THE YEAR WAS 1965 – #MusicalMemories

31 Comments#MusicalMemories, #ThrowbackThursday, Life, Memoir, Music

Musical Memories, The Doglady's Den

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…..

London Canada to Soest Germany
Map Data ©2015 Google, INEGI

I lived a double life.

canadian german heritage

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

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!



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Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

31 thoughts on “THE YEAR WAS 1965 – #MusicalMemories

  1. Also… if you want to use the notes on a wire graphic for your posts, feel free. Or use whatever you like. Just know that you can:)

    1. Thanks, Robin. Hope you don’t mind, but I designed this logo to match the decor. 🙂 I will add your graphic to the attribution on the post. Hope that’s okay!

  2. I read your post again after reading through the comments.

    So, your mom was German (and her parents still lived in Germany) while your father was Canadian. Is that right? Or were they both German and he was just stationed in Canada?

    I’m sorry that the anti-German sentiment was still so pervasive after the war. I think people like to lump people into neat little boxes that make sense to them. Of course, that isn’t remotely fair. Plenty of German people were anti-Hitler and did their best to help Jewish people and other targets of Nazi hate. But, that makes it all very confusing about who to hate and who to blame. School is never easy (and bullying seems to be part of the universal experience), but you were a soft target with your German background. I’m sorry.

    Lots of variety on your grandparents’ jukebox. Their home sounds just wonderful, so I’m certain you enjoyed those weekends tremendously.

    As for me… I wasn’t a blip in anyone’s eye yet.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read everything, Robin. 🙂 My father was third generation Canadian of German descent. – born and raised in Montreal. He met my mother during his first posting to Germany in 1953. You are so right that people like to categorize and generalize; something I abhor to this day; likely because of those childhood experiences.
      The pub was a fun place for me and it had great atmosphere. That belonged to my grandmother’s sister and her husband. We visited regularly, but spent most weekends at my grandparents’ home (picture on the right), in a neighbouring city.
      I guess I’m dating myself with these posts. Nowadays, most people are younger. LOL

  3. I loved reading about how you came to live in Germany and your years there! Your mention of the bar reminded me of accompanying my parents when they went to have a few beers with friends or other family. I remember being in Pennsylvania bars with hardwood floors and jukeboxes. Your description of the bar was fabulous and it took me right there. The engraved bar sounds magnificent. Great songs too. I LOVE Play with Fire. What a great throwback thursday!

    1. Hi Michele; Glad you enjoyed my musical memories. 🙂 This will be an occasional, continuing series. I’m sure there are lots of pubs like that all over. I just wish I had a photo of that bar. It was quite the piece of art, but what kid thinks of that? Pennsylvania has a large German influence, so I can imagine some of the architecture and decor is similar. Did you like going there? “Play with Fire” is one of my favourite Stones songs of all time and I wonder why it was consigned to the B side! Sorry I missed this earlier and your post from yesterday. Going there now!

      1. I’m part German too, via the Pennsylvania Dutch. Yes, PA has a lot of great architecture. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there but would love to go back at some point. I would love to go see my grandparents house, see if it’s changed much since I was there. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to go inside. I’m sure the memories would flood back as soon as I stepped through the door! Those were good years…

        1. Your last name sounds like it evolved from the German word “treulich”, meaning faithfully or truly. 🙂 You obviously have some great memories and I hope you get the chance to revisit the area. We visited my grandparents’ former home in 2013 (the photo on the right), but the apartments were locked. We did have dinner at the restaurant on the ground floor. It was all pretty exciting!

          1. That sounds really exciting. I love reminiscing, especially when you can do it in person. My German heritage comes from my maternal side; my last name is actually Czechoslovakian. My grandfather came over on the boat, as they say… But that’s neat to know the meaning of the other Treulich! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  4. Such wonderful memories you have – thank you for sharing with us. And lucky you! Living in two different countries, and such awesome ones as Canada and Germany. Germany is on my bucket list; it’s my heritage.

    And the CindyLou song? Oh how beautiful to hear the German language in music. CindyLu is positive that song was originally written for her. Can’t convince her otherwise 😉

        1. So, now you really want to go, yes? 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the tour of my home town. What impressed me the most was that it was almost exactly how I left it 41 years earlier, except better. They refurbish buildings there, rather than rebuild.

  5. I loved reading about your memories of time in Germany when you were younger and all the music on the jukebox at your relatives’ pub. Isn’t it true that the music we listened to entwine to become part of the memories. We only have to hear that music and we are transported back instantly.

    In 1965, I was living in England as I was a military brat, too and my father was a pilot in the RAF at the time since Canadian pilots could join back then. Don’t remember the popular music all that much at 5 years old as I was probably into nursery rhymes mostly. I did have a funny British 45 about Red Riding Hood that I can still hear in my mind so vividly. I remember the words to the song that Red Riding Hood sang about her nagging mother warning her about the dangers in the woods. Imagine it with a very proper British accent, of course. “Mothers are a worry, Mothers are a bore, They spend their lives in misery and heaven knows what for!” So silly what we remember as kids, eh? Don’t ask me other details like the name of my school or anything like that but I sure remember that record.

    1. So, you weren’t that far away from me, 50 years ago either, Cathy. 🙂 I visited London in 1969, so even closer! (If you were still in England, that is.)
      Yes, I can just hear those phrases from Red Riding Hood, British accent and all. 😀 It’s true what you say about music – we are instantly transported back. I’m excited about doing this series! So many memories; I’ll never run out of material. Glad you enjoyed the post. Next one, the travelling begins. 🙂

  6. Lovely memories, Debbie! Although, yes, I can imagine it must’ve been hard being German in Canada in 1965 (and for many years after… humanity is stupid), but I’m glad you only had to put up with it for a little while. I was only born in 1973, so can’t share much (haha), but my dad did spend a good chunk of the 60’s in Germany during his time in the US Army, and although he didn’t talk much about it (or about anything else, for that matter), I know he had fond memories — including a love story I never got the lowdown on! Your post made me picture him in these places, with this music… So very, very cool 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Hi Guilie; I started school in Canada in 1960 and was harassed the entire five years there. It was brutal! Our family was opposed to the Hitler regime and suffered greatly during WWII. My mother even went to jail, because she refused to work in a government chemical lab (she was a chemistry student at university), so the “filthy Nazi” epithets were especially galling. :p You’re the only one who commented on that aspect of the post. Thanks for that and sorry about the rant. It still rankles, to some extent. Anyway…..
      I’m glad I was able to bring Germany to life for you and trigger fond memories of your Dad. All the military people I’ve met, be they Canadian, British, American or other say they enjoyed it there.

  7. Good morning, Debbie the Doglady! This post is loaded with goodies. I am happy to learn more about your youth and how you wound up living in Germany during the mid and late 60s. The story of how your parents met in Germany reminds me of how Elvis met Priscilla in that country. I’m sure you know that your description of the pub owned by your great aunt and uncle immediately brought to mind my old hangout the Shady Dell. The first video, “Birds and the Bees,” did not play, the message stating that it is not available for playback in my country. I got around the problem by going to YouTube where I found it and listened to it. I actually worked with the original artist, the late Jewel Akens, back in 1984. I was stage manager for an oldies but goodies show and Jewel was one of the guest stars. The day of the concert, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Jewel in the empty auditorium and chatting with him while we both watched the famous girl group The Chiffons rehearsing their set on stage. I was awestruck!

    I love that Rolling Stones doublesider, “The Last Time”/”Play With Fire,” and have the 45 in my personal collection. It is one of my most valuable vinyl collectibles, a rare DJ copy stamped on colored wax that cost me $80 when I bought it a dozen or more years ago.

    Needless to say, I am very much enjoying the soundtrack of your life, Debbie, because we have similar tastes. I look forward to your next installment. Have a wonderful day, dear friend!

    1. Hi Shady; Firstly, thanks for your continued interest and support. So glad we crossed paths in the Blogosphere! 🙂
      There must be thousands of pubs like that around the world. The Shady Dell sounds like a fun hangout and I’ve been enjoying your posts. Sorry about the German video. Glad you found a substitute. I added an alternative at the bottom of this post, which should work for everyone. How cool that you were a stage manager for musical acts! That 45 of yours is a real treasure. Sadly, my original copy got lost somewhere in between moves, but I still have an extensive vinyl collection; singles and albums. Thanks for coming by today and sharing your memories. Cheers!

  8. I have never heard of these songs before… they are quite nice. So different from today’s pop music. I am a military brat too 😛 love those army canteens.

    1. Hahaha! “So different from today’s pop music” is exactly the complaint that most of us older folks have. We don’t consider today’s music nearly as good as our own generation’s, but I think it’s that way for people of all ages. 🙂 The life of a military brat is always interesting, yes? Thanks for visiting.

  9. What fun this site is! We share some of the same memories in Germany. I remember those juke boxes in bars and restaurants. My grandmother usually gave me some coins to feed the music box. I always felt like that was a huge treat.
    Where was I in 1965? I was 15. I spent a summer at a horse ranch near Dusseldorf, Germany. I remember singing “Going to the Chapel” I fell in love with one of the stable boys, who had escaped from East Germany the previous year. And I got tipsy for the first time from sweet French wine. That was a hot summer. 

    1. That isn’t too far from Soest, or Bochum, where my Oma and Opa lived. Lovely memories you have there, Angelika. 🙂 We do have much in common, although I’m 5 years younger. Thanks for your continued support and interest. So glad we met. Isn’t the Blogosphere a wonderful place? 😀

  10. “I’ll Never Find Another You” by The Seekers, “Ferry Cross The Mersey” by Gerry & The Pacemakers were both in my All Time Top 100 Pop/Rock collection.

    “Play With Fire” easily in my Rolling Stones Top Ten.

    It was a big year for Beau Brummels.

  11. We were listening to some of the same music. I would add to that a lot of Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, and Tijuana Brass. They were great musical times.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin’ with A to Z

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