to go back several years to before the war, maybe 1934, when I was 14 or around that age.

I was introduced to a family that I had never met before. Among them was a girl about my age, I thought the age of innocence, ha. I shook hands with every one, like civilized people did, yes, but when I came to the last one, which was the aforementioned female, she would not let go of my hand for a long time - it seemed like an hour.

I blushed and became embarrassed, stunned, sweaty and uncomfortable, but at the same time honored. Nobody ever did a thing like that in all my life. At the same time, she looked me straight in the eye, which made me feel even more eager to crawl under the porch with the dog. I was so shocked I could not keep my eyes off her that day.

A thousand questions came to my mind. Why was she doing that? Did she like me because I was a boy? If that was the reason, did she want to be girl and boy friend? Girls must be thinking about those things a lot younger than boys. Besides, I was way too busy with other things which were much more important than girls.

So I decided to put that incident out of my mind, maybe she held boys' hands like that every time. However, this apparently was a one-sided assumption on my part. After we had a good time that afternoon with all the people there, it was time to depart. Again, we shook hands and said good bye, but this girl said, "I'll get my bike and escort you for awhile." "No, you don't have to," was my answer." "I know," she said, "but I want to." What was I to do?

She pedalled alongside of me for several kilometers, which was alright, I guess. When it finally came time for her to turn around, she held onto my hand and seemed unable to release the grip - as if we were stuck together by some magical glue.

There we stood hand in hand not knowing what to say or do. Was she experienced in these situations and expected me to do something? But what? Was I supposed to try to kiss her like lovers did? We were not lovers, that was for people who went steady. If I attempted to kiss her, she might slap me one in the kisser. I would not approve of that at all.

Also, how do you kiss a girl? Golly, the only kissing I knew of was when I was very little and Mama put me to bed and gave me what she called a nose rub. If I pulled my hand back with a jerk she might think I was one. That wouldn't do. If I pulled back slowly, her hand would come too and she would probably fall on top of me, which would or could become complicated.

I finally decided to hang in there and try not to get my blood pressure too high by just acting as if it was pleasant for me. By being patient, you can overcome many, if not all, obstacles in life. I assured myself that she would let go voluntarily before winter. Indeed, that was exactly the way it went. After a little eternity, she let go of my hand and we said goodbye, never to meet again.

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