Thursday, June 4, 2015

Back to the past - Part 1, May 18

An important part of choosing and planning to do this trip was to take a trip down memory lane.  Our posting in Germany for 2 months shy of 5 years was a very important time in our family's life even though the children were not old enough to appreciate or understand all of it.  In addition to one child being born there, I have lots of good memories and a curiosity about what it is all like now.

We had arranged to have a car for the one day but didn't find their office that we thought was in the train station so we went with another company called Sixt.  They may have been taking advantage of our tourist status but they appeared very friendly, had someone who spoke excellent English after a few years in the States, and had an automatic car with GPS available so we went with them.  Not too sure that Andrea approved but it was a 2015 Z2000 Mercedes Benz so she didn't argue too hard.  I did suggest getting a taxi for the 40 plus kms one way I wanted to cover but she controlled her fears and drove.  Once we got the radio off so we could hear the GPS and she had some time on the autobahn, she became very comfortable driving.

It was a warm, sunny day and an easy drive to the Baden-Baden Airport which is the old 4 Wing Base called Baden-Soellingen.  There is a golf course there now besides the airport but some buildings of the base remained.  Did find a building that from the road looks identical to the mess hall - the one on the left with the loading docks.
Some of the additional buildings we could see easily.  We did not go onto the airport property as wasn't sure how much was public areas and didn't want to have to do any explaining.
 Some of the apartments that were probably part of the housing on base.
 A view of the car poor Andrea had to drive.
 Cross at the corner where you make the turn east to head to where we spent 4 years.  The white stripes are the plastic covered rows where they are growing white asparagus.
 The view as we headed east off the main north-south highway in this region.  Black Forest mountains in the distance.  Road went past the end of the runways and through a forested area of about 100' then opens up again.
 When the picture below is enlarged you can just make out the steeple and another building.  In our day there certainly was not as much mature trees and growth.
 The town name.
 The street now has a name and sign.
 The west side of the house.  The roof above covers their balcony where I loved to spend New Years Eve to see all the fireworks going off in the mountains.  The window below was our bedroom window.  It was made of cement blocks and added to the house after the original building.  There was a full window from the bathroom into the bedroom and the doorway was off the kitchen.  The balcony on the front is all additional construction and fills in below what used to be a grape arbor covering the driveway directly in front of the kitchens.  On the other side of the house were a long series of garage doors and lofts and the one closest to the house was our balcony.  I hung my wash out there and it served as the children's playground.
 Directly across the roadway was this house which has had a new coat of stucco (as should be expected after all these years), new windows in the roof area and a new patio area in the front.  I remember the woman who lived there and her son who was just a bit older than my eldest.  Have no memory of her husband at all.
 Didn't take a picture of the front of the house as it seemed strange to me with all the changes including a sloped driveway to a lower garage below where our balcony had been.  Did take a picture of this sign as the last name is the same as the family who owner the building in our time.  One time I wish I had enough German to have gone and knocked on the door.
 This is the view from the sign looking west.  In our time, there was nothing at all here but open fields.  The car we were driving is the one you see.
 We got past the corner and I spotted this and had to have a picture.  That is a cigarette machine and someone's wood supply.  Easy to tell from the windows that this would be a much newer home.
 Considered very good luck to have a stork in your village.
 The cemetery marker my two eldest loved to go over to and drink the water from the small chapel that was there.
 A view of the church coming from the north.

Lots of lovely memories.
Found some answers on Google including a YouTube video that seemed so out of place with my memories.

And then we retraced our drive back through Hugelsheim.  Few memories of it other than to drive through of course  Could always explore it another time.  Did stay at a motel there our last night before coming back to Canada on December 13, 1969 - a Friday of course.  Day started off well when the rental car didn't start and when they towed it back to the base then the front bumper fell off.  Our flight from Lahr was delayed due to weather for its arrival and due to a mechanical problem for its departure.  Did land safely for which I am truly thankful -- even if I couldn't hear anything for three days because of my ears ringing from 10 hours over the wings of a turbo jet military plane.

Realized this post is getting long and have lots more pictures so going to continue in another post.

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