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Chapter 3 : Dick’s Army Years

Chapter 3

Dick’s Army Years

As may be seen from our wedding day photos, Dick had already adopted his military attire. So I suppose he must have already finished basic training by that time.

Dick in Army portrait

It was certainly not by choice that he happened to be in the Army. He was drafted (not long before Elvis…).

Once Dick finished his advanced training at Camp Benning, Georgia, he was sent to Germany for a couple of years.

The barracks were in the quaint town of Aschaffenburg in northwest Bavaria. The town had been battered during WW2, but by this time (1958) it had been rebuilt and was quite lovely.

Aschaffenburg

The army stuck Dick into an artillery platoon. And, while I don’t think Dick minded this, it did begin the damage to his hearing from all the explosive noises generated during the various soldier exercises.

Dick in Army tent

Dick’s original notes: “This is when we were at Hohenfels, September 15 through October 1st. Man! It was early morning therefore lots of shadows. Notice our great camouflage: pine branches. Ugh. This is our FDC1 tent where we operate our telephone box with radio speakers on the table. At night or after dark the tent flap comes down and we turn on the lights. Electric! Notice my chart on the extreme right inside tent. Much fun, eh!

Not long after Dick settled in Germany, I decided it was time to follow – mainly because I happened to find myself pregnant! So I took a slooow boat across the Atlantic.

Pregnant Noreen

Six months later, on December 8, 1958, our son, David, was born in Frankfurt, Germany – after 36 hours of labor! Whew! They don’t call it ‘labor’ for nothing!

Baby David

However, once out into the world, David was a most happy and lively baby.

Dick managed quite a few hours of free time from his army duties and we both enjoyed playing around in the photo lab and shooting lots of pictures.

Since we were married we were able to live off barracks on a pleasant sheep farm (David’s first words were ‘ba-ba’). Close by we would hear the lovely and sonorous clang of bells from the village church. I enjoyed going there by myself some Sundays, and sang along with the German congregation, pretending I spoke German. Not true, of course, and it became embarrassing when a nice German girl began to speak to me! I faked it by smiling a lot!

David and I came home a little before Dick transferred back to the States. This meant another trip across the Atlantic for baby David and me. As if to leave his mark, David threw his cute colorful hat overboard into the ocean at Amsterdam as we headed home on a Greek liner – one with NO stabilizers!

The memory of that trip is not one I wish to recall, except to say that dishes and cutlery were in constant movement across and, at times, tumbling off the dining room tables as the ship lurched along its way. The trip seemed interminable.

Then – HURRAH! – at last we viewed that gorgeous Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline. Home at last!

New York, 1958

1 FDC Means “Fire Direction Center”

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