Friday, March 9, 2018

Story Time Friday #4

When I last left Story Time Friday, we had been living in Norway from 1962 (our passports show us arriving at Gardermoen, Oslo Airport on 16 August 1962) until 23 August 1965.  I loved researching our travels through our old passports and it really bothers me when you take a trip and the immigration officials don't stamp your passport.  It's a map of family history that is becoming obsolete.

We left Oslo on 23 August and arrived two days later at Tyne Ports.  The Port of Tyne is based near Newcastle on the River Tyne in northeast England.

Sea voyage dressing in 1965

From there, we made our way to Manchester to visit Mum's family (my grandmother and aunt) and we departed from London Airport (renamed Heathrow Airport in 1966) for New York on 3 September 1965.  Our final destination was San Francisco, California where Dad would report to the Presidio which was an Army installation from the mid-1800s until it closed and transferred to the National Park Service in 1994.  I can remember sitting in the snack bar and looking out over San Francisco Bay, a stunning vista.  If it hadn't been government property, some real estate developer would have snapped it up and put multi-million dollar homes or condominiums on the site.

I don't really remember how we got from New York to San Francisco but from what little I can recall, we drove.  I have snippets in my memory of winding roads through the mountains, looking out the window at a train that was running parallel to us but with a ravine in between, and stopping at inspection stations on the state line to declare any fruit or vegetables.  I know I've seen pictures of this trip across the States but either my sister has them or they are on slides which I still have to convert to digital pictures.

We settled in an apartment complex in Tiburon, across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County.  It was either leased by the military for housing or we just had a lot of military neighbors.  The apartments were in a rectangular shape with a row of apartments across the center.  In the large open area at the top, there was the adult pool and in the area at the bottom, there was the family pool.  We lived here from September-October 1965 and my sister, Barbara, was born at Letterman Army Hospital on the Presidio in March 1966 (yes, my parents who thought they could not have children of their own got a 10th wedding anniversary bundle of joy).  In November 1966, my Dad relocated us to Chico, California close to where some of his siblings lived and he left for a year in Vietnam.

Dad at the headquarters building in Nha Trang, Vietnam

I don't think we were in Chico for more than six months before we moved to San Jose.  My Mum's closest friend from Tiburon, Lotte, moved to San Jose when her husband left for Vietnam.  Things were not going well between Mum and Dad's siblings - I'm not quite sure where the breakdown occurred but it was enough for Mum to pick up and move to San Jose.  We lived first in an apartment on the same street as Lotte and then within a few months, we moved to a single family house on the street behind where the apartment was located.

During our time in San Jose, we flew to Honolulu to spend a week with Dad who was on R & R (rest and recreation).  I spent most of the week in the ocean and Barbara spent her time on a towel because she screamed every time her feet touched the grass.  

Back at home in San Jose, I went off to school and enjoyed life in the California sunshine and in November 1967, Dad came home from Vietnam, we packed up the house, drove across the States to New York, and jetted off to Dad's next duty station, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium.

One of my best memories of our time in San Jose is July 4th, 1967.  Lotte's daughter, Linda, was my best friend and we taped a huge piece of paper (I'm thinking it was something like strips of butcher block paper) on the garage door and colored a giant American flag.  A guy in a sports car stopped at the curb, jumped over the side (you know how those dashing heroes do that, they would never think of opening the door and getting out!), and handed us each a coupon for a free hamburger, fries, and milkshake at McDonald's.  He was the manager of the local McDonald's.  Mum and Lotte took us down there and we enjoyed every bite of our food.  I think the menu looked something like this:

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