Friday, June 4, 2010

0 Freelance Friday: Travels with Vivi, Back and Forth Across the Pacific

We last left off with Vivi and George's wedding and the birth of their first daughter, Kerstin...

In 1949, George brought his new family back to the US, only to be shipped out immediately to Okinawa. Since the Korean War was going on, families were not allowed to follow. Vivi took the opportunity to book a passage to Germany, where she was reunited with her mother and sister and introduced them to her new daughter. Vivi’s 19 year-old brother had been killed on the Eastern front, and her step-father had not survived the war years in Germany.

Finally, the Korean War ended and families were allowed to follow to Okinawa in 1951. After returning to the US, crossing the American continent in a train and booking a passage across the Pacific, the family was finally reunited. Here, the adventures continued, with numerous almost fatal outings on a de-commissioned PT boat, which George had acquired in the mean time, strandings on coral reefs, confrontations with pirates, and general post-war chaos. A year later, her son Jan was born.

When orders came return to the US, George decided to sail his little family across the Pacific in the unreliable PT boat, but Vivi summarily refused and thus saved her family’s life. Back in the US, the family drove across the States the long way to get to the new assignment in Alabama; camping illegally in a reservation, running out of water the desert, and almost getting washed out to sea on a Florida beach.

In Alabama, the family lived in a one-room hovel with gun-toting young boys next door, threatening to shoot us for fun. Soon, George's unit was sent to Germany and while waiting to follow, Vivi moved her family out of the dangerous Alabama neighborhood into a relatively safe trailer park in New Jersey, living in a tiny Air Stream trailer. From here, Vivi undertook twice weekly trips into New York with her infant son on her arm to take her daughter to ballet lessons. These all-day trips involved several busses, subways and were a testimony to Vivi’s concern for her daughter’s education. With the beginning of winter, the quality of life in the unheated trailer began to deteriorate and all were suffering from colds and flu.  

Since no military order to follow to Germany was to be expected anytime soon, Vivi decided to take matters into her own hands and went to book a passage to Germany on her own. Since there was not a lot of money available, she met with the agent and booked a bunk for single passage. When that had been confirmed, she charmed the agent to let her take her little daughter along for the same price. When that had been ok’d, she admitted to having a very, very small additional child she needed to take this point the agent threw up his hands and said “Just go!”

Next up, Vivi and George are reunited in Germany...

This is the fourth installment from guest blogger (and Katrina's mom) Kerstin Potter.

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