Percy Pascoe’s article about the Berlin Airlift brought back memories of my stay there.
In West Berlin is a large monument in memory of the pilots killed during the Airlift.
The Germans called it “The Hunger Rake.” Each prong represents British, French and Americans.
While in Germany, we were stopped many times to be “thanked” for the Americans keeping them from starving and all the fuel, medical supplies flown in 24 hours non-stop day after day during the Airlift.
A day in West Berlin Germany, 1962-1964. At dawn a tractor with wagon of large cans of milk would stop in the street. The housewives with their small pails would buy their daily milk. The women would walk or ride a bicycle to the open air market for their daily shopping.
So many homes did not have refrigerators and one still ironed their clothes on a padded table with flat irons on a heated stove.
I wrote to my mother that the customs were like stepping back in the ‘20s and ‘30s in the United States. We burned coal for heat (looked like black bricks). Most of our check went for rent. The government had given base housing for the fleeing East Berliners as a goodwill offering. By us living off base, we were able to see the real city.
My laundry I washed on a scrub board in a deep bathtub then carried up six flights of stairs to hang in the attic. After hanging the clothes I would look over the rooftops in the dawn—beautiful sunrises.
To me it was a beautiful scene, very peaceful with a church steeple in the distance.
Sometimes we walked down to a sidewalk café and have a very tiny cup of coffee. One mark equaled a U.S. quarter and a delicous roll with cheese, two marks equaled 50 cents. This was a treat to us. The movie on base was a quarter.
We had a transformer that changed the electric current from 220 to 110 so I had a record player and we later had a small apartment-sized refrigerator and a GE electric iron. When we left Germany, a German couple bought the irons.
We rode buses if we traveled to the doctors or PX or sightseeing.
We had ration books for cofee and tobacco.
Kelly (our daughter) was born in the base hospital. I was told that in Germany “we do as the Germans do”—natural childbirth and six days in the hospital.
I had to take Kelly to the American Embassy to be registered within two weeks or she would be a German citizen. She slept through the passport picture. Kelly now has a piece of the Berlin Wall
In June 1963, President John F. Kennedy came to West Berlin Germany. Lowell (my husband) was chosen to be an Honor Guard when he gave his speech at the university.
Lindell Gibbs, who played music at the Bourbon and Cuba Senior Centers, set up all the sound equipment for President Kennedy’s speeches in West Berlin.
John Bruner (classmate of mine of Cuba High 1957) arrived for duty in West Berlin the week we were leaving.
My article of our stay in West Berlin Germany is dedicated to my family in memory of their dad, Lowell D. Breslich, buried with full military honors February 14, 1995 in Cuba, Missouri. He was a retired U.S. Army Military Army Policeman—retired April 1968 and and guard checkpoint Charlie 1962-1964, also patrolled W. Berlin Germany.
Carol (Henry) Breslich