If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Frieda survived her school years and World War I, and blossomed into a fashionable, intelligent young woman.
Her family couldn’t afford for her to wear the latest flapper fashion trends. What Frieda did instead was to study and sketch the latest fashions from the dress shops, and then go home and make them herself from cheaper fabric. Even in the 1920s and 1930s teens wanted to look fashionable.
The most radical thing Frieda did for fashion was to cut off her long hair. Her father disapproved strongly of the new short hair styles women were wearing so, Frieda hid her new bob under a towel for several days, pretending she was frequently washing her hair. She was eventually found out and he was getting ready to give her a beating but this time she stood up to him and armed herself with an iron. He immediately backed down and never said another word about her hair again.
Frieda also desperately wanted to attend university, but again her family just could not afford it. This did not stop her – she snuck into classes at the local university in Frankfurt am Main, and sat in the back. She tried to learn all she could. She wouldn’t earn a degree but should would still learn. Her favorites were the classes in philosophy and sociology. Her favorite philosopher of all time was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
During this period she also met the love of her life, Robert. He was a dashing young man from a wealthy family of French origin. He was studying engineering at the same university that Frieda was sneaking classes at. He helped her get books and other materials so she could do more in the classes.
She spent many evenings with Robert after classes let out and hung out with his college friends. She even learned a painful lesson on the ills of binge drinking while in their company – they dared her to drink an entire bottle of wine, soon after which she promptly passed out, rolled down a hill and landed in a pond. If her friends hadn’t been with her, she could have drowned.
However despite some misadventures, she and Robert spent over a year in each other’s company, as often as they could. He wrote her exquisite love poems and sketched pictures of them together. This was the happiest time in Frieda’s life. Unfortunately this bliss was not to last.
To be continued …