Snippets – Spring 1956

April 30, 1956

Dear Dad & Russ,

Well, you folks are probably wondering by this time whatever has become of me – and small wonder, it’s been so long since I’ve had time to dash off a line or two. It really was hectic here the past couple of weeks – you’ve no idea. A week ago Saturday I even had to come into the Embassy at 7:30 a.m. to finish up some work! However, things seem to get busy and then quieten down (I hope) so my letter-writing should take a turn for the better.

All being well, we expect some Canadian visitors here in Bonn for the next few days. The National Defence College are making their annual European tour and included in this year’s tour are Mr. R. Duder, Col. Deane-Freeman, and Mr. A. Kilgour – should be quite an Indochina reunion!

And speaking of Indochina, I must tell you that my slides arrived in 100% perfect condition by courtesy of the Towe’s. George and I had a great evening looking at them. And you were quite right about the Towe’s. They’re a wonderful couple and lots of fun. They had a house-warming party here a few weeks ago and you should just see their house! It’s way up on top of a hill back of Bad Godesberg with a magnificent view of the Rhine Valley. They are in the process of building a swimming pool, which should be lovely during the summer.

It did turn out well - nice pool!

It did turn out well – nice pool!

As I was driving back to work this afternoon I just thought what a wonderful thing it was having my own car. I really don’t know what I ever did without it. And a V.W. is such a wonderful little car – costs practically nothing to run (one filling lasts over a week and costs about $2.50!) and just nothing ever seems to go out of order. I’m firmly convinced that I shall drive nothing but V.W.’s from now on.

And it will be so wonderful when you folks come over here in ’57. We’ll be able to jump into the car and just drive wherever we wish. I’m really looking forward to that visit.

George and I have been doing quite a bit of bowling (10-pin) lately at the American Settlement. I’m hoping to start playing volleyball with a group of fellows from various embassies here in Bonn next Wednesday. Also a few of the kids here at our Embassy want to start playing badminton and do some swimming at the American pool. Should be quite a summer. Other activities include Bingo every Wednesday night and, of course, the odd movie.

After 4½ years, George is leaving Germany around the 11th of June via the Empress of Scotland. He’s been a real friend to me and I’m surely going to miss him greatly when he leaves. However, through George I’ve met quite a few friends so it won’t be too bad.

May 7, 1956

Here I am on guard duty again – about the only time I have these days to write to you folks. I may have mentioned in last week’s letter that I expected things to calm down a bit. Those were certainly “great expectations”! No sir, it got busier and busier as the week wore on – so busy in fact that one day last week Johnny York and Harry Stewart (our Admin Officer) spent the whole day helping me!

Today is a really beautiful, warm, spring day. All the trees are out here in Germany now it does look so nice. And last weekend saw the opening of all the local beer gardens. These are so very colourful with bright sun umbrellas, variously coloured tables and chairs and, of course, the bar maids in their native costumes. Certainly is a lovely part of the world to be in around this time of year.


Not too much news since last letter. George is in Berlin for a few days (back tomorrow morning). I drove him to the airport at Wahn (about ¾ hours from Bonn) on Friday night, then dashed back to Bad Godesberg to baby-sit with the three wee York’s. Saturday was a wonderful day so I spent it sun-bathing out on my little balcony. Then over to the Toughs for dinner and Canasta. Last night I went to the show (“My Sister Eileen“) with the Toughs. And tonight I’m having a few of the kids in for sort of a planning committee meeting for a going-away party for George next month.

May 14, 1956

Well, since last writing you folks I’ve been away from Bonn for a bit of a trip. George and I took off Friday night around 8 o’clock via mein V.W. bound for Soest. It’s only about a three hour drive from Bonn – all on the Autobahn – and takes you through the very industrial Ruhr Valley area of Germany. We arrived in Soest around 11 p.m. Friday night, but rather than stay right in Soest we decided to try to get some accommodation on the Möhne See, a lake about 9 k.m. from Soest. However, being a weekend all the resort hotels on the Möhne See were filled, so we backtracked to a little village called Körbecke and stopped off at a typical German “Gästhaus” by the name of Böhmer. This inn was constructed in the year 1731 by the way. And it was all typical German. I just wish you could have seen our beds! They were very deep with the head propped up (typical German) and they were covered with the thickest eiderdowns I’ve ever seen! They were easily a foot thick, light as a feather and very, very cozy.

Gasthof Böhmer and scenes around the Möhne See, 1950s

Gasthof Böhmer and scenes around the Möhne See, 1950s

Saturday morning we got in touch with Pete and Sybil [Shaver] and took them out for lunch – sure nice to see them again. We spent the afternoon shopping at the Maple Leaf Service stores in the Brigade P.M.Q.’s [private married quarters]. All sorts things available there from Canada. Then we went over to visit a friend of George’s (a Sgt. with five children) and stayed for dinner. George’s friend then took us to the Sgt.’s mess where we saw a movie and just sat around and chatted.

David's picture of That Dam

David’s picture of That Dam

We spent most of yesterday at the Möhne See. Did either of you see that film,”The Dam Busters“? Well, if you did, you’ll remember the Möhne See is a dammed-up lake that controls the electrical power for most of the Ruhr Valley. It was the biggest of the three dams that “the dam busters” busted. It’s quite something to see – of course, it’s been rebuilt now and is in full operation again. The country was very beautiful around the lake – somewhat like the Gatineaus.

When we got back to Bonn last night, George came over and we cooked up a tremendous spaghetti dinner that we purchased up in Soest! Oh, and here’s an interesting fact – it is approximately 125 miles from Bonn to Soest – 250 miles return. And while we were around Soest we must have easily driven another 5 miles around the countryside. Which means that all in all we travelled approximately 300 miles over the weekend. And here’s the surprising thing! We only filled up the gas tank once – that is, before we left Bonn on Friday night! Now if that isn’t good mileage I don’t know what is! The return trip cost us each about $1.50 for gas and $1.00 a night each for accommodation. Not bad, eh what?

Well, that seems to about sum it up for now. I’ll be over in Paris next weekend and won’t be back until Tuesday (Monday is a holiday for us, too) so I’ll probably be writing you about the middle of next week Seems silly doesn’t it – saying that I’m going over to Paris for the weekend!!

All the best to everyone,

lots of love, Dave


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