WILLIAM (BILL) BRINKER

Cookeville, Tennessee

German Linguist

December 1957- late January1959

 

ENLISTMENT AND BASIC TRAINING

 

In mid-September, 1956, I enlisted in the U.S. Army, was inducted and sent to Ft.Leonard Wood forBasic Training.  This calculated move had resulted from my dissatisfaction and poor performance in the Bachelor of Architecture program at the University of Michigan.  Hoping to get ahandle on my life, three years in the military seemed a reasonable thing to do in that the draft loomed large.  So, rather than have Uncle Sam decide when and where, I thought I would make those decisions.  The recruiter made the ASA sound desirable and more than a little unreal.  I was skeptical but none the less signed on the dotted line. Leonard Wood in September was something else; Wood had a certain reputation for being awful -- cold to cool in the mornings, hot by mid-day.  There was a little ditty that circulated (at least at Wood) to the effect, write to the boys in Korea, pray for the boys at Ft. Hood.  I suppose it was typical of any or most basic training programs.  The year, 1956, witnessed the Suez Canal episode and the Hungarian Uprising and as a consequence our training was shortened.   We trainees thought that we were being hurriedly processed prior to some confrontation with the Soviet Union.  But instead, as we finished our abbreviated training in November no war had started and I, at least, was ordered to Fort Devens, Mass. for testing and assignment.

 

Once there, knowing no one I felt pretty isolated, I remember standing in a chow line and meeting Bob Asch (who I suspect some of us remember fondly).  He and I became good friends for the remainder of my service years and beyond.  Bob had already met several other guys who also became friends.  What especially surprised me, but confirmed what the recruiter had said, was that these guys were mostly college grads.  Asch (Franklin and Marshall), Frank Corliss (Harvard), Jack Cunningham from (BC or BU), I think, etc.  We spent a lot of time at an on-base coffee shop -- the Hillcrest, or some such name -- that did not have a military feel to it.  We could have been at a similar place near any of our campuses.

 

 

ARMY  LANGUAGE SCHOOL

 

After testing, I, and the above named guys were all assigned to Monterey and the Language School -- Asch and I for the six month German and Corliss and Cunningham for the twelve month Russian programs.  Between Devens and the Presidio there was a long leave with orders to report in early January.  I took a train from Boston via Albany/Troy to Detroit where I arrived after mid-night.  Asking around I discovered that there were no trains or buses to where I lived, about thirty miles north of the city.  So I slung my duffle bag on my shoulder and walked several blocks to where Woodward Avenue (US 10) heads north toward home, Drayton Plains.  Hoping to hitch a ride, I was instead picked up by a cabby who negotiated a very reasonable price to take me to my door.  I don't remember the amount but do remember how astonished I was that any city cab driver would do such a thing.  It was most unlikely that he would get a return fare.  Who says good stuff can't happen while in uniform.

 

On this break I headed east and stayed with Asch and his home/apartment on W. 90th, just off Central Park.  Met his mother, his twin, Joan, and an uncle (Sam, I think).  I had never been to New York before and it was awesome. 

  

After the long holiday delay-in-route, I flew -- from snowy and cold Detroit --  to sunny LA (why LA and not San Francisco, who knows?), and then a bus to the rather extraordinary setting of Monterey and the Language School.  And so began my six months in this part of California, beautiful after the morning haze was burned away by the sun.  I don't remember the names of each of my classmates but some stand out after almost fifty years -- Asch, Dennis Bates, Dick Cooke, and Bob Siemienkiewicz who I knew in both Frankfurt and Berlin; Dick Williams, Moses Williams, Glen Walters, who remained in Frankfurt after I was shipped to Berlin; and several other guys including Larry Mock, who's Ford convertible ferried us around the area.

 

Monterey was a blast.  Occasional weekends in San Francisco when we had money enough to make the trip, staying closer to Monterey the rest of the time.   There was the beach and, of course, the Mission Ranch in Carmel, a great place on the weekends for meeting area and out-of-town girls as well as the drinks and dancing and, if in the money, its great steak sandwiches.        

 

Memories of the ALS are generally good ones.  It seemed amazing to me that each day's dialogues came with surprising ease once one's ability to memorize developed.  To this day I suspect all of us can dredge up parts of those exchanges.  After the whole six months had passed I regretted that I hadn't spent more time on the language.  To my regret, I was never really fluent.

 

I have no doubt that our class left an imprint on the school.  I don't think that most groups went so far as to write and produce a play in the Tin Barn.  Ours did.  “Ein Brief von Lilo” partly in English, partly in German was written and directed by Jim Costin, an airforce classmate (I think) and including Asch, me, Dick Williams, and Moses Williams in the cast.  The female roles were played by Christa Albers, a German-born secretary at the Presidio, Joyce Fraser - wife(?) of Wm. Fraser, and Ophelia Nave, a friend of Bob Asch from Salinas.  Ophelia was a good sport.  She knew no German but phonetically memorized it.  She hadn't a clue what the words literally meant.  Her character and mine were on stage together and at one point in a scene between us she dropped several lines (perhaps eight or ten).  She continued with the next line she remembered.  I had the wit to realize what was happening and got in sync with her as if nothing had happened.  It worked perfectly.  No one in the audience realized that anything had been omitted.  Ophelia was mortified and it took a lot of coaxing to make her realize that she hadn't messed up the entire play.  We did the play on 26 June '57, close to the end of the six months.

 

Another standout memory of time spent at the ALS was the night before our group “graduated.”   Several of the class went to the Spindrift restaurant/bar.  We gradually took over the place.  We probably drove any other customers quickly away.  The managers were certainly accommodating and understanding(?).  And it was a long evening of heavy partying.  I, for one, had trouble focusing the next morning, getting dressed and dragging myself to the ceremony where I promptly fell asleep.  Fortunately I managed to accomplish that while sitting.

 

 

OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT    

 

The next day we left with orders including a long leave or delay-in-route and it was Fort Dix our port of departure for the trip to Germany.  The wits in the class made much of the fact that we German  “linguists” were being assigned to Germany.  Apparently too many language grads were assigned in surprising locations -- sometimes God-forsaken sites.  But not we.

 

Bill Ringler, an air force classmate at Monterey, got married during this leave.  He lived in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, and a fraternity brother from Michigan and I drove to Phily for the wedding--a nice bash--and on to Baltimore. We stayed at the frat brother's grandmother's row house on one of the main drags (St. Charles, I think).  This was all new scenery for me.  Baltimore was very interesting.

 

Many of the Army (as opposed to Air Force) members of our class were on board the U.S.S. Upshur for the North Atlantic crossing in July (or August) of '57.  It turned out that the Upshur was carrying several hundred teachers who had assignments in military schools in Europe.  It being a “Small World” one of the teachers we had met on the beach at Carmel, was one on the upper decks.  I don't know who worked the next deal but someone informed some naval officer that among the GIs below was a group that was ready to entertain the upper deck passengers.  A group from our German class was hustled into the company of the privileged and there sang songs in German that had been part of our class training.  We were allowed to circulate for a while until someone realized that the enlisted rabble was where we weren't supposed to be and we were hustled back to steerage below.  In general, the passage went well and we were able to spend a lot of time on deck just sitting around, playing cards, or whatever.  In about eight or nine days we docked in Bremerhaven and from there sent by truck to Frankfurt and Gutleut Kasserne, a block or two from the main train station.  And so began my six months in Frankfurt. 

 

The IG Farben building, with its surprising paternoster lift system, was the work site in Frankfurt.  As it was some distance from Gutleut, we were trucked from the barracks to the office building.  It was possible to take the efficient trolley system from the main train station to the Farben building; this was convenient on occasion.  For whatever reason(s) the work assigned was only mildly interesting and I have little cached my memory.  It is the non-work time that I remember far better, sometimes in great detail.

 

For a small town boy, the Kaiserstrasse was something of an eye-opener.  The GI bars (the Dolly Bar, for one) attracted hoards of American military and, of course German bar babes in great numbers.  The bars were grubby and quickly any attraction faded.  Other parts of the city beckoned.  The fact that the area stockade was behind our quarters and we looked down as its poor inhabitants were in their exercise yard.  It made you think. 

 

I remember one bar, an all night place where people working in other bars and clubs sometimes frequented.  They had good oxtail soup and/or a halbeshühnchen that would satisfy the hungry at two or three a.m.  On night we were joined by a couple -- Julia and Pierre -- who were working in a strip club.  About six of us were around a table and the two entertainers were very cordial.  Julia was extremely seductive looking (and acting).  Bob Asch was there and later told me that one of our friends previously had gone to the club.  Memory may be distorting things but I remember Asch saying that at some time in that evening at the club our friend danced with one of the performers and was “taken” with her.  In time, his dancing partner performed on the small stage.  To his dismay (embarrassment), the end of the number revealed that she was a he (Pierre).

 

One place that served me as a “getting away from the Army refuge” was the Sie Bar, off the Rossmart, about a mile (I would guess) from the Hauptbahnhauf).  For any reader who spent time in Frankfurt perhaps you know the place. It was a winding, underground, low-keyed kind of place. I remember several little serving bars with interesting barmaids.  A one-time aspiring actress named Monika, was memorable.  One evening I met Ulrich Hof, a young German coffee salesman, and struck up a friendship.  We met occasionally on weekends and went to places a tourist would never find.  I will never forget going to a place called the Kuhstal where, in late fall or early winter experienced the featured local Eisbock bier.  This stuff was incredible, making anything in the U.S. pale by comparison.  Ulrich at this time was engaged, just getting started in his work, and lived with his mother on the Martin Luther Strasse.  One evening, he apologized for what he regarded as impoliteness.  He explained that he could not invite me to his home -- his mother would be unable to accept the fact that he had an American soldier as a friend.  This was my first direct experience with German distance-keeping from the U.S. military.  Within a few weeks of the Eisbock experience I received news that I was being shipped to Berlin.  It was too bad, in that I was looking forward to seeing the city through the eyes of a local guy.  We corresponded a bit after I left the city.

 

Earlier, while still in Frankfurt I learned that one could get permission to go on religious retreats without using leave time.  What a kick -- getting away from work, heading into the Alps in early winter, bugging out from the retreat and getting in some skiing.  Everything seemed possible.  I applied, was approved, and went.  The site was Berchtesgarten, tough.  Things, however, have a way of “coming 'round.”  On my way, by train, it began to rain and the skiing became less likely.  With some regret I went to the retreat that turned out to be fairly interesting.  The group of GIs was taken on a number of trips in the area that were great.  I visited places I wouldn't ever likely see and one or more were places that had been mentioned in classes (dialogues?) in Monterey.  Even without the skiing, it was a nice break.

 

 

BERLIN  DAYS

 

It's odd, but the exact timing of my transfer to Berlin is a bit murky.  I know that it was before Christmas and after the Berchtesgarten trip.  The window of opportunity here is small  -- probably mid-December.  In any case for reasons unclear I was sent to Berlin.  Arriving there I was reunited with several Monterey classmates and fell into an already established group who knew their way around the city.  I was in the city for a little over a year. Of course, I was housed at Andrews Kasserne and worked at Templehof.  One meal was usually eaten at the cafeteria at the airport.  Good food and great waitresses (Am I right, they included Big Inge and Little Inge?).  The trip to work was first by army truck, but then by personal cars that several of the group had.  Clint Alphen's black Mercedes chauffeured several of us back and forth regularly.  During most of the next year I worked an 8 to 5 schedule.  For a brief time, I worked rotating tricks, hating the mid to 8 hours intensely.  How can anyone stay awake when four o'clock a.m. arrives?  I did the best I could, and never in my life did I read more books or write more letters. 

 

As we commuted to and from Templehof the barracks never seemed like more than a college dorm.  Normally we were able to come and go (in civies) whenever we were not at work.  I was amazed at the casualness of it all.  Once when an alert was called I happened to be at the barracks and everyone there fell out into formation.  Some guys just rolled out of bed half-dressed, other in various degrees of uniform and two or three putzfrauen, with their cleaning tools, standing at the edge of our ranks.  It was a perfect commentary.  Except when in uniform at work I was easy to mentally and physically to divorce oneself from the duller aspects of Army life.  There was always an underlying threat that something might break out and we in Berlin would likely be caught in the middle of a hopeless defense of West Berlin but we didn't really believe it.  The arrogance of youth, I suppose.   

 

In Berlin I was reunited with Asch, Dick Cooke, Dennis Bates and Bob Siemienkiewicz and came to know Alphen, Joe Quarles (only briefly), John Jacobs, Bill Verner, and Alan Ronay, an interpreter at Berlin Command.  There was always someone to join up with for a night on the town.  Sometimes that included the upper end of Berlin culture, as when Jacobs and I went to the Berlin production of the Dreigroschenoper (the first production in Berlin since the 1930s), enjoying the Tales of Hoffmann, hearing the Berlin Philharmonic with von Karajan conducting, visiting the Charlottenburg Schloss, or the Dahlem museum -- to see the Nefertiti bust etc.  As part of the Berlin Festival '58, the Hamburg State Opera, in early October, performed Alban Berg's Lulu -- now that was an experience in what, for me, my first avantgarde opera!  Usually it was less elevated but still neat, as in sailing on the Wannsee or just hanging out at the beach there. (One Saturday or Sunday afternoon while at the facility I ran into a couple with whom I went to high school.  He was playing baseball for his unit and in Berlin for the weekend -- again the small world thing).  I especially remember dinner at the Maison de France (where, somewhat embarrassingly, unescorted Germans were not allowed), clubs and movies on the Kurfurstendam or just movies in West Berlin (I was stunned viewing Das Prozess which dealt with the concentration camps), the Rex Casino on Unter den Eichen where customers sometimes clammed up when asked where they worked.  Were those guys spooks?  There was also the obligatory visit to the Resi with its tischtelefonen (It had been mentioned in one of the Monterey dialogues) and the impressive water show. Six of us went to the La Concorde bar on or close to its opening. (picture included)  The Berlin Hilton opened during my time there.  It looked and felt like most any Hilton but did stand out in its location close to the border.

 

Sometime in the summer of '58, Joe Quarles (a Princeton grad) was invited to a social evening hosted by the U.S. officer (a Princeton grad) in charge of settling property claims of German citizens.  The Princeton network was alive and well in Berlin!  The host and his wife planned a dinner on the lawn of their Berlin mansion.  They were entertaining a mix of American, French, and British officers.  For some reason Joe was asked to bring along another guy.  Asch, Quarles' roommate, was unavailable, and I was asked.  The evening turned out to be great fun.  After a few drinks and socializing a bit I settled in at a table of about six or eight.  Included was a British officer, a Sandhurst graduate, who proceeded to entertain the table throughout the meal.  Everyone was getting into the mood and his stories ranged from fantastic to bordering on almost believable.  Raucous laughter emanated frequently from our table in an otherwise pretty restrained group of guests.  Somehow, Didine Shattuck was at the party and seated next to me.  I'm at a loss to explain how she got there.  As I recall, her mother was connected with the USO personnel at Andrews, but that may not be correct.  In any case she added a lot to the party.  The whole thing was a great diversion from typical army life.  After nearly fifty years, Quarles may remember the evening somewhat differently. 

 

The ability to enjoy oneself in the city was, of course, partly because of the favorable exchange rate.  Things were such that I was able to negotiate to buy a new VW bug on credit, make the payments, pay whatever bills I accumulated, and have enough money to do most anything for entertainment.  Some of my associates, listed above, were very creative in getting something going.  One time someone arranged to book a canal boat for a late three to eleven o'clock cruise on the canals in northwest Berlin.  Whoever organized the thing sent out invitations, one of which I kept.  It was on the S.S. Siegfried on a Sunday in Aug.('58).  I must have been working days for I missed the early part of the excursion.  Everyone else had stopped at a waterside restaurant, the Bir Hakim, where I, after the S Bahn and then a bus to Tegelort, joined the group.  There was time to have a quick glass of wine and then to board the canal boat for the rest of the trip.  It was at this time when I spent a great deal of time talking with Sibylla Arnolds (daughter of a museum official), and some of her friends - Suzanna Eisner (member of the Jewish family who once owned a large part of the Schultheis Brewery), Marianna Reh, from a family who lived in Dahlem).  The group included Clint Alphen, Asch and friend Rita, Alan Ronay, and about ten to fifteen other people.  Slowly moving through the canals and locks, drinking good wine and being with good friends made for a great evening.  The girls mentioned above as being on the trip bring me to another story about German distance keeping and a case of partial breakdown.

 

Marianne and Doris (Marianne's sister) wanted to have a party at their home for several of the friends mentioned above.  Apparently it took enormous pestering to get the Reh's to finally agree.  During the Christmas holidays of '58 several of us were invited to the Reh home in Dahlem.  I forget the exact guest list but it included Clint, Ronay, Cooke, Asch, and myself.  Mutti and Vatti Reh, as well as slightly younger brother Wolfram, were there at the beginning.  The parents melted away after seeing that the young Americans were not complete barbarians.  That we all spoke passable German, that Alan was a completely fluent in French, and that we were mostly recent college students helped a great deal.  Things were pretty stiff at the start but warmed up after a short time.  The most extraordinary thing happened toward the end of the evening when young Wolfram invited a couple of us to see his bedroom to see some of his prized possessions -- something unheard of.  He told us that he had been against his sisters seeing Americans and against the idea of a party at his home, but that he had been wrong.  He volunteered that he would like to join us for movie and in general, get to know us.  That was a mind-blower.       

 

When at work at Templehof a German uniformed worker was on guard duty, checking our badges etc.  I got to know one of these guys, Horst Feibig.  He and his girlfriend, and I and a friend of hers, went out several times.  In his case I did meet his mother and grandmother at their flat on the Seelingstrasse in a typical working class neighborhood.  The evening I was there they had their TV on and it was a kind of quiz show with very commonplace answers dealing with Germany and German life.  One of the answers that the contestants fumbled was Die Romantische Strasse. I blurted out the answer and I still can remember the looks on their faces.  In Monterey they did good work.

 

The city offered great diversions and entertainments but I had great plans for using up my accumulated leave time.  Various trips were planned but only one came to fruition.  In late September, Dick Cooke and I arranged to have my car driven to Helmstedt and, after taking the train from Berlin, we drove to Brussels to see the fair.  Then we drove to southern France and joined up with Bob Asch for a week on the Riviera.  That meant literally driving through France stopping only for a quick drive through Paris -- once around the Place de la Concorde, parking across from Notre Dame, stopped at a sidewalk cafe, and back on the road.  A brief look at the grounds at Fontainebleu and on to Orange where we stopped at a pension.  Looked around a bit, saw the Roman amphitheater, and got on the road to Nice where we met Asch across the street from the Carlton Hotel within about fifteen minutes of our schedule.  We located a place to stay in Juan-les-pins, just east of Nice, for a reasonable amount and used that as our home base.  We snooped around Nice, drove west toward St. Tropez, experienced market day at San Remo across the border in Italy, trooped into the Palm Beach Casino in Nice for a quick visit.  From Nice we drove (two cars) via Milan and Brescia, north along Lago de Gardi, to the Brenner Pass (not nearly as dramatic as expected) and on to Innsbruck.  We played tourist in Innsbruck and then on the road again to München where we did a little serious drinking in the Hofbräuhaus and looked around the city.  Thence back to Helmstedt, left our cars, and took the train to Berlin.

 

HOMEWARD  BOUND

 

I had plans to spend some considerable time in Paris and Vienna with my remaining leave time but that was not to be.  In mid-January, 1959, the Red Cross notified the unit that I was to be sent stateside on an emergency leave.

 

Leaving Berlin was a wrenching experience.  Firstly, the occasion for my being sent home and secondly, I had been very happy there and had been looking forward to spending another nine months in the city and then being discharged.  In this case I was notified that I was to leave within the day.  That meant that a great many odds and ends had to be taken care of.  I was blessed with good friends.  One who later packed all my stuff and mailed my footlocker.  Another who loaned me money to pay off my car, and another who arranged to have my car shipped to the U.S.  Bob Asch, Bill Verner, and Clint Alphen were these three friends.  After a somewhat frantic day the company clerk handed me my pay records and said the rest of my records would be at Ft. Meade, Maryland, upon my arrival.  The westbound train from Lichterfelde left in the late afternoon -- five o'clock or so -- and there was a happy/sorrowful gathering at the little gasthaus at the station.  Good friends came to see me off, some bearing gifts.  It was an emotional departure to say the least. 

 

The train to Frankfurt, a MATs flight to the U.S. and a commercial flight to Detroit followed.  Met at the airport by family I was home within an hour.  My mother was in the later stages of cancer and died shortly after my arriving at home.  Sadly, I never knew if she was aware that I was there.

 

Having too little time to return to Europe at the end of a month's emergency leave I was to report in at Ft. Meade, in mid-February.  Almost predictably the Army had lost my records (other than the pay records which I carried).  I was in a kind of limbo for about two weeks   sometimes reporting to the supply sergeant for clerical work, sometimes doing nothing.  My car was dully delivered and I was therefore somewhat free to come and go by choice.  After a few weeks I decided that someone had to account for my presence and went to the local ranking sergeant and asked whether I wasn't supposed to be doing something.  That cleared the air somewhat and eventually I was sent to work at NSA headquarters in the crypto section.  By this time I had applied for an early-out in order to attend college and with that approved, I had only about three months to finish.  No one at Meade had anything really serious for me to do so I played around with some simple (very simple) stuff.  Clearly, I was just treading water until my June discharge date.

 

While at Meade a few surprises occurred.  Once or twice someone I had known at Monterey or elsewhere passed through on their way to being discharged.  George May from Ft. Devens and Monterey appeared one day. It was a fun reunion.  I dated a sister-in-law of a high school buddy, spent a lot of time in DC on the weekends, and finally my June 1959 discharge date arrived.  I was forced to retake the tests that inductees take in order that my new records would have this vital information!  What a bureaucracy!!!  That done, I was allowed to return to civilian life.

 

 

WORKING  CAREER AND FAMILY  LIFE

 

I went back to the U. of Michigan and finished my Bachelors (in History) and Masters (in History). Amazingly, the first semester back, Fall '59, Sibylla Arnolds from Berlin arrived for a year arranged through Delta Gamma sorority.  It was great fun to see her and we attended several functions.  Sometime during that year she told me she was planning to marry Del Franka who we both knew from Berlin.  Frank Corliss also came to Ann Arbor for advanced study in Russian.  We briefly lived together at my father's home and commuted to Ann Arbor.  The fifty mile commute didn't work well for either of us and we both moved to Ann Arbor.  Subsequently he taught Russian at Wayne State in Detroit.  I taught high school history in Valparaiso, Indiana for two years, then took an interim job at Manchester College in Indiana, and after an extension of one year, attended Indiana U. for the PhD.  Sometime in the first years in the states I heard from Dennis Bates who seemed to be having trouble adjusting the civilian life.  Larry Mock (from Monterey) re-enlisted in the Army after some unsettling issues in a pharmacy where he worked as a student.  Things weren't all so easy for several of us.  Happily and fortunately, in '66 I married Marilyn Hardman from Indiana.  I now had company for the rather nomadic life that was in store.  In '68 I took a job at Wisconsin State-Oshkosh that lasted two years.  Enrollment and budget cuts meant the last hired-first fired.  I went for a one-year position at Miami (Ohio) and spent a frustrating year looking for another job.  In the early '70s jobs had become extremely hard to get.  During the late summer a position turned up at Tennessee Technological University.  I visited the school and was offered the job that I took.  By this time the Berlin connections were wearing thin.  Only Bob Asch occasionally communicated.  He had come back to the states for a masters. On the day my wife and I moved into our rented house in Cookeville Asch was waiting for us.  It was also our wedding anniversary, what a day.  He was traveling through from New York to Columbia, Mo.  

 

In the summer of 1988 my wife and I spent a week in Germany -- Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Mainz, Stuttgart.  We stopped in Tübingen and spent some time with Bob and his family.  It was easy to quickly fall into a relationship that made it seem like we had last talked only yesterday, not five years ago.  Marilyn returned to the states and I went on to the Bradley University Berlin Seminar -- one week plus in East Germany (Dresden -- with the Semper Opera and the downtown museums --, Erfurt, Wittenberg, East Berlin) and one week in West Berlin to pull it all together.  It was an extraordinarily experience.  East Germany, the most successful of the Soviet economies, was amazingly backward and inefficient in so many areas.  Our itineraries were typed with carbon copies -- not a copying machine to be seen.  Grass was being cut with a scythe at the Zwinger museum in Dresden.  We passed a horse-drawn cart on the highway into East Berlin.  Broken down east-block cars along the autobahns -- their owners, tinkering to get them moving again.  It was hard to accept that the Soviet block was truly a threat to the West. 

 

When we spent the second week in West Berlin I took the opportunity to revisit my sites and ghosts of the past. Andrews Barracks was a “closed” base and it would have required an escort to wander around.  That would have taken the fun out things and I declined the opportunity.  To my surprise I had a little trouble finding sites familiar nearly thirty years before. 

 

I haven't been back to Germany since '87.  I would like to see the rebuilt Berlin -- the new structures on the Potsdamer Platz, the new buildings on Unter den Linden, etc.  Maybe some time in the future.

 

Cookeville, Tennessee, is a small town about half-way between Knoxville and Nashville.  It is Bible Belt country, the closest liquor store was eighty miles away!!!  None the less, Marilyn and I adjusted and over time have fitted in as well as one can; she in the community and I at the college.  The right opportunity to move to another school never presented itself and we became comfortable with the place.  Eventually I spent nine years as chairman of the Department of History (until August, '02) and plan to retire from the department in May of '03.  I plan to continue to teach part-time for the next few years and after that, who knows?

 

We have two children, a married daughter who recently presented us with our first grandchild, and a son who is an undergrad the University of Memphis.

 

Putting this together was a pleasant stroll down the lane.  I would greatly appreciate any corrections to this memoir and hearing from friends of the 280th.

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