We were stationed in Hohenfels, Germany, a small military training base in 1963 when the chance to go to Africa happened along. Dad had been the teacher /principal of the small school there, and was certain he wanted to a full-time principal. With the urging of his boss and friend Roy Kilkenny, he had decided to go back to college and get his Masters degree and Administrative Credential. In order to have enough money, mom needed to work teaching too. Due to nepotism rules she couldn’t teach at a school that dad was the principal. The only way they could do that is find a school that would accept them both. The school at Kagnew Station in Asmara, Ethiopia (now Eritrea) was the only available place that would take them.
As the school year ended in Hohenfels, we began preparing for another move and another school. Asmara would be my fourth school change since Kindergarten. Part of the prep was getting every shot known to mankind. I hated shots almost as much as I hated school! It became a real chore taking me down every few days to get another round of inoculations. I would squirm, jump, run and hide until one Army medic hit on an idea. In the course of trying to calm me down, he found out I liked cowboy movies. He got up and went over to the tongue depressor jar and fished a couple out. He then wrapped them together with some white tape and handed it to me. He said, “Why don’t you use this to help you. Ya know, when cowboys get shot, the doctor gives him a bite block for when he digs the bullet out. I think you, being a cowboy and all need a bite block of your own.” I put it in my mouth and steeled my resolve to be more cowboy-like. He shoved the needle in my arm and I bit down…it worked! I kept that bite block for many years to come. Read the rest of this entry »
I grew up a military brat, in playgrounds and schools on Army bases all over the world, with children of every nationality, every color & creed, every race & religion, in a musical theater family, performing arts, and concerts, and shows in playhouses all over the country, where all the kooky, crazy, misfits go to be themselves. I was hopeless. I was destined to grow up color-blind. I couldn’t tell one color from the next, there were too many of them to count! I thought “normal” meant to be unique & different, and the more eclectic & eccentric the person, the cooler they were to me?
I remember the very day my father tried to take my blindfold off, as if it were only yesterday. It was 1976, I was 11 years old, living on an Army base in Wurzburg, Germany, and my father had received his orders to transfer to Ft Bragg Army base in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It’s a day that will be forever stuck in my social memory. He sat my sister and I down in the living room, and began to tell us about what it’s going to be like moving to the “South” in 1976. He showed us tapes of the Martin Luther King riots where people were yelling and fighting, police dogs were attacking people, and there were fire hoses being sprayed on women and children. I was so confused and I didn’t understand. I asked him why they were doing it? His answer was only that because they were “different”. I was too young to understand racism, or discrimination, or the civil rights movement, and I was certainly never exposed to anything like that growing up? So, I just put my blindfold back on and forgot all about it, as if I had never been told.
We moved to Ft Bragg in 1977, and I was right back in my comfort zone, living in Normandy Heights on Ft Bragg Army base, back in the schools, and the playgrounds, and the DYA, and playing sports on another military installation, surrounded by kids of every color & creed again. Finishing the 6th grade at Bowley Elementary School, then 7th & 8th grade at Irwin Jr High School, right on the base as usual. Nothing had changed? All was the same! So, I quickly forgot everything my father had tried to warn me about, had tried to prepare me for, and with my blindfold tightly fashioned over my eyes, I went on to public school at Reid Ross High School, in Fayetteville, and off the sheltered facade of military base living and growing up with other Army brats of every color and creed, from all walks of life. You would think this is where my blindfold fell off, but you would be wrong. Read the rest of this entry »
1972 was a grand time to be living in Munich, Germany; the world would be watching this magnificent city as it hosted the 20th Summer Olympics.
I considered myself fortunate to be residing in Munich during this time, while attending the University of Maryland branch campus. Living on McGraw Kaserne, an army outpost near the heart of the city meant having a gateway to the Olympics with the events being held only a few miles from my doorstep. Having this opportunity would give me a chance to cheer on the United States as they competed for medals against the world’s premier athletes.
Counting down the days until opening ceremonies; Munich was well prepared to host the world-the city dressed in all the pageantry of a Fourth of July celebration with light blue and white banners, ribbons and complete with bunting. Read the rest of this entry »
by Earl J. Mahoney
Yesterday I learned that an old friend and teacher had passed away in England, after a period of failing health. Ken Nuttall was a British national who was a teacher at Burtonwood High School, an American high school at RAF Burtonwood Air Base outside of Warrington, England.
Ken was my teacher from 1953 until 1955, my year of graduation. For me and many of those those who came before and after my time there, Ken was our Mr. Chips. He was our teacher, our mentor, our adviser, and our friend. He taught us about other cultures, other customs, took us on trips to other countries and showed us a world outside of our own. For many of us who grew up as “Third Culture Kids” overseas, he remained an important link in our lives.
He was visited in England by former students returning to England as visitors and he came to the U.S. several times, with his wife, for reunions with his old students. One reunion, held in Las Vegas, was held in his honor. His passing is a sad event for those of us who knew him, admired him, and had such special regard for him. Goodbye, Mr. Chips, we will remember you.