January 12th, 2014:


 Although it’s been 50 years now, 1964 still stands out vividly in my mind. What helps my memory is my habit of keeping detailed diaries most of my life. This year of milestones was an amazing juxtaposition of events that propelled my life forward and sent me to California. And I thought I would be headed to Paris to work as a journalist for the Paris Herald-Tribune with the romantic idea of having affairs until I was 28 and ready for marriage and family.

I enjoy watching “Girls,” the Lena Dunham series on HBO about twenty-something college grads learning about life and love in New York City. The series reminds me a bit of my young adulthood, but my 1960s were tame compared to the explorations of today’s so-called “millennials.”

My debut in the world--1964!

My debut in the world–William & Mary 1964!















The new year of 1964 and my 21st birthday came in together, first over Europe and then Labrador, before my plane touched down at Maguire Air Force Base in New Jersey at 3 a.m.  I was flying back to the US from a Christmas visit with my folks, who were stationed in Mannheim, Germany.

College graduation from William & Mary was due in June, and I needed to pursue gainful employment. I was taking boring shorthand since a secretarial job was one of the limited choices women had in those years. The shorthand was challenging, and I was also annoyed with an advanced French grammar class taught by a crotchety old professor who proclaimed daily that he’d slap our mental faces awake.

As Williamsburg, Virginia, got closer to its beautifully verdant spring, my interests veered from academics to young men. I had a part-time job at the Law Library and they teased by calling me the “Sex Symbol of the Law School.” Reading over my diaries recently, I wondered how I had found time to study, or to contribute stories for the Flat Hat (our college newspaper), considering all the social activities and the dreams of romance running around my mind.

During college semester break in February, I went to the Washington, D.C. area to do some preliminary job hunting–why not the CIA since I wanted to travel? Ironically, the CIA gave me a good excuse to locate my birth father, Col. Victor Hobson, since I needed some required family information. I surprised him in his Pentagon office and soon after got to know his wonderful family. It must have been a magical year—three days after we connected, he was promoted to Brigadier General.

During that Spring my diary relates many events: a college dance weekend at Davidson College in North Carolina, a couple of weekends with friends at Virginia Beach, a trip to sightsee around Washington, D. C. and a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Spring vacation was spent with my newfound second family at Ft. Dix, where my father, Brig. Gen. Hobson was the new Deputy Commander. I still remember the long drive from school in Virginia to New Jersey—the radio was filled with memories of General Douglas McArthur, who had died that day.

In May, since I had no firm job plans yet, I decided I’d use my last free trip as an Army dependent to fly to Germany to join my Williams family (mother and stepfather) after graduation, and find a job working for the military overseas. Before summer was over I visited my newfound second family, and also took part in the weddings of two good friends (even made my bridesmaid’s dress for one of them).

By August I was in Mannheim, Germany, and debating whether I’d work in Heidelberg or Frankfurt. I’d met a tall and dashing Lieutenant, Hans Giraud, from my stepdad’s command, the 521st Engineer Group, at a social function three days after I arrived in Germany. I got a job as the secretary of the manager of the Heidelberg Officers Club and spent about eight months living in the Bachelor Womens Quarters across the street from the club.

Who would have guessed that I’d be married in Germany (one civil ceremony in Mannheim and a church wedding in Frankfurt) to that same lieutenant I mentioned above by the following April, and I’d be living in Los Angeles, California by May 1965? Such was my incredible year that had begun and then ended in Deutschland!





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