Stories about my family

Category: FAMILY LIFE (Page 1 of 5)

WORKING TOGETHER

WORKING TOGETHER 

Dad and mom bought a farm by the coal pits southeast of Warner, OK in 1948. They had high hopes of growing corn, cotton and other cash crops. But high hopes and hard work did not provide enough money to keep the farm going. 

The early 50’s were hard on small farmers as it was with most families in rural Oklahoma. It seemed to me that my folks were just hanging on, hoping that things would turn around next year. But it didn’t. 

Consequently, the family migrated to California and other places to work the crops. The money earned would then be used to buy seed, fertilizer, etc. for another year at the farm. So come harvest time dad would pack our tent and we would follow the other migrant workers. 

Several seasons we went to Stratford, California to follow the cotton and grape crops. Many times dad set goals for us to meet and when we met that goal we would be through for the day. He usually set the goal at 2000 lbs. when we picked cotton. We started early in the day when the cotton was heavy with dew. 

He would announce the goal early in the day, most times about 6 AM. Usually by 2 PM we were over 2000 lbs and could call it a day. At $4.00 per 100 bs. $80.00 a day was a good family wage in 1951. 

I believe it was 1952 when John Clark, a family friend, moved from Webber Falls to a small town in western Montana. He called dad for help. Acres and acres of golden wheat were ready for harvest when we arrived. Dad operated a combine that I pulled with a caterpillar and my brother drove a large tractor pulling another combine.

We worked for thirty days straight and went back home. Dad was paid $900. and Leo and I were paid $600. each. Dad took John Clark’s check to the bank and was paid partially in silver dollars which we had to spend. In those days the government frowned on hoarding silver. 

The money was enough to buy school clothes and shoes for us kids with enough left over to buy seed and fertilizer for next years crop, and a little left over for the mortgage. Money earned belonged to the family. 

Dad was a man of dreams, a man of convictions, a man of hope, ambition and a family man. But most of all a Godly man.  

MY MOTHER

My mother was more introverted and perhaps more intelligent than any of us. She had a mind that recalled events and transactions from the past with accuracy. Addie Burr was also an artist. 

Her artful use of the English language was evidenced by the poems she left behind. This poem was written while traveling from Warner, Oklahoma along route 66 on our way to Stratford, California. This story happened in the early 1950’s. Her writings emphasize her love of God and country. 

GODS PRAYER STATION
While traveling one day down life’s busy avenue
with no thought of destination,
where I was headed to.
I caught the glimpse of a billboard that stood beside the road the boards were weather worn,
the paint was faded and old.
Some of the words were missing from the sign
but the two words I did read.
keep going through my mind.
Find happiness it read,
I kept driving, and thinking, what is happiness?
where is happiness? does happiness really exist?
Is it on the other side of the world in some foreign land?
Or right here in America,
In the heart of every man who sincerely desires to find it?
I traveled on farther thinking and looking at the barren so then another billboard (prepare) I didn’t quite comprehend, so then I read on, (to meet thy God).
Then another billboard just up the road
(God’s Prayer Station)
the doors are never closed.
True it was no big cathedral with stained glass windows
and not an inch of carpet was laid
but just a simple little place
where another traveler prayed. 

Written by Addie Burr 

For mom. it was the notion that America is a place where there is freedom to worship God, which is the path to true happiness. What better way to express ones’ patriotism than to demonstrate a love of God and country. 

 

RANDY THE PREACHER

Phyllis and I believe our middle child, Randy, will have great rewards in Heaven as he and his family have devoted most of their adult life to  Christian service.  More about that later.

Randy was a bright child.  While Rick and Cynthia, who like their parents, had to study and work to get A’s in school.  Randy could inherently grasp a complex concept with apparent ease and very little study.  Particularly in math.

Randy standing in front of our camper at dad’s salvage in Warner, OK

This giftedness was first recognized when Phyllis was teaching Rick math skills using flash cards when he was about five.  Randy two years younger, would interrupt with the correct answer before Rick had an opportunity to respond.

When I retired from the Army in the fall of 1981.  Our family (except Rick who remained in Wichita, KS where he later married Susan, his sweetheart) moved to Tulsa and became active in Bethel Baptist Temple.  It was here where Randy accepted Christ as  his savior and was baptized.

Shortly thereafter, Randy accepted the call to the ministry.  When he graduated Webster High School, Tulsa University offered a scholarship in engineering.  During his first semester it was apparent that his heart wasn’t in this endeavor.

His English Professor assigned students a writing assignment about a topic of the students choice.  Randy decided to write about Jesus and his plan for saving humanity.  However, the professor instructed Randy he would only be allowed to write a satire of the “story” of Jesus .

Randy disregarded her instructions and submitted his paper about the REAL Jesus.   He was chastised and given a poor grade.  Shortly after that, he withdrew, married Donna Cobb and left for Baptist Bible College, Springfield, Mo.

After 2 and 1/2years in Springfield, MO, Randy joined the Navy to attend the Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando, Fl.  After graduating near  the top of his class he was transferred to Balston, Spa, NY to attend the Naval Prototype course.  Aftr two years of schooling, he was assigned to the USS Skipjack SSN 585 fast attack submarine.

As a crew member. Randy served with distinction on the Skipjack until it was decommissioned in 1991.   During this time Randy and Donna had two beautiful daughters, Cynthia and Kimberly.

Randy and his young family remained in Virginia where he found work as a manager trainee for Camelia Food Store, a multi-state grocery store chain.  Within a few months he was assigned Manager of the store and earned the reputation of increasing operational efficiency and profit margins in every Department.  Subsequently, Corporate Headquarters  moved him to grocery stores struggling with theft, inefficiency and profit issues.

In each case he met or exceeded corporate goals.  Again, he was promoted and assigned to an audit team to examine operations across 52 stores and make recommendations.  Randy was advancing quickly to  positions of greater responsibility and seemed to have a bright managerial future with Camelia Foods.

He did know that God was preparing him for a future where the  managerial and leadership skills developed here would enable him to weather the financial and cultural storms that began in 2007 and lasted almost a decade.

Randy felt the call of God and left Camelia Foods to joined  the ministry of Fellowship Baptist Church, Chesapeake, VA where he received his ordination and served as Assistant Pastor for 3 of the 11 years in Chesapeake, VA.

Randy and Donna

During the next 8 years Randy impacted 100’s of lives for Christ while pastoring  two churches.  In fact, the entire family was intimately involved in the ministry.   Donna is an accomplished pianist and singer.  Further, their daughters, Cynthia and Kimberly, are also musicians and singers.  Randy completed his Bachelors of Science during this time.

While Randy was pastor of Decatur Heights Baptist Church in Bladensburg, MD  he suffered a heart attack and underwent surgery.  His doctor advised him to find a less stressful profession.  Accordingly,  Randy began looking for a job where he could use his managerial skills in a less stressful but still in a Christian environment.

He found the perfect fit as Principal of Lanham Christian School, Lanham, MD.  and was hired in 2006. It was the job God had prepared for him, at a   time when Institutions all over the U.S. where experiencing  the  declining economy as well as the cultural upheaval that effected Christian institutions in particular.   In this environment several similar Christian schools in Prince George County were forced to close.

Lanham Christian School is a college prep day school  with  over 200  students enrolled in grades K-4 thru 12 fully approved by Maryland State Department of Eduction’s Board of Accreditation and Certification.   The mission of Lanham is to  shape students to (1) Magnify Christ as they learn and grow, (2) reflect the Character of God’s person and purpose and (3) to Develop Commitment to self-discipline and obedience that promote spiritual and academic growth.

Randy was instrumental in improving day to day operations and returning the school to the mission of providing high quality education to a christain community.  Here are a few of the changes made under Randy’s leadership:

Developing a long range financial plan to insure stability, hiring highly qualified and credentialed teachers, adopting a circulum which achieves high standards and academic continuity from grades one thru twelve, growing year to year student retention to 85%, improving student performance on National Standard Test to the 65th percentile in grades 1-10 and college prep testing in grades 11-12,  developing 20 Honors Level and 3 Advance Placement Courses.  In addition, a 10% increase in enrollment is projected for 2018-19 school year.

Randy is also involved in church leadership and the preaching  ministry and is an Elder at Grace Brethren Church.   He was also promoted to Executive Director of Lanham Christian School, Lanham, MD.

Phyllis and I may be a bit prejudiced but we think our son Randy is the most gifted preacher we’ve ever heard.  It is apparent that God has richly blessed Randy and his family.

 

RICK THE LEADER

I have decided to write a story about each of our three children.  Our oldest is Rick.

Rick learning to walk in Buren, Germany, 1963.

 

My purpose, as with other stories, is to provide an informal record of events and personalities which will be of interest to present and future generations of the Burr family.

Richard Allen Burr has always had an outgoing, gregarious and inclusive personality, even as a child.  One of the earliest examples of the kind of personality he would grow up to have happened when we was about 18 months old.

 

When his mother and I were hugging each other, Rick held up his hands and asked to be picked up.  When we did so, he put his arms around each of our necks and said “we family”.  We were surprised because we didn’t even know he knew what it meant to be in a family.

RICK, RANDY AND CYNTHIA ON A CAMPING
TRIP TO DAVIS LAKE, GA

 

 

 

Not surprisingly,  he was serious minded young child.  Many times he would rather be around adults than children his own age.  He enjoyed adult conversations.  I suppose the fact that he was  the oldest child of our three children, he felt he should be more grown up.

 

Phyllis taught our kids to be kind to others and to be friends especially to  unpopular children.  I think Rick took her advice further than she intended.  Although he was bigger than other boys his age, he was not aggressive.  In fact, when another boy picked on him and pushed him around he would not defend himself.

RANDY SWINGING AT AN IMAGINARY BALL WITH AN IMAGINARY BAT, DISINTERESTED CATCHER IS CYNTHIA,AND THE LEADER, RICK, IS CALLING BALLS AND STRIKES.

When Phyllis learned of this she instructed him to not to be mean but  to defend himself.  The following day after school while walking on a footbridge across a creek on the way home, the same boy (smaller than Rick) started picking on him.  Rick picked him up and took him by the ankles and held him over the side of the bridge and threatened to drop him into the creek if he didn’t leave him alone.  Of course he didn’t drop him, but that took care of that problem.

In many ways Rick was a typical boy.  For example, when riding his bike at a high speed he wrecked and flipped over the handle bars, hit a fire hydrant and broke a front tooth.  He attended summer camp with neighborhood kids.  He accepted Christ as savior at summer camp when we lived in Indianapolis, IN.

One more story about Rick before I talk about his unique attributes.  The year was 1980 and his brother Randy had locked his car with the keys in the ignition.  He called his brother for help.  As they discussed the situation, it was decided that they would break the smallest window and reach in to unlatch the door.  Randy handed the hammer to Rick and said “I can’t do it”.

Of course, Rick was glad to help.  He drew back and took a mighty swing and …missed the window.  Instead he left an unsightly dent in the upper side panel of Randy’s beautiful chick magnet. I think that might have been the last time Randy asked Rick for help in important matters.

Rick In ROTC, Wichita St, KS. with his mother, Phyllis.

Recognizing the importance of education to career development, Rick competed a bachelor and masters degrees in the difficult field of Computer Science as a part time student over a period of several years.  He accomplish this feat while working full time without sacrificing time to be a good parent and  husband.  He is one those individuals who can get by 4-5 hours of sleep a night for extended periods of time.

As I mentioned earlier, Rick has a unique personality.  Much of his professional success can be traced to his uncommon ability to relate to individuals and groups in ways to promote common goals or even the more difficult task–convincing follow workers the value of doing things a new way.

For example, when working for Cargill, a multinational,  privately owned conglomerate,  his boss needed someone to study a particularly difficult and complex IT issue requiring major changes throughout the worldwide organization,  Rick was chosen more than once to head a multi-disciplinary group to study the disparate parts of an upcoming issue and  recommend a unified course of action.

Rick was the right man for the job and was recognized for his innovate thinking and his inclusive  approach to involving the right people in the problem solving process.  He possesses a unique ability to communicate equally well with the IT Technician and the high level manager.   He traveled to counties in Europe and South America to train managers and IT professionals in policies and procedures his team developed.

However, I think Rick’s most endearing attribute is his compassion and willingness to help others.  He has taught Sunday School, helped in youth ministry and other worthy community activities.  He is what I consider a well-rounded person.

It is not an understatement to say Rick is popular among our grandchildren at our family get-to-gethers.  The reason is simple, he’s funny.  He can tell a joke, recite funny lines from movies and talk about other interesting but obscure facts.

Most recently he volunteered to help his elderly in-laws manage their affairs they are no longer able to do so.  He was asked because he is a trusted man of good character.

Phyllis and I are very proud  of Rick and his family.  Anyone who knows Rick would be proud to call him son.  God has blessed us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CYNTHIA THE TEACHER

CYNTHIA WAS IN THE FLAG CORP, WEBSTER HIGH SCHOOL, TULSA OK, 1982

Cynthia is our only daughter.

Our two sons frequently accused her parents of showing favoritism to the  youngest of our family.  I must admit, for me there is a bit of truth to their assertion, which I suppose happens more often than not in a family such as ours.

Although I could say much about her early childhood,  I will start this story when we moved to Tulsa in 1981.  Cynthia was 15 that year.

Phyllis and I decided to leave the military life for a variety of reasons.  Our first priority after we settled in Tulsa was to join a local church and be active.  We did both.

Phyllis and I were saved at an early age, however we had not been faithful for many years.  Our oldest child, Rick, had been saved earlier at church camp.  Randy and Cynthia were saved a few weeks after we joined a small Baptist church on the west side of Tulsa.  Praise the Lord for His unlimited Grace.

To leave the military and move to Tulsa was one of the wisest decision that Phyllis and I have made 61+ years of marriage.

TAKEN IN CO SPRINGS, MOUNTAIN OF THE GODS

The move was especially good for Cynthia.  She joined the Webster High School Marching Band and enjoyed her high school friends.

I think most people reach a few seminal points in life where decisions they make have unforeseen and far reaching consequences.  For example:  accepting Christ as Lord and savior,  choosing a life-long mate, and for my family, cutting short my military career.

One such moment occurred in the summer of 1982.  Cynthia was teaching a Sunday School class in a small room.  Her class had grown from 5-6 students to 25-30 young girls.  Chairs had to be removed to permit standing room for her growing class.  One of my duties each Sunday morning was to check on each class to see if all teachers were present and if any needed help.

As I peeked in on Cynthia’s class, I was taken aback as I watched the girls mesmerized by the teachers’ story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. I too, was caught up in the story and no one noticed as I stepped inside to listen and learn.  It was clear that the Holy Spirit was at work.

CYNTHIA AND I GRADUATED BBC IN 1988, RANDY ON LEAVE FROM NAVY

I knew at that moment that she was a teacher with a profound God given talent.  After class I told her so.  At that moment I think she decided to  become a Christian School Teacher.

A few years later our family moved to Springfield, Mo where  Cynthia attended Baptist Bible College and became an outstanding teacher

I would be remiss if I didn’t say a few words about the mother/daughter bond that developed into something special.

PHYLLIS AND CYNTHIA, THE INSEPARABLE PAIR

During her childhood years the two were almost inseparable.  Even so much so that after dates when she was a teenager, Cynthia would come to our bedroom, sit on the edge of the bed and talk incessantly.  After a bit of listening I would drift off to sleep only to be awakening an hour later by laughter and more talk.

That bond strengthened over the next several years as Cynthia married and had three wonderful children. During this period of time Cynthia continued her teaching profession, obtaining a masters and ultimate a PHD in her chosen field of education dealing with the transition from high school to college with a focus on community colleges. Helping young people succeed in school became her mission in life.

Cynthia’s tenure at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo formed the basic building blocks of her success as a pioneer in the field of student success. Presently she is the Vice President and Executive Director of the Texas Association of Community College’s Success Center.

Mainly, she works with trustees and regents of governing boards, and chancellors and presidents of the 50 Texas community colleges to implement changes in policies and procedures focused on student success.

Cynthia works with Texas State Legislators and Cabinet Level Administrators aimed at improving state and local policies.  She also serves a national leadership role in strategic planning and support for a network of 14 other states promoting the Texas model of success.

Because of her success she is well know by college presidents, wealthy donors, local and national leaders who are interested in success of  community college students.  Cynthia’s work has generated millions of dollars in grants given for the specific purpose of implementing her educational models.

Recently Cynthia gave a seminar in Houston, TX and was the main speaker for a gathering of 450 Presidents, Board Members and other community college leaders.   Her services are sought after because of her reputation for results.

By any measure God has blessed her exceedingly.

Phyllis talks about her Grandma

My name is Phyllis Burr.

I am going to tell a story about my Grandma, Rachael Ninetta Prater.  I remember the time when grandma was working on a

My grandma. Nina Praterquilt with other women from her church.  I sat under the the quilt which was stretch out on the quilting frame permitting several quilters to work at the same time.  I recall watching the needles going up and down.

I’m sure these early experiences explains my interest in sewing.  In particular, my interest in making quilts.

another pieced and hand appliquéd quilt by Phyllis

Grandma was a believer in prayer.  Whenever I was visiting and told her I was sick, or sometimes she just intuitively knew something was wrong and she would kneel and start praying.  When she did so I knew she loved me.

One time we played church.  Ronnie liked to preach but, he was too small to see over the pulpit in the living room; therefore,  he stood on a kitchen chair and preached away.   During the exhortation, he paused and asked me to get him a glass of water.  He took a gulp and suddenly sprayed Billy and I.

Hand Pieced and Hand Applique stitched by Phylis

At the same time, grandma walked into the room.  She was not pleased with our behavior, disrespecting God’s Church as we did.  She gave us a light spat on the rump and banned us from the living room except when it was used for real church.

I was a quiet child and I had been told  I was an emotional child.  I suppose I was, which explains why I have fond memories of my grandma.  She was my best friend.  Especially, when someone said things to me that hurt my feelings and I would cry.  Grandma understood and and gave me sweet hugs.

It was a sad day when she passed away in 1989.   She was 89 years old.  I know I will see her again because she led me to my

A beautiful little girl named Phyllis

Lord and Savior,  when I was 12 years old, and taught me that when I trusted Jesus as my Savior that I was saved and would go to heaven because Jesus loves me . JESUS loves me this I know, For the Bible tells me so, Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong.                                                Yes, Jesus loves me!

I know that Jesus Loves me and  she taught this song so that I would never  forget “Jesus Loves Me This I know, for the Bible tells me so”.  This song and the knowledge of God’s Grace is a great comfort to me now that I am 76 years old.  I owe much to my Grandma.

 

DADS’ RAMBLINGS

This story is about my father, Alfred Daniel Burr, oldest child  of Frank Burr Sr. and Lydia (Stout) Burr of Webber Falls, Oklahoma.

MOM AND DAD, Early 40’s

I’d thought I’d talk about dad’s ramblings as he put on his philosophers cap from time time. Usually he would tell a story about something that happened to him or others in the past.

DAD AND ME, taken before he fought in WWII.

While he was a good story teller, he usually had a point to make.  At times his purpose was humor, at other times his point was instructional, sometimes it was both.I learned a lot from watching and listening to dad. He had several sayings he would repeat from time to time. I don’t remember his exact words but I remember his admonitions.  Here are a few:

Treat the other man with respect, you can’t have too many friends.

Smile and be friendly with others, it doesn’t cost you anything.

Find out what the other guy likes to talk about, talk about that.

Be fair in your dealings with others, they’ll come back to see you.

Don’t owe the other man anything, if you can help it.

In business you are competing, get up earlier and work harder than the other man.

When working for the other man give him a full days work or quit.

Be on time and ready to work, it’ll take you a long way.

DAD AND ME, 1968

During one of his ramblings he observed that habits are formed early and usually stay with us throughout life. He cited an example of early married life. If you sleep on one side of the bed the first night, you will probably sleep on the same side for the rest of your life. While the example was cited in jest, the larger point was to establish good habits early.

Dad did not finish the second grade.  I guess many would say he was an uneducated man.  Particularly, if you judge by the number of multi-syllable words in his speech or the number of diplomas he displays on his wall.

However, different criteria are used by many who judge such things.  A little research revealed the following attributes of an educated person: (1)

A person who understands human nature and has the ability to establish, maintain, and improve lasting relationships.

A person who knows how to establish rapport with others; they know how to get others to trust and respect them.

A person who knows how to cooperate and collaborate effectively with others.

A person who knows how to resolve conflicts with others.

A person who knows how to persuade others.

A person who has the ability to conceptualize and solve problems.

A person who knows how to make decisions.

A person who has the capacity to endure and persevere.

A person who has ethical values and has integrity.

A person who has the ability and the discipline to do what is right.

I guess by these standards dad would have a Masters Degree.  He  taught me the important things in life, because he was a teacher not only in word but in deeds as well.

I could go on but if I did, I would be rambling, just like my dad.

(1)  50 Characteristics Of An Educated Person…by Marelisa

MY FRIEND BERNARD

MY FRIEND BERNARD

My friend Specialist 4th Class Frank Bernard and I worked in the personnel office attached to an artillery battery stationed in Northern Germany.  Although I worked in the finance office and he worked in records, we were natural competitors. We competed in ping pong, pool and even for the next promotion.   The story I’m going to tell happened in Buren, Germany in 1963.

PHYLLIS AND RICK STANING IN FRONT OF OUR BUNGALOW IN BUREN, GRMANY 

 

 

But first I want to say, I will always be indebted to Sp4 Barnard for helping Phyllis get a port call to join me in Buren in the fall of 1962.  His actions were necessary because the officer charged with that responsibility failed to do so.

MARRIED HOUSING IN BUREN, GERMANY

See: ” When Things Don’t Go Right”  www.posssumhollar.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Phyllis and I lived in the same housing unit as the Bernards which  was located about six miles from Camp Stuckerbush (real name), Frank and I  frequently shared rides.

 

 

RICK AND ME TAKEN IN FRONT OF OUR BUNGALOW IN SPRING OF 1963

One day when it was my turn to drive, he challenged me to a race.  Frank had been “raggin” on me about driving a pile of junk.   Maybe it was but it was my pile of junk.  He would be on foot and I would be driving my ailing 1950 Volkswagen. The distance would be the space between two telephones.  Seeing a chance to win a bet, I agreed.

MY 1950 VOLKSWAGAN

 

Along  a deserted section of road on our way home that afternoon I stopped the car and Frank got out and took the runners starting position. He yelled “go” and took off.  I got a slow start but it didn’t matter because ten seconds later he started limping with a pulled hamstring.

I didn’t take his dollar.  Further, I think I would’ve lost because the old VW was slow on the take off.

Another quick story.  A few weeks later it was Bernard’s turn to drive on a morning when fog was so dense it was difficult to see the narrow road.  We were running late for work but Berdnard  said, I will get us there on time.

Suddenly, a truck appeared in front of us and Bernard steered his car into an orchard to miss the truck but he hit an apple tree.

The farmer who owned the tree was nearby and called the police.  We didn’t get to work on time.

There was a tradition in the farming area where we lived that if someone harmed the farmer’s livelihood, the aggrieved farmer was entitled to remedy.

For example, if someone accidentally ran over a chicken, the farmer would be entitled to compensation for all the eggs the chicken would have laid for the life of the chicken.

I suppose that the amount of compensation was based on an historical analysis of the average life span of a typical egg laying hen similar to the kind killed in the accident.

Since I know something about chickens and how finicky some laying hens can be and the multitude of things that can effect the health and life span of a chicken, it seems that if a case went to court, the defense attorney would have a field day with the assumptions about chickens.

I don’t know anything about apple trees.

Phyllis and I returned to the United States shortly after this incident and I don’t know if Specialist Bernard paid the farmer for the future crops of the damaged apple tree.  Like many families in military service, our paths never crossed again.

We hoped he escaped the farmer’s outrageous claim.

LIVING IN GERMANY

LIVING IN GERMANY

Buren was an agrarian community with multi-generational families residing on the same farm.  Based on the chilly reception we received,  I think our arrival was seen as an intrusion on their way of life.  Notwithstanding all  of these things, my family was back together and that was the important thing.

PHYLLIS STANDING IN FRONT OF OUR BUNGALOW, BUREN GERMANY

A month or so after her arrival, Phyllis experienced the animosity of an older gentleman while she was driving to the commissary in Kassel, about 80 kilometers South of Buren.  When she stopped at a stop sign in one of the small villages the old man hit the rear fender of the car with his cane.

Obviously, the sound scared her and as she turned to see what happened, the man waved his cane for  her to move on.  Phyllis continued to the commissary but she was wary whenever she was away from home.

On another occasion while she was driving, she found herself behind a large truck.  When the truck stopped, she stopped a safe distance behind the truck.  Suddenly the truck started backing and before Phyllis could respond, the truck hit her car.

I had the bright idea of buying an old VW with the intention of spray painting the dash and door panels. I made a MESS.

Neither driver could communicate with the other.  A  policeman was summoned.  The truck driver claimed Phyllis drove into the back of his vehicle.

Of course, that was not the case but the policeman gave her a summons to appear before a local judge who would adjudicate the matter.  The judge sided with the truck driver but did not issue a fine.

Although we were not accepted by the local community, we took sightseeing trips on Camp Stuckerbush to pass the time away.

We didn’t know at the time, but we would be leaving Germany in a couple of months so that I could attend Officers Candidate School, Ft Benning, Ga.

WINTER IN GERMANY

SNOW, SNOW AND MORE SNOW

I had been in Germany for 4 months when my wife, Phyllis, and our son, Rick, arrived in Buren in January of 1963.  Their arrival was punctuated by a brutal and prolonged winter.  The winter of 1962-1963 was statistically the coldest winter of the 20th Century in many parts of Europe.  Online library weather service called it the big freeze.

Heavy snowfalls stayed on the ground for weeks on end due to the friged temperatures.

On our meager budget, Phyllis and I had to live on about $210. a month.  After paying bills we barely had sufficient funds left to eat and buy gas to drive to and from work.

Our son Rick Rick spring of 1963.

As you might guess, our life centered around Rick.   One day after work, Phyllis and I were hugging when Rick came running up saying “hold me, hold me”.  We picked him up and held him between us.  He looked at both of us and said, “we family”.  And we were.

On November 22,1963, President Kennedy was killed and Camp Stockerbush was placed on high alert and remained so for several weeks.  There were rumors that the assassination  would start WW III and Germany would have been right in the middle of such an event.

A few weeks later, I was surprised when The Artillery Battery Commander called me to his office and informed me that he had recommended me for Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning GA.  I would report for duty in February, 1964, which was less than two months away.

I hurried home to tell Phyllis.  We both were elated and ready to go back home. We left in early January, 1964.  Germany had not been a good experience for either of us.  We were anxious to go back to Oklahoma and the good old USA.

I was also looking forward to being promoted after OCS, particularly the increase in pay.  Unfortunately, 2nd Lieutenant pay was actually less than E-5 pay.  Oh well, that was for only two years.

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