Memories of Mom in Post-War Germany

May 6th, 2016 is Military Spouse Appreciation Day–here’s a memory about an incredible military wife–and mom.

By James Kenderdine.

Postcards from when our family was stationed in Germany, 1947-1950. One of my last memories of Germany was when we were getting ready to leave in 1950, stopping on the Autobahn north of Frankfurt and getting out of the car to look south at what was left of the city. Rolling small hills (made of rubble) covered with grass and brush all the way to the center of the city. I could see the ruins of the cathedral in the center of the city from where I stood. When I stood in the same spot again in 1977, all I could see was the city that had been built since 1950, I could not see any part of the cathedral.

Our years in Germany shaped the lives of everyone in our family in ways that, 65 years later, my sister and I are still coming to understand and appreciate. My guess is that any spouse or brat who did not take the Army’s offer of evacuation during the Berlin Airlift feels that same. My mother said she was not leaving, that, in old army terms, “I can stay the winter, no matter how bad it is.” Watching her learn to shoot and MI carbine was fantastic, and to this day, I can still clearly see the image of her carbine, with a 20 round clip in it, round in the chamber, hanging by its sling next to her and dad’s bed.

There were a lot of my mom’s friends who were really scared. My sister and I would listen during bridge games at their talk. All would have loved being state-side, but they felt if they left it would be seen by the Russians (100 k away) and the Germans as a sign of weakness.

They all agreed that the elaborate evacuation plans for us if the Russians did enter our Zone were smoke and mirrors and they knew, full well, what had been done by the Russians in Berlin and other cities during the war, and they had no intention of being captured if war broke out. Most had “requisitioned” extra 30-caliber ammunition and planned to use it all. The question, if war came, they never found an answer for was, “when do I stop shooting them and take care of myself and my kids”.

Damn right! Brats and spouses served as much as did anyone.

13131181_10156834334420075_8530497029871310657_oWuerzburg, American Occupation Zone of Germany, from the air, 1947

13087166_10156834337415075_8561565969050868418_o‘EUCOM HQ, American Occupation Zone of Germany, Frankfort on Main, 1947 – was the IG Farbin HQ before and during WWII’

13116100_10156834340120075_5862814425118769596_o‘Church of Our Lady, Munich, American Occupation Zone of Germany, 1947’

13116157_10156834342160075_8888397271329318049_o

‘Brandenburg Gate, seen from American Occupation Zone of Berlin, 1947’

 

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