The year was 1965.
My father, an officer in the Canadian army, had been away since July of 1964, commanding a UN peacekeeping force in the Gaza Strip area of Palestine. At home in London (Ontario), my mother received word that after the current tour of duty ended in June, we would be transferred back to Germany, where my parents had met and married and where I was born. In fact, that birthplace – the town of Soest – was our assigned posting. My mother was happy about this, as she would be near her parents and other family members. I was relieved to be getting away from the xenophobic school bullies who tormented me. We moved the first week of July. My father flew in from Cairo and we stayed at my grandparents’ place for about two weeks, until our apartment was ready. New continent, new friends, new experiences…..
I lived a double life.
Canadian army brat during the week, German girl on the weekends. Every Friday after my father finished work, we went shopping at the Canex (army stores) for my grandparents (groceries, cigarettes and alcohol were much cheaper there), then spent the weekend with them. It was only an hour’s drive away and their large apartment had plenty of room.
Great aunt Mathilde and uncle Eugen lived in a neighbouring city. They owned a large pub, with living quarters upstairs. This was a magical place for me and we visited often, sometimes spending the night. Picture this: Dark, well-worn hardwood floors. A long wooden bar, either walnut or mahogany, ornately carved, with matching bar stools. Wooden booths lined the far wall and matching tables were found in an adjoining room. Also in that room was a 19th century piano and a giant jukebox, fully loaded. This is where the magic happened! On the playlist that summer: [For those who can’t view the first video due to restrictions, please scroll down for an alternative at the end of the post.]
You might recognize the first one as a German version of “The Birds And The Bees” by Jewel Atkins. Listen to the original HERE, if you like. The Rolling Stones finally caught my attention that summer. When I heard the B side of “The Last Time”, it was love at first listen. I still love “Play with Fire”, 50 years later! From then on, The Beatles had to share space in my heart with The Stones. “Satisfaction” hit the airwaves in October and that sealed the deal.
The rest of that year was spent settling in, getting re-acquainted with relatives (whom I hadn’t seen since 1959 – our last time in Germany), and making new friends in two languages.
This is a continuing series, inspired by
“THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE”
It Rains…You Get Wet and Your Daily Dose
Coming next: The year was 1966
Join me on family trips to Austria and France
Where were you in 1965?
Any memories you’d like to share?
Looking forward to your comments!
ALTERNATIVE GERMAN VIDEO – “CINDY LU”