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CRUISING TO GERMANY

by Joan Kay McCarter Adrian

My trip to Germany in November 1948 was rather fun. We sailed on the Hugh J. Gaffey from Ft. Hamilton in early Nov. My step-father, my mother, and 2 very much younger sisters. This was a month before my 17th b-day. We had 2 cabins with bath in between. I was the oldest dependent daughter (and only single female anywhere near adulthood) and had a great time with the ship's Dr. ( a Capt.) and the radio operator. They made sure I had a good time. There were several activities on the ship with bingo, dancing, movies, and just sitting in a deck chair being waited on. There was a curfew at 10:00 or 11:00 (forget), and I would be escorted to the cabin by my date of the evening.

My 4 yr. old sister was sea sick and I had to take her to lunch one day (they had 3 sittings) and try to get her to eat a little cracker and drink some tea. I didn't want to rush her and make her sick, so let her take her time. We were sitting overtime into the next seating, when the PR Capt. came to the table and with a snide remark--"If you could be on time madam, you and your daughter wouldn't be late departing for the next group"--- I was very indignant and informed him it was my "little sister and she has been throwing up all night and we are just trying to help her get a little in her stomach to ease her problem". He turned red and left me alone. My step father was taking care of mother and the younger sister (1 & half yr. old) in the cabins. Other than that, I had a great time and hated leaving when we reached Bremerhaven.

From then on it was hard. We spent 3 wks. in a transient hotel in Bad Mergentheim with first one sister and another getting ill. My step-father had to report to Bamberg and wait for quarters to be available. We finally departed for Bamberg on 15th Dec. by train. A day after my 17th birthday. Xmas wasn't much that year since none of the household items had arrived and there was very little on the local market to buy. I don't remember much about that Xmas. Just trying to settle in. The Nurnberg Amer. High School was out for the holiday. Within a couple of days the few teenagers in Bamberg came and welcomed me and took me to the small Teen Club in a corner of the EES snack bar.

From then on, my stay in Nurnberg was terrific. Did not leave Germany until Sept. 1953---graduated from hi sch class 1949, went to work in Palace of Justice in Apr. 1950, got married in Jun 1951, came back to U.S. by myself on the Ile de France out of Le Havre in Jun 1952 for 30 days leave in U.S. ---Okla., and PA where I met my in-laws for the 1st time by myself---back to Germany--1st daughter was born in Nurnberg Dec. 1952--then over a week at Bad Nauheim waiting for a plane out of Frankfurt back to U.S.A. and my husband's next assignment in Tacoma, WA Hope in 1953. Nurnberg still feels like home--been back a couple of times while we were stationed in France in early 1960's, and then in 1992 before the base closure in '95 and a lovely full day in Nurnberg while on our 2001 river cruise. I still miss military people and army life. My husband retired with 22 yrs. LTC, in May 1969 and we have been in KY ever since, but I still travel as much as I can afford.

 

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