KAHS Alumni Association, Inc.
Germany Reunion Trip
May 18-25, 1995
Diary Entries from Nancy Ford
(Pictures provided from Nancy Ford Carusone '76 and Gail Butler Newchurch '65)
May 18, 1995 started off bright and early cleaning house, grocery shopping and other last minute errands to make sure my family was well taken care of before this trip got under way and I also finished up my packing.
I used a car service to take me to the airport and they sent a stretch limo for the regular price. Talk about traveling in style before I got off the ground.
Met Peter Grammer ‘65 at D/FW Airport at Gate 21, Terminal 3E and after one drink and a 40 minute wait we got under way. We were in seats 27H and 27K. I got to take the window!
May 19 - Got into Frankfurt almost half an hour early. We saw two great films and had some great service and food. Lufthansa really goes out to make you feel good on such a long flight. Never really slept for a prolonged amount of time. Peter lost his luggage and after filing a tracer we went off in search of Gail Butler Newchurch ‘65.
Stopped at the car rental place to pick up the car Peter had rented and to make the day complete his credit card wasn’t being accepted so we ended using mine. At least we managed to get the car.
We went to “The Meeting Point” as instructed but Gail wasn’t there. We found her quite by accident wandering the airport with her friend Bernd Lott.
We picked up our lovely car (a Volkswagen Polo) which we ended up naming “Sherbie” because it was the color of orange sherbet. We give credit to this name to Bill Blevins ‘75 who was the one who originally thought it looked like orange sherbet. After loading up, we got on the Autobahn and were on it for quite awhile. There was one traffic jam after another and it was raining too!
Bill Blevins, Peter and I went into the town of Blankenloch and ate dinner at a nice restaurant called the Lamm. Bill and I had great wiener schnitzel and Peter had gypsy schnitzel. Of course, we all indulged in some good German beer!
On the way back from the restaurant Peter managed to get us lost. We were supposed to meet Gail back at the Rosenhof at 8:00 p.m. and we were already 1/2 hour late. We had to stop at an AGIP gas station to get directions back to Paul Revere. They managed to get us lost and we ended up at Gerzewski Barracks. We finally found Gail with Bernd’s wife, Jutta, back at the Rosenhof 45 minutes later.
We went on to the Heidehof and were met there by Robert and Sandy Colbert, Lanell Ferris Richardson and her daughter Stacey McKee and their friend from the Netherlands Lauren, Bill Blevins, Bernd and Jutta, Peter, and Gail.
LaNell found us by chance. She had thought Gail was going to meet her at the officers’ club at 6:00 p.m.
Mrs. Kyrios dropped by the Rosenhof to see who had made it in so far.
May 20 - Was up by 5:30 am. Too excited to sleep. Breakfast consisted of brotchen, swiss cheese, salami, butter and orange juice. They only time we were offered brotchen during our stay at the Rosenhof.
Went with Gail to visit Bernd and Jutta’s boat where they had it docked. It was very nice. They are take us on a car tour of the wine route. We ended up in France about 35 minutes from Karlsruhe. I had never realized we were that close. We stopped in Wissembourg (in 1913 it was a German town called Weissembourg). We had drinks and snacked on Flammkuchen -very delicious. The town was very nice and the buildings were great!
After leaving Wissembourg we ended up in the town of Schweigen. This place is considered the German Wine Gate. The arch that consists as the “gate” was built in 1936 in just eight weeks.
We continued on an stopped in Dorrenbach for a light lunch. I had Bauern Brot with Black Forest ham and raspberry cake/torte for dessert! Gail had Guilashsuppen and Black Forest cherry cake.
We visited Bernd and Jutta’s apartment which was very nice. After a short visit there it was on to the Rosenhof to meet all the new arrivals. Danny Furst ‘74 and girlfriend Rita had arrived. We went on to meet up at the Hoepner Brau to drink and eat. Gail’s father Chester and fiancee Lucy, LaNell and daughter Stacey, Bob and Sandy Colbert, Bill Blevins, Bernd and Jutta Lott were in attendance. Jay Bailey ‘71 showed up by chance with a colleague from Brazil. Jay was in Germany on business for one day only. Chris Kyrios ‘75 showed up two hours late! The majority of us had wiener schnitzel and drank plenty of beer. Two wedding receptions were going on at the restaurant and the music was great.
Heard that Bob and Sandy Colbert, LaNell, Stacey and Lauren went the scenic route to Switzerland. Food was very expensive they said but they enjoyed the trip.
Peter made a run to the commissary for some of us to buy odds and ends and especially cokes! A soda at the Rosenhof costs about $3.50 to $3.75 a glass. I don’t think I spent less than $20 per meal.
Going out to dinner - LaNell Farris Richardson '66, Bill Blevins '75, Gail Butler Newchurch '65, Danny Furst '74, Nancy Ford '76
May 21 - All of us met at the Rosenhof to go to Rhine Wine Country. Danny Furst and Rita, Bob and Sandy Colbert, Chris Kyrios, Bill Blevins, Bernd and Jutta Lott, Gail, father Chester and fiancee Lucy, LaNell Farris Richardson, daughter Stacey and their friend Lauren.
At breakfast we all heard about Danny and Rita’s active night life that LaNell, et al and Bob and Sandy heard last night. We all made a point to make a big deal about it when they came out. The women bowed and the guys hooted and hollered. Poor Danny and Rita! It was funny at the time!
First stop was a flea market in Jockgrim where Gail bought quite a few items. She would have stayed for hours if she could have. We set a one hour time limit there. Bob Colbert found a cuckoo clock at the place.
On to the Adams-Hof in Randel for drinks and food. It was Western weekend there and a German band was playing country and western music. They called themselves the Ghostriders. Peter Grammer missed a good time because he was visiting relatives in Worms.
From the Adams-Hof we went to the town of St. Martin. We explored a little but (this area is called the Rhein-Falz). They had a lovely old catholic church which all explored. There was some great stained glass in there and wooden carvings inside. The village had a little canal running through it.
We proceeded on to the mountain called the Totenkopf and some of us stopped for a snack and some drinks at the Totenkofhutte Parkbrau. We left from there and headed back to Karlsruhe.
At the Rosenhof we met up with Jean Nearhoof Bratton ‘65 and husband Gene and daughter Christy. Also present was Mrs. Kryrios and Peter Grammer had gotten back from his trip to Worms. Tony Whalen ‘79 and friends Marshall and Susan Carter had also arrived.
We stayed at the Rosenhof for dinner and drinks. I guess we kind of took over the restaurant at the hotel. While we were at the Rosenhof having dinner we were met by Carl and Davis Feickert.
May 22 - Went to Heidelberg Castle with first group and we toured old downtown Heidelberg before walking up to the castle. Lots of people and shops. Some of us ate at the Golden Falcon before attempting the walk up to the castle. A steep grade or 316 steps were the options to take unless you wanted to drive and take the cable car up. Tony, Marshall, Susan, Gail, Jean and Christy, Peter and I chose to walk up the steep grade. Before going up Christy found her Dad and they chose to go up the stairs. It cost 2DM to get in to check out the inside court. The wine cellar had two huge wine casks. Th
e first one was built in 1664 and held 10,000 gallons. The second one was built in 1751 and held more than 55,000 gallons.
We hooked up with a second group of people which consisted of Trish and Cheryl Perez, George Wesley, Chris Kyrios, Debbie Huff and son Luke, Greg Born, Rob and Sandy Colbert, LaNell and Stacey and we all got together and had a tour guide take us up and into the castle.
After Heidelberg we went directly to the officers club where we were met by Jack Steele and wife Carol, Mia Gage Ruggles, Ty Gage, Chris Clements and Verna Gensler and husband Frank. We all had a great time enjoying the champagne and the terrific spread of food that Verna arranged for us.
May 23 - Took a very long trip by the autobahn to reach Dachau and then on to Munich with Peter, LaNel! and Stacey. We also met up with Tony, Marshall and Susan by chance.
Dachau was quite an experience for those of you who have never been to the concentration camp. We went through the museum, toured the grounds and went to the crematoriums/gas chambers. It was all quite chilling the pictures were a story in themselves. We entered the reconstructured prisoner barracks which contained what they passed off for stacked beds, eating hall, lockers, wash room and bathrooms as they would have appeared in years 1933-1945.
On to Munich for more festive amusement! We passed the Olympic Village, visited the Frauenkirche, St. Michaels, Heiligen Geist Church, Glockenspiel and Hofbrau Haus. We enjoyed a great dinner, beer and music and the Hofbrau Haus but didn’t have time to spend and see the show with all the great dancing.
The Glockenspiel went off at 5:00 p.m. and it was great to see it all again and remember how much I enjoyed it as a kid.
We got back to Karlsruhe around Midnight after such a great trip.
May 24 - Had a picnic on the Karlsruhe Schloss grounds. Bill Blevins, Greg Born, Stacey and Lanell, Trish and Cheryl Perez, Chris Kyrios, Jim Shepherd and wife Lianna. We picked up all the picnic items at a local grocery store close to the officers club and walked to the Schloss.
After the picnic we returned to the officers club and picked up everybody who wanted to tour the Moninger Brewery. Our tour guide was Dieter Hellmann (a brew master) who made quite an impression on Gail and some of the other ladies present, but especially Gail!
The tour of the brewery was interesting. We saw how they processed the beer in the beginner and then where they fermented the beer and lastly where they cleaned the bottles and put together the labels and filled them with beer.
After the tour we went to one of their buildings where some of the adventurous sort went down a “rutchbahn” instead of taking the stairs to enjoy free samples of beer and a great layout of various deli meats, cheeses and bread. Gail, who is always adventurous, became the “red tornado” going down the slide! I’m still waiting for a picture from Jim Shepherd! And at 4:00 p.m. that day we finally got Bill Blevins to laugh!!!
We returned to the Rosenhof after the tour and LaNe!!, Gail and I toured Paul Revere Village. There wasn’t a dry eye during this tour! We took pictures of where we used to live and of the school. Saw the new gym which didn’t exist in our day and found a building called the Child Development Center. The soccer field and tennis courts next to the school used to be the baseball fields with dugouts.
Gail went inside and got to go in the old apartment where she used to live. I think I would have cried too much if I would have entered in mine!
LaNell, Stacey, Jim & Lianna, Peter, Trish and Cheryl and I ate the Rosenhof. While there Danny and Rita made it back from Belgium then Chris showed up with Michiko Stirnamen around 9:45 p.m. Bob and Sandy Colbert came back from their trip to Dachau, Munich and Garmish. They saw the Linderhof and Neuschwanstein.
Bob and Sandy, LaNell and Stacey, Trish, Jim and Lianna, Chris, Greg, Michiko and I all went to Durlach to the Tower to see Karlsruhe. Stayed up until 1:00 am.. While up there David Price ‘79 and girlfriend Anita and Gerald Lee ‘80 and wife Karen and their German friend Lutz showed up. They came from Maryland and D.C. Chris gave them a schedule. What a small world to find them up at the Turnberg. It was great swapping our stores.
May 25 - Twenty-six of us left for Strasbourg from the Officer’s Club by 10:25 am. Lutz, Gerald Lee ‘80 and Karen, Chris Kyrios, Greg Born, Michiko Stirnamen Nelson, Debbie Huff and son Luke, Jean, Gene and Christy Bratton, Cheryl and Trish Perez, Jim and Lianna Shepherd, Danny Furst and Rita, Bill Blevins, Bob and Sandy Colbert, LaNell and Stacey and me, Tony Whalen and friends Marshall and Susan.
We went up and down 330 steps to the platform of the cathedral which they dub their “Notre Dam”. Boy did we huff an puff going up there. Much easier going down and faster. Jean Nearhoof Bratton opted not to go up as well as husband Gene. We didn’t know where Bob and Sandy Colbert and Danny Furst and Rita or Bill Blevins ran off to but found them when we went on the tour of the canal.
We left Strasbourg after checking out a couple of stores and made it back to Karlsruhe in around 30-3 5 minutes. LaNell got the car up to 180KM (115 mph).
Large group of us met at the Rosenhof and had dinner and enjoyed a few drinks. Billy Ortega ‘75 and brother John ‘80 arrived, then the Feickert brothers (Davis and Carl) showed up again. Also arriving were Mary Southworth Harvey ‘79, David Price ‘79 and girlfriend Anita, Fred Wetterich ‘75, Gary Born ‘73, Mr. Bailey and quite by chance David and Flo Schlessinger (he was a counselor in the 60’s). Peter Grammer, LaNell, Gail and Bob knew Mr. Schlessinger back then.
Gail met us at the Rosenhof with Bernd and Jutta Lott. They had spent the day on the boat with Gail’s parents on the Rhine.
Everyone got to the Rosenhof this evening except Gerald ‘80 and Karen Lee and their friend Lutz.
We split off and a group decided to check out the mausoleum where some of the guys had many memories of bringing their girls with them. Bill Blevins confessed but wouldn’t tell us with whom. Danny and Rita showed up later. Danny was looking in the wrong woods for the place.
Trisha and Gary got lost in the woods. Thought we were going to scare them so they went back to the mausoleum and waited and waited. Well that was the story they told us but none of us believed that!
Bernd, Gene and Christy went back for them. On our trip to the mausoleum Bob found a piece of wood and made a “wooden horse” out of it. He looked really funny. We also kept calling out for Danny because he left before us and Gail thought he would be coming out of the woods to scare us.
The rain started on our way back. Durlach Tower (Turnberg) was our next stop for those who hadn’t been yet. Chris and Greg and Gary didn’t join us for this event.
May 26 - After breakfast we went to the snack bar where LaNell had someone help her change her travelers checks to DM. From there Peter, LaNell and I went to basketball game after a tour of the high school with Mr. Bailey. It is shame that the new gym (Hubert Hall) will be given over to the Germans as well as the whole base and village. It will be missed terribly by all of us.
LaNell and I went into town to hunt for books on Karlsruhe which we found and then made it back to the Rosenhof where we picked up Stacey and went back to the snack bar. We found John and Billy Ortega, Davis and Carl Feickert, Debbie Huff and son Luke while there. John helped me to change my travelers checks into DM and I found some gifts in the Willi Geck store.
Lunch was at the snack bar. Found Gary Born down there later.
We came back and got ready for the Mayor’s reception at the Rathaus. A nice presentation was given and Ty Gage, Mia Gage, Mary Lee and friend Debbie, Laura Berish, Susan Volande and her friend Reiner and Mike Hopkins also showed up.
After the Rathaus we made a quick stop back to the Rosenhof before going on to graduation at the Badnerland Halle. Peter Piantanida and his wife, Mike Bailey ‘76 and his wife also showed up. Some 93 and 94 alums were in the group picture. Earl Banks ‘86 made an appearance but didn’t come for dinner. Missing in our group picture was George Wesley and Fred Wetterich. Hardy Awadjie ‘85 also made an appearance.
Graduation was a very moving and very tearful experience for most of us. I had to get on stage with Chris and Gail near the end. I think the majority of us cried during all of this. Bill Ryall showed up with his wife.
Dinner was pretty good. There were a variety of meats: beef, turkey, chicken and pork, spaetzle, french fries, spinach, corn, peas, green beans, broccoli and cauliflower, fried kroketten (mashed potatoes inside, coating outside), gravy.
I think everyone had a wonderful time. Chris Clements, Susan Volande, Reiner and I cruised the town a bit before heading out to Durlach Tower. After about half an hour to 45 minutes we were joined by Tony Whalen, Stacey and LaNell, Bill Blevins, Trish and Cheryl, Mary Southworth Harvey, and John Ortega. We “dummies” went up there in the rain and fog.
Stacey and John left to check out the night life. Everybody has commented on John’s good looks and those eyes!
May 27 - Woke up early and went for a walk at 5:30 a.m. Peter had already left for his trip.
After a quick breakfast LaNell, Stacey and I went to the snack bar on base where we were joined by Mary Southworth and Tony Whalen and Bob and Sandy Colbert. We had sodas with ice and the majority of us had burgers and fries.
From there we said good-bye to Mary. Tony, LaNell, Stacey and I headed for the middle of town. We were planning some sightseeing and shopping but forgot about them closing at 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. While out in the area we found Jean Nearhoof Bratton and spouse Gene and daughter Christy touring the town before leaving to tour some more of Europe.
We also met up with Trish and Cheryl Perez who had done some shopping before heading off to Switzerland to find the Girl Scout Chalet.
We made a dash into Karlplatz to see their Karlsruhe memorabilia but we found nothing we really cared for.
After that we wandered around just sightseeing. We headed on toward the castle and walked around the grounds of the Botanical Gardens, but the hothouses were closed which was disappointing. Later we drove the train on the castle grounds for 3 DM each.
After our round-trip “adventure” we went to the museum at the castle. There were some lovely furniture pieces and other art work and crown jewels displayed.
A group of us met at the Rosenhof and a decision was made that we would go to Durlach again. We walked down to a folk festival and enjoyed some beer and bratwurst.
Stacey, John, Tony and I made a trip out to the mausoleum. Tony and John had not been yet. We then returned to the Rosenhof.
May 28 - Woke up late so I missed breakfast. Had breakfast at the snack bar - eggs, hash browns and toast. LaNell, Stacey and I said our goodbyes to Tony.
Stacey, LaNell and I went on to the Main Train Station. We got into a photo booth, checked out the bookstores and found Herr Zink and Bill Blevins there. Bill was on his way to Amsterdam.
From there Stacey, LaNell and I went on to tour the city zoo. We found Greg and Gary Born wandering around the zoo.
When we left the zoo we made a day time trip to the mausoleum to see it during the day. It is in reality a chapel built in the 1880’s. There were lots of gargoyles on it which really makes it scary at night.
When we came back from the zoo we had spaetzle and then went to try and take naps before 7:00 p.m. LaNell and Stacey managed to take a good long nap. I probably slept 30 minutes and went downstairs to read for awhile.
Seven o’clock came around and I was joined by Peter Grammer, Jack and Carole Steele, LaNell and Stacey, Fred Wetterich, Greg Born and Mrs. Kyrios. Chris Kyrios and his friend Michael and his girlfriend then showed up. Had a leisurely dinner there and enjoyed each other’s company. Gail, Bernd and Jutta joined us and then Chris Clements finally made an appearance. Later Susan Volande and her cute little dog “Liza Minnelli” came to visit.
We all closed down early and went to pack for our return trips. Goodbyes were said with tears coming to most of our eyes.
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