SIGI IN THE SUMMER
by Ott Gangl -- (c) copyrighted article
As Old Blue Eyes would croon: "When I was seventeen, it was a very good year". It was the summer of 1949 and Sigi, our age, tall, with long blond hair and a figure and face to inspire fantasies in the boys of the village of 500 where I lived in Bavaria, would be the victim of THE PLOT.
Sigi, with her parents and eight-year-old brother lived in the Klostermuehle, a defunct mill that used to grind all the flower of the surrounding farmers who leased the land from the Baron in the castle on the hill that had within it's walls a monastery, home to monks and nuns. The farmers would get eight sacks of ten back and two would go to sustain the holy people and the blue bloods on the hill.
To drive the huge water wheel, a dam was constructed to back up a creek into a lake, rather a mile long by half-mile wide pond with blooming water lilies covering a quarter of it. That WEIHER, or lake was not only our recreation area but also served as the bathtub of the village, since the houses were not so equipped or even had running water.
The mill was a huge two-story building sitting below the dam, with the ground floor housing the mill works and the top floor accommodating the miller family and eight bedrooms for the help. When lying on our blankets on the dam, looking north we saw the expanse of water, but looking south, just at eye level, we could look at Sigi's bedroom window, third one from the right.
We boys had an inner circle of seven and often fantasized about the object of our affection. This was the time we grew up reading “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Christo” along with the Zane Grey and Karl May novels, when John Barrymore and Errol Flynn were swashbuckling in the movies and so we had our own romantic fantasies.
One boy was going to come with a great sailing ship, swing on a rope and whisk Sigi away, another was going to rescue her from the Indians who were surely lurking in the bushes and I also had my recurring fantasy.
I was a Knight on a white horse, would stop under Sigi's window, horse rearing up like the Lone Ranger's Silver, and Sigi would jump from her window, the long, sheer veils flowing from her shoulders, and land behind me on the horse and I would take her away.
It would end there with great satisfaction because I never could quite imagine where "AWAY" was. Just away.
During harvest time, when the men cut the wheat by hand, the women walked behind them, gathering and bundling it. Sigi's family had a large plot of land they farmed, and unlike the farmer boys who had to work on their own family’s land, I could just volunteer my services to Sigi's parents, help gather and sneak a peek down those summer dresses the girls wore to see some cleavage.
The days were long but when the Vesper bells rang from the church, the children left the fields while the adults packed the tools and cleaned up. We kids went right to the lake, where wooden steps led into waist deep water at the near end, grabbed our soap and jumped in.
The home-made soap of lard and lye, really the ashes from the wood burning stoves, did not float, so a two foot string was threaded through the middle of the three inch square soap with a coat button on one end to keep it from slipping out and a float of wood or a closed empty beer bottle on the other end.
The boys would soap up and splash and the girls would lower themselves into the murky waters to their chins, slip off the straps of their flimsy summer dresses, soap up and wash, but put the straps back over their shoulders before standing up.
Now, seeing the wet, flowered dress clinging to Sigi's body and breasts was almost more than a growing boy could bear, BUT WE WANTED MORE so we came up with:
First we needed to determine who would be the culprit, and since Xavier, at sixteen, was the youngest and in no need to go blind so soon we decided that it would be him, but we went at it the roundabout way, by cheating.
The way Xavier became IT was that I gathered up seven dry twigs about four inches long, as I held them in my fist, they were even with the bottom of my palm and stuck out about an inch at the top. Everyone was told that there was one short stick and whoever drew it was IT. As I offered a draw to everyone standing in a circle, each one put the stick behind him so as to compare at the end. I made sure that when I was down to the last two sticks I offered it to a boy so that my back was turned to Xavier and then broke the last stick in my palm with my ring finger and Xavier became IT.
Well, in the next few days there was no end to the complaints by Xavier, the poor guy. And then the day arrived.
While we were soaping up, Xavier sidled away behind Sigi talking to some kids while the rest of us kept Sigi, who was in the water to her chin, engaged in some friendly banter. Xavier slipped silently under the water and took a couple of strokes, grabbed Sigi by the ankles and "Hallelujah", Sigi shot straight up, her white breast gleaming in contrast with her tanned shoulders and we just stood in silent awe.
It took just a second for her to cover back up and chase poor Xavier, who missed the show, and dunk him over and over again while he struggled mightily. Cowards that we were, the rest of us proclaimed innocence.
From then on my fantasy changed. As Sigi jumped onto my horse, her breasts were bare and pressing against the skin of my bare back as we rode "away", not easily done by a Knight in shining armor.
There was one strange thing though. Xavier never complained a single time about not seeing "them", he just smiled slyly. Finally we asked how come? He said that while struggling under the water with Sigi, HE GOT TO TOUCH THEM.
Ott Gangl is retired as a PSIA Level-3 ski instructor after 25 years of teaching four times a week. He was a photojournalist for 35 years and his web site ( http://corrr1.com ) displays many of the classic images he has captured on film.