Monday, April 8, 2013

Overseas Posting - Memories

I was working on a board in my Pinterest account not long ago and it brought back so many memories - I spent hours and hours on it.  It's a board called "Places I've Lived" and  working on it just sent me into a nostalgic frame of mind that lasted for days. Some places I had personal pictures of and others I had to grab pictures from other sites on the Internet.

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

 Then in December 1961 we were again at sea, this time on the Greek liner, QSS Arcadia, headed back to Canada and the rest of our lives.

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.


Granny Annie said...

Posts like this give me a bit of wanderlust. I do not crave world travel but sometimes I wish I could just beam myself into memories like yours:)


Wonderful memories, indeed. I swear I had that exact same dress, sweater and hairdo when I was 12 too.

Bev said...

What a wonderful experience!!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

What a wonderful memory for you. I've only been out of the country one time in my life. Years ago we went on vacation to Canada not far over the boarder from Niagara Falls. At that time passports weren't needed either. There is so much I'd still love to see near by so I'm hoping that travel is in my future. Hope your week is off to a great start. Happy Monday!

Mickey said...

So interesting Pat and finding all the photos to show where you had been all those years ago.
It made me search out where we lived when I was about your age and it was in a suburb of Montreal. Our street had an English name "Old Orchard Cres.then. Now all the streets have French names and we're unable to find where we lived.

doodles n daydreams said...

Pat, what wonderful memories. I really hope you get the opportunity to go back some time in the not too distant future.


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Kath said...

What a blessing to have those experiences with your family!!! said...
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cube said...

I'm not a big traveler myself, but I have moved around the world out of necessity in my life. Now I enjoy living in crazy Florida and not budging one inch..., wait I will move farther south if this chilly weather continues.

Pat said...

OMG I so remember the Wuppertal Zoo.......over and over and over again, headed there in the back of army
Great memories my Dad served there same time as yours! Thanks for the Memories.

Anonymous said...

My Father was in the British Military for a number of years. He entered civilian life in 1960.
That's when my parents, myself and two siblings boarded the Saxonia (April, 1960) for Canada.
I was 14 at the time.