Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Our Life as We Knew It!

As a Flight Mechanic on a C-130, Dad flew with the same crew and all became friends. Major Bill Price was the Flt. Commander, Capt. Holland, navigator; Capt. Bob Appleby, navigator and Dad. There may have been others but these are the ones I remember best. I'm not even sure about the name - Holland but something like that. Bob Appleby, when not working/flying could be found at the Officer's Club on base. He was always getting into trouble. Do you remember how the housing was on one side of the runway and the base on the other? A slightly inebriated Bob called Joe one night to come and get him. It seems he was stopped by the Air Police for "running into the landing lights" at the end of the runway. Another time, he rang our bell at 2am and wanted to stash an Octoberfest Sign that was outside the club. I think we had it in back of our bed for a couple of weeks. You would wake up and see these buxom ladies holding 3 glasses of beer and cheering! Not a pretty sight first thing in the morning.

Willie Shaver was in a different squadron than we were. His first name was Columbus and all the guys called him Chris. One day, they took another guy's Volkswagen Beetle and carried it across the railroad tracks, Willie laughed & laughed telling us about it. The guy couldn't understand how his car got from here to there.

Jim Alexander had a wooden leg. He was in a motorcycle accident early in the service but convinced the A.F. that he could do his job. He was a plane mechanic and would climb all over to get the job done.

Our social life consisted of bowling in the Mixed Doubles, going to the club for dinner and dancing, taking short road trips around the area and house parties.

We girls had home parties too: crystal, china & Hummel figurines. A lot of us brought Hummels home. Funny, the German people did not consider them an expensive item and you might find them in a store such as K-Mart but of course, we loved them. Clocks of every type were popular as well as paintings and beer steins. Dad flew all over to Thailand, Greece, Okinawa and always brought back souvenirs. A couple of us were involved with scouting and we held Day Camp in the summer within the base. The base provided us with tents, fresh water and all kinds of supplies.

Annually, the squadron held a picnic. As there wasn't any grills, the guys dug pits and brought in spring cots to use and it worked great. Nothing like being creative!

In the spring time like all famiies everywhere, we were over the ball field cheering the kids on.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The 60s and Base Housing......

We stayed in Langen about eighteen months then moved to Gateway Gardens on the base. The building was made up of six apartments with a stairwell in the middle. On the lower level was another apartment. Ours was on the first floor and quite nice with three bedrooms. I remember going to this huge warehouse and picking out furniture for it. And, how about the television that only had German programs? We watched Bonanza with all of the characters speaking Deutsch. The Browns lived on the second floor during our years there and we enjoyed their friendship. Above us at one time, a family of four boys roller-skated across their bare floors and became a nuisance. But we all survived and later on, they got transferred. At Gateway Gardens, Bill started kindergarten and was a reluctant student. It took him an hour to walk three blocks as he would stop to play, get dirty and come back home with some excuse why he couldn't go that day.

The Air Force had its rules too; one being that we couldn't wear mini-skirts to the commissary or other base facilities, another: "no stretch pants" - the kind with the strap under your foot. I guess they thought we would incite a riot among the single airmen. If you were caught, they would give your husband some kind of reprimand that went into his record.

At G.G., I learned to play pinochle. Eight of us would get together on Monday nights at each others' house. I made many friends there as Wells moved on base along with the Alexanders. We had a lot of house parties or gatherings. Our children were all around the same age. Another family who still lived "on the economy" were the Shavers - Carolyn, Willie and their four girls. They lived on a second floor apartment in a village about thirty minutes from the base. We would all go out there and attend the fests in the village which were held quite often and proved to be a lot of fun esp. with the Oompah bands. Another time, the guys helped Willie move a piano up to their floor. They finally accomplished this with the help of a case of beer.

Carolyn, Edna Brown and I were all Girl Scout leaders and took part in many events going on in Germany. Carolyn and I attended a big conference in Garmisch for four days. C. had been learning German but was very limited. However, we muddled along. She used to say that the only thing she could remember was "are you going to wash your clothes on Monday or Tuesday?" And that didn't get us very far.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Rhein Main, Germany

As I mentioned in early 1964, Dad received orders for Germany. We were excited as well as apprehensive to be going so far away. Do you remember all of the "shots" we had to get? Billy caused a riot by kicking the needle out of the medic's hand. After packing our Hold baggage and the moving truck left, we headed for Grandmom's house in New Jersey. Dad stayed with us for a couple weeks and then left for Rhein Main. We stayed with your grandparents until late September. While there, we visited Joan Stone (our neighbor in Lake Charles) who was based at Westover A.F. Base in Massachusetts. We stayed with her a week and gave grandmom a much needed break. I remember Joan had a Volkswagen and we crammed everyone in - that was eleven of us. In the beginning of September, you went to Laurel Springs school for about three weeks and then we left for Germany.

Our first home was in Langen about twenty minutes from the base. We rented a second floor apartment from Fritz & Anna Werner. It was a big airy apartment with three bedrooms. In about three months, our small amount of furniture came in. Fritz went into shock when he saw our huge refrigerator. He had a small one that went under the cabinet. However, his family really loved us and went out of their way to make us welcome. There was Lisalotta and their dog, Barry as well. Later on, a Greek couple moved into the basement apartment. Prior to that, Anna had a little store set up with treats you could buy. Another family, George & Darlene Keeney moved a couple of doors away and Benders next door so we were becoming an American-Deutsch Street. One of the things I recall was the Soccer tournaments down the street. I'm sorry I never attended. We did most of our socializing with other couples in the Air Force. Another thing that amazed me was the number of bicycles on the street. You would see Grandmoms peddling along the street with sacks of groceries in their baskets. While living in Langen, we met Joan and Vern Wells and their two boys - Curt and David. I think this chapter is going to be long so will stop for now.