I was stationed in Germany in the army. I saw Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Bamberg & Nuremberg. In Frankfurt, I went out one night and chanced upon the house of the poet Goethe. It was weird because I had seen a picture of his house in a book in the library at Fort Knox. The city of Frankfurt was founded by Charlemagne in 794. It sits on the river Main. The Main flows into the Rhine. I ended up in Nuremberg, where the war trials were held. World War II had been over 25 years, and I saw no evidence of it. Some soldiers want to return to Germany or at least think they do. I have no desire to go back. German cities are bleak and colorless, old gray and brown buildings. There is a quaintness, like going back a thousand years. Germany is still synonymous with Hitler. Its only desirable export has been the Kessler Twins, song-and-dance girls who did television in the U.S. in the 1960s. Their names were Alice and Ellen, and they were quite leggy. Agnetha from ABBA was recording in Germany in 1969, although it was 2 decades before I knew it. Any trip to Europe will tell you why our ancestors left. The United States is the only country in the world fit to live in. Even European license plates are ugly! Flat and elongated!
I was in an ADM (Atomic Demolitions Munitions) platoon in Bamberg. We were the ones with the nukes. We were also the ones with the reputation of being the biggest drunks on the base. German beer is potent! I drank myself into oblivion on the 4th of July at a house rented by a guy in our platoon. I was a clerk. My fellow clerk and I would go to a bar down the street. Once, he got next to the German woman who owned the bar. I made a play for a waitress named Bridget. My friend and I were drunk at the end of the night, and he called a cab. The women left with us. I was in the back seat with Bridget and put my hand on her leg. Suddenly, she yelled, "He's got his hand on my leg!" I quickly withdrew it! Later, we heard that Bridget was fired for chasing a customer with a butcher knife.
It was the hippie era, and I bought some hash and a pipe and went walking in the town. I entered a woods to smoke. I was flying higher than the Hindenberg zeppelin! There was a tree in front of me, and I began talking to it. I was calling it by name: "Edgar! Edgar!" Why Edgar, I never knew.
I left the woods and walked along the road. I had recently seen a movie on the base: Funny Girl. A van passed! The driver was Barbara Streisand! She had a shawl around her neck, and it was blowing behind.
I was 24 in 1970, a perfect age for Vietnam. Somehow, I was meant to go to Germany. I had taken 2 semesters of German in college. There was the Elvis connection in addition to Agnetha. I recall standing in formation at Fort Knox when the orders were passed out. I looked at mine. It said Germany. What a relief!
German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered Troy in 1870. He excavated at Mycenae in 1876.