Tag Archives: Military family life

Random Memories of Germany

15 Nov

Wiesbaden-Part 1

SUNDAY MEMORIES

My husband, Fred, joined the U.S. Air Force following his college and seminary education.

While he had intended to go into full-time ministry, God had other plans for him.  He was sent to San Jose, California to attend a year’s study/training in meteorology at San Jose State College (now University).  

Credit Google Search and San Jose State University website

During our stay in California, he received follow-on orders to Wiesbaden, West Germany.  He was to be assigned to the Weather Unit there, for the Air Force.  We were both excited about the prospect of living in Germany.  I had never been out of the U.S. (except for a couple of visits to Mexico as a teenager), so this was an exciting time for me.

I was pregnant with our first child at the time we left for Germany, and was a bit concerned when our baby stopped moving after we arrived on German soil.  However, I think she was just tired from that 8-hour flight – as was I – because she picked up the pace after a good rest!

We delighted in Germany.  We were unable to get into American housing right away, and lived “on the economy” the first year we were there.  That was an amazing experience, as well.  We found a house that rented to Americans, and we lived on the entire second floor of this house. 

1967 – Wiesbaden, Germany – Upstairs is our apartment – with the balcony

We didn’t have any furniture, so we were glad to find this house was furnished, since we were only allotted 2,000 pounds of “furnishings” by the U.S. government.  We purchased a car (actually two separate cars while there), and set up for living.

There was a lot about Wiesbaden we loved.  We lived just down the street from a beautiful park.  Fred and I would take walks through the park, and later, after our Karen was born, we would take her on buggy walks through the park.  The German people – especially the women – would stop us and ohhh and ahhh over Karen, and we were pleased.  

The park where we walked

We had originally decided to attend the military base chapel on Sundays, since Fred had grown up in chapel, and his father was an Air Force chaplain, but give our tithe to the English-speaking Baptist Church we found in town.  However, after visiting the church a few times, some of the members of the church, convinced us that we should indeed, be members of that little church.  And so we did.  While there, they moved from the “cellar” where they met, into a more up-to-date building.  I began playing the piano for that congregation during that time, and played until we left Germany.  That’s where we met Frau Katie.  Quoting myself from another post I wrote about Wiesbaden:

There was a nursery there [in the church], that was manned by a lady they called Frau Katie.  I think she really took a shine to us, since I would take Karen down to the nursery and nurse her.  That was when a lot of American women were against nursing their babies, and only using bottles.  In any case, Karen became a favorite of hers.

Karen and Frau Katie

On one of our last trips before we rotated stateside, we asked Frau Katie to stay with Karen while we were gone.  We later discovered that she was teaching Karen to speak German!  That gave Karen a head-start on German when we returned to Germany 10 years later.

~~~~~~~~~~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.

Random Memories of Germany

8 Nov

Paris Part 2

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I think the most memorable trip was the bus trip we made to Paris with the girls in 1981 over New Year’s into 1982.  The first complaint we had was that, when we boarded the bus,

Credit Pixabay

we found that a lot of the single soldiers traveling together, had each wanted a window seat, leaving only one seat on the aisle for someone else.

On the bus

Therefore, when we found two seats together, we took that one.  The remaining two seats together were at the back of the bus.  Okay, that’s not much of a problem, except that was the “smoking section” on the bus, which was laughable.

Credit Pixabay

I mean, come-on – ANY smoking on a BUS would contaminate the entire bus.  But Fred was violently opposed to sitting among all that smoke, so I volunteered to sit in the back with one of our daughters.  The girls weren’t too pleased with the situation, and traded seats with each other quite often.  I especially remember that, being winter and cold weather, we had our coats and gloves with us.  And the girls would sit with my leather glove across their noses the entire time they sat in the back with me – they really couldn’t stand all that smoke!

Credit Pixabay

Also, on the trip home from Paris, quite a few of those riding with us, especially in the back of the bus, had been drinking.  I guess they had found a New Year’s party somewhere.  They were quite tipsy and loud – they particularly enjoyed doing the “Funky Chicken” over and over with much hilarious laughter.  I remember telling Karen, who was sitting with me at the time, that “this is real life – this is not a made-up movie to show you what drunk people are supposed to look like.”  She looked at me and stated that “they are stupid…and silly…and I will NEVER get drunk!!”  And she never did.  It was a great teaching moment.

But that story gets us away from our time in Paris.  We loved staying in the hotel, and the breakfasts they gave us of French bread, butter and jam,

Credit Pixabay

and the croissants (sigh)!  We just wished they had allotted us more than one croissant!  They were delicious!!

Credit Pixabay

We went to the Louvre, and spent quite a bit of time there.          

The Louvre with small arch

 We went up the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower – Judy, Karen and Janet

We walked along the Trocadero and we told the girls about our 1969 visit to Paris, and the fountain with jets shooting water across the fountain.  

The Trocadero and water canons

We showed them  the statues we had seen along the Trocadero in 1969.

The Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero

 We went inside the Notre Dame and showed them the beautiful Rose Window with its stained glass.

We went to and inside Versailles, and took in all its beauty. 

 We saw Napoleon’s tomb. 

Napoleon’s Tomb

 We walked along the Champs Élysées and admired all the stores and the Arc de Triomphe.  We didn’t dare attempt to get to the Arc, as the traffic was suicidal!

The Arc in the setting sun…beautiful!

But, all in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Paris.  It was thrilling to us to know that we were in that beautiful country, and all the history that had passed through that lovely city and country.  If Fred and I ever go back to France, there are other places I would like to visit – Normandy, Marseille, Toulouse (mainly because my father stayed in Toulouse following WW1 for one year, and studied at the university there), Avignon, and just the French countryside.

Whether or not that comes to be, is anyone’s guess.  Well, I guess I should say that if it is God’s will, we will go there.  Otherwise, I’ll just be pleased God allowed us to see as much of France – and the world – that we did.  I am grateful.

~~~~~~~~~~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.

Treasures From Germany~Part 5

27 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

In previous postings, I mentioned that one of our very favorite cities in Germany to visit was Rothenburg. It is a walled city, that has existed by name since 1170 A.D. While we didn’t know all the Nazi history of Rothenburg, we still loved the city. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

In March 1945 in World War II, German soldiers were stationed in Rothenburg to defend it. On March 31, bombs were dropped over Rothenburg by 16 planes, killing 37 people and destroying 306 houses, six public buildings, nine watchtowers, and over 2,000 feet (610 m) of the wall. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy knew about the historic importance and beauty of Rothenburg, so he ordered US Army General Jacob L. Devers not to use artillery in taking Rothenburg. Battalion commander Frank Burke (Medal of Honor) ordered six soldiers of the 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division to march into Rothenburg on a three-hour mission and negotiate the surrender of the town….When stopped by a German soldier, Private Lichey, who spoke fluent German and served as the group’s translator, held up a white flag and explained, “We are representatives of our division commander. We bring you his offer to spare the city of Rothenburg from shelling and bombing if you agree not to defend it. We have been given three hours to get this message to you. If we haven’t returned to our lines by 1800 hours, the town will be bombed and shelled to the ground.” The local military commander Major Thömmes gave up the town, ignoring the order of Hitler for all towns to fight to the end and thereby saving it from total destruction by artillery. American troops of the 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division occupied the town on April 17, 1945, and in November 1948, McCloy was named Honorable Protectorate of Rothenburg. After the war, the residents of the city quickly repaired the bombing damage. Donations for the rebuilding were received from all over the world. The rebuilt walls feature commemorative bricks with donor names. Traffic-reducing measures were put in place in a significant portion of Rothenburg to increase safety and accommodate tourism.

Since our days in Wiesbaden (1967-1970), we had visited Rothenburg, and collected etchings that we liked, and had them framed. Here are some of them.

 

1

 

 

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Here are some recent pictures of Rothenburg that we enjoy:

 

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

Treasures from Germany~Part 3

6 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

More treasures we found in Germany. We discovered, while in Heidelberg, that an art form had started. Sorry, I can’t recall the name of it right now. But artists would take old objects (such as this coal carrier) and paint it. It is now an umbrella stand in our house

 

1.

 

Or they would take things like this flan form and paint it. It also hangs on our wall.

 

2

 

It is such a unique, and beautiful form of painting, and we enjoy these items so much. However, with all the crafty things that I do, painting is NOT one of them. Everyone kept saying how easy it was to do – just swirls and commas, and dots. But I knew I would never be able to duplicate what they did. So I just purchased their wares, and enjoy the end product.

This particular item is loved in our house, but we didn’t pick it up while in Germany. Actually, our Karen found it in downtown Chicago some years ago, and knew that we would enjoy it. Those of you who have visited Heidelberg, know that it is the gate to the old city – another landmark, if you will, other than the castle ruins itself. But it sits on a shelf in our kitchen, fully lit from the inside, 24/7, and reminds us of our time there every time we see it (or dust it!).

 

3

 

And speaking of Heidelberg, shortly after we arrived in that great city, I found this framed photograph, in a shop. I loved it on sight, and purchased it. Through the years, the photo has faded to more yellows and browns, so I had it “restored” to its original colors. We thoroughly enjoy it.

 

4

 

While we were in Heidelberg, I kept seeing a set of porcelain that intrigued me. I had a set of china that my brother had brought back from Japan years before Fred and I married, and I had a set of ironstone that we used every day. And then there was the antique Haviland china set that my Aunt Jessie found at an estate sale in Albuquerque many years ago, that I acquired at her death. But this porcelain set…well, it just kept eating at me. So finally, I told Fred that I would be happy with a tea set of it, and we purchased it.   It is called Burgund, and is produced by Goebel, the same company that produces Hummel figurines. However, before we left Germany, I told Fred that I had lied….I wanted the entire dinner set! Dishes! Plates! Serving pieces! Just ALL of it! And so we purchased it, and we use it quite often. I think it’s a beautiful set. Here is the covered serving bowl, just to give you an idea of the design of the porcelain.

 

5

 

One little side note about the Burgund: as I was unpacking all the dishes, and checking off the invoice, I discovered that the store had not charged me for the 12 saucers. So I took the invoice back to the store and, in my halting German, tried to explain what had happened. They didn’t understand at first, thinking I was saying they had overcharged me. I was finally able to make them understand that, no, I had not paid for those saucers, and I was there to make things right! They were so happy to take my money that they gave me the salt and pepper shakers free! I told Fred that I never wanted anyone to think that ALL Americans were ugly Americans! Perhaps I helped that view in at least one store in Heidelberg!

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

 

 

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