Of all the many places I've lived, the one that stands out as the most memorable is the one year we spent in Germany when Dad was posted there with his Canadian Army regiment (3RCHA) in 1960-61. I was 12 at the time - old enough to remember and appreciate this amazing adventure we were having, yet young enough and carefree enough to embrace it with the enthusiasm of childhood. Everything about this move was an adventure, from the train ride from Oromocto, NB to Quebec, where we boarded the Cunard ocean liner RMS Saxonia,
|On board the Saxonia, Nov. 1960|
Dad, Mum, Me (12), Ken (9), Wendy (13)
to the six day ocean crossing, the train ride from Amsterdam to the beautiful little town of Hemer, Wesphalia, where we arrived in the rain in the middle of the night in the company of the other regiment families, to be met by a large group of military families - some of the regiment who had gone before us - and bussed to our new PMQ home.
|This grainy picture is an internet 'capture' of the apartment building we lived|
in but it's taken sometime in the 1980s and had been painted and changed
somewhat from we lived there at 1C Berliner Strasse.
|The beautiful little town of Hemer, Germany|
|Hemer Fire Station. I loved the half timbered buildings. I had never seen|
them before going to Germany
|Street view, downtown Hemer|
Dad bought a car from one of the soldiers who had been posted home, an Opel Kapitan, and on Sundays we'd go for a drive exploring this beautiful country. It must have been strange for Dad to be there since just 15 years earlier he had been in that part of the world fighting for his country during the Second World War.
During the summer, the school organized field trips for us. We went to such places as the Mohnesee Dam, Dechenhohle Caves, Zoo Wuppertal, Cologne Cathedral, driving down the Autobahn in open backed canvas covered two and a half ton military trucks. That was an adventure itself - no seatbelts, sitting on two rows of benches in the back of the truck as we sped down the Autobahn, singing!
|On one of our Sunday drives we visited the castle in Altena. Completed in 1109,|
since 1912 it has been used as a youth hostel, one of the first in Europe. My
first, and only, castle experience. We just don't have them here in Canada.
|One of our summer school outings was to Zoo Wuppertal - my first zoo experience.|
|We went a couple times, as a family and with the summer school outings to the Mohnesee,|
one of the dams that had been bombed during the war, which has since been rebuilt.
But what a wonderful opportunity for us to have lived that year in Germany. I've always wanted to go back as an adult and view it with a different perspective. I was so excited when our youngest daughter, Emily, took German in high school and had the opportunity to live in Darmstat, near Frankfurt, as an exchange student for 3 months. Then again last year when Emily and Sara went to Germany (I forget the name of the town) on business. It's such a beautiful country.
Going back for a visit is high on my bucket list.