We are in week 5 of strep, colds & viruses at my house. There has been someone home sick keeping me company for weeks. As much as I love my family, I’m going a little stir crazy. Thankfully my husband is not currently deployed, and he is just as ready to get down & dirty with the kids as with the troops. Sunday I escaped for a little bit with my neighbor.
Our mini-roadtrip took us through Böblingen, where Mercedes has its headquarters (and an amazing car museum). I actually love it there, it is close to where our hotel-home was and I spent a lot of time wandering the streets when we first got here. I was a little surprised when she blurted it out “it’s so ugly, I don’t like it.”
I tried to see Böblingen through her eyes, and it is “newer” than most of the towns closer to us. But not new as in in modern and steel and glass. Rather it is the new of 40-50 years ago. She confirmed my suspicion and babbled on, “it was bombed in the war, Pforzheim too. That is why Pforzheim is so ugly. They had to rebuild and they rebuilt in the 60’s.”
My neighbor is a good 10 years younger than me, but the war (WWII) still has a hold. Sometimes I forget that we were on the other side, that we are a foreign troop stationed in her country. Sometimes it feels awkward. I stammered something about “Americans”, and she suddenly realized this as well and loudly exclaimed (my neighbor is as loud as her beautiful red hair); “thank God for the Americans!” It is rare that we are thanked. It is rare for Dave to be thanked, it is even rarer that the soldiers family get to be thanked.
It is very rare I hear positive comments from my family about the US military. Mostly I nod my head and smile, I’m not big on politics or arguing, but inside it does hurt my feelings. When my Oma could still talk, and she could still talk when I first married Dave, she too was grateful for the Americans and the freedoms they brought back to Europe. My Oma still talks to me, with her eyes, with her face, her hands, even her words and I do understand the meaning behind it all. But real conversation is not possible anymore and sometimes, I really, really miss her though she is still here.