Friday, 12 July 2013

What landed me on Tempelhof (part 2)

Ahoy - it's me again. (read part 1)

I promised to offer some more answers - here we go!

If you ever asked yourself how comes a German girl is called "Misty" ...
- that is of course more of a nickname.
Tempelhof has been especially popular among English speaking tourists, so most folks on the island are more or less familiar with that language.
My legal name is Britta ... Britta Pein - but few tourists were able to pronounce that properly.
When I was still learning the ropes as a waitress, tons of things went wrong - so the word the guests heard pretty often from me was "Mist!!" - or even "Mist-Mist-Mist!!!" if I screwed up completely. "Mist" is a mild German form for "shit!" ... like "crap!" perhaps.
One day a friendly tourist who used to joke with me a lot said: "Young lady. This is a wonderful clear and sunny day - no mist whatsoever. But because you seem so fond of that term I might call you 'Misty' from now on - if you have no objections".
That nickname stuck to me. I like it and it is way easier to say and to spell for folks from abroad.
When back home some tourists sent me letters or postcards - most wrote 'Payne' instead of 'Pein'.
So - that's why. Meanwhile even most Germans call me Misty and I'm fine with it.

Why a humble waitress and dancer dashes around in high-tech submarines? 
Well - Tempelhof always was a small naval base. Just a handful U-boats, some minesweepers, some trawlers.

Due to my interest for all things nautical, I spent much of my spare time down by the docks, becoming friends with many of the sailors.
They began to show me around, even took me for short trips (TOTALLY against any military rule of course) and I learned pretty quick how to steer a boat.
That became handy, when we ran short of men during the war.
I helped out testing boats after repairs and improvements or with redeploying them to the (now destroyed) submarine pens.
Of course they never took me on any military mission, because women still ain't allowed to join the armed forces.
So my 'rank' (Fähnrich zur See = ensign on a ship, midshipman), just as any other military task I'm responsible for now, is unofficial.

After the departure of the nazi staff and the death of commander Fehrer, StFz Wertmuller found himself the highest-ranking soldier - so he jumped in and has been in charge of any operations or tactical plans since.
One of the first things he pointed out was (quote) "Also, please take into account that we take great pride in our policy of Equal Working Conditions, where we employ people regardless of gender, sexual orientation or talent."- that's why you even see women operating the FLAK guns and stuff. Some say his encouraging words were just a polite way to tell us: "Move your lazy bum and make yourself useful!". And especially after the 'U-boat incident' I had to think a bit about the 'talent'-part of his little speech.

This directly leads to 'da buzz-bomb': 

We still had one intact V-1 launcher ... as well as some bombs.
But due to the fact we are a bit short on explosives ... and because we don't really believe in the benefices of bombing and terrorizing civilians ... it came to my mind to convert the ramp so it points to the east now - where the mainland lies - removing the explosives from the war heads and to use the freed-up space to stuff letters and postcards into it: TaDa! Airborne mail, Misty-style.
After the war I will see to get this awesome concept patented.
No idea if anything ever reached the addressees - but hey! We tried, didn't we??

Last question you might have on your mind: Why is a chambermaid in charge of the radio station?? 
Hmm... just another of many 'dirty jobs' StFz Wertmuller has seen fit to impose on lil me - mostly because my dad has been an amateur radio operator and I once blurted out I knew how those things work.
And according to my motto "Never ask what your people can do for you - always ask yourself: What can -I- do for my people??" - Bullshit of course: He said "Duckling - YOU operate that thing!" - so I just do it. Cause I'm compliant. What a drag. Anyway.

In part 3 I will tell what happened to the harbor master, the lighthouse keeper - and how we managed to remove the few Jews and other 'endangered species' to a safe place.

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