It was like …

When I was about six, I went to Kindergarten, for six days a week.  In those days, all people still worked on Saturdays.

At Kindergarten, there had often been squealing loud noises during the day. But, how it is, even with children, we get used to loud noises to such degree that we don’t hear them any longer.


Towards the end of my time at Kindergarten, when I was already a big boy and close to the celebration of going to school soon, I began to hear those noises again. Something was different, now. Curiosity had grasped me in her clutches (in German, curiosity, Neugierigkeit is feminine).

Karlsruhe stephanienbad
Karlsruhe – Stephanienbad – My Kindergarten

The playground was fenced on two sides, on one side was the house. At the side where the noises came from was a high dense hedge, like a mock orange.  It covered a steep high mount together with dense undergrowth.

I found a gap in the hedge.  At an unnoticed moment, I crawled through. From then on, it was only upwards and steep, no kidding. I knew I could not be seen from below due to the density of the shrubs.  The climb took its toll, scratches and tears, but I was determined.

The noise increased. Amongst the squealing were sounds of bumping and chuffing. Had I heard the chuffing sound before? Unimportant right now, I climbed and crawled up, relentlessly.

Then the shrubs ended almost in a straight horizontal line. There was an embankment of gravel, extending either side as far as I could see. Crawling up,  the sharp crushed granite cut my hands and (bare) knees, and several times I slipped down. Ouch. Very much so.

There was no holding me back. I reached the edge… and looked over it.

Wow! I… I…

I was mesmerised. A vast wide opening. A shunting yard with innumerable tracks. Locomotives chuffing, lorries rolling, squealing at curves and points and bumping into each other (on purpose). I was all eyes and ears.

Time had stopped; the rest of the world had seized to exist.

steam and wheels
Steam Locomotive, seen through the eyes of a six-year-old Boy


This was, what it was like at the last Form sharing (29.03.15).

I had been moving through the familiar darkness. Upwards, up and up, gently, effortless. And then, the darkness changed quickly into brilliant light; a vast, endless opening plane. Like a clear blue summer sky and very brightly gleaming.

I could look with no trouble, didn’t need to squint, I thought later.

I was filled with awe, all eyes and nothing else. No time for some time.

Then, I had a strong sense of déjà vue. I knew this feeling. And like a movie, the story I told you about the steam engines, rolled off in front of my eyes.


You would like to know, how my childhood story ended? At some stage, I heard my name yelled out. Soon impatiently, threatening and multi-vocal. I started my descent, albeit too hurriedly. First, I slipped down the gravel, my poor knees. Then I crashed through the shrubs, in pain, I made no sound.

My kindergarten teachers looked horrified. Immediately, I was dragged to the first aid room. I was not sure, whether they were more angry or worried about what my grandma would say.

No one asked me, what I had seen up there. I was totally aloof, in an extreme state excitement, fearless and feeling no pain.


Wolfgang Köhler
29 March 2015

Why ingeneer?


Stephanienbad, the Bath of Stephanie, a bathhouse located next to a river, The Alb, with its well in the Black Forest. It was built 1811 – 1817, in the neoclassic style by Friedrich Weinbrenner.

At the right edge of the picture, you can see the storage tank for the bath water. Behind the building was a garden, in which the bathers would rest.  150 years later this garden became our playground, which was shaded by several huge Linden trees, planted at that time.

Linden trees were the centre of marked places and the keepers of magic and miracles. The foliage is dense and broad-leaved providing shade and coolness during summer.  The branches grow low, inviting us boys to climb around in them. 
Only the outgrown flowers were picked and dried. They would keep for years without losing their potency.

Lindenblütentee is red and has a strong citrus flavour.  The infusion made from Linden flowers is known as a powerful medicine against colds and all infections of muscles and nerves.  The flowers had wing-like leaves attached, and twirling quickly they were carried by the wind.  As children, we had great fun with them.  We picked a handful of them from the ground and threw them in the air.



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