life rattle show no. 1288

Presented on THURSDAY, December 26, 2013


Hosted by Laurie Kallis


"The Christmas Angel"
by Renate Kellhammer

"The Amazing Jumpin' Jiminy"
by Andrew Ihamaki


tonight's Show

Tonight, on Life Rattle Number 1288, we bring you a special Christmas program featuring a Life Rattle classic be Renate Kellhammer and a delightful new story by Andrew Ihamaki.

Our first writer, Renate Kellhammer, came to Canada in 1957, a year after her husband immigrated from Germany. After a month in Montreal, the couple moved to Kitchener where they lived for six years before settling in what is now Mississauga. Kellhammer raised three children while she worked part-time at a bank and went to university part-time, graduating with her B.A. in 1999.

But it is her life before she came to Canada which form the basis for the story we are going to hear on tonight’s program, from a series of stories that Renate Kellhammer has written about growing up in Germany during the Second World War. Kellhammer was born in Stuttgart in 1933, the same year that Adolph Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. She spent the first twelve years of her life under Hitler’s Nazi dictatorship. By the time she was eight years old, she did not know what peace meant and could remember only the hardship and destitution of war.

Kellhammer’s stories take us behind the front lines and show in vivid scenes and incidents the deteriorating effects of war on the unfortunate civilian population of the losing side.

"The Christmas Angel," our first story tonight, takes place in Germany, in December 1944, when eleven-year-old girl, long evacuated from her home city, journeys back to Stuttgart with her mother for the holidays. Renate describes her passage back on the train, beneath constant air raids and surrounded by absolute devastation, and tells of people with incredible strength of character and stoic practicality.

The immensity of Renate Kellhammer’s story is beyond my ability to summarize. My words feel woefully inadequate. Thank you Renate, for sharing this story with us, and for reminding of how lucky I am to have shared a season of celebration with friends and family.


Tonight's second reader, Andrew Ihamaki, was born in Peterborough in 1989, the youngest of three children. At age twelve, he moved from a city of more than 72,000 to the small farming village of Cambray, just north of Lindsay. It was a culture shock for him, trading sidewalks and parks for expanding fields of hay and soy. Andrew Ihamaki grew up an avid sports fan, playing all types of sport, with a penchant for hockey, and also developed a love for visual art. He finds inspiration in the contrast between the rules and organized structure of competitive sport and the inventiveness and open-ended creativity of visual art.

Andrew’s story, "The Amazing Jumpin' Jiminy," brings us into the world of a child on Christmas day. The experience is magical.