Wagner, Louise MacDowell
Correspondence of Louise MacDowell Wagner, wife of Lt. Col. Harry S. Wagner, written to her parents, George and Irene MacDowell, of Rock Tavern, Orange County, New York, while her husband was stationed at the Hq USAEF, DCS/Mat, Wiesbaden, Germany, along with letters of her son 2nd Lieut. Henry M. Britt, Co. C, 26th Infantry, who also was stationed in Germany, as well as Fort Riley, Kansas, 1946-1960

311 letters, 840 pp., most with retained mailing envelopes, dated 2 October 1946 to 19 May 1960, plus 6 black and white photographs, 3 sets of photographic "views" containing 44 small photo cards of "Wien" (24) and "Pennsylvania Super Highway" (20); 42 used postcards (mostly European postcards written by Louise to her parents), & 15 pieces of ephemera (greeting card, receipts, German travel brochures, etc.). Of these 311 letters included in this collection, 10 of them are not dated, but fall within the same time period. While the correspondence is dated from 1946 to 1960, the bulk of the letters date from the years 1957 - 1960, with only 9 letters from 1946 to 1956. Most letters are hand written, in ink, in a very legible hand, several later letters from 1960 are typed

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Description of Collection

     The first letter written by Louise MacDowell Wagner is dated October of 1954, the second in July 1956, by the time she wrote her third letter, in August 1957, she is in Germany.  Her husband Harry had gone over first, about June 1957, secured lodgings, then sent for his family. The bulk of the collection consists of Louise’s letters to her parents George and Irene MacDowell, of Rock Tavern, New York. There are also letters of Louise's son Henry M. Britt from her first marriage, before she married Harry S. Wagner. Louise's husband Harry also writes several letters, but again, the correspondence is all going to Mr. and Mrs. MacDowell back home in Rock Tavern.

    A Christmas letter of 1958 states that it was Louise's second holiday season in Germany with two more years to go on her husband’s tour of duty. Her husband Lt. Col. Harry S. Wagner appears to fly back and forth from Germany to the United States for the military from time to time, within Europe, or Germany, usually without his wife and children, although they do occasionally make the trip home. A number of friends and family, some also in military service, visit the Wagner family in Germany. At one point Louise's son Henry M. Britt, who is also in military service, is also stationed in Germany, not far from where Louise and Harry are located. When they can, Louise and her family travel throughout Europe and visit with Henry. There are also several miscellaneous letters, written by friends, or family.

     The correspondence is interesting for the life of a military officer's wife stationed in Germany during the Cold War, and her adjustments to life abroad, to German culture, to raising two sons and sending them off to school in a foreign country, all while her husband is busy with his work, or traveling. There is much description of German natives, who she has befriended in Wiesbaden, or who work alongside the American military. There is also much on her travels in and around the Wiesbaden area, as well as the countryside of Germany, and elsewhere.

 

The correspondents in this collection are:

Louise MacDowell Wagner, daughter of George & Irene MacDowell

244 letters, 677 pp., dated 1954 -1960, written by Louise M. Wagner, to her parents Mr. and Mrs. George MacDowell, of Rock Tavern New York. Of these letters, six are not dated. These letters for the most part were written by Louise when she was living in Wiesbaden, Germany, where her husband Harry S. Wagner was stationed during his military service with USAFE.

Harry S. Wagner, husband of Louise MacDowell Wagner

7 letters, 28 pp., dated 1957-1959, written by Harry S. Wagner, to his wife Louise M. Wagner, or in-laws Mr. and Mrs. George MacDowell, or step son Henry M. Britt.

Henry M. Britt, son of Louise MacDowell Wagner, before she married Harry S. Wagner

52 letters, 109 pp., dated 1955 -1960, written by Henry M. "Micky" Britt mostly to his grandparents Mr. and Mrs. George MacDowell, of Rock Tavern, NY, with several written to his mother Louise MacDowell Wagner and step-father Harry S. Wagner.

     Henry followed the career path of both his biological father and step-father and went into military service. When his correspondence starts in 1955 he at Bowdoin College, in Maine, where he graduates in 1956. He appears to have been active in the ROTC program. By August of 1956 he is at "The Infantry Center, Fort Benning, Georgia" doing basic training, or further training. After Fort Benning he is stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, with Company C, 26th Infantry, 1st Battle Group, in 1957, and is a 2nd Lieutenant. He is at Fort Riley for the entire year of 1957 and very much dislikes living in Kansas. 

      In the fall of 1958, Henry marries Carol Ann Oliver, of East Palestine, Ohio, who he met at Junction City, Kansas, when she was visiting her sister. After their marriage he lives off base (Fort Riley) in an apartment in Junction City before he gets transferred to Baumholder, Germany, where the couple travels in the spring of 1959.

     After the Second World War, after a short occupation by the United States Army, French soldiers were stationed in Baumholder for a few years. These left the garrison when the Americans came back. The United States Army built the troop drilling ground at Baumholder beginning in 1951 into one of its biggest garrisons in Germany, which also brought Baumholder a considerable upswing in its economy in the 1950s: bars opened, as did dancehalls and music halls.

    The last letter written by Henry is in January of 1960. Henry had put in for a transfer from the Army to the Air Force, thinking it offered better opportunities for him and his new family (his wife had a baby in late 1959) and also offered better educational opportunities. In Henry's last letter he informs his grandparents that his transfer has been accepted and he will be shipping out to Chanute Field, Illinois in late February, or early March.

      A later record is found on ancestry.com for Carol divorcing Henry in December 1974, for "gross neglect/extreme cruelty." Henry appears to have remarried the following year to Patricia Miles (1928-2011), which might be what led to the divorce.

Miscellaneous Correspondents

8 miscellaneous letters, 26 pp., dated 1946-1960; one letter, the earliest letter dated 1946, is not signed, nor complete, and is addressed to Mr. and Mrs. George MacDowell of Rock Tavern, NY; another letter is written in 1957, in German, and addressed to Louise M. Wagner, a third letter is addressed to the MacDowell's from Carol Ann Britt, of Junction City, Kansas, in 1958. Carol Ann is the wife of Henry M. Britt. One letter is from "Sue," and was written to Louise and her family in 1959. Two letters are written by Louise's sons, Harry G. Wagner and Thomas Wagner. They write to their grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. George MacDowell in 1959. Another letter is written by Belle Lockett, a friend of Louise, whose husband Leroy is a sergeant at the Quarter Master Supply Co., Supply Maint. Center, Alaska. There is also one letter that is not dated, written by "Helen," to Louise.

Louise MacDowell Wagner (1914-1990)

    Louise MacDowell Wagner was the daughter of George Irwing MacDowell. Louise's father was born about 1892 in Minnesota. He was a farmer. He lived at New Windsor, Orange County, New York, in the 1940 Census. The letters in this collection are addressed to George and his wife Irene at Rock Tavern, New York. Rock Tavern, originally known as Rocklet, was a hamlet near the western line of the town of New Windsor.

     In the 1930 Census, George I. MacDowell stated his father was born in New Jersey, his mother in England and that he ran a fruit farm, working on his own account. George married his wife Irene L. about the year 1913. She was born about 1892 in New York. Her mother was born in New Jersey, her father in Germany. Louise's correspondence to her mother seems to indicate that her mother may have had a working knowledge of the German Language.

     Local New York State newspapers show George MacDowell, of Rock Tavern, New York, working as a fruit grower, his specialty MacIntosh apples. In 1938, he employed at least a dozen workers when he was seen in the newspaper shipping 600 bushels of apples to Scotland. When George was younger, he was a member of the Goshen Players Club, a theater group.

     George MacDowell and his wife had at least one daughter Louise, our letter writer. Louise MacDowell was born 16 June 1914 at College Point, New York. She worked in clerical work as a stenographer in 1940. In the 1940 Census, Louise MacDowell's father had a grandson listed as living with him, Henry M. Britt, born about 1934 in Georgia, but living with the family in 1935 to 1940. Young Henry was the son of Louise. She married Henry Chestnut Britt in 1932 when she was 17 years old, their son Henry soon followed. Henry's father was Col. Henry Chestnut Britt (1910-1977), of Tifton, Georgia, a graduate of West Point and a career military officer, who served from 1932 to 1962. Rock Tavern, New York, is about thirty miles from West Point.

    Louise's first marriage appears to have been over rather quickly and she married Lt. Col. Harry S. Wagner about 1946 or so, when her son Henry would have been about twelve years old. Together Louise and Harry had at least two children together: Harry George Wagner born in South Bend, Indiana, in 1947 and Thomas Edward Wagner, born in Goshen, New York in 1950.

     Harry S. Wagner, Louise's second husband, was born 25 March 1910, at Palestine, Randolph County, Illinois. He was the son of Henry Wagner and his wife Alice. Harry was one of at least eight children born to his parents. Harry's parents were natives of Illinois. His father worked as a general farmer on his own account. Harry shows up at Palestine in the 1910, 1920, and 1930 Census, although he also shows up in the South Bend, Indiana city directories from 1929-1932 as a laborer, and by the 1935-1941 South Bend city directories, working as a salesman. In the 1947 and 1949 South Bend directories, Harry S. Wagner and Louise are seen living at 1032 Garden Lane. Harry S. Wagner was listed as a salesman for the "O'Brien Corporation" in 1947, but by 1949, he was listed as president of the "Indiana Air Service, Inc.," an aviation training center.

      Harry enlisted in the military on 1 June 1951, presumably for the Korean War and appears to have stayed in the military, until 31 August 1966, after some fifteen years of service. Harry lived another eleven years before dying in July of 1977. His wife Louise MacDowell Wagner outlived her husband by thirteen years, dying in July of 1990.

United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE)

     While no records have been found thus far for Harry S. Wagner being in military service during World War Two, he would have been of age (born in 1910) to be in the service. The fact that he was president of a small air training school in the late 1940s seems to show he might have had prior military training as a pilot, thus his joining the Air Force for the Korean War. While stationed in Germany with the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), Harry was listed with the DCS/Mat (Deputy Chief of Staff/Material). He worked for Col. Addington and under the DCS/Mat for Col. Sloan.

    On 7 August 1945, United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USSTAF) was re-designated as United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). Its headquarters was relocated from Saint Germain-en-Laye, France, to Lindsey Air Station, Wiesbaden, Germany, on 28 September 1945.

     The airfield was captured when the U.S. 80th Infantry Division took Wiesbaden on 28 March 1945. Subsequently the U.S. Army Air Force gave the base the temporary designation Y-80 and used it for its operations in Germany.

     In 1973 HQ USAFE was relocated to Ramstein Air Base near Kaiserslautern. The Air Force moved most personnel out of Wiesbaden in 1975 as part of Operation Creek Swap, in which most Army facilities in Kaiserslautern were turned over to the Air Force, in exchange for the facilities at Wiesbaden. The 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, was stationed at Wiesbaden in 1976 as part of "Brigade 76" until it was replaced by the 3rd Corps Support Command and 12th Aviation Brigade in the mid-1980s.

     Strategically, in the mid-1980s, the base facilitated flights of the F-117 "Stealth Fighter." Although not officially acknowledged by the U.S. Air Force until 1988, the F-117 became operational in 1983. The Wiesbaden airbase would "go dark", turning off all airfield and perimeter lights, whenever "stealth" flights were landing or taking off.

     From 1975 to 1993 Wiesbaden was a joint Army/Air Force community with a service-wide reputation for excellence that was enhanced by the strong bonds that developed between these organizations. In 1993, Wiesbaden Air Base was officially renamed Wiesbaden Army Air Field.

     It was here at Wiesbaden that Lt. Col. Harry S. Wagner was stationed with the USAFE during the time that this correspondence of his wife Louise took place between 1957 and 1960.

       Examples of Letters

"June 2, 1957

Dear Folks [Mr. & Mrs. George MacDowell]

I am now Asst. Adjutant of the 26th Inf. Regt. (officially) and general houseboy to the Adjutant. What a life, for I'm still a platoon leader in C Company.


This week we are on the prison detail. Our duty consists of herding the prisoners, in pairs, about the reservation on work details. One man guards each pair and is responsible for them. He carries a riot gun (short shotgun) loaded with buck shot to stop any prisoner who wants to go home. If a prisoner escapes the guard serves his time.

The officers on the detail (2) ride around and check the guards as to orders, prisoners' names, etc., but this checking you can do only so often, for there are two of us cruising about separately, plus the sgts. of the guard (each to a group of about ten, 4 Sgts.), the M.P. Stockade Sgt. and the Stockade Officer; that's five people supervising each guard. So actually we have a motorized coffee call...

Things look good on that uniform allowance. I'm still hoping at any rate, Love, Micky"

      "Hq USAFE, DCS/Mat, APO 633 N.Y., N.Y.

29 June 1957

Dearest Louise and all:

I have added a new symbol to the address DCS/Mat. This stands for Deputy Chief of Staff/Material. They pick up the mail for the Directorate of Supply and the Directorate of Maintenance. I met my bosses Col. Addington and the DCS/Mat, Col. Sloan, acting until General (oh-oh forgot his name) arrives. Both Cols. seem very pleasant.

I have completed all the paper work for your travel and it is on its way to the Army at Heidelberg from thence to New York's 1st Army. I at the repeated suggestions from the dependent housing branch have obtained hotel reservations for 1 September for us at the Hotel Romerbad. Housing says that since all hotels are ok'ed by the powers to be it is much cheaper to get the paper work on the way now than to pay a real estate agent 600 DM's or $150.00 to find a house or apartment and then also have to pay the rent starting on 1 July etc. to the landlord.

There appears to be plenty of German housing and dependent housing says we will have a house (German) or apartment whenever we want it. I can look around now for a good place or if you prefer I can wait for you and we can both look. Wolfgang and Inga are coming over tomorrow and take me around to look at places. If I find what I think we want I will take it. The trouble here is that regardless of the house or apartment you find even by yourself there always appears a real estate agent to collect one month rent. It's a racket and the Germans are getting rich on it. The type house we would want (or apartment) all rent for 600 DM's or $150.00 per month plus utilities in most cases.

The Hotel Romerbad is more or less located in the center of Wiesbaden across a parkway from the [Schwartzer] Bach and Rose Hotels and right next to the Palast Hotel. All American buses go right by the hotel. Wiesbaden is not very large and one can walk to any place in the town in less than 30 minutes. The rate at the hotel is 30 DM or $7.50 per day per room. I have reserved 2 rooms with bath the rate includes breakfast.

Housing says there is no question but what you will fly either commercially out of Idleweld or MATS out of McGuire AFB. I expect you will be here 1 September. Your name should be on the July priority list. You will not be notified by USAFE since you already have applied for a passport. The only notification for your travel will come from 1st Army at New York, probably Fort Hamilton. If you don't hear any thing by 1 August you might call them or Bill.


The weather here is most pleasant very cool at night. They say that it gets quite cold here in winter, but the snow never stays on the ground, but melts at once. A good thing since the Germans drive like the people of Newburgh.


There is an indoor swimming pool and an outdoor swimming pool which is approved for Americans. Germans also use them and as I have said before it is impossible to tell Americans from Germans except for married German men since they were their wedding ring on their right hand.


Wiesbaden is Richard Wagner's home and they have the most wonderful operas here throughout the year.


The PX here is excellent and quite large. They have a shoe store as large as many I have seen in Newburgh. The Class IV store (liquor) is ample but we are rationed to one bottle a week each. However, they are 40 ounce bottles not 26 ounces and CC is $3.00 for 40 ounces, Scotch 3/10 for 40 ounces. Gin and Vodka cheaper, [Benedictine] is only $2.40, Cigarettes are also rationed, 1 carton a week each, coffee 2 lbs a month, I believe...

 

I miss you very much as well as the boys and only hope it won't take too long for you to get here,                                                                                 Love, Harry"

 

"Hq USAFE, DCS/Mat, APO 633 NY, NY, 9 July '57

Dearest Louise and all:

...I am enjoying myself and took a tour of the two officer housing areas here, one in Heineberg, the other Aukamm. They are both apartment type buildings, built for the Americans to use, but all set for the Germans to take over. All contain maids' rooms in the basement or attic, but few people have maids. They seem to be hard to find or people don't trust them, or maybe they are trying to save money. The rooms are good sized with a lot of closet space. In the basement are electric automatic washers and dryers as well as individual storage spaces for trunks, bicycles, etc.

I am invited to a cocktail party Saturday night at Col. Addington's as a going away party for Col. Kettlesone.

Paul Gordon and his wife haven't got their quarters yet. Still living here. He is on the 2 bedroom list, which seems to be slower moving than the 3. I do not know my spot on the 3 bedroom list yet, but expect it's about 60. This is the time of year when most transfers take place and I think that there are about 100 leaving soon from all type rooms.

I miss you all very much and hope it won't be too long before you will be over here. Love, hugs and kisses to all, Harry"

 

"Hq USAFE, DCS/Mat, APO 633 NY, NY, 10 July '57

Dearest Louise and all:

I am enclosing a daily bulletin from the Support Wing which handles all base activities. I will enroll H.G. and T.E. in school. If you can send the birth certificate (photostatic copy) of T.E. and the report card or transfer for H.G. it will help, but actually will not bother me if it's not practical. Harry G. is to be enrolled in the 5th grade and Thomas E. in the 1st.

 

I was out to Wiesbaden A.F.B. this morning to get set on flying and received the navigation briefing, but could not fly since all the airplanes were in Berlin on the "Kinderfuft," transporting German children from Berlin to Rhine-Main for the annual vacation put on by the Air Force I was quite surprised to learn we are very close to the Iron Curtain. We have a buffer zone for aircraft about 10 minutes east of here. One must turn south then or get into a lot of trouble with the alert planes since 30 minutes away lies the Russian Occupation Zone. England is 1 and ½ hours away, Rome 3 hours, Paris 1 hour. It is hard to conceive of such short distances. Flying is complicated due to foreign border crossings. In order to go to Greece or Turkey, it requires 48 hours advance clearances...

I am listening to a German radio station now and it has very fine music. Not as much advertising as our stations have. It gives one quite a thrill to listen to various old songs "Dee Lovelie" operas, etc and know you are where they were originated. I am so anxious to see you all. What has George and Irene come up with? Are they going to make preparations to come over? Can I ask for dependent travel for them on emotional reasons or not? Lt. Col. Sardoz has his mother with him and he and his wife have told me about the Officer's Mother Club, which seems to be quite a 'gadding' organization going on trips all over the continent. Of course they also sew at times for the hospital etc. I have not looked into emotional reasons yet but would like to know if it would be ok. As we said Louise, we still will bring them over anytime and for as long as they wish to stay. It is merely up to them, whether they come as dependents or tourists.

To change the subject while Germany is such a beautiful country and maybe because I have been here before, I feel that it is just another part of our country and do not have that extra enthusiasm that I had for Japan. Here everything is as it is in the States. Wholesome, fine healthy, but not exotic as the Orient.


It appears as though this may well be the final tour in Europe for most people. I understand a new cut in personnel is ordered and that a retrenching idea is in mind; however this is as most deals area and today the trend is cut tomorrow increase.


I am getting along with my job and beginning to get a better understanding of what there is to do. Strictly policy and putting out brush fires. Keeping the General happy by keeping maintenance up on aircraft. Doesn't seem to require too much travel, everything is done by phone or TWX. My trip has been postponed until 22 of July, only 5 day trip to 3 nearby bases.

I love you and miss you. Love to all, Harry"

 

“Romerbad Hotel - Sept 4 [1957]

 

Dear Mother & Dad:

One of these days I'll get some decent paper - in the meantime...

...The boys started school today, but only go for a few hours - tomorrow full schedule - then I expect to have more time for writing.

The situation here is really rough. I guess the important thing is to get the children in school and there is no use crying over spilt milk, but if I could go back and do it over I think it would have been better for us all if I'd stayed home until Harry got Gov't housing. We have 2 large rooms with connecting bath - clean, comfortable and overlooking park - for this we pay, with breakfast - tax & tips $250.00 a month, the least we can eat for, being conservative, is $7.00 a day, so it costs us approx $500 a month for shelter and food!! Meantime, there is no real good place for boys top play, or any place for us to spread out in our living - this place isn't sound proof so I have to keep saying "be quiet" "don't run in halls" "don't play in lobby" "don't stand out front making a noise" etc. I can't get anyone in to baby sit and expect them to be able to do this also that would leave kids stuck - we, at least, can take them out to dinner, walking, etc., We'd like to rent an apt. or a house but to find on that is the least bit suitable, within the area we have to live for transportation purposes, is well nigh impossible - It now looks as though it will be 4 or 5 mos. before we get Gov't quarters - They had thought 78 families would be moving out in next 90 days but that  has been changed and instead people from other places over here, who take priority, are moving in. The whole thing is very confused & confusing, one family with 3 children, who came at same time as harry, are on 4 bedroom list (we're on 3 bedroom list) and will get house this month - meantime they are able to stay in Gov't hotel for their rental allowance, $136.00 a month. Doesn't seem fair but there also doesn't seem to be anything we can do about it. All this wouldn't be too bad except that Harry has gotten so depressed about the whole thing, not that he blames us, says its his fault for not realizing what it would be like and putting in for our travel without investigating further. Of course, I feel sorry for him, he has his job to do, then when he comes home he can't relax but has to join me in finding things for boys to do also he isn't accustomed to being cooped up with them in such close quarters and in such a confining situation. Oh well, I'm going to try to find some service wife who might do occasional sitting in her quarters in that way Harry & I could get out once in awhile and the kids would be able to play around the housing area, a change for. Meantime, on the good side, we're all having some interesting experiences and I have high hopes that things will be better soon...

..Best love, hugs & kisses, Louise"

 

"Sept 19, 1957

Dear Mother & Dad:

Have just been re-reading your last letter. I do so enjoy hearing all the news from home. It is too bad you haven't had more rain. They get so much of it here, though today it is very nice - Indian summerish. I think I should write more letters and longer ones but somehow I've been in a mood lately. I like to travel and see things but it's always hard for me to settle in a new place. Keep telling myself that this is a marvelous experience and that I should be making the most of it but right at present moment that doesn't work - guess I'm homesick - just hope it passes quickly - remember first 6 mos. in Japan were not easy either and then I ended up liking it very much. Everything here is very spread out, that is Commissary - PX -shows - club (which is more like a city hotel with bar & restaurant) no place to go to have sports, the golf club is way out in the country. The library at Eagle Club on other side of town, bowling alley & Harry's work another direction, they used to run buses all over the place but now part of new economy has cut out all but one or two which don't come near here. Harry brings car home to me most days at noon but by time I do my errands its time for boys to come home. Actually, I could ride the German buses if I felt adventurous. This is a period of settling in, our apartment is good by local standards and we're better off than many; however I find it increasingly difficult to adjust to such standards. The place is furnished with a lot of old odds & ends. For instance they stuck an old wardrobe of gigantic stature with tremendous mirrors on all 3 doors at end of living room (presume they didn't want to throw away "grossma's furniture" and though that a good way to get rid of it). This occupies a large part of what could be a nice seized room. There is a very dirty shag rug on living room floor, which I wouldn't know how to clean short of throwing over line & beating but even if I could get it up & down 4 flights of stairs, there is no line to throw it over, hence clouds of dust every time anyone walks across room. Then there's a bunch of chairs which should have been tossed out years ago in the interest of sanitation. All the window curtains are grey with dirt but I think they'll fall apart if washed and I have no desire to replace. Of course the heavy traffic below causes a lot of the grim. This is an old building and it probably sifts dirt. Oh well enough of the battle against dirt. Have made up my mind to try not to let it bother me. It makes me mad though that the services are so loused up that we have to live this way. Of course our economy minded Congress is partly responsible, of course I guess the patent answer to that one is that I didn't have to come till there were quarters available but that's not too easy either with 2 kids in school. Really the answer is that like most people I'd like to have my cake and eat it too. Think it would be nice to travel but be able to go home when it's over and travelling on a holiday and trying to settle a family in a strange place are two different things. Harry has to work very hard. I have my house to keep, kids to organize, etc. and I kept on the move, while at hotel so much trying to keep boys occupied that now I'd like to settle under one of your maples in the Sept sunshine with Kiddie Dee on my lap & Brownie at my feet, and read the New York Tribune. Don't let any of this depress you because by the time you get this letter, I'll probably have jogged myself out of this and be filled with enthusiasm for something. I hope so. At least the boys are happier. They've both found a friend living in neighborhood and school lends an interest...Harry doesn't like his boss which doesn't help, either ,he doesn't say much about his work but there doesn't seem much enthusiasm and you know how that is. Afraid we're not stimulating each other much. There aren't too many opportunities to get out as I've hesitated to go off and leave the boys with strangers until they get more settled and I know who's who and what's what. Once in awhile we go sit in a sidewalk cafe while boys are at a picture on a Fri. or Sat. night...

My trunks haven't come and I'm quite worried about them. They should be here so transportation has sent out a tracer. Think that's one of things the matter with me. I brought so little with me and most of that summer stuff. Both the boys & I will be in a bad way if it turns real cold. In the meantime I'm eternally sick of having to wash everyday by hand, to keep us in clean things, have no iron either and I'm sick of wearing same stuff all the time. It all needs cleaning.  Meantime household goods, which I have no room for, has arrived and is in storage here in Wiesbaden. What a business!! ....                                                          Love - hugs & kisses, Louise"

 

 

 

"December 31, 1957, Berchtesgaden

Happy New Year:

Have finally fulfilled a long standing ambition - to see the Alps - they are beautiful. We left early Sunday morning - a little out of Wiesbaden we hit fierce going snow & ice and I wondered if we'd ever make it. However the roads improved when we turned East at Karlsruhe came by way of Stuttgart, Ulm and Munich - lovely rolling country. Munich quite a city but bomb damage heavy - however would like to go back & explore it sometime - from Munich, we headed toward Salzburg & the Austrian Border - saw our first Alp a little outside Munich - beautiful country all Mts. & valleys - here, unlike the rest of Germany I've seen where farmers live huddled in villages & go out to work the fields, each farm has its cluster of barns with typical Alpine house attached to it. The churches change once on nears Munich too. Instead of steeples the towers are topped with domes in the Byzantine manner.

We are staying at the Gen. Walker Hotel - Hitler built it for the Nazi Elite - then called the Platterhof. Have a nice room overlooking valley & Mts. Yesterday, Mon, we took bus up to the high ski slopes - the show is not good, too crusty, for experts only, however we enjoyed the view, we were high above the clouds out of which the peaks rose and sparkled in the sun. The boys are enjoying the snow and today went ice skating - their first time - of course they spent most of their time on their backsides but are coming along nicely. Also went on a tour of the Obersalzberg where Hitler & Goring had their homes (all destroyed) though the underground fortifications are still there. It's just wonderful to be outdoors with all this lovely scenery and the mountain air is so wonderful.


Tonight is New Years Eve - doesn't seem possible 1957 has come & gone - wish we could all be together- We're thinking of you anyway and wishing you all the best of everything.

Love - hugs & kisses, Louise"

"July 17, 1959

Dear All,

I had a real fine night the other night. I was OD the heat wouldn't quit, and the situations wouldn't quit. I had a guard fall and twist the ligaments in his knee, and another who was all but relieved for sloppiness on post. To top the evening off a character threw a tear-gas grenade into the headquarters building while I was out back of it. He ran by me and I yelled the customary "halt" three times. He did not stop so I fired my .45. At this he ran all the faster and I running behind him, was unable to catch him. I did not fire at him, but into the ground. I heard the grenade go off, but since a tear-gas grenade just "pops," I thought it a stone, which had been thrown through the windows. You just don't throw stones through windows and get shot for it (or you just don't shoot a person for breaking a window, or throwing a tear-gas grenade into headquarters for that matter). The culprit has not been caught yet, nor will he ever.


I had to help support the N.R.A. regional rifle matches last Saturday and was it ever hot. The temperature was officially 103º, but I'm sure on the range it registered 106º. Did I say just Saturday; Sunday too. This makes about three weeks in which I really haven't had a day off, what with basic trainees coming in and all...

Kansas is giving me its fill. The 1st Division is fine, but Kansas is awful. What is the possibility of your writing Bill Clark? Maybe he could get me moved to Germany, an assignment I'd love. This place is really dead. There is nothing to do, in fact there was more to do at Camp [Dakota], than there is here. I'm serious. The work here is hard, but good. That's no factor in the problems. It's Kansas that has me down. Love, Micky

P.S. Besides I'd love to be near my folks"

"May 1, 1959


Dear Grandma & Grandpa,

It has been a long time since we left and I'm very sorry that I haven't written, but we've been quite busy.

You, by now, have heard from our cousin Helen, about our evening in New York and the wonderful time we had.


Our trip over on the boat took ten days, during which time there was very little to do, but play cards or walk the deck. I had a job that occupied my time for about two hours a day, but poor Carol had only other people's children and conversation to keep her going...

We arrived in Bremerhaven in the evening and remained aboard until the next evening. We entrained and came directly to Baumholder via Frankfort. Carol in one train and I in another.


Our apartment is very nice to say the least. We have two bedrooms and the master bedroom has a large double window (European style) with pull drapes, overlooking the town of Baumholder from "Lollypop Hill" so named because all the apartment buildings are different colors, pink, blue, yellow and green. We have a big desk in front of this window and to our pleasant surprise the countryside is just beautiful, all rolling hills (large) and pine trees with Baumholder nestled in the little valley at our feet...

The country is quite rugged in our neighborhood and the French boarder is only a few miles away (Saarsland). This camp is French controlled and are they ever the goofy ones, constantly acting like the "Little King."...

 

The first week here was rather hectic, what with trying to get ourselves and the troops set up, and going out on alerts, 3 the first week (all practices). Now, all I am doing is shooting the pistol, day in and day out. The week of 10-16 May we are to be at Mannheim for matches, and, if we are lucky, the next week will see us in Berlin for matches. I hope so; I want to see this city we may fight for.


My German is picking up fast and I can actually make myself known and understood....Love, Mickey"

 

"July 2, 1959

Dear Grandmother & Grandfather,

...I have put in for a transfer to the Air Force, but do not know if it will come through. I should hear something in about a month. My reasons boil down to the fact that I believe the life in the Air Force to be a better one, family, and homewise, than the Army (with its manners, night work, field work, rain and snow) - also feel A.F. would give more opportunity to use education, something Army does not do.

All our baggage showed up and we are well set up now, in fact I'm tending the washing machine right now...

Carol has not been feeling too good of late, too much pickles and ice cream I guess. We had the kids over for a week and they drove Carol batty. They mind as well as a cage full of monkeys who have their own peanut supply...Love, Micky"