The time was around February 1977. I had been in Germany for about 6 months then. I was living in an overcrowded Kaserne room with 5 or so roommates. I hated it. I played Army all day only to go "home" that evening and still be surrounded by the Army. The weekends were even worse. No money to go much anywhere (Most of my paycheck went back to the states.) I have notes saying that I would do most anything my team leader, Alan Huber, asked of me, but every time he asked, I grumbled that I wanted out of the Kaserne in the worst way.
Alan made it happen.
Alan dragged me kicking and screaming from C-Company and into the newly-commissioned "TAC-CP" platoon over in Headquarters Company. What Alan didn't tell me was that Headquarters Company didn't have space in their building for a new platoon. The powers-that-be told me that I could move out of the Kaserne if I could find an apartment quick enough.
With the help of a "short" troop who's name escapes me, I was able to find an apartment over at 80 Liederbacher Strasse. It was a SMALL two room apartment in an apartment block of 4 rental apartments surrounding a courtyard. The owner/land baron/slum lord, Mr Fuchs, lived in the 5th apartment with his wife and daughter.
80 Liederbacher Strasse was a leisurely 20 minute walk from the Kaserne. A highlight of the walk was traveling through a beautiful German "GartenPlatz". A GartenPlatz is a collection of small plots that German families would use as a sort of flower area or backyard or place for growing vegetables. I have many fond memories of walking home from work and meandering through the GartenPlatz. Each step taking my body and my mind away from the Army and toward the wonder that this snot-nosed New Mexico hippy was living in Germany.
The place was admittedly a dump. It had two rooms with the smaller room being the toilet. The larger room was about 12' x 12' or whatever the equivalent is in meters or hectares or whatever distance measurement scale is currently in style. Tiny, tiny, tiny. But it was MY room.
There was an apartment above me and two other apartments upstairs across the courtyard. I didn't get to know the people above me but a friend, LB, moved into one of the apartments across the courtyard shortly after I moved in. (Interesting coincidence, I recently came into email contact with one of the people that rented the apartment next to L.B.'s apartment, only a few years later.).
So, what was this little slice of Heaven going to cost me? According to my notes, rent was $150.00/month and around $10.00/month for electricity. Also a $150.00 deposit was required. Cheap until you realize that I was making $330.10 a month at that time. Hmm. was it worth 1/2 of my pay to keep my sanity?
So I moved in and let Alan know. He then worked the paperwork to start the extra pay I would receive for living off-post. It took 3 months of scraping before the Army got around to adding the extra money to my paycheck. Funny thing was that it only took a single month to stop sending that extra money when I moved back into the Kaserne shortly before going back to the states.
Somewhere around July of 1977 found me moving out of the "Old Apartment" and into the "New Apartment". I have to admit that I enjoyed the new apartment much more than this old apartment. However, this old apartment will always be remembered as the location of my first step into the culture of another country and the place where I met and became friends with two wonderful German nationals, Christine and Doris.