Friday, June 2, 2017

Story Time Friday #2

Looks like Story Time Friday will be a monthly feature since I only got as far as #1 in May.  Continuing on, I left off when we moved from Germany to Massachusetts in 1961.  I didn't really cover much of our time in Germany, so I started digging through some of the memorabilia I have stashed away to give you a little idea of our life there.

I found a letter written (the first nine pages) and then typed single space (pages ten-fourteen) by my father to his mother, my Grandma M.  I think Grandpa M was husband number two or maybe three.  I know the first one was a bank robber; Grandma M married him when she was very young and he told her he kept a gun because he was a detective.  She found out differently when he got caught and hauled off to jail.  Wish I knew the whole story.

Grandma M was the first (and I think only) family member to visit us in Germany shortly after I was born.

Grandma M, Dad, Mum holding me, Frankfurt Airport, March 1960 - obviously smoking in public wasn't an issue then, or smoking around babies!

Anyway, the letter is written December 31, 1960 and January 3, 1961, and goes into great detail about what a wonderful baby I was, so well-behaved and adorable, albeit a little chubby.  I love this paragraph, "We bought her a winter coat, hat, and leggings for a two year old (I'm 10 1/2 months old at this time).  The coat sleeves and the leggings are still a little too long but she's popped a button off the coat because it's so tight on her."  Insert chubby person emoji here, I was doomed from this early age.

The letter goes on to talk at length about a move from a temporary housing apartment to a nicer house with a little yard.  Apparently, the comings and goings and the rowdy antics of the residents in the temporary apartments drove my mother nuts, literally, as she had to have a note from a psychiatrist to say her nerves were shot in order for them to move to the nicer house.  I found this fascinating document, DD 398 Statement of Personal History, where my father listed all of our addresses from 1960-1973 and it goes back farther, to his assignments as far back as 1954.  How I wish I had kept adding our addresses from 1973 to the present although if I think really hard, I can probably come up with them.

There is also a reference in the letter to my sibling, "I found out that Wally's mother has her other baby."  My biological mother's name was Walli but I guess my Dad spelled it with a 'y'.  I found two cards from my biological maternal grandmother, Oma, but they are written in the very old German Gothic script known as Fraktur and I have yet to find someone able to translate them.  I must dig farther into that - surely in this tech-savvy age, I should be able to find a translator.  If they can translate hieroglyphics, there must be someone who can handle Fraktur.

It's been really fascinating tracing my early days and I have a feeling I will soon be branching out into some ancestry studies.  My Dad's sister has traced his family back to the American Revolution but I want to work on Mum's side and my biological family.

We left Germany and moved to Revere, Massachusetts in July 1961 and stayed there until August 1962.  Arriving at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey is the only stamp in my German passport.  During the time we lived in Massachusetts, I became a United States citizen.

Boston 1962


  1. How fun that you have all those souvenirs! we have nothing of the kind here :(

  2. Wow, Pamela. This is absolutely fascinating. I went back and read last week's as well. What a great story! Looking forward to reading the rest of the story as you post installments.