Finding something to do

Back in day in the mid 1950s, we lived in Germany for 18 months., sponsored by the United States Army. There wasn’t much to do, no television to speak of, other than local German TV. My German language skills were extremely limited, mainly counting, and buying things. In the commissary, where we bought all of our groceries, along with most other things, the workers all spoke English, so there were very few opportunities to practice speaking German.

After my arrival, on Christmas Day 1955, we lived in an apartment on the local economy for a week or so before our permanent quarters became available in U.S. military housing development, which was still under construction.

Our new apartment was brand new, freshly painted, carpenters’ sawdust and various building debris scattered throughout. Furniture and windows, etc. still had wrappings and/or labels. Stamped on the walls in the kitchen and bathroom were warnings: DO NOT DRINK WATER. UNPOTABLE. BOIL ALL WATER BEFORE USE.

Soon we were transferred to another Army facility in Stuttgart, Germany, where we remained until the end of our time in Germany. There our quarters were in the fourth floor of an apartment building. A bit of a walk upstairs, but a spacious apartment and beautiful view of the countryside and the other buildings in the housing complex.

Unlike our first quarters, the Ludwigsburg experience had much more to offer US Army dependents…not the least of which were American neighbors who were our peers. My two friends lived in the same apartment building. One was from Tennessee, the other from Kentucky. It was like old-home-week for an Ohio girl who had never been further away from home than Cleveland.

There still wasn’t much to do other than go to a place called Robinson Barracks, where the Army had established Commissary facilities, and a few times a week a bus ran into the shopping areas. I believe the appropriate hospital and medical services were also in that complex.

I had a drivers’ license issued by the military in connection with local authorities, which meant that I had access to my own transportation, most of which I used to drive to the base to retrieve my husband after work. Driving was something of a challenge; some of the highways and local roads were still under reconstruction after the war,

Due to the nature of the assignment circumstances, living in a foreign country through the auspices of the U.S. Army, there was a downside to the remarkable experience of young military wives such as me. Our soldier husbands obviously spent most of their time soldiering, often out on “manuevers” in the countryside for weeks at a stretch.

So we spent a lot of time playing games. Monopoly, Scrabble, Bridge (a skill I never acquired,) Canasta, Crazy Eights, Rummy, Hearts, and Pinocle. I also became quite proficient at Solitaire. Having said that, I must admit that I do not like playing board games, or card games. Probably because I am not much of a social animal, and never have been.

I have always read a lot. Science Fiction was my favorite during my teens, and army-wife days.

8 thoughts on “Finding something to do

  1. Sounds like it would have been a good time to have been writing. It’s not a perspective we get a lot of, post-war army wives. I bet there’s a novela in there 🙂

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