An icebreaker frequently employed with Dependent School educators was to ask the question, How did you manage to get overseas?” The answers usually provided a fascinating tale. Most came by chance, and I was no exception.
I was teaching sixth grade in Los Angeles while my wife, Beverly, was teaching in Redondo Beach. With our combined salaries in 1955, we were relatively prosperous and content with our lot in life. Going overseas was the furthest thing from my mind. One Sunday Beverly spotted an article in the Los Angeles Times that provided the information that both the Army and the Air Force were recruiting teachers for overseas positions. I was not interested and even if I was interested, I didn’t relish completing the necessary forms. Beverly was not eligible as kindergartens were not part of the Dependent Schools program in those days. Only after much cajoling, Beverly convinced me to at least try for a position as long as she would complete the paperwork and set up the necessary appointments. Continue reading
Some time early in 1949, I read an article in an educational magazine about the Army Dependent Schools in Germany. The article announced the teacher recruitment schedule for persons wishing to teach in Germany. I showed the article to Hetty and said this could be our last opportunity to see Germany. I was afraid she wouldn’t like to go so far from home, but, instead, she said it wouldn’t hurt to send in an application form.
By the time I had filled out the forms and returned them, I knew I wanted very much to have a teaching assignment in Germany. While I waited for an invitation for an interview, I got out my German books to brush up on my reading and speaking ability. On the application form I included the names of five references who knew of my German background. I wrote each of them a letter asking permission to give their names as references. Continue reading
TEACHING IN ENGLAND IN ’54 WAS REALLY QUITE A TREAT. MY CLASSROOM WAS A QUONSET HUT, AND THE TOILET ACROSS THE STREET!
WE DIDN’T HAVE COMPUTERS, NOR MUCH OF WHAT WE HAVE TODAY, BUT WE DID HAVE STUDENTS WE CARED ABOUT, AND WE ALWAYS FOUND A WAY!
THE FIELD TRIPS WERE FANTASTIC! ENGLISH HISTORY BECAME REAL! THE MANY SIGHTS WE READ ABOUT WERE THERE TO SEE AND FEEL! Continue reading
I anxiously awaited orders to fly to Germany in August 1955. The time came and went for my departure. Finally, orders arrived with the explanation that my passport had been misplaced. But all was in order, and I was to leave Portland, Oregon, on August 21,1955 for New York. I was on my own until I reported in on August 22. Then I was sent to the THE ADAMS residential hall at Fort Hamilton, New York, for three days. Thus, August 25, my 25th birthday, I flew across the Atlantic on military transport. After an over-night in Frankfurt, I was sent by taxi to Wiesbaden. Since it was after business hours at the Air Force Base, my taxi driver suggested the Goldener Brunnan Hotel. My two nights there gave me an opportunity to enjoy Wiesbaden. It was enchanting to a farm girl from Oregon. Continue reading
TACHIKAWA, JAPAN, 1947-1948
On a cold, gray, rainy day mid October of 1947, four travel-weary teachers from California arrived at Tachikawa Army Air Base where the 317th Troop Carrier Group was stationed.
After two weeks on a stormy voyage from Fort Mason, San Francisco, to Yokohama aboard the troop transport, M.M. Patrick, and processing at 5th Amy Air Force Headquarters in Nagoya, we were ready and eager to assume our teaching positions as the last group of teachers to be assigned there. At the time of our arrival on the base, the School Board was in session. The presiding officer of the School Board had given orders for us to be brought to the meeting as soon as our suitcases had been deposited at our living quarters, which were in a Quonset hut. Continue reading
Mr. Ron Downing came to Ohio State to recruit teachers for Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico. I was delighted to be asked and signed a contract for the years 1956-58. Then I went to Bitburg AF, Germany with Mr. Downing.
Never have I known such camaraderie as the days in Puerto Rico. There is something unique about island living that draws people closer together. We were in our friends weddings, traveled to the Caribbean islands together and joined in all the base activities. The Base was our life – all socializing and sports events revolved around being with our friends there. Continue reading
I was hired by Richard Meyering on July 23, 1946, as an instructor with the Dependents Schools in the European Theater. I was very excited about going to a foreign country to teach.
Eight Michigan teachers left Ann Arbor together for New York City on September 10, 1946. They were Donna Baker, Pearl Baxter, Philemena Falls, Alta Fisher, Constance Morrison, Roberta Snyder, Grace Van Wert and Kathryn Wilkenson. We were scheduled to travel on the General Alexander (I believe that was the name) but it hit a mine on its trip from Germany to New York so we were delayed in New York for ten days until September 20 when we left on the General Richardson. Continue reading
These reminiscences date from the years 1953 – 1954 that I spent working for the Army’s Dependent School Division, Northern Area Command. While all three have to do with my MG” they are not about the car but rather, about the kindness I experienced in Germany.
IN THE NICK OF CRIME
When I returned to my Frankfurt teaching station (Frankfurt American Elementary School) after a Washington’s Birthday holiday observance that I’d spent on a visit to pre-Wall Berlin via rail, I noticed that my MG wasn’t where I’d parked it. (This was in February of 1954.) Continue reading
Before I returned home after two years of teaching in Wiesbaden, Germany, 1950 – 1952, I wrote to a friend: Soon I will be returning to the U.S.; I am so appreciative of the opportunity I have had to live in Europe for the past two years. The places I have seen, the people I have met, the customs I have observed – all made me realize how fortunate I have been to teach American Dependent Schools overseas.”
I was teaching in Laguna Beach, California, when I applied for teaching in American Overseas Schools. When I was notified that I was accepted, I asked for a leave of absence for a year, and this was granted. The excitement of getting ready to leave and getting papers in order kept me busy until it was time to catch the train for New York. At Union Station in Los Angeles, I met others who were looking forward to teaching in Europe, and we wondered how it would be to teach American dependent children away from the United States. Continue reading
In July of 1954, 150 American schoolteachers left Seattle on board the Navy transport, General William E. Mitchell, destination and assignment unknown. The teachers knew only that they had been assigned to the Far East Command, which included the four main islands of Japan and the island of Okinawa. Previous to their departure, these teachers had been interviewed at leading universities throughout the country, screened and selected as representatives of the American Government to a foreign land.
Their departure followed three days of indoctrination in Seattle, during which time they were given opportunity to turn back as they were reminded that they were going to a land of former enemies where human life is very cheap and nature often chaotic. Continue reading