A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: G


This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Whew, with today’s post we’ve made it through the first week of the A-Z, congratulations to everyone who is participating, and thanks to those who are following along and reading what we share!

My G post is going to be about Germany, as it relates to one of the chapters of my life…

The summer of 1976 found me married, and the mother of one year old daughter.  We had recently moved from South Dakota, where I was born and raised, to Denver, Colorado. My husband (the first one) had recently graduated from college and had received a scholarship to attend the Denver Theological Seminary.  That subject is a story for another time. 🙂  We were living in student housing and I found work as a receptionist with a Cardiology group in downtown Denver.  Things weren’t going well for my husband despite his genius IQ,  and there was more trouble brewing than I was fully aware of at the time.

One day in early Fall my husband came home and announced that he had enlisted in the Army and would be leaving for Basic Training in a couple days! There had been no previous mention or discussion of this subject, ever.  I was stunned to say the least. We packed up our things and my daughter and I returned home to South Dakota to stay with my parents until he completed Basic Training.  We then joined him to Indianapolis while he completed his Advanced Training.

When my husband finished AIT he was assigned to Wiley Kaserne, a US Army post near the city of Ulm in West Germany.  Again, my daughter and I returned home to my parents to wait until we could join him.  During this time I also suffered an early-pregnancy miscarriage.  I mourned alone; my father told me it was a good thing because we couldn’t afford another child anyway. Wow, just wow.

In April of 1997 my daughter and I flew from Minneapolis to Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany where he met us.  I had never flown before, much less been in a major airport terminal like O’Hare, it was stressful to say the least, and a long flight with a two-year old child, but we arrived there safely without any problems.

From Frankfurt my husband drove us to Bavaria to the city of Ulm on the Danube River, and then to the apartment in a high rise in the nearby small town of Ay which was to be our home for the next two and a half years.

Living in Germany was the experience of a lifetime in so many ways.  Southern Germany is lush green and beautiful, the people are friendly, and there is much to see.  Everything was kept spotlessly clean, even public restrooms in places like railway stations.  Three of my four grandparents are of German ancestry, and living there gave me so much more insight into the culture and why my grandmother and father were the way the were.

While living there, life with my husband became more and more bizarre until it finally reached the breaking point for reasons I may talk about when I get to the letter “eX” and he moved out.  I ended up meeting the man, also in the Army, who was to become husband number two and my son’s father.

We flew back to the USA to get married in Pennsylvania where his family lived very shortly after my first divorce was finalized, and then returned to Germany. I knew marrying him was a mistake even as I did it, and I think he did too, but I didn’t see any other options and had nowhere else to go. I am none the less so grateful for the amazing son that came from that union.  (William) Ian was born at the military hospital in Augsburg, Germany in July of 1979, and held dual German and American citizenship until he turned eighteen.  We returned to the United States three months later, in October, and after a short visit with my parents, both children and I relocated to Augusta, Georgia where he was then stationed. Life wasn’t great there, it was hot and humid, and I was miserable in a very difficult relationship where the presence of love was questionable. I will pick up the story from that point on another day.

As far as Germany goes, I was ever so happy to finally be back home on American soil again, I nearly kissed the ground when the plane carrying military members and their families landed!  Having the opportunity to lives somewhere else is eye opening, fascinating, and educational.  It also makes you appreciate what you have at home.

In Germany, at least at that point (and it was still West Germany back then, a country divided), if arrested you were guilty until proven innocent, an interesting concept that seemed to be a better deterrent to crime than what we have here.

The beer and wine festivals were fun, the food was excellent, the huge old protestant cathedral, The Muenster, downtown was incredibly beautiful, Christmas was magical, and the many day trips we took were like walking through the pages of history books. Most young people spoke English fairly well, and I learned to speak enough German to communicate on about the level of a four year old, and managed to get by.  I would love to return there someday for a visit, to see how much is the same what has changed.

Have you ever visited or lived in a foreign country? 


Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

Author: Josie Two Shoes

I've been blogging off and on since August of 2006. I adopted the pen name Josie Two Shoes in 2007 as I began a new chapter of my life standing on my own two feet. Now I'm married to the man of my dreams; we live in dusty West Texas with a house full of furkids. I am an Aquarian by birth, and although I am past sixty and slightly frayed around the edges, my fascination with this thing called life continues. Faith, family, and friends are important to me; so are honesty, trust, tolerance, compassion and kindness. I'm pretty up front about most things, so if you want to know something more about me, just ask! :-) You can also reach me by email and find me at my Facebook page.

30 thoughts on “A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: G”

  1. My husband’s father was stationed in Germany for a while when my husband was a boy. I’ve never been out of California for any longer than a 2 week vacation in Alaska. I can’t imagine uprooting at the drop of a hat.

  2. You are very brave. I would never be able to manage living in another country especially under those tense circumstances of your husband’s behavior. I am sorry you had a miscarriage. XO

  3. Germany was one of my favorite countries that i visited years and years ago. Only a week there and a week in Austria, but it was delightful.

    Sweetie learned to speak German in college, well enough that he even gave a tour to some people from Germany when he was working in a museum. He wants to go live there for six months and immerse himself and really learn the language well. It’s a nice dream, maybe we can make it come true someday.

  4. I would love to hear your take on what it would be like to be there now with the wall being down. What a comparison that must be huh? I don’t know how you made it through either one of those marriages. Husband who wouldn’t even consult you before joining the Army? I am glad you have spectacular kids though!

  5. Stopped by from the AtoZ challenge. I have to read more about you and why the two shoe, but if I may..

    My mother was also called Two Shoe. My father had died, and we were at the funeral home. We were in the side room, waiting for everyone to be seated. We being my mother, my 16 year old son, my 13 year old daughter, and me. It was quiet, as morose as you’d expect. Until…
    my daughter looked down at her grandmother, pointed at her feet and said: “Grandma. You have two different shoes on.” We looked, and sure enough, the woman who normally made sure everything must match before you left the house went to her husband’s funeral with two different shoes on.
    The four of us broke out in huge peals of laughter, laughing so hard tears were flowing.
    My oldest cousin came to the room with a furious look and yelled at us: didn’t we know we were at a funeral?
    I made the story part of my eulogy at my dad’s service. Most people got a cathartic release, as we did.

    Tale Spinning

  6. Wow, this is quite a story. I’ve never lived in another country, but my younger son wants to go to university in Germany. It feels very far away to this mama! We’ll see what happens 🙂

  7. I hope to be to another country some day but your writing is so effusive, flowing as it is from your heart. Keep it up! It is nice to know the person behind the words!

  8. I love to travel and have visited other countries but have never had the opportunity to live in one for any length of time. I can see where it would be both wonderful and challenging. My oldest has applied for Junior year abroad in Germany so she may get that experience. Weekends In Maine

  9. What a life you had! I respect that you’re speaking about your exes with such peace – that assumes healed sounds. As for Germany, my grandmother is German and I look like her, even my accent when speaking English sounds German to a lot of people. Funnily enough I hardly speak German though! But it was the first country I’ve ever visited, and the first where I’ve met my big love, the sea! So it definitely holds a special place in my heart too.

    My blogs in the A to Z: Self discovery via travel and a separate Interactive story.

  10. Wow, that has been a challenging time in Germany. It is always interesting for me to see Germany through the eyes of someone who are not affected by the usual tunnel vision.

  11. Oh, my, you have had a life. I picture your young self along with your daughter traveling that far, far distance alone. How brave you were! I visited England and France and I wish to visit Italy sometime before I die.

  12. I’ve never been out of the country (except for a couple of hours on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls). What interesting life experiences you’ve had! Even not so great experiences are good in some ways, aren’t they?

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