Part 2: Postcards from the Edge: A Bit About Me; Vlad the Rat

I was born in Dresden in the DDR otherwise known as East Germany on August 12, 1955. My father was a colonel in the East German Patriotic Army in the intelligence unit. We travelled around Eastern Europe as father was assigned as a “friendly attaché” to various People’s Army bases in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. I had many kiddie comrade friends in these countries and I became proficient in 4 languages. For his trips to Moscow we never accompanied him but he compensated for that by bringing home numerous large containers of caviar and bottles of cheap vodka. He always said the Russians can’t make decent beer like we Germans but their vodka was excellent and superior to the East German rocket fuel vodka. I suppose the highlight was the three years we spent in New York as my father had some role to play with the East German delegation to the United Nations. I attended a private school in Manhattan and learnt English and met many decadent capitalist teenagers. I considered them weaklings as the United States had no compulsory military service. But they were a fun lot. I developed a fondness for hamburgers and macaroni and cheese.

I completed my gymnasium studies at the Stalin School of Superior Studies in Dresden. My university was the Potsdam School of Espionage where I graduated with honours in double agent recognition and squashing counterrevolutions.

My mother Helga was a kind and loving proletarian who worked as a cook for the Loving Comrades chain of restaurants popular in eastern Europe. She could cook a mean schnitzel and her goulash was famous for being meaty and devoid of grease. She always said the horsemeat used in her goulash was lean and from healthy animals unlike those dirty Yugoslavs and their greasy goulash that only Tito lovers could eat. She was also a host for several years of a show “Cooking Like a Comrade”.

I had no siblings.

I did my military service with the Stasi, the East German Security Police. I learnt how to break up and discredit capitalist roader traitor organizations and infiltrate and spy on threats to the fatherland. I was assigned to East Berlin to organize the Students for a Strong Fatherland. In fact I met a beady eyed man there called Vlad Pucken with the Russian embassy. He was a very boring character continuously boasting about his childhood battles with man eating rats in his impoverished Moscow neighbourhood. He learnt and appreciated how dangerous a cornered rat was and said watch him if he was ever cornered. How that mealy mouthed low level bureaucrat rose so meteorically in oligarchical Russia was beyond me and my German comrades. We called him “Vlad the Rat”.

So how did I end up in Canada you may ask? And in clutches of a Riesling Re-education Camp in Wa Wa Ontario!

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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