Tag Archives: A military man remembers

Fred Remembers~Part 10

28 Oct

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

In Biloxi, I remember having my first soft ice cream from an ice cream stand called Frosty Fred’s.

I remember that, while we were in Biloxi, I used to go fishing from a public pier, with a cane pole, using dead shrimp as bait, out in the Gulf [of Mexico] itself, and also in the bay behind the base. (Keesler AFB)

 

 

I used to catch a lot of croaker, some spade fish,

Atlantic Spadefish – credit Google Search and Wikipedia

and occasionally what we called sea trout, which is what my Dad called weak fish, which is what it was called up in New Jersey.

 

Sea Trout – credit Google Search and By No machine-readable author provided. Wolfgang Striewski assumed (based on copyright claims).

Anyway, I used to catch a bunch of fish, take it home and clean it, and eat it myself. I shared it with the rest of the family, too, of course.

I remember while we were in Biloxi, I went to one of the schools there.  I was in the 5thgrade.  As I recall, I think I was the only boy who’s voice had changed, so in music class I had to sing baritone by myself – and was very embarrassed about it. The other boys were singing something called Cambiata, which was a strange mixture for boys who’s voice is in the process of changing.  I also played the harmonica.  That was at Howard Elementary School.

Fred – 1950-1951 – Howard Elementary School

Fred – 1951 – with Keesler AFB Chaplain

1951 – of course by this time the Korean War had started, and Keesler had gone from a few thousand to, I think, over 30,000 troops almost overnight.

Dad said:   During that year, my mother took the train down to visit us and was with us for a month. Everyone was very nice to Mama, and she thoroughly enjoyed her stay with us.  I remember that shortly before she came down, the Korean War broke out, and our base went from 13,000 to 33,000 almost over night.  As a result, our chapels were filled with new airmen.  My mother had wanted me to get out of the service, and return to a civilian pastorate.  I took her to the chapel one morning, and placed her on the first pew so that she could see for herself the ministry I was in.  Soon she was enveloped by hundreds of young airmen.  She found the chapel full of airmen, some were standing along the sides of the building, some were seated on the chancel in front of the chapel, and there were even some looking in the windows from outside the chapel. After that, there was no more talk about my getting out of the service.

But they also needed some other training bases, and one of them happened to be Tyndall AFB over in Panama City, Florida, and Dad was transferred over there in 1951.  So we piled in the car and, by this time I believe, Dad had traded in his Oldsmobile for a 1950 Buick, which was considerably bigger and roomier and had four doors, which for six of us was a much more comfortable car.

 

Photo credit WJHG.com
 Credit Google search

We drove over to Panama City.  For a while, we lived in a place called Victory Circle, if I remember right, which was right downtown, right near the harbor in Panama City.  As I recall, it was either a four-unit or six-plex, and it was very old and crumbly.  Eventually we bought a new house at 107 Cove Lane.  I think it cost about $7,000 for a three-bedroom, one-car garage, and one bathroom house.  There was no yard to speak of, only some grass in the front yard, and weeds in the back. One day I saw rain in the front of the house, while it was dry in the back.

While living on Cove Lane, I had a friend who had a paper route. While he was gone, he would let me do it for him.  When it came time to collect for the delivery, I found that I had the most difficult time collecting from the Major of Panama City.  Sometimes dogs would harass and chase me as I delivered the papers. I loaded a squirt gun with ammonia and would squirt them in the face.  No more harassment.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

JUDYJudy 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.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Fred Remembers~Part 6

30 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

The Heidelberg Schloss tour guide was an older man with a very white beard.  He guided us both inside and outside.  He looked to me like he was in his 80’s, but he may not have been that old.  He told a story that, back during the 1500’s, they were under siege, I think by the French, and they ran out of wine.  One of the men, in all his life, had nothing to drink but wine, so when they ran out of wine, he drank some water.  He died the next day.  I’m not sure what all that means, but anyway, it was an interesting story. We saw the turrets, ledges, and the house where Sigmund Romberg wroteThe Student Prince.  The house was across the Neckar River from the schloss.

The Schloss from the Neckar River

While in Heidelberg, as we had gone through the grounds around the Schloss, I remember this young lady who was with us was English, and there was an archway [gate] in the grounds outside the castle that was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth.  And she wanted to have her picture taken underneath the Elizabethan Arch.  So we did that for her.  I can’t find any picture of her in my archives, so we probably took the picture with her camera.

The Elizabeth Gate – Credit Google Search

From Heidelberg we went up to Cologne [Köln], Germany, and in Cologne we stayed in a hotel.  As I recall, our room was on the second or third floor, and on about the fourth or fifth floor above us, they were still shoveling debris out.  So that hotel we stayed in was actually still semi-damaged from World War II.  I also remember driving around the famous cathedral in Cologne, and buildings all around it were totally demolished, but there was very little damage to the cathedral itself.  I think that was because the U.S. decided to try not to damage the cathedral.

The Cologne Cathedral – credit Google Search and Andre M. Hunseler/MSH

 

From Germany we went to Holland.  I remember one of the places we stopped was in a little town called Scherpenzeel.  I was really taken aback while we were there – not only there but other places in Holland, just in driving around, we would see many, many women out in front of their house or the place where they worked, actually scrubbing the outsideof their building – to keep it clean!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that any place else where I’ve lived.  We stayed in a little inn there, which was called the DeWitte Holevoet, and I think, as I recall, we even ate there.

Hotel DeWitte in Scherpenzeel – 1948

 

From there we went into Amsterdam, and toured around there.  I think we even took a boat on some of the canals in Amsterdam, and went up to the Zuiderzee

Wikipedia states:   The Zuiderzee Works (Dutch: Zuiderzeewerken) is a man-made system of dams and dikes, land reclamation and water drainage work, in total the largest hydraulic engineering project undertaken by the Netherlands during the twentieth century. The project involved the damming of the Zuiderzee, a large, shallow inlet of the North Sea, and the reclamation of land in the newly enclosed water using polders. Its main purposes are to improve flood protection and create additional land for agriculture.

 

 

The Zuiderzee Works in the Netherlands turned the dangerous Zuiderzee, a shallow inlet of the North Sea, into the tame IJsselmeer, and created 1650 km² of land. Credit Google Search.

The American Society of Civil Engineers declared these works, together with the Delta Works in the South-West of the Netherlands, as among the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

One of the bridges that went into the city was Vollendam and was still damaged from World War II.  While there, we learned that Vollendam was known as the place where many people married their first cousin.

I remember seeing many people, especially out in the fields, wearing wooden shoes.  While visiting the city of Delft, we visited a shop where they made wooden shoes. Some of the shoes were painted, probably for tourists.  My parents purchased a pair for me and another pair for my sister, Emily.  I still have mine.

 

Taken on our 2015 Viking River Cruise – Kinderdijk, Holland

 

Some place in Holland we took a tour through a cheese factory, and had free samples of Gouda cheese.

Gouda Cheese – credit Google Search and GourmetSleuth

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

  Link to current day Hotel DeWitte https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g1602352-d2162180-Reviews-De_Witte_Holevoet-Scherpenzeel_Gelderland_Province.html      

 

 

 

JUDYJudy 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.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Fred Remembers~Part 5

23 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I also remember there was a pier that came out of the castle Miramare.  Occasionally there would be sailboats tied up there, maybe some other boats. Occasionally people would be out there fishing off it.  I didn’t have a rod and reel, I just had a line with a hook on it, which was a hand line. One of the Italian guys told me that, if you use a chunk of shrimp, you could catch some fish, and sure enough, it worked. The castle Miramare also had a nice, Italian restaurant, where we frequently had Sunday lunch. I also remember one Easter, we had dual services out in the grounds (terraced gardens) at the Castle Miramare.  In the middle of this big field, we had the local band – the military band.  On one side of them, and probably far enough away that you couldn’t hear too much, would be the Protestant service, and on the other side was the Catholic service. One thing I remember was that four of us boys, dressed in our jackets and shorts – for some reason…I guess it was warm enough for shorts, and we were a quartet – we sang as part of the Easter Sunrise Service out there. As mentioned in my previous post, we enjoyed both summer and winter times in Cortina.  Here’s a picture of me golfing, during one of our summer trips to Cortina. Here’s a picture of the family while in Cortina.
And here is one of me getting ready to ski on a winter trip to Cortina.
And here is one of my parents and myself ready to ski!
One of the highlights for the older Wills – that’s Emily, myself, and Mom and Dad – I think it was the summer of either 1948 or 1949 (I honestly don’t remember which year), we took a car tour.
The twins (Sally and Larry) stayed in Trieste with someone.  We actually borrowed a car from one of the persons that worked with Dad.  Both he and one of the ladies (who was British) that was on sort-of the administrative staff in Dad’s office, and the four of us Wills, drove up through Northern Italy, across the Brenner Pass, through Innsbruck, into Garmisch-Partenkirchen.  I remember one of the places we stayed was Garmisch.  While we were in Garmisch, we actually stayed in the Eibsee Hotel on Lake Eibsee which, at that time, was the Special Forces Hotel.
Lake Eibsee – credit Wikipedia On the 10thof May – as we looked out on the lake – it snowed!  While we were there, we also took a cable-car up to the Zugspitze, which was nice.
From Garmisch we went further up into Germany, and one of the places we stayed – which I still remember a little bit – was in Heidelberg.  We toured through the Schloss (castle) there and downtown Heidelberg.  I remember they also took us to a lot of places that I never saw when we (Judy and I) actually lived in Heidelberg.  I guess they don’t take tourists there anymore.
8

Fred in the Heidelberg Castle courtyard

I distinctly remember going through the wine cellar.  They also took us up on top of one huge wine keg, which I think they said would hold like 50,000 liters of wine.  It was so huge that it actually had a dance floor up on the top of it (it was laying on its side).  I remember the young soldier and the young lady who were with us on the trip, actually danced on the dance floor.

                       ~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Fred Remembers~Part 4

16 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES
Judy Wills

 

As I recall, sometime, probably in the late Spring or early Summer of 1947, we moved from our quarters in Caserta up to the area near Pisa, Italy.

 

June 1970 – Judy and the Leaning Tower

There was a town up there called either Viareggio or Livorno. It was near camp Darby, which Judy and I have visited. We were there for about two weeks, and then we drove on over to Trieste.

Trieste at the time was a U.S. protectorate – actually a U.S. and British protectorate. It was a free territory administered by the U.S. and British. As I recall, it was four miles wide and 19 miles long from North to South and had about 1,000 U.S. troops and another 700 British troops there. The overall name was the Trieste United States Troops, which was abbreviated TRUST. I believe it stayed as a free territory until 1956, when it was finally divided up between Italy, which got the city and the port, and the rest went to Yugoslavia.

One of the nice things we enjoyed to do for sort-of-a-vacation time while we lived in Trieste, was to drive up into the Dolomite mountains in northern Italy, to the city of Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is where they had the 1956 Olympics, which, of course was some years after we were there.

 

1948 – Dolomites – Cortina – Tofane
From Charles Wills’ albums

 

The unit had a Special Forces hotel there which was right on a golf course, with a little lake, and we used to go up there both in the summer for a summer resort, and in the winter time and do some skiing. It was a beautiful resort area, and we enjoyed it.

Some good memory that I have about living in Trieste was that a little bit north of town, outside the city limits was a castle called Miramare, which is where the U.S. had some of their administrative offices that may have been their headquarters for a while for the U.S. Forces in it. It was left over from Emperor Maximilian, and it was right on the coast, which was real rocky there.

 

Trieste – via Carducci #2 – where the Wills lived in the 1940’s after WW2
They lived in the “Mezzanine” – just under the arches her

 

 

 

I remember the Corps of Engineers manufactured a beach – they brought in some sand from some place and had a little beach area there where people could get a little sun tan on the beach. But the basic swimming area there was really rocky, however it was a fairly sharp drop-off. You could go out 20 or 30 feet and it was already 10 or 15 feet deep.

 

1948 – June – Miramare Castle gardens and beach, Trieste, Italy
From Charles Wills’ albums

 

I remember there was a large rock, roughly 20-foot square, that we could swim out to, and then jump off that into the water. They eventually put up about a 10×10-foot raft out there that was anchored so that we had another thing we could jump onto and off of.

 

1948 – Miramare Castle pier – The Wills family

I remember swimming down probably 8 or 10 feet, maybe deeper, and swimming through the grass, and noticing the fish. I was able to do this with my eyes open, even though I didn’t have a mask or goggles on. I think the water was not as salty as the ocean.

~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

JUDYJudy 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.

Fred Remembers~Part 3

9 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

In late 1946, my Dad was transferred to a military facility near Naples, Italy, and while we were waiting to go ourselves, Mom and us four kids were staying with Dad’s mom in Ocean View, New Jersey.

 

The Wills family, before Charles left for Italy

When it came time for us to go, we were fortunate to be able to fly over, and as I recall, we left on or about the first of February, 1947.  We flew out of La Guardia, on Long Island.

Kitty and the four children, ready to fly to Italy

We flew from there up to Gander, in Newfoundland, and it was snowing when we landed there, and while they were de-icing the plane, they decided we needed to spend the night there so they could finish de-icing the plane.  They put us up, I guess, some place near the airport.  The next morning we flew out of Gander and went across the pond to Shannon, Ireland.  When we got there, it was snowing again, so we had to stay overnight again, at Shannon, and the next morning it was good enough weather so that we flew off.  We were supposed to fly to Paris, then on to Rome, which was our final destination.  However, I had gone to sleep during flight, and somehow it woke me up with everyone screaming and hollering, and it was obvious we were where we were to be going.  I said, “what’s all the fuss – are we in Paris?”  They said, “no, we flew over Paris because it was flogged in, and we were on to Rome.”  So we were finally there.  This was about the second or third of February, 1947.

I remember when we actually landed in the airport in Rome, that it was kind of a noisy landing, which was unusual for most airports.  It turns out that the main airport had still not been repaired, since it was soon after World War II, obviously, and so we actually landed on what they called, PSP, which is pierced steel plates.  They had laid that down and that was the landing strip.

 

 

By Royal Air Force official photographer, Trievnor J (Fg Off) – http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib//54/media-54531/large.jpgThis is photograph C 5894 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24448640

I also remember they took us almost immediately to one of the nice hotels in Rome, which had been taken over by the U.S. military, and I think we stayed there for a while before we moved to our quarters, which was in the big apartment-type complex in Caserta, which is near Naples.  I remember the apartment there was heated with one pot-bellied stove, which was in the middle of one of the rooms.  I don’t even remember which room it was, but I remember that pot-bellied stove was the only heat we had in the apartment.  I also remember we could look out our room, which was on the second or third floor, and we could see the courtyard, which was where I and my friends used to play.

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

JUDYJudy 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.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fred Remembers~Part 2

2 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

I remember walking along the boardwalks in Atlantic City and Ocean City, especially Ocean City.  I remember getting some salt-water taffy there.

[Charles’ note:  In August of 1937, after my second year in seminary, I was offered a call to become the minister of a small church in Columbus, New Jersey (Columbus Baptist Church), a few miles southwest of the capital, Trenton.  The small town was located in a prosperous dairy region.]

 

Columbus Baptist Church

 

[Judy’s note:  Charles enlisted in the U.S. Army in the Fall of 1941, as a Chaplain.  Fred was already a part of their little family by this time.]

 

 

[Charles’ note:  In December of 1942, I got the itch to get into the war, so I volunteered.  I was accepted, and by the end of the year had secret orders sending me to North Africa.  Volunteering is not recommended.  I did that twice and somehow it seems to have fitted in with God’s plans for me.]

[Judy’s note:  Charles was wounded in 1943, and carried a piece of shrapnel near his heart until the day he died in 2009. Following the war, the family moved quite a bit to different postings.  In 1947, the family moved to Italy.  In 1949 Charles transferred to the U.S. Air Force, as one of its 186 Chaplains, where he stayed throughout the remainder of his military career.]

 

Fred again:  In 1943, when Emily was born, we were living in Collingswood, New Jersey.

 

Kitty and Emily

 

I remember Dad telling me that in the early-to-mid-1940’s, he had purchased a 1941 Chevy sedan, which we had, I think, until he left for Italy in 1946.

 

Charles and Fred

 

I remember that, at one of the forts where we lived, we actually, for a length of time, lived on the fort, on a street which was just across the street from the large parade ground, and that’s where I would see the troops out there marching around.

I remember that at night I used to go out with a slingshot and would try to shoot bats that were flying around among the trees which were just outside our front door.  I always missed.

Sometime in 1946, we moved again, out to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, and I remember Mom saying many times that the people there were not very friendly to military people, who were also known as transients. I remember her saying she would be pushing the baby carriage with the twins down the road, with Emily and I in tow, and people wouldn’t even get out of her way.  She would have to go into the street or into the grass to get around people, and they were just generally not very friendly people there.

 

Charles and Fred – Fort Leonard Wood, MO

 

I also remember I was in the school there. I remember them trotting out the little pads – we had to take a nap there every day – I think one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

JUDYJudy 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.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.
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