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: