Saturday, June 17, 2006

The World Cup Brings Back Many Memories

I was blogging about this on Atrios, earlier. I was in Germany in '66 when Germany and England met in the final. I was stationed in Zweibrucken, not far from Kaiserslautern, scene of today's pivotal match between Italy and USA. The game is still on, as I am writing this, but on in another room. C'est la vie...

The might of Annheuser-Busch prevailed in forcing Budweiser to be sold in German stadia hosting the World Cup Games. This is worse than "coals to Newcastle" (or "foals to Newmarket" either); this is more akin to accepting small-pox laden blankets.

Annheuser-Busch Budweiser is swill. It is brewed with as much corn and rice as hops and barley. I was and am surprised that the Germans did not invoke the reinheitsgebot to quarantine the shit, and then pour it into the harbor at Rotterdam.

Just about every town of ANY size had its own beer, subtly (or enthusiastically) different from its neighbors. When i was stationed in Germany (Apr, 65-Nov, 67), I sampled as wide a variety of them as I at the time considered humanly possible. In Zweibrucken, where i was stationed, we drank Parkbrau. Wherever I traveled in Germany, when I saw an unfamiliar brew, I always ordered it.

Most GIs never ventured far off-base, but I was incorrigible. Any time i was off-duty, I was gone!

I'd hadda hang around the base or get off either by bus, or foot or with guys with more rank or seniority for about 4 months before I made enough rank to be permitted to own a car. After that, i was seldom scene...

This was 1965. I bought a '56 Opel Rekord 4-door convertible. It had begun its career as a yellow car, but by the time i bought it (for $300, from a guy returning stateside), the paint was faded nearly to parchment. It had red leather seats and a 4 speed on the column; displaced maybe 1300 cc, iirc; was heavy: it topped out at about 110 kph. The 'convertible' was really a sunroof that ran between tracks the length of the passenger compartment and collapsed against the trunk.It was a for-real panty-dropper around the schwimm-bad in the summertime.

Because of the status of forces agreements put into place during the occupation (which, in 1965, was still the dominant motif), my New Mexico driver's license was also valid in Germany. In Germany at that time (and still), getting a license is not so easy as in Espanola, NM. They were required to attend a long, expensive driver's training course and it cost about DM 1,000...That was a lot of money still in germany in those days.

And my pay, even as early as when Iarrived there, an e-2, was equivalent to what a lot of German workers earned who had far better educations and more skills than I then had. So i had a driver's license and a cool car, and the German guys, with whom I was competing for the attention of these lovely girls, were, at best, riding small motor bikes. And most were afoot or dependent on civic transportation, which was excellent (and for good reason considering the barriers there were to their obtaining licenses and cars) but not very condusive of more carnal intimacies.

I also was ardently trying to learn German, and the girls JUS' LUVVED that.

So there I was: young, American (PX/Commissary privileges), with money, a car, and an ear for the language...

Life's so damn unfair, sometimes...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your memories. It brought some of mine back like first driver's license was gotten in Espanola in 1952 at fourteen in my dad's truck (climbed a few mountains in that),(those were the days), being all over Germany in 1965-1966, Rackety Renault I bought in Paris, German beer, and the sad, terrible, wonderful sixties from which the country should have learned something.