Burlington, Vermont - January 27, 2012
It's Monday Morning in Burlington and the Flynn Theater volunteers are getting ready for a full house. A bevy of busses and a cascade of children will be arriving for a morning production. These are the people who make the kids make it to their seats. And one of its veterans is Trudy Allstadt. She's been here for 15 years, even giving advice about where to stand.
"You will be run over by little children... look they're coming in drips and drabs," she said.
She's a woman whose age is masked by her constant motion. She's 92.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Trudy, I can't keep up with you!
Trudy Allstadt: Well, that's too bad!
She's tells it the way it is with adults, but has a sweet spot for the young.
"I know where you are going!" Trudy said, directing a child. "OK, follow the light!"
Trudy knows the theater like the back of her hand.
"OK, you can sit right here!" she told a child.
As the saying goes, life's a stage, and Trudy would be the star of the show. She's a woman with a story to tell.
"It was a horrible time," she recalled.
It was 1938 in Nazi Germany. Trudy, then 18, was traveling to Berlin with her parents to celebrate their 25th anniversary. It was a night of terror was call Kristallnacht, which translated means night of broken glass. Thousands of Jewish businesses were destroyed and hundreds of synagogues went up in flames. Trudy and her family were full of fear. They were Jews.
"Well, we were scared stiff," Trudy said. "We got to where we were going, which was my aunt's apartment house, and we lived in the basement for about three weeks hardly showing our faces upstairs."
She had a relative in England who sponsored the family; Trudy first, then her parents. They got out just in time; the war started later that year.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Do you ever ask yourself how my life would have been different if you didn't make it out?
Trudy Allstadt: Oh God, help me!
The upper middle class girl became a domestic in an English household scrubbing floors; not accepted in England for being the enemy or in Germany for being a Jew.
She moved to Philadelphia after the war, working as a physical therapist. There, she met her husband, also a German Jew. They were married for over 60 years.
Joe Carroll: Do you consider yourself German or American?
Trudy Allstadt: American! I have no affiliation to Germany. I never speak German.
She and her husband came to Vermont to live at Wake Robin, a retirement community in Shelburne. Her husband has since passed away.
"I see the lake from here," she said.
She's a no-nonsense woman who can't seem to slow down.
Joe Carroll: You're walking too fast for me!
Trudy Allstadt: Yes, old man!
Looking at the future; rarely at the past.
"Get on with your life," Trudy advised. "You got a lot in front of you."
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