As an English major at William and Mary, I studied poet T.S. Eliot, an American who spent most of his life in England. I especially remember the famous line from “The Waste Land” — “April is the cruelest month…” It rings in my memory despite the fact I’m an optimist and don’t believe it. I’d rather recite Chaucer’s more positive lines from the “Canterbury Tales,” also about April, but I learned it in Olde English, and my theme is not about spring but about how some things aren’t what you were planning or what you expected.  John Lennon aptly said, “Life is what happens to you while your are busy making other plans.”

I was married twice to the same man and the marriage still didn’t work! But that had nothing to do with the two ceremonies. One was a required German civil ceremony in Mannheim, and the Frankfurt church ceremony was for family and friends. It all took place in Germany on April 7 and April 10, 1965. It’s amazing how fast 50 years flies by.

Family Wedding Photo, Frankfurt, Germany

Family Wedding Photo, Frankfurt, Germany

Perhaps I tried to cram too many life-changing events into 1964 and 1965. That momentous year I had met my birth father for the first time since I was a baby, I graduated from college, I played a part in two weddings, and I decided to get a job in Europe: perhaps in Paris. I ended up flying to join my parents stationed in Germany and met Hans, my future husband in Mannheim (he had been one of my stepfather’s lieutenants) three days after I arrived. I got a job in Heidelberg, got engaged in February of 1965, married twice in April and was soon on my way to the U.S.–destination Los Angeles, California to start life with Hans, my new husband.

The weddings were fun. I bought an Italian white knit suit for the civil ceremony in the government office, and while I was at it, a gorgeous pair of fancy white Italian heels. Since I was American, the German officials read me the translation of the wedding certificate. I didn’t need it since I spoke some German and I was marrying a German born man, but it was the law. Afterward, we joined my parents and some personal friends for a brief get-together at a local hotel before my parents whisked me off back to Frankfurt to get ready for the “real thing” on Saturday. The German friends who joined us wondered how I could leave when I was already married!

The second wedding took place at an Episcopal church in Frankfurt. I recall the minister’s last name was Wiseman, perfect but ironic!  The reception was held at my parents’ military housing on Hansa Alle in Frankfurt, which was near the I.G. Fahrben building, where my dad’s Army office was. We kept the occasion fairly simple. My sister was my maid of honor, and Hans invited a delightful American-Italian, a fellow officer, to be his best man. My mother, an excellent seamstress, made my gown, my sister’s special dress, and her own outfit. My dad enlisted the help of an officer in his group who was an excellent photographer for all the photos, and his secretary helped my mom create the appetizers. The cake and flowers came from local German businesses. Although the weather was not sunny, it was warm enough to set up a bar in our huge shared back yard.

The people who attended made the event unique–my new husband, who had been born in Frankfurt, invited his German uncles, aunt and cousin; all lived in Frankfurt or nearby. Onkle Hans, his mother’s brother stands behind Hans in the photo above. And my dad’s secretary when we’d lived in Murnau just after WWII, who had drawn such lovely sketches for them which I’ve posted,  attended with her husband.

We spent our honeymoon in southern Italy on the ocean near Rimini. I wrote about that amusing adventure not long ago. Hans left Germany via the US Navy and I later flew to join him in New York City, in time to see the World’s Fair. The only thing I really remember at the fair was the Disney ride to “It’s a Small World” which later was transferred to Disneyland. We had a terrific time driving across country in our new Mustang convertible. One of the first stops was  Indianapolis, Indiana, to see Hans’ parents; his stepfather was a Warrant Officer in the Army. It was the beginning of almost 17 years together, which included two children.

It was a good ride. Life moves on and we remain friends, a very important factor.






Growing up as an Army brat was an incredible education. We (which includes brats with Air Force, Navy and Marine fathers) weren’t familiar with hometowns, where you lived in a certain neighborhood and went to the same schools for years. We kept our friends by sending letters back and forth, through US Mail. We learned to adjust and make friends fast since we never knew how soon we’d be transferred. We learned to make the best out of our lives.

I began my Army brat wanderings at age 4 at the Munchen, Germany, train station in 1947 when I met my mother’s new husband and my new father, Capt. A.D. Williams. The photo is below. I learned quickly what war looked like–Munich was full of bombed-out buildings from the recent war.


Military life is very different than civilian life. Army, Air Force, Navy or Marine fathers all wore uniforms, which had to be starched, ironed, and kept in excellent shape. My mother was expected to keep my dad’s things in perfect order, and she advised me, ruefully, never to let a man take me for granted. In other words, don’t volunteer to iron or you’ll be stuck behind an ironing board forever. Thank God, Permanent Press was available when I got married, and my husband had elected to stay only in the Reserve Army (two weeks of uniforms in the summer).

Way before the cheap giant stores we have now, the Army provided the PX (post exchange) a version of department store with mostly quality things at lower prices, and the Commissary (nicknamed the Co-misery by some) for reasonably priced food. Prices needed to be low since joining the service, whichever one was chosen, was not designed to make your parents rich. I still have some record albums (remember those?) from the PX in the early ‘60s that only cost $2.35! And a china cabinet full of nice silver and crystal from the PX that I got for wedding presents. I could entertain like my parents, but who uses silver trays and bowls, fancy silverware and crystal except for very special occasions? Or perhaps if you’re part of the British Royal Family!

Entertainment was always a priority in the service; officers and their wives had calling cards and went through all the proper protocol. Officers and enlisted men did not socialize with each other: they each had their own clubs. The clubs weren’t always very special, like the photo below shows. The Class VI store, on the other hand, was available to those, no matter what rank, who were old enough to imbibe alcohol in its various forms. Cocktail parties, dinner parties, special dinners/parties given by a certain command or military group were typical to celebrate holidays, promotions, farewells, etc. Each weeknight, if they didn’t have other social plans, my mother would put on a nice dress and heels and greet my dad with Martinis or Manhattans and sliced raw vegetables (pioneers for eating, if not drinking, healthy) for cocktail hour, from 5-7 p.m., wherever they were stationed. I can’t remember if he got comfortable first and took off the uniform.

Army posts offered tennis courts, bowling alleys, shooting ranges, gyms: you name it. There were always movie theaters and movies were very cheap. Because of my thrifty dad, however, I remember my mother making us kids popcorn and putting it into small paper bags to take to the 35-cent or cheaper films. In the summer, there were usually several huge pools to choose from, an easy bike ride away. And when you became a teenager, there was a teenage club with lots of activities.

Rules and regulations were to be obeyed without protest; everything had certain hours, posted in military time. My dad wrote me letters military style while I was away at college: paragraphs were numbered and if he was scheduling a pickup or a visit, it would be written as 0800 hours or perhaps 1600 hours, for instance.

My wedding day -- outside military housing in Frankfurt, Germany

My wedding day with parents & sister — outside US Army military housing in Frankfurt, Germany

If your dad got orders, it was time to leave, no matter how well you liked your home/school/ post. Moving wasn’t ever that easy, but there were Army personnel to pack up your household goods: until the Army got smart eventually and started providing furniture, dishes, bedding and the like at the new military destination, especially in Europe. Personal household items seldom arrived at the new quarters on time or in good shape, but that was to be expected or accepted, even if it ended up on the bottom of the ocean, which did happen, although not to us. If you were in Army quarters, you were expected to leave them spic and span. They were subject to inspection, and that meant bedsprings, tops of doors, ovens, etc. Remember the old TV ad for the “White glove test?” Wanting to save money, my dad insisted Mom do the cleaning instead of hiring a cleaning crew.

Army fathers (as I imagine all service fathers) were used to a regimented schedule. When we went on a vacation in the States, we got up at 4 a.m. (0400 hours) and hit the road. I got a laugh from the scene in the movie “The Great Santini” when the family got in their car to leave in the wee hours. In the 50s we traveled to Tripoli in what some joked was a putt-putt airplane, propeller-driven and loud. It involved several refueling stops and seats were not all facing the front, which made it easy for my sister to throw up on my brother. Military airplanes in the 50s and 60s made stops in places like the Azores, Morocco, England, Scotland, Newfoundland and Labrador (depending upon which direction you were traveling). Once off an airplane, you didn’t get your land legs back for at least a day. Until then your ears buzzed and everything seemed to move, even if you were sitting down.

Traveling by ship was more common in the 40s and 50s. I got my “sea legs” when I was four years old: from New York to Hamburg, Germany, and then by train to Munich. The best experience was the military Mediterranean Cruise in 1958–17 days of sightseeing and parties.

When an Army father retired, he usually picked someplace near a post or base since he could still use the PX, Commissary, medical facilities and space-available air travel. Many times the retirement choice would be the area of his last post or base. When he’d had enough, my dad and mom chose Texas for the warm climate and the close proximity of Ft. Sam Houston, where, ironically, my mother and I had been briefly during WWII when she’d been married to my birth father. My mother left this world and “retired” for good from Brooke Army Hospital at Ft. Sam Houston.

Military life as a dependent involved a great deal more than I could fit into this story, but my story gives a general idea.

Being an Army brat was a great adventure, despite the challenges. Living in exotic places was exciting but best of all were the friends you made and kept, if you chose to. My parents kept up with Army couples all over the world until they died, and I always looked forward to reading all the Christmas cards from everywhere. It’s a tradition I chose to cherish and carry on.


 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!






Is it Destiny or Kismet that draws us to certain people, even if we don’t spend many years with them? It seems a good way to describe it, even as we discover that “happily ever after” is a fairy tale. I met my husband in Germany, but our sixteen years together  nearly didn’t work out when we didn’t connect for a planned date. I described how we met  in a recent blog post.

I’ve always been resourceful, fairly patient and optimistic. In Germany, all those years ago, I didn’t accept that my love interest, the American lieutenant under my dad’s recent command, had really stood me up for our date in Frankfurt. Hans didn’t seem the type to be crass and impolite, but one never knows for sure. Ask any woman!

I had to forget the potential love interest and find a job, my dad’s orders. One of dad’s drivers drove me to Heidelberg to USAEUR personnel offices and I  met Lois, a Californian who was visiting Europe. We were both looking for jobs and we hit it off right away, comparing notes on our lives and aspirations. She was a pro compared to me: she was 24 and I was only 21. She owned a sporty green MG, which she’d bought while exploring Europe that summer with a girlfriend. The girlfriend went back to the States, but Lois decided to get a job and stay in Germany, despite her serious boyfriend back home in Tracy. By the time my dad’s driver, a handsome lieutenant, came to pick me up for the trip back to Frankfurt, I’d planned some fun with Lois. She had been staying at a hostel and would probably go back there for the night. I had a better idea. Why didn’t we stop at the Mannheim Officers Club since my driver and I had to go that way home? I told Lois about the happy group of beer-guzzling young officers I knew, and she was game.

Wedding Day in Germany with Lois in the back on the left

My driver was easy to persuade; I was 21 and not on a rigid schedule. I would ride with Lois, I told the driver, and we would meet him at the officers club for a drink. We all arrived at the club before 5 p.m. and were sipping German beer served in a flip-top bottle (during Happy Hour, it only cost ten cents a bottle!) when I looked out the picture window of the bar into the parking lot. A blue Karman-Ghia had just parked and a familiar blond lieutenant got out of his low-slung car. As he sauntered toward the club, I noticed the mannerly middle-aged German waiter start pouring a Canadian Club and soda at the bar for his favorite customer (they spoke German with each other). It was Hans’ regular drink. I wondered what Hans’ reaction would be when he walked in. He saw me right away and smiled as I pondered what he would have to say about himself and his behavior.

He came over to our table right away and I made the introductions before he sat down. “You are a hard person to find,” he said right away and explained his duty roster had changed at the last minute on the previous Saturday, the day before our date. He had required duty that Sunday and told me he’d spent most of Saturday afternoon and night trying to find my dad’s telephone number at home. American Army operators couldn’t find it anywhere and he’d spent time calling anyone and everyone who might help. My family hadn’t been in Frankfurt for much more than a week and there was no formal telephone listing. He later showed me the slip of paper covered with names and telephone numbers as proof! In this day of smart phones and the Internet, it’s hard to imagine not connecting!

Not wanting to cut short our reunion and rekindled romance, Hans lined Lois up with one of his friends and the four of us decided to have dinner and explore the Heidelberg nightlife. I still remember the Pferdstalle, a club concocted from an old horse stable. I thanked the driver, who had to get back to Frankfurt, and told him to tell my dad I’d get a ride with my new friend, Lois, who I’d invited to spend the night after she drove me back to Frankfurt.

If the world creates lemons, don’t give up until you’ve made lemonade! That’s my conclusion now, but it wasn’t folk wisdom in those days.


Of all the months in the calendar, April has the most beautiful name. It’s fun to say; it seems like a song. When I looked it up, I discovered the word was a short form of the Greek word for Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, also known as Venus. No wonder I love the name!

Who can argue with the beginning of marvelous Spring, at least in the Northern Hemisphere? Chaucer sang its praises in the prologue to his famous Canterbury Tales. I still remember the first four lines from my William and Mary college English course—we read Chaucer in 14th century Middle English and the first lines went like this:

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote

The droughte of Marche hath perced to the roote,

And bathed evry veyne in swich licour,

Of which vertu engendred is the flour…

Essentially, Chaucer is describing how April rains relieve March drought and soak the roots of plants to produce April flowers. I enjoyed the rhythms of the words and the challenge of deciphering what they meant. These words were already beginning to take on a more modern form and are recognizable.

As an English major, I also had a course in what was in the 1960s deemed Modern English Literature. Poet T.S. Eliot, an American who became an English citizen in the early 20th century and died in 1965, was considered a modernist and known for his famous  complex poem The Waste Land.

Eliot apparently wasn’t enthusiastic about April. Written in 1922, The Waste Land is a poem of disillusion and despair and is especially known for the lines:

April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land.

The month of April has been a good one for me. I was married twice in April to the same man! Since Hans was stationed with the US Army in Mannheim, Germany (my dad had been his commander), we got married there in 1965. German law required a civil ceremony, which was accomplished in Mannheim-Kafertal on April 7. A few days later on April 10, we had a church wedding in Frankfurt, where my parents were stationed.

Seven years and a baby daughter (Heidi) later, my son Hansi was born in Los Angeles. It was April 11, 1972. This year Hansi turns 40 and he is also getting married—a great source of celebration! Even though I am divorced, I can truly say April is a month of love.

As a reminder that life has its ups and downs – April 15 is usually tax filing day. And this year April 15 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Oh well, nothing’s totally blissful!


Me & Baby Hansi -- His Christening



As Christmas season and gift giving makes its merry way into the lives of those who celebrate it, I think about years past and what stood out about those days. To me, the holidays are sentimental. It reminds me of my parents, my siblings, my relatives and all the friends I’ve known over the years. As each year passes, there are more friends and relatives who are departing Mother Earth and this special time becomes more bittersweet.

I believe my childhood as an Army brat, traveling around the world, probably inspired me to keep in touch with as many old friends and relatives as I possibly could. I saw that my parents did it (my mother signed the cards and wrote the accompanying notes) and I enjoyed reading all the Christmas mail they got in return. I’ve been doing the same for several decades and continue to enjoy everyone’s news, even though I’ve graduated to modern technology and use Email.

There are a few occasions I remember with a special fondness. My earliest Christmas memory is a postwar celebration in Murnau, Germany in the 1940s. My mother was newly married. Instead of the train I remember asking for, I received a set of painted wooden doll furniture embellished with colorful Bavarian décor. I still have the foot high chest of drawers; it’s in excellent shape considering the years.

Germany figures in another Christmas, my last one in college. As an Army dependent, I had a free trip to my parents’ home in Mannheim, but it was space available from Maguire Air Force Base in New Jersey. A large group of students and military personnel waited about five days for a seat. An older Master Sergeant became my protector and took me to see the Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn movie “Charade.”  Once in Germany, I felt like a debutante with all the social activities and attention from eligible Army lieutenants. Winging homeward to the US on New Year’s Eve, a few of us college coeds were invited by flirtatious Air Force pilots into the cockpit to see the Midnight Sun over Northern Canada.

I recall my daughter Heidi’s second year Christmas and the Fisher-Price dollhouse Santa brought. She was old enough to appreciate it, and I can still see it because it’s on film. I was about six months pregnant with her brother at the time.

I can’t forget the memory of the last family Christmas I spent with my parents, sister and brother. My little family—husband and two youngsters–drove  from LA to San Antonio, Texas, in a spacious Plymouth; the backseat was large enough for a crib mattress, an idea I’d gotten from a TV show. I bought a harness for both kids (three years old and eight months) and strapped them to the seat belts, so they could sleep and also crawl around. It might not be considered safe now, but nothing bad happened.

That Christmas my mother’s kidney disease was just beginning to get worse, my brother was still in college and my sister was going to junior college in Utah. Two years later my mother had left the world for good.

A few years later my sister joined us for a California taste of winter. My mother-in-law rented a cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains, which gave us a whole new perspective on the holidays. We bought a tree on the way there, a bargain since it was Christmas Eve, and then had to lug everything up countless steps to this aerie on the hill with a view of a small lake below. We did our decorating the old-fashioned way by stringing popcorn. Before we left a few days later, my kids tried out sledding for the first time.

Dealing with my new divorce in the 1980s felt daunting, but my sister’s small family and my still single brother were supportive by joining me and my kids in Los Angeles for Christmas. Four small children and four adults filled my house with laughter, and my sister brought along the ingredients to make a lovely little gingerbread house.

Adults: Me, Darb, Tup and the kids: David, Hansi, Heidi and Heather


May you all have holiday memories to cherish, and if you need more, go out and make them!



America’s Servicemen—Ambassadors to the World

With American troops soon coming home from Iraq, it reminds me, as an Army brat, how American troops (and their dependents) have, for decades, affected the world in many positive ways with their presence. It hasn’t been all about making war; we’ve made peace and spread good will.  I imagine that many Iraqi children will grow up and remember generous American soldiers who were kind to them in some way.

My blog has attracted attention in many parts of the world, which reminds me how small the world truly is. Since I’ve written about my adventures in Tripoli in the 1950s, I’ve made friends both in person and on the Internet with Libyans, both young and older. Those who are old enough remembered the positive American presence in the 1950s and 60s.  I’ve also written about my years in Germany when my dad was stationed in Mannheim and Frankfurt.

A German professor from Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg Mannheim,  Dr. Christian Fuehrer, contacted me when he saw the photo I’d posted of the Officers Club at Benjamin Franklin Village in Mannheim.  He’s writing a book tentatively titled, Americans in Mannheim 1945-2011, because the US has essentially closed the military facilities in the Mannheim area. “The book will be a tribute to the thousands upon thousands of Americans for whom Mannheim has served as a temporary home,” Dr. Fuehrer said and added, “It’s also a personal way of saying thanks for a job well done. Postwar Germany owes the American servicemen much more than simple words can ever impart.”

Wasserturm Landmark in Mannheim

I sent Dr. Fuehrer several photos: one of them of my father handing out certificates of appreciation to German and French employees who worked for the American Army. Dr. Fuehrer said that very positive American practice was eventually adapted by German businesses.

Dr. Fuehrer’s interest in Americans started when he was sixteen and was curious about the odd license plates on American cars. He rode his bike into Benjamin Franklin Village (BFV) and ended up getting involved in the American community as: a translator at the USO, a member of the BFV church choir, and an attendee and volunteer at American events.

He knew about American generosity from his mother, who was three when World War II ended. “American soldiers shared their rations with my mother and her family. The mentality of Americans seems to be—‘We’ll weather through it all, as long as we stick together.’”

Some of the history he’ll share in his book includes the fact that Gen. George S. Patton had his fatal 1945 car accident in Mannheim. In 1982 an American soldier “borrowed” a tank from Sullivan Barracks and drove into downtown Mannheim. He destroyed a streetcar, and several cars and injured a couple of people before he backed the tank into the Neckar River and drowned. It made headlines, needless to say.

Sullivan Barracks -- American Army in Mannheim

The Mannheim American school system served my brother and sister in the 1960s; in the late 1950s, my ex-husband, and even actress Faye Dunaway attended Mannheim American High School.


Americans are leaving Mannheim, but they’ll always have their memories. And thanks to Dr. Feuhrer, when he finishes his book, they’ll be able to read more about it.


When I met my future husband in Germany, I was first impressed with his self-confidence.  It was an official going-away party at the Mannheim Officers Club for my dad, Col. A.D. Willams, and there was a band. Hans asked me, his former commander’s daughter, to dance and there was no one else on the dance floor. I had been introduced, just moments before, by a lieutenant I had met previously.

Mannheim Officers Club

The tall handsome blond with German heritage was light on his feet, polite and interesting. That dance led to a serious flirtation that kindled almost immediately. It had happened just in time because my family was moving north to Frankfurt, about an hour’s drive, and I was moving with them. A recent college graduate, I had only been in Germany a few days. I could enjoy a vacation for a short while, but I knew I would need a job soon.

Within a couple of weeks I was in Frankfurt wondering what I’d do for work and where I’d find it. In the meantime, I was looking forward to a planned rendezvous with Hans, who was driving up to our new home and taking me out to explore Frankfurt, which had been his birthplace and where he’d lived until his mother married an American soldier after WWII. My mother, an accomplished seamstress who enjoyed and approved of Hans, had made me a stylish wrap-around silk dress for the occasion. I was looking forward to the historic sights and visiting a well-known restaurant Hans had mentioned, which was noted for its music and food.

The Sunday date arrived without a word from Hans, but I assumed he’d make it. We had already gone out a few times, and he’d never given the impression he wouldn’t keep his promises. Alas, he never called and he never showed up. No cell phones in those days and besides the fact it wasn’t proper to call the guy and ask him where the hell he was, I didn’t have his number. My parents were very supportive as I moped around and kept looking at my lovely but unworn dress.

Although I was very disappointed, I tried to forget being stood up and concentrated on what I could do to make money, especially since my dad kept reminding me I had an education and now I had to find a job. Not long after, Dad informed me he had a driver going down to Heidelberg for the day and that’s where a central personnel office was located for those looking for a job working for the American Army in Mannheim/Heidelberg.

The trip to Heidelberg was a successful one—I met and became friendly with a young American woman looking for a job, and lined up an interview with the manager of the Heidelberg Officers Club, who was looking for a secretary. I was feeling positive about the job, but most important to me at the time, I also finagled a way to connect with the errant Hans.

What happens when I see Hans again? Look for my the next blog.


EBooks to be released this year on Amazon


Melaynie’s Masquerade

16th century historical fiction – Disguised as a cabin

boy, Melaynie Morgan ships off with Francis Drake

to the Caribbean in search of Spanish treasure


Mama Liked Army Men

A Tale of Two Fathers

The perils of military life


An Army Brat in Libya

Tripoli in the 1950s

Personal history


Weird Dates & Strange Mates

Non-fiction with names changed to

Protect the innocent or not…




Watching the new TV series “Pan Am” about Pan American Airways stewardesses in the early 1960s brought back many memories.  One of the main characters in the series walks out of her own wedding to seek a more exciting adventurous life traveling the world as a stewardess. A few of my friends chose the “MRS” degree the summer after college graduation, but I was looking for excitement.

There were big changes underway in the 1960s. We’d elected our youngest US president ever, John F. Kennedy, and the atmosphere was inspiring initially. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” said JFK as he was sworn into office in 1961. I was at William and Mary in Virginia during those years of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the founding of the Peace Corps, the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement and Kennedy’s assassination.

In Cap & Gown and ready to venture forth.

Although I thought briefly about joining the Peace Corps or becoming an airline stewardess, I was more motivated by the idea of writing for the Paris Herald-Tribune newspaper. There weren’t as many options for women in those years. Even with a college education, the typical choice was teaching or secretarial work. I knew how to type, a skill my dad required me to learn in high school. Who knew about computers then! Dad thought I should take a civil service exam and make a career that way, an option I considered if it involved travel. Since I’d grown up as an Army brat, I knew I was a gypsy and ready for more adventure. Right before I graduated, I even checked out the possibilities of working for the CIA. Their employment office then was in an unmarked and unassuming building in Washington, D.C. I wonder if I saw any spies!

I hadn’t made a firm decision about my future when a classmate, also an Army brat whose family, like mine, was stationed in Germany, reminded me I was due one more free trip as a dependent. I latched onto the suggestion—I could get to Paris easily from Mannheim, where my family lived. I romantically pictured myself writing my stories while living in a Paris apartment and dating sexy Frenchmen. Perhaps I’d have a few affairs before I settled down…


After participating in two weddings the summer after graduation, I got my travel orders and flew on TWA (luxurious compared to the typical Air Force planes) from Maguire Air Force Base in New Jersey to Frankfurt, Germany. Fate had something else in store for me than Paris. Three days after I arrived, my dad was feted with a going-away party; he was leaving his current Army command and was moving the family from Mannheim to Frankfurt, where he was to take up another position. Dad would be working in the IG Fahrben building, one of the largest office buildings in Europe and now in American hands.

I attended the evening party, thoroughly enjoying the attention of a number of eligible and attractive Army lieutenants. Among them was my future husband. Wasn’t it John Lennon who said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans?”

What happens next? See my Sunday blog.


Soon to be published on Amazon Kindle:

Melaynie’s Masquerade

16th century historical fiction – Disguised as a cabin

boy, Melaynie Morgan ships off with Francis Drake

to the Caribbean in search of Spanish treasure


Mama Liked Army Men

A Tale of Two Fathers

The perils of military life


An Army Brat in Libya

Tripoli in the 1950s

Personal history


Weird Dates & Strange Mates

Non-fiction with names changed to

Protect the innocent or not…

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