Readability

History Flips

by baldilocks

Many of my long-​term and clos­est friends are fel­low USAF vet­er­ans who were sta­tioned with me in West Berlin. I can nei­ther con­firm nor deny what we did for a liv­ing while there, but we had to sign paper­work say­ing that we would not reveal the sub­stance of what we did. The con­tract had a spec­i­fied time period: ten years.

Well, the end of that ten years can’t even be seen in my rear-​view mir­ror, but I wouldn’t dream of bor­ing you to death with the par­tic­u­lars of my old life; other top­ics, yes — as you have already dis­cov­ered — but not that one. I’d be bor­ing myself.

At any rate, before the 1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall, no US mil­i­tary per­son­nel could visit the USSR or any War­saw Pact nation with­out per­mis­sion. So we were always so curi­ous about the coun­tries. We knew that most of it was a feces-​hole, but we only got glimpses of just how bad it was when we’d go on East Berlin shop­ping trips. Con­di­tions for that: everyone’s name on a list to be pro­vided to the East Ger­man Author­i­ties days before the trip; every­one had to be in class B uni­form, no less than 20 on a given trip. I still have a few of the trin­kets I bought and even an East­mark or two lying around. This describes things accu­rately.

The con­trast to the West was strik­ing. There were hardly any peo­ple walk­ing around. Almost no cars on the streets, cer­tainly none like our VW cabri­o­let. We drove around, stop­ping to look at var­i­ous sites. You dad was con­vinced we were fol­lowed every­where. We were only allowed into cer­tain shops, and not many at that. The shops mainly sold gifts; chess­boards with hand carved pieces, Russ­ian dolls, that sort of thing. Peo­ple weren’t gen­er­ally talk­a­tive, but some­one said that most of the ‘gifts’ were made by Russ­ian pris­on­ers in the gulags.”

The point is that there is a huge slab of Europe that, because of the Cold War, sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of GIs never got to see.

So, today, some of my friends and I were talk­ing about going back to Berlin for visit and going to visit all those coun­tries which in our youth, were for­bid­den ter­ri­tory; many of our other friends have done this already.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_80745” align=“alignright” width=“300”]GERefugee Deutsche Welle says that ‘appar­ent neo-​Nazis’ cre­ated this graphic of present and planned refugee homes…which doesn’t answer whether it’s accu­rate or not.[/caption]

My con­tri­bu­tion to the con­ver­sa­tion was that we need to get it done before the Ger­mans adopt Sharia.

Would that be some­thing? The EU breaks up; the west­ern part becomes a Sharia super-​state; Rus­sia and the major­ity of the for­mer War­saw Pact nations become the new Allies, bea­cons of free­dom and capitalism…

Stranger things have hap­pened and are prob­a­bly occur­ring at this moment.

UPDATE: Thanks, Sarah. Great minds.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2012. Her sec­ond novel, ten­ta­tively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Fol­low her on Twit­ter.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Journalism — -»»baldilocks

by baldilocks

Many of my long-term and closest friends are fellow USAF veterans who were stationed with me in West Berlin. I can neither confirm nor deny what we did for a living while there, but we had to sign paperwork saying that we would not reveal the substance of what we did. The contract had a specified time period: ten years.

Well, the end of that ten years can’t even be seen in my rear-view mirror, but I wouldn’t dream of boring you to death with the particulars of my old life; other topics, yes—as you have already discovered—but not that one. I’d be boring myself.

At any rate, before the 1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall, no US military personnel could visit the USSR or any Warsaw Pact nation without permission. So we were always so curious about the countries. We knew that most of it was a feces-hole, but we only got glimpses of just how bad it was when we’d go on East Berlin shopping trips. Conditions for that: everyone’s name on a list to be provided to the East German Authorities days before the trip; everyone had to be in class B uniform, no less than 20 on a given trip. I still have a few of the trinkets I bought and even an Eastmark or two lying around. This describes things accurately.

 The contrast to the West was striking. There were hardly any people walking around. Almost no cars on the streets, certainly none like our VW cabriolet. We drove around, stopping to look at various sites. You dad was convinced we were followed everywhere. We were only allowed into certain shops, and not many at that. The shops mainly sold gifts; chessboards with hand carved pieces, Russian dolls, that sort of thing. People weren’t generally talkative, but someone said that most of the ‘gifts’ were made by Russian prisoners in the gulags.”  

The point is that there is a huge slab of Europe that, because of the Cold War, several generations of GIs never got to see.

So, today, some of my friends and I were talking about going back to Berlin for visit and going to visit all those countries which in our youth, were forbidden territory; many of our other friends have done this already.

GERefugee
Deutsche Welle says that ‘apparent neo-Nazis’ created this graphic of present and planned refugee homes…which doesn’t answer whether it’s accurate or not.

My contribution to the conversation was that we need to get it done before the Germans adopt Sharia.

Would that be something? The EU breaks up; the western part becomes a Sharia super-state; Russia and the majority of the former Warsaw Pact nations become the new Allies, beacons of freedom and capitalism…

Stranger things have happened and are probably occurring at this moment.

UPDATE: Thanks, Sarah. Great minds.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>baldilocks