I first went to Germany in the spring of 1989. Jack was a pilot for Pan Am, and he was temporarily assigned to West Berlin. This was before the Wall came down, and nothing I experienced then, comes close to the reunified city now.
This was the Airbus A-300 Jack flew over from New York with a 3 man crew, and me. They showed me how to warm up meals and make coffee and I was able to experience take-off and landing on this flight in the cockpit, as well as see St Elmo’s Fire. There were no passengers on this flight. They had to fill up to the brim with jet fuel in order to make the flight from JFK to Berlin, Tegel Airport.
There we are, at Checkpoint Charlie, when it really was a crossing from West into East Berlin. I went through several times with the US Military (a special privilege they gave to Pan Am families).
Here I am in East Berlin at Alexander Platz. I recall the gardens there were so beautiful. I spent a lot of time walking around East Berlin, and I brought back many wonderful things to remind me of my trip. The items we have used the most over the years are the cotton Decke (comforter type blanket). I love the two I bought, but they are slowly falling to pieces now.
I also learned to love Dackels! Some friends of Jack’s had a wonderful male, Wirehaired Dackel, named Shubi. He spoke no English, and I spoke no German, but it was love at first sight for us both.
In the years to come each time we visited, Shubi was at my feet, in my arms, and in my bed! Oh, I loved that little man!
Years later, during the fall of 1995 Shubi got out of their yard and was hit by a lorry. My first visit back did not feel the same. I mourned the loss of my little friend. I saw how quiet their house was and said, “You know, we should get puppies together!”
And we did! In February of 1996, we brought home a three-month-old female Wirehaired Dackel, that we named Shubi. Our friends got her brother and named him Toni!
She was the best souvenir that I ever got!