|Sites from Lahr, Germany|
|Photos of the Caserne, including bottom right the school|
In the first photo, middle left, you see the big building with the KK, that was the big German department store, Kaufhaus Kreuz. I found many of my first 45's (records, not guns) there. That area was the main German shopping street. If you turned left, you followed the road that lead you to the Caserne. That's where I went to high school. Second photo, bottom left picture is the High school, I'm pretty sure. Other pictures include the Arrowhead Arena (where my dad worked as a Ring Rat) and I think the curling club. Also at the Caserne was the big Canex department store, a book store (loved it) and just by the main gate, the Teen Town, where we could hang out. Friday nights there was always a dance (the excellent sound system explaining my poor hearing nowadays).
So that's a general picture. A few other items of interest. There were two Canadian cinemas, one nearby to the grocery store and one at the Main airbase. My dad was manager of them and quite often, the whole family would help out working at the concessions at the cinema on the base. Mom made the popcorn and I sold candy and drinks. John was a bit young so would have been classified as child labour, so he sort of hung around the concessions with us. Sometimes my friend Peter Emberley (from Grade 10) would help out. It was lots of fun and, as I recall, the popcorn that we made was so popular that people used to come and get it even though they weren't going to the movies. John and I got to go and watch the movies once we finished serving the initial crowd. There were some relatively racy films for kids our age... we didn't complain. Quite often on Sundays, if we didn't go out on the town and have dinner at a local Gasthaus (we learned pretty quickly not to go out if we were already hungry and we also learned just to get John an empty plate. The meals were slow and lovingly cooked and there was so much food we only needed 3 meals), we would have dinner on the Base at the Junior Ranks dining club. The food was great and it was a nice formal setting.
|Grade 9B class photo (me in the centre)|
|Our hotel (pension) on the Lido|
|Me on Attila the Hun's throne|
|My nickname in Grade 9... *sigh*, yes Baby Dumpling|
|800 Black Forest Squadron, the first Cadet Sqn overseas|
|Grade 10.. which girls did I have crushes on.. :0)|
|High School Curling Fun|
As I mentioned earlier, my Dad was also a rink rat, meaning he worked at the Arrowhead Arena, maintaining the ice. The Lahr Arrows was the base hockey team and they played against German, Swiss and Dutch teams as well as against the other Canadian Air Force and Army teams.
|The Canadian Figure Skating Team|
I've kind of rambled on here but it was a great time. After Grade 9, the Canadian government closed down the army bases in Northern Germany and moved them all down to Lahr and Baden Soelingen. It made a bit of a change for all of us Air Force folks. All the buildings were painted brown (or green, I'm colour blind) and place names changed, the Teen Town became the Teen Hut, that sort of thing and there were now tanks and armoured vehicles all over the place.
I was fairly unworldly at the time but while we were in Germany, the October Crisis (AKA the FLQ Crisis) happened back in Canada and as I understand, the government was ready to send troops back from Germany to support those in Canada when they declared the War Measures Act. We were also on the forefront of the Cold War and there were many, many nights when the Military Police would drive through PMQ's with loud speakers on, announcing Snowball, Snowball, meaning the fathers had to report to work immediately, just in case. When we lived on the Economy, they travelled door - to - door waking up those families that lived out in the countryside, as we didn't have phones there. Well, some people might have but we never did, as far as I remember.
|The Hideaway Show Group|
Well, I think I've finished my ramblings over the past 3 'Reminiscences' of our time in Germany. It was such a great opportunity for a teenager from Canada to experience a bit of the outside world. I don't know if I grew up at all, but I do think it made it easier when I joined the military to adjust relatively quickly to new locations, new situations, new friends. The one bad thing about this moving around, for me anyway, was the constant making new friends, losing friends and then starting over again. For some people, it's not an issue, but I did find that I began making acquaintances, rather than close friends. Having said that, I treasure all of these memories and wouldn't trade them in for anything. They did help make me the person I am today, for good or bad.
We moved back to Canada after I completed Grade 10, this time to Ottawa Ontario. More on that next entry.