Memories of Our Father

The "Memories of Our Father - Aside from Our Music Careers" are memories of Maria von Trapp, age 97, who is the third child of Agathe Whitehead von Trapp and Captain von Trapp.

The Captain von Trapp

The South Seas.

I remember Father's dream of taking the entire family to the Marquesas Islands, in the South Seas, where he had visited as a young Naval Cadet. That dream never materialized. Instead we went to America.

The Whistle.

As a U-boat commander, he needed a Bosun's Whistle to give commands, especially in the howling winds and roaring sea where a voice could be drowned out. In Salzburg, we had a large house and large gardens, so he used that whistle to call us instead of his voice, which we might not have heard. Each one of us had a special call: Rupert was one low followed by one high note; Agathe's call was one low and two high notes; Maria (me) was one low and three highs; Werner was one low and one high, followed by a trill; Hedwig was one high and one low; Johanna was one high and two lows; Martina was one high and three lows; and when he wanted all of us: one high, one low, one low, two highs and one low, one high and a low trill. When we heard this, we stormed to him, but we never had to march or stand at attention. 

A Few of Our Favorite Things.

In our garden, Father built a big, open hut with three walls and a roof. It was large enough to hang hammocks inside and we each got our own. Then he demonstrated how to sleep in them without falling out. He also bought folding, rubber canoes with canvas sails and showed us how to use them. On our little outings, Father taught us how to make fires without matches and how to roast potatoes and apples in the hot cinders. When we lost our money, because the bank failed during the Depression, he started a chicken farm. We learned how to take care of the chicks and how to sift out the ones that did not lay eggs. Agathe's book, "Before And After The Sound of Music" contains other wonderful stories about Father.

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