Tag Archives: Heidelberg

Random Memories of Heidelberg-2

4 Jul


Judy Wills

We so thoroughly enjoyed our tours of duty in Germany.  First those three years in Wiesbaden, and then, 10 years later, those three years in Heidelberg.

Being the wife of a U.S. Air Force officer, I became a member of the OWC – Officer’s Wives Club.  That may sound rather “exclusive,” but we did a lot of good things for the entire military community.  As just one “for instance” – the OWC held a Christmas Bazaar every year.  It wasn’t just for crafts that the wives had worked – although there was that, as well.  But a lot of the international vendors presented their wares at these events, as well.  We were able to purchase many things for ourselves that we enjoy even to this day.

But the monies that were made for the OWC during the bazaar was used for many different projects.  In one instance, I remember the OWC in Wiesbaden was able to present three $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school students.  The NCOWC (Non-Commissioned Officers Wives Club) presented scholarships, as well.  That’s just one project.  And I was fortunate enough to be the one presenting the scholarships one year.

I don’t have a picture of the bazaar in Wiesbaden, but here is a picture of the one that was held in 1982 in Heidelberg.  It was held in the ballroom of the Officers Club, as it was the largest room in that building.  As I recall, it was held for about a week – with a weekend on each end.  It was usually a great success.  The entire military community was invited to attend and shop.

The bazaar in Wiesbaden was held in the General Von Steuben (pronounced fon shtoyben) Hotel.  It was a very up-scale hotel in Wiesbaden, and run by the U.S. miltary at that time.  I remember us eating in the restaurant many times.  And the OWC Bazaar was held there in the ballroom of the hotel.

Credit Google Search – The General Von Steuben Hotel, Wiesbaden

I do remember we purchased the first of our three wood-inlay pictures at the Wiesbaden Bazaar.  We thought the price was high ($33 as I remember), so only purchased the one.

In later years we wished we had purchased more pictures, as when we went to purchase the other two we have, while in Heidelberg, the price was considerably more!  But we purchased them anyway.

The artist of the wood-inlay pictures – we only know his initials, B.G. – had a workshop in Heidelberg, which we visited.  While the artist had already died, we were told that he had cut enough jigsaw pieces to make pictures for five years following his death.  WOW!  There was a journeyman the artist had trained to put the pictures together.

I’m not sure just what else we purchased at the Bazaar, but I do know that we purchased our hanging-wall clock there.  It was just the “right” shape and size, and had a really nice chime to it – it was the Westminster chime, better known as the “blind-man’s chime.” 

 It hung on a wall in every house we lived in from 1970 until we moved into this house in 1999.  It just gave up-the-ghost then (quit working), and we had to purchase another clock.  When we lived in Panama City, Florida during the late 1970’s, we had a clock shop there ship the inner workings to Germany for repair, and it worked for a long time after that.  I really enjoyed that clock, and was sorry to have to retire it.

1974 – San Antonio, Texas – Fred and Janet – clock on the wall

1974 – Tyndall AFB, Panama City, Florida – Karen, Janet, Charles Wills clock on the wall behind them

I do remember purchasing some brass Christmas tree ornaments at the Bazaar, that came from the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas store in Rothenburg, Germany.  Every time we were able to visit Rothenburg, we managed to stop by that store and purchase other ornaments.  

I caught Fred in this picture

Such fond memories.

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

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.


14 Jul


 Judy Wills


 I have been an “exerciser” for many, many years of my life.  As a matter of fact, I began jogging more than three months before I shamed Fred into jogging with me. We’ve never stopped doing something in the way of exercise.

 So it came as no surprise to me to find an “aerobic dancing” class beginning shortly after we arrived in Heidelberg, West Germany.  One of the military wives was teaching the class.  I took the class and loved it!  The interest was so great that she wanted to have a partner to help teach – and she selected me.  I taught the remainder of the three years we were in Heidelberg.   This was our logo and color.

During that time, there was one lady in my class who always stood in the front row and to my right (I was facing away from the students).  As we conversed, I thought she had a speech impediment.  After we got to know each other a bit better, she told me that she had been born with some hearing loss.  She wasn’t totally deaf, but enough so that she couldn’t hear the way most words were sounded.  That explained her speech.  But she had hearing aids that helped her so much, and she could understand all the cues I shouted out in the class.

As interesting as all that is – to me anyway – that’s not the end of the story.  We returned stateside and began our life in Virginia.  Our oldest daughter had met her 2future husband while in high school in Heidelberg (his father was our American pastor), and he had returned to the States to attend college – where she was attending, of course.  They married a few years later.

One evening, around Thanksgiving time, I received a call from our son-in-law, saying that, on their way to see his parents in South Carolina, our daughter had fallen asleep at the wheel and they had crashed.  I was furious that he would only say that she was “in with the doctor” and wouldn’t give me any more details – like…..is she still alive???!!!

I asked if he wanted us to come and take them back home (they were only about an hour from their apartment).  He agreed.  He then said, “wait, here is the paramedic who will give you directions to the hospital.”  This young man came on the phone and gave me the directions – with the very same intonation that my aerobic student had!!  I knew at once that he had hearing loss, and not a speech impediment.  And, by God’s grace, I was able to understand every word he said – the first time!  No repeats.  God had prepared me, all those years ago, for that very moment, when I would need my wits about me, and to understand this young man’s instructions.

I could end the story there – that is the main thrust of it – but I want to tell you of God’s gracious hand in all this.  You see, when our daughter fell asleep, the car drifted, and our son-in-law looked up and screamed, which woke her, and she drastically over-corrected.  That caused the car to roll several times.  Amazingly, there were no other cars around them – just down the road a bit – no other cars involved in the crash.  There was an off-duty ambulance behind them that stopped, and the paramedics gave aid.  They could have rolled off a bridge and crashed onto the road below them – but they didn’t – they just rolled to a stop on an embankment.  While the car was totaled, our children only suffered a few cuts and bruises.

Our God is loving and faithful and gracious, indeed.

O Lord, you will keep us safe and protect us…

Psalm 12:7


%d bloggers like this: