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Corrie recalls her childhood. She remembers getting ready for her first day of school at age six. At this time, Mama’s sisters—Jans, Bep, and Anna—lived with Corrie and her family. Tante Jans, a widowed writer of Christian tracts, occupies two rooms above the shop. Tante Jans buys the girls clothes, including unfashionable, practical hats. At breakfast, Father reads a Psalm, “Thou art my hiding place,” which makes Corrie wonder why someone would need to hide. In the summers, Corrie travels with Father on his weekly trips to Amsterdam, where he gets the correct time for his watchmaking and interacts with many Jews.
On the way home, Corrie asks Father the meaning of sexsin, a word she noted from a poem, which loosely translated means “sexual experience.” Father responds by comparing knowledge to a heavy suitcase she is not yet able to carry. Corrie then describes evenings at the Beje, full of guests and music. She also recalls accompanying her mother to visit a family whose baby has died. When Corrie touches the baby’s cold hand, death becomes real to her. She expresses her fear to Father, who says that just as he gives her a ticket right before they board the train, God will give her strength when the time comes for her to face a family death.
As a long flashback from the anniversary party begins, Corrie includes more details about her reliance on her family, particularly Father, Mother, and Betsie. She describes and demonstrates the key traits of every member of her childhood family, including herself. Her 6-year-old self was innocent and naive, qualities she shared with her father, who even in his 70s truly regards all people as his equal without regard for wealth, class, or religion. Yet Father had enough worldly wisdom to shield Corrie from knowledge he considered “too heavy,” and clear-sighted, compassionate firmness when she didn’t want to attend school. Mother is a little more devious, employing misdirection to keep her daughter out of trouble, yet markedly giving, providing a home for three of her sisters despite the crowding of the house. Betsie, several years old, is a motherly figure who provides gentle guidance. These childhood memories incorporate some light foreshadowing of the events ahead, including Corrie’s fear of losing her parents and her dependence on her father to answer the “hard questions.” The family’s shared love of music, shown by their crouching in a freezing cold church vestibule because they cannot afford concert tickets, will also be important to future events.