Currents Winter 2018; Vol. 34, No. 1 - Page 15

Currents, Winter 2018 Time to Reset New BEGINNING—1955 Excerpts from a letter written in 1991 on the occasion of AWCH 35th Anniversary. Things have changed, but many feelings of “reset” and a new beginning stay the same . . . All your activities, and the ease of living in elegant Hamburg as it is today be- stirred memories of my first introduction. ... Hamburg was a third world, early post-war nation when we arrived in May, 1954. ... There were no super markets, no canned goods at all, no cereal, no frozen goods, and later, I discovered, no baby foods, nor Pyrex baby bottles. Shopping meant vis its to indi- vidual shops-—the butcher had nothing cut; meat hung on hooks, and the German ladies asked for certain cuts. ... I learned numbers and Pfund quickly and went with my American cookbook drawings of beef, pork, lamb, and pointed to the part I wanted! I loved the market twice weekly where an American woman noticed my American shoes, and we struck up a friendship. My first drive down the lake for Sunday dinner left one strong impression. Not only were there crowds walking in num- bers, but there was not one color other than grey, black, or some brown outerwear in the rain. It was a dull scene-—and there I was with a bright red raincoat, and the children had red slickers. No way would we blend in--even if it’d been some shade of blue. Incidentally, my flight over was 17 hours on a pre-jet with a stopover in Prestwick. For forty dollars--a goodly sum then- -on top of our SAS first class fare, we had double bunks made up at night. ... We were in the final days of Allied occupation, and Ham- burg was in the British zone. The only English language school was the British Armed Forces (BAF) School, so the children got a bus at the corner with a Tommy to help them on and off. Their BAF script was the only entry to the one English language movie in town in Gänsemarkt. ... Traffic them meant empty streets. Our new model green Dodge was shipped over, and whenever I came out of a store, it was always surrounded by Germans checking it out, peering in at the dashboard, etc. I could drive down to Jungfernstieg, park directly in front of the Alsterhaus, shop for whatever time needed--and I needed time, as not one salesclerk spoke English- -with no problem. Before I weary you with old tales that your club booklet and my visit opened up, I must come to the founding of the AWC. ... Joan thought help was needed for the American business women, who were floating in a strange, backward, difficult world alone. She culled the consulate files for any and every American women’s name ... and look what you’ve become—and what Hamburg has be- come!!! Never forget Joan Fox—-she started it all, bless her! Photos: Stockholm Transport Museum - Flickr (Wikimedia Commons) Hamburg Germany 1950 - 1956 www.awchamburg.org 15