I was born in New Orleans, La. I joined the Army in 1977. I arrived in Heidelberg, Germany in 1979 as a single parent with two small daughters. After many tours in Germany during the Cold War, I retired here after 22 years in the Army. As a Permanently Disabled Veteran, I enjoy writing about my experiences, adventures, and meeting new people. A big plus for me is learning about different cultures while traveling. I kept a journal and have written several hundred stories and articles over the past 25 years. ChapterBuzz has encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and start my first book. "Sounds interesting!"
Chapter 1 - Basic Training
Committing my first act of defiance in the US Army
joined the Army in July 1977 and received basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. I was assigned to an all-female unit and was amazed at the diverse group of women of all shapes and sizes from all parts of the country and from all walks of life living together in this new environment. I was a scared 98-pound weakling and soaking wet in my uniform.
We were housed in red-brick barracks furnished with old gray metal bunk beds. Each of us received clean linen, a small pillow, and scratchy woo...
Attack of the Gumbo Shrimp
hroughout my Army career, men always outnumbered me in my professional specialty of military intelligence. My job often had its ups and downs, and presented me with many challenge. But I gained the respect of the men after showing them in no uncertain terms that I could always hold my own. Here's one wonderful true story about working with the opposite sex that always puts a smile on my face.
When I retired after 22 years of service, I wanted to continue working in security and intelligence. I was...
MY DEPLOYMENT TO BOSNIA
A Hangover in Tuzla, Bosnia, Worth Mentioning
OOOOOOONNNNNNKKK!" blared the warning from the horn of a gigantic ship bearing down on me. Terrified in my fragile rubber raft, I started to row like hell to get out of its way. Sweat rolled down my face despite the frigid temperatures. On instinct, I squeezed my eyes tighter and braced my ears for another irritating blast that would further piss me off.
Sensing a lull in the deafening noise, I eased one eyelid open with caution to assess this horrific situation. To my surprise, there was no ship...
A Mardi Gras to Remember with my Sister Rose
everal years ago, I took a flight from Germany to visit my sister Rose in New Orleans for the annual Mardi Gras, a cultural and traditional celebration in Louisiana and other parts of the South. I was relieved when the plane touched down at Louis Armstrong Airport. Although the 9-hour flight had made me tired, all I wanted to do after seeing my sister was hit the sack.
As the jet taxied down the runway, an unbearable heat swept through the cabin in seconds. I felt as if I was trapped in a sauna in...
THREE AMERICAN ANGELS IN GERMANY
ll too often, many of us tend to judge people of other races based on the color of their skin, stereotypical ideas, or past unpleasant encounters. Negative information we receive from family and friends or the often biased media also plays a role in shaping our image of others.
Given the current volatile and troubling racial climate in the United States, I believe many of us have become even more suspicious and wary of other races. We often look at the color of a person’s skin to judge who t...
A Public Service at Penny Mart
ne day, I went to Penny Markt, one of my favorite stores in my town. I love shopping there. It’s always so peaceful and clean, and the veggies, fruits, and meats are the freshest. A plus for shopping at this store is that every week, it offers unique little surprises for sale. I always look forward to the handy nick-nacks and practical gadgets for my house, car or garden.
After parking, I got my cart and went inside to do my shopping. As soon as I stepped through the doors, a racket startled...
CHAPTER 2 - Notes of enlisting in the US Army
Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina
EACH CHALLENGE STRENGTHENED ME
I found a picture of my Basic Training unit on the internet!!! How cool is that?
I joined the Army to escape from a violent, abusive ex-husband. I had to sign my two kids over to a guardian while I completed basic training. That was an extremely difficult decision. I knew I had to do something to make a better life for my kids and me. I didn’t know what to expect at Basic Training. I soon realized that I was stronger than I ever thou...
A Freak Accident Worth Mentioning
here is no doubt in my mind that God has a sharp sense of humor. Throughout my life, He has thrown me into situations from which not many humans could survive. But I must admit that where ever I am, the situation always generates a story for me to write about—case in point.
I went shopping the other day. After paying for my stuff, I put everything in my shopping cart and rolled it out to the parking lot to my car. I positioned the cart right behind my trunk before unlocking i...
MY EX-HUSBAND WAS A VIOLENT DOMESTIC ABUSER
Saving my children and myself
OINING THE ARMY SAVED ME FROM A VIOLENT DOMESTIC ABUSER
My ex-husband was a physical and emotional abuser. He would beat me coming and going for nothing at all. He had a nasty temper, and anything would set him off. He punched me in my mouth one time while lying on our sofa and broke one of my bottom teeth. Then he stood over me and watched me cry as I covered my mouth. Then for some reason, he started crying too and told me he was sorry. I ignored him, turned away from him and continue...
A UNIQUE GIFT FROM A POOR BOSNIAN WOMAN
It wasn't offensive. It was a gift.
When I retired from the Army in Vilseck, Germany, I found a job working for City Colleges of Chicago. This job required that I deploy to Sarajevo, Bosnia to work in the CCC Education Center. I jumped at this chance to travel to another county. While there, I had several incredible experiences and was fortunate enough to meet many amazing people. To this day, I have never regretted my decision.
When I arrived in Sarajevo, Bosnia, I was assigned to a US military base called Camp Eagle near Tuz...
FORT BENJAMIN HARRISON, INDIANA
Bye Morse Code! Hello Army Stenographer!
I had an advantage. I had taken the Gregg Shorthand Course before I joined the Army, so I knew this would be an easy course for me to complete. But one major thing interrupted my training. My ex-husband had abducted my kids after I was given full custody during my divorce....
FORT POLK, LOUISIANA
Snakes, mosquitoes, heat and I never got along.
I am from New Orleans, Louisiana. Fort Polk was in the western part of the state. I had never traveled to that area so Fort Polk and its surrounding community of run-down trailer parks was not my cup of tea. I felt like I had been assigned to a foreign third-world country......
An Army stenographer for a 4-star general.
The staff, my arrival in the dead of winter in November 1979, Santa Claus gave me a lift from the commissary, my very first volksmarch, DAS BOOT/THE BOAT, first trip to the Netherlands, second trip to the Netherlands, trip to Camp Ederle, Italy, flying on the general's plane, the pilots, the official parties, remembering COLONEL BERRY, REMEMBERING GENERAL FREDERICK J. KROESEN....
TENDING TO SOMEONE ELSE'S NEEDS
t was Monday morning, about 8:15. As usual, I was running late for work. Despite this, I stopped at a neighborhood store to get some juices and snacks for my day. This impromptu detour left me with an unforgettable memory of a stranger in need. I will always cherish this heartwarming experience.
After parking, I headed towards the store. An elderly couple standing near the entrance door caught my eye. It seemed odd to me that they were there by themselves at that time of the morning. I got the imp...
Serving Under the V Corps EO Office False Flag
Was I in Germany or the Backwoods of Mississippi?
PART 1 - GRADUATION FROM THE DEFENSE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE
I graduated from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) at Patrick Air Force Base, Cocoa Beach, Florida, in the top 10
percent of my class. The intense training at DEOMI in human relations, equal opportunity, and diversity tested me in ways I never thought possible. It reshaped and molded me into a teacher, a mentor, a psychiatrist, a mediator, and more of a leader than...
HER NAME WAS MARIA
Remembering my Landlady in Germany
HER NAME WAS FRAU MARIA RINDER
In 1991, I was in the Army assigned to the 527th Military Intelligence Battalion in Kaiserslautern, Germany. I lived in Wielerbach, a small village 7 kilometers (about 5 miles) northeast of Kaiserslautern. Weilerbach was a convenient 20-minute commute from my unit on Vogelweh Kaserne.
Maria was my landlady. She and her husband, Gerhardt, owned the beautiful two-story home in Weilerbach. I rented the downstairs apartment on one side of thei...
Chapter 42 Dealing with the Neighborhood Bully
Learning a Lesson in Compassion
ometimes God takes us through a learning process. I believe He uses us to teach us a lesson or to teach others a lesson. I remember learning about compassion and what it meant. The lesson I learned changed my life, and I was never the same.
I grew up in The Big Easy, another moniker for New Orleans. I was around 8 or 9 years old. The time was the mid-50s in mid-June in New Orleans, a city known for hot, sultry summers with brutal humidity. I was used to the stifling summer temperatures, which seld...