Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Heritage, Retro, & Looking Back...

So they say, anything 20 years old or older is considered antique, heritage, or even "retro" as it may be referred to now.  I have been thinking a bit about the 1970's and early 1980's and found a few things I wanted to jot down here in my blog.  Sharing, so to speak.
Karen Duffy- My best-friend from my youth.

Above is pictured my best-friend from Heilbronn, Germany circa 1978.  We were in Jr. High School.  We attended J.F.K Jr. High School at Wharton Barracks.  I lived in upper housing and she lived in lower housing.  We became extremely close and we were quite the pair.  Karen had Bay City Rollers Posters all over her room.  She even had jeans with plaid at the bottom.  She was cool.  She and I, were cool.  We were part of the "in" crowd.  But she and I had a special bond.  She had to leave abruptly from Wharton Barracks and go back to the States.  She was from Washington.  Her step-father killed himself at the motor pool.  It rocked our little "Cold War Military Community."  She used to send me care packages once she went back to the States.

Wharton Barracks-Heilbronn, Germany Patriots Softball Team 1977
 Karen and I played lots of softball with the D.Y.A.  We were an excellent team to only be matched by 
Patch Barracks in the Stuttgart Area.  We were huge rivals.

Wharton Barracks closed down and the community and housing is now occupied by its true residents. 
 The people of Heilbronn, Germany.

As an Army-Brat, she was the closest thing to having roots, 
a bond, that special once in a lifetime friendship.
I have not been able to find her. 

Me (in the white shirt) and my cousin, Deborah- Fall 1980
This is when I returned to the States.  Charleston, S.C.  My parents sent me back to the States on a MAC Flight.  My parents had that kind of pull in the military.  I was sent back to go to high school.  I had started at Stuttgart American High School and waited for my permission to fly back on a MAC flight with the troops to attend school back in Georgia.  My parents were not pleased with the school and the fact I had to ride a double-decker bus to and from school for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening.
This was just not acceptable to them.  So, while the rest of my family was back in Germany...I was heading to Georgia and live with my grandmother to attend a new high school until my parents arrival and retirement from the US Army in the Spring of 1981.

Amazing that these photos seem just a few years ago.  Okay, more than a few but I see how curly my hair was then.  I remember having to iron it out when I would get dressed up.  I remember the impression that these years had on me.  On my flight back from Germany, the soldier that sat to the right of me said to me, "You will be in the States but your heart and soul will be in Heilbronn."  I thought he meant that statement because my parents and brother were in Germany and I was headed stateside.  But in actuality, it was the "Wonder Years."  The coming of age.  Yes, sometimes my heart is back that that place and with those people if only in my memories.


Anonymous said...

I lived in Heilbronn as a dependent from 1976 thru 1979. I played a lot of sports with the DYA. I wish I could figure out the girls in your picture of the team. My name is Robert Keller my email is

Anonymous said...

Hello, my big brother was stationed at the same barracks I believe (definately US Army in Heilbronn Germany)during the 1970's and i remember visiting him and his wife with my mother, our mother was American but my father Dutch and i was born and bred in my english was almost non existent. It is very nice for me to read your story because when i was staying on the base in Heilbronn, i met some American people, some my age, 13 or 14 at the time. I fell hopelessly in love and i still remember this time so well because it was so new to me. It is so nice to read your memories because this brings my memories of visiting there alive, i may have even seen you. I'm 52 time flies. Anyone can contact me, i now live in the UK. Kind greetings.

Angelia Sharp said...

Hi! I found your blog via a search of images of Wharton Barracks. I lived in Heilbronn from 74-78,and 79-81. Went to Stuttgart High 80-81,my freshman year. Surely we know each other! My maiden name is Angelia Tripp. I remember Karen Duffy, but don't know where she is now. I lost contact with pretty much everyone, which really saddens me. I miss those days so much, and like you, I still think of Heilbronn as home.