Random Memories of Germany-Part 8

24 Oct


Judy Willsili

Fred and I both enjoyed our two tours-of-duty to Germany immensely.  While we might not have partaken of a lot of German-American activities, we did some.  We were highly involved with our church activities, and our daughters activities, as well.  But that didn’t mean we didn’t enjoy the culture, food, etc. of Germany.

And we were extremely grateful to be living in a land so far from our home country.  One of the best benefits, was to look at the U.S. from the outside.  That was an amazing perspective!

I took German lessons before and after we arrived in Germany, to better be able to communicate with the German people.  I was some-what successful in that effort.  We had been told that the German people were most appreciative of any effort Americans made to speak the language – not just expect the Germans to learn and understand our English.

When we lived in Wiesbaden,

Photo by Judy

I found an Austrian lady who was married to a German man and was willing to tutor me in German.  I thoroughly enjoyed my lessons, and tried very hard to learn the language.  Our Karen was under three-years-old at that time, and since my tutor had a young son, I took her with me to my lessons and the children played while we mothers worked on German lessons.  My final lesson was more of a “tea party” than a lesson.  She served me some Austrian pastry, and coffee with whipped cream in it!  Yummmmmm!

When we arrived in Heidelberg, 

Photo by Philip Jahn on Unsplash

I took lessons with a group, from those offered on the military base we lived near.  Not nearly so much fun as my Austrian tutor, but efficient, just the same.  Our final test was to pair up with another person, go to the hauptstrasse (main street) of downtown Heidelberg with a set of questions.  We were to stop someone on the street, ask our question in German, and record their answer, in German.  We were rather nervous about this procedure, but we did it.  Those we stopped looked rather stern when we stopped them, but then gave us our answer in the most polite and friendly way possible.  It was an amazing experience!

And so, when Fred would come home from his work (both in Wiesbaden as well as Heidelberg), and tell me of the complaints that came from his co-workers, it rather set me off!  They would complain that “there’s nothing to do here, except go to the club and drink!”  I was rather furious at that comment!  I told Fred – “they are here at government expense!  There is all of Europe to explore!  What is the MATTER with them??”

I have no idea whether or not Fred was able to pass that sentiment along to those guys. And I have to admit that most of them were single airmen (enlisted personnel), who were mostly away from home for the very first time.  And as a matter of fact, we tried all we could to help them.  Occasionally I would fix a traditional American meal (perhaps Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings), and have a large meal with some of the guys to share the meal with us.

Credit Church Art

We did all we could to help them get past the loneliness and enjoy the beauty of Europe.

We were told of one young man who determined to enjoy his experience in Germany.  He refused the base housing, and lived in a German apartment.  He got to know his landlords and shared experiences with them.  He participated in the local activities.  He learned to read and speak German.  He joined a local “little theater” (as we would call it here) and participated in some of their productions.  In other words, he immersed himself in the local culture.  He was sad to leave Germany, and those he had come to know, were sad to see him go.

As you might had gleaned from some of my posts about “Random Memories of Germany” – we did everything we could to immerse ourselves – and our daughters – in Germany and Europe.  It was a wonderful experience, and our memories are precious to us.

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

One Response to “Random Memories of Germany-Part 8”

  1. divoran09 October 24, 2021 at 8:32 am #


    Liked by 1 person

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