The sound of the radio was hypnotizing. After the first beats of the song she recognized it as the cool song her friend had told her about: Trio, Dadada. Oh, finally she could hear it – it was placed 5th on the countdown of the week. She put her head closer on the pillow that she had put over the radio. Her room was next to the bathroom and she had carefully evaluated the likelihood of being caught listening to the radio when her parents went to the bathroom. They would become upset, she assumed, as she was supposed to sleep.
Slowly she turned up the volume under her pillow. Would that be quiet enough for her to go undiscovered? The song was cool, indeed. Everything by Trio was cool, she knew. She tried to remember some lines, but then, the song had finished.
After song number 5, the radio show host, Lord Knut, started the quiz. As always. For many months, week after week, she had listened to the quizzes. Lord Knut’s knowledge of music was incomprehensible for her. How could he know all of these things? She learned so much in these quizzes. Now, he plays 3 seconds of a song and then asks about the name of the band. He asks to write the answer on a postcard and send it to the following address. Rias Berlin, Les Humphrey Singers! Her mother loved their music and they were listening to it quite often. Yes! Throwing her blanket away, she jumped out of the bed, grasping a pen on the desk next to her bed and a piece of paper. Yes, he repeated the address. She couldn’t believe her luck. She knew the answer and could write down the address. What luck. This time, she had the chance of winning the prize. She felt like having become part of the club of cool music knowers.
The next morning, she wanted to tell her mother as she needed the stamp for West-Berlin. She knew her mother would hesitate to let her write the postcard. Her mother was often not particularly keen about her ideas – and she would need to reveal that she had listened to the Rias, a West-German radio station when she was actually supposed to sleep. So she had prepared a strategy to convince her mother. She wanted to make her an ally!
Her mother was just about to finish ordering the sheets. Her hands were stretching out the wrinkles, when she told her mother, that Lord Knut had played three seconds of a song. It was a quiz and she was certain of the answer “Do you know by which band? Les Humphrey Singers!!!” She paused for a moment for her mother to be happy about it. Her mother had told her that the lead singer of the Les Humphrey Singers had to hide in Russia because he hadn’t paid taxes to the state. She didn’t really know what that meant, but knowing of his misdeeds made her feel even more connected to the band.
Her mother keeps wiping out the wrinkles of the sheets. So, she added: “I have even written down the address of Rias Berlin, so I can write them and maybe I’ll win.” At this time, her mother had finished wiping out the wrinkles and lifted her upper body. She couldn’t see her mother’s face as the window behind her was so bright and her mother’s face quite dark. “You won’t do it.”, her mother said calmly, “or your father will lose his job.”
She had prepared an argument, but for this had no answer. How come her father loses his job if she writes the answer to Lord Knut’s question to Rias Berlin?
They had family in West-Berlin, and her mother had her best friend from childhood living there. It was nice to visit them, lots of laughter, good food, exciting trips to Berlin’s surroundings and a lot of warmth. Still, she knew that they weren’t allowed to visit them and that her mother was very sad about it. She had heard people talking about the capitalist West-Berliners in school, and partly in some East-German TV shows. She didn’t particularly believe these stories, but was aware that the story tellers were not to be contested.
Why was it okay that they could have these happy times with their family and friends, but that it was even dangerous for her father to write ‘Les Humphrey Singers’ on the postcard and send it to Rias Berlin?
1. Not telling her parents about listening to Lord Knut when she was supposed to sleep
2. Not telling anyone but her parents that she heard Lord Knut