My father raised his family in a tiny carnival, traveling the small towns in central Germany right after WWII, to keep his rapidly growing family fed.
I was the second child of six, all of us crammed into a small caravan which my father pulled with a tractor from town to town. I remember the devastation, both physical and spiritual, which the German people lived with after the war was over. Ruins and unexploded bombs littered the cities, and lost and orphaned children overwhelmed the orphanages. Food was hard to come by, and education was almost non-existent, especially for us carnival children, since we traveled from town to town every week or two.
My mother rejected religion and never taught her children about God. However, when I was eight, I had a vision and developed a strong desire to be in a church, to live in a house and to have God love and approve of me. I had to hide such feelings from my family, because they made fun of them.
As I grew older, Germany, along with our family, became more prosperous. At fourteen, I met the LDS missionaries. Against my family’s ridicule and the overwhelming odds of living in a traveling carnival and having to work every Sunday, I converted. My family ridiculed me for being religious, and my parents humored me, telling me I could get baptized the next year, if I still wanted to.
Unexpectedly, my parents divorced, and through the divorce God’s loving hand worked the miracle I needed to reach my goal of living in a real house and being able to go to church on Sundays instead of having to run a carnival attraction.
My mother, at 92, still disapproved my decision to join the LDS Church.
Can you envision living that way? Read Carnival Girl, and you’ll discover a new world!
Sonja Herbert and her five siblings were raised in a caravan, traveling the carnival circuit from town to town in post-WWII Germany.
Sonja converted to the LDS Church, served a mission, married an American soldier, and immigrated to the USA. She received a BA at SUU in Cedar City, and an MA in Language Acquisition from Brigham Young University, taught high school, German, and ESL for many years, and is now a full time writer. A mother of six and grandmother of thirteen, she resides in Provo, Utah. Contact her at germancarnivalgirl.com, germanwriter.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.