Meeting Michael




Life went on as usual while Van was in Philadelphia.  Dorrie was a senior and very busy with the marching band and school projects.  Carl was in Middle School and volunteering to be in charge of the movie projector etc. Dorrie was still dancing every Sunday at Balboa Park. In October, the Park  Dance group was going to an Octoberfest at the Swiss Inn, which is near the Mexican Border.  It was a week night, but she would be home by eleven, so I agreed.  Whoever was hosting the Octoberfest invited the German flyers who were stationed at Brown Field not far from the Inn.  That was where Dorrie met Michael.  When the Octoberfest was over, they agree to meet at the dance group at Balboa Park the following Sunday.

When everyone started to leave, the dancers discovered that someone had stolen all the batteries out of the cars.  Michael heard the news, but he had to take his bus back to the barracks.  Dorrie phoned me to tell me and ask if I could get the battery out of Bobís car and bring it down.  Well, I went to Tatesí next door for help.  Joey said his father had an extra battery in the garage.  In the meantime, Steve, Dorrieís dance partner, drove to El Cajon in his car to get me and the battery.

When we arrived back to the parking lot, our car was the only one left.  The police car was leaving and I asked him to stay until we got ready to leave.  He said that heíd be right back and he did.  He helped Steve get the battery in the car and some other stuff that had to be fixed before we could leave.  Steven followed us part of the way back and the car acted okay.  We got home at 3:00am.  In 3 hours, I had to be up to go to work.

When I arrived at work, I must have looked terrible because the boss called me into her office.  I took her the whole story and how much sleep I got.  She sent me home and told me to get some sleep.  Dorrie didnít make to class either.  After we both had enough sleep, we took care of the battery situation.  Told our neighbor and thanked them for the use of the battery.  We left it in the car until they put the new one in.  That was some night.  Dorrie told me all about Michael, the pilot, she had met.  He came from Germany and was studying with PSA here because the weather is so much better than Germany at this time of year.  He said that he would see her Sunday at Balboa Park.  He told her that the base had a bus that went to the park on Sunday.  She wondered if he would be there.

Later that evening the phone rang and it was for Dorrie.  It was Michael calling.  He said he was anxious to hear how she made out to get home the other night.  They talked awhile and he said he would see her Sunday.  She said that he was very worried, but there was nothing he could do and happy that she arrived back home safe and sound.

So Sunday arrived and she went to the park as usual.  She had a habit of  bringing home a friend after dancing.  I had warned her, no more.  Sunday was day off and I wasnít going to be cooking for strangers.  I didnít  remind her before she left for the park.  And since he probably had to take the bus back to the base, she would be alone when she returned home.  But, I was mistaken.  I was waiting at the door when she drove up, and there was Michael in the passenger seat.  They came  in and introductions were make to me and Carl.  I mentioned that I had planned to go to Oscarís for dinner and Michael was welcomed to come along.

While we were at the restaurant, I noticed that Michael was taking a long time deciding what to order.  I told him to order anything he wanted, and the treat was on me.  Dorrie mentioned to me later, that he thought he would have to pay for the meal .and his allowance is only about  $50 a month to cover all his expenses.

Mike seemed to be a very nice young man.  He was very polite and spoke well of this family and seemed to be enjoying this schooling and everything about the USA.  He seemed to enjoy visiting and wasnít very bashful  about asking question about anything that he wasnít familiar with.  His manners were the best.  I asked about his studies and what was expected of him.

Later, Dorrie said that the pilot group was to catch their bus somewhere in Chule Vista and that she would drive him there.  That was okay,  but Brown Field was out of the question.  Itís all back roads, very dark and near the borders.  Michael became a regular visitor during the next very months, and when she had to drive him to the base, I went with her.  Thank God, we never had any trouble, but I didnít want her driving alone.

While all this was going on, I went to work for Mr. Bailey in the Purchasing Dept.  I had to learn something new.  I was used to using a manual typewriter and now I had to learn an electric one.  It was quiet different, but I finally managed it.  The work was entirely different from the library too.  I had to work with all kinds of numbers typewriting purchase orders.  Mr. Bailey was very patient with me.

Then came Thanksgiving. Michael, of course, didnít know what Thanksgiving was all about.  It was not a Germany holiday.  He had the day off and would be here for his first turkey dinner. 

Then came Christmas, and Van was at sea still.  He wouldnít be back until June.  I donít remember about Christmas that year.  What I do remember is that somehow  I received two ticket to a talk show on TV with Bob Dale.  Dorrie and Michael went and somehow they sat in the first row.  Bob Dale made some remark about them holding hands and talked to them.  When he found out that Michael was in pilot training that got Bob Dale going since he also is a pilot.  (I mentioned to their son, Carsten, on one of his many trips and he asked if we got a video of it.  Sorry Carsten, videos were still a dream then).

January arrived, and Michael had to return to Germany.  He wanted Dorrie to go with him and meet his family.  I told him that Dorrie had to finish her first year at San Diego State.   She could probably go over next summer, but he must discuss the matter with his family first.

Life returned to normal after Michael left.  Dorrie and Carl had their school work to worry about and I had to concentrate on my office duties.  I was getting use to the electric typewriter, and I was doing okay. Also had the usual letter writing to Van and now Dorrie to Michael.  Van was over in Asia someplace and would probably be home by June.  The weather was great as usual and I didnít have to hang clothes out to dry.  I told Van that if I did get  a steady job, the first thing I was going to do was to buy a clothes dryer.  And that was what I did and I was glad because we had six weeks of rain off and on.  Good timing! And I was happy with how much time it saved.

Finally in late May, Bob came home for a short leave before going to the Pacific.  We received word that  the New Jersey was coming back to the states soon.  But I would have to drive to Long Beach to meet him. Arranged time off with the boss so when to time came, Dorrie and I  would go an pick him up. When the time for the ship to come home Dorrie and I drove all the way to Long Beach.  When we arrived we were told that the ship had to return because of some mishap. The New Jersey was half way on their way to Hawaii and had to turn back.  No sooner had they returned to where they started, they turned around and  sailed on their way home again.

After that first trip to Long Beach, my right leg went out on me.  It was like it was a log dragging along.  Dorrie drove me to the Naval Hospital and it was about 8:30 when we arrived.  We sat there all morning waiting for the doctor.  She had to go back to class at one, so she left.  I saw to doctor about three, had X-rays etc. and gave me pain pills.  He said he was puzzled, but he would continue checking.  I left the hospital and called Bob to come and pick me up out front of the hospital.  I rested against the archway while I waited.  All of a sudden, I started to feel dizzy, so I went over and sat on the bench.  When someone came to sit by me, they asked if I felt the earthquake.  So it wasnít me that was dizzy, it was an earthquake.  Bob saw me and  we went home.

I took my medication and went to bed, but nothing happened.  The next morning, I decided to stay in bed.  I was worn out.  The phone rang.  It was the doctor and he said he couldnít find out what was causing my problem.  I told him that I took a pill and nothing happened.  He said to take two (Darvons) but not to leave the house.  That did the trick, the pain went away and I could walk again. The next day, Dorrie and I again went to meet the New Jersey arrive to the USA.

Van stayed home for a couple of days and  then he had to return to the New Jersey, she was being decommissioned and going to the Bremerton Navy Yard.  Everyone was sad to see her go.  They loved the duty on that battleship and she did her share of duty in VietNam.  Bob was in VietNam at that time and he visited his dad on the ship.  He no sooner arrived aboard when the ship was sent to the delta or someplace to help the marines.  When the weekend was over, Van had one of the helicopters take Bob back to his base.  So they had an exciting weekend.

When the ship left for Bremerton, most of the personnel were transferred elsewhere.  Van was transferred to the Naval Station at 32nd Street.  That was in June 1969 and Dorrie and I had been trying to get some reservation for Dorrie to fly to Germany.  In the meantime, Michael was finished with his studies and was on leave waiting for word.  Then he decided that instead of waiting in Germany, he flew over and surprised us.  So he was here the day that I had to go and meet Van returning from Long Beach.  He had never met Michael, so we had a long talk on the way home.

Michael had to fly back on Lufthansa, so we had to get Dorrie a ticket on Lufthansa.  It was a little  more expensive than the other flights, but she didnít have to travel alone.  I sure hated to see her go, but I thought it was important that she meet his family and decide if she would like living in Germany and how the family treated her etc. Sometime after Michaelís 21st birthday, they decided to get married.  So Dorrie bought some beautiful white material and made her wedding dress.  She did a beautiful job and the dress was really lovely. She stayed there until February when they had a civil ceremony which Germany requires  and came home for the Church Marriage Ceremony.  I hated to see her leave again, but she and Michael seemed so happy.  She married on her 20th birthday February 23, 1970,  at St. Kieranís Church  here in El Cajon.  After a short honeymoon, they packed all their gear and flew back to Germany.

on board the New Jersey




updated: 26.12.2011