60 Years Ago Today

Tuesday, 12 August 1952:

In the morning I had jam and a roll for breakfast in the room as we got an early start for Heidelberg. Nevertheless, I succumbed to some delicious rolls in the bakery down the street. I was saving them for my 10 a.m. hunger pangs. I was privileged to sit in the front seat today.

Flowers from our program at Nuremberg were stuck in the window to adorn our bus.
There was a baseball game just before we came into Heidelberg. It was next to the big airfield that had lots of new planes. We made good time today and arrived about noon. No one seemed to know where our hotel was so we found American Express first. As Nelda and Carol met a friend from the boat I checked for mail just for kicks. No luck, no letters for me today!

All the kids were kind of scattered by the time we were ready to go to the hotel. A young pretty German girl came to guide us to our hotel. She stopped at Bahnhof to see if someone else could take us but no one was there. So she took us to our room across the river to Hotel Evangelisches Studentenheim. It was kind of a student dormitory that looked like it used to be someone’s home. Our nice clean room had a bookcase, straw tick, sheet blanket, comforter, and running cold water.

Elder Cummings and Elder Jensen Fillmore met us in a snack bar across the river and off the square for lunch. I ate stuffed peppers, salad, cottage cheese and pineapple, plus banana royal for dessert. We had spent almost all of the script we had left. L.O. had 10 cents and I had $1.20 left.

We window shopped down to Union Plaza to meet the bus. I met a German fellow, who had been a prisoner of war in El Paso. He had a dress making business in Berlin and was trying to move it to Heidelberg or America.

Dr. Watkins came puffing down. They had forgotten us so he had come back to get us. I mistakenly drank from kein trinkwasser on the way to the funicular, a cable railway. We rode the funicular up to the castle. Another guide met us at the castle gate and gave us a personal tour to catch up.

Heidelberg Castle was beautiful. There was a chapel, a large beer barrel which looked like a great big vat, and more. A flower show was going as well. I discovered many varieties of flowers such as foxtail, cockscombs and unusual flowers that I can’t remember. My guidebook has more information.

Our tour continued to the University of Heidelberg where there were once 18 fraternities. The fraternities were stopped for social reasons before the war, but were starting to resume again. It’ll be a fight to see whether they will stay. We moved onto the university library which has millions of volumes and a collection of troubadour songs.

The university was founded in 1386, refounded in 1803 and a new university building erected in 1926. Today there were 2,500 Americans here who may study through the branch of the University of Maryland. A lecture was being held in the Great Hall, so we couldn’t go in. But, I peeked through a key hole to sneak a quick look.

Since 1711 the university has been hosting concerts, lectures, and celebrations. Four paintings on the ceiling symbolized four areas that the university was founded on: law, medicine, philosophy, and Protestant Theology. Currently there were between 4,000-5,000 enrolled students. We visited what was called the Student Prison where miscreant students were kept before World War I. It had been preserved as it was with pictures the prisoners had painted all over the walls. The ceiling was written on with candle smoke.

Next on the tour was the Holy Ghost Church with high Gothic windows. It was the oldest building in Heidelberg. The church was divided with half for the Catholics and half for the Protestants. Soon after that there was a Hercules statue, story of students with green paint, and Heidelberg City Hall from the 1700’s. Some of the old houses were rebuilt with stones from the castle. Then we observed a place where in 1814, the German writer and artist, Goethe, stayed for a few months when he visited Heidelberg. Interestingly Mrs. Kate Averhohm, our guide, had written a book on philosophy.

The next stop on the tour was the Red Ox Inn, a famous old place, which had signatures carved all over the tables. Old pictures and relics added to the ambiance. They also had photos here of the Student Prison we saw at the University of Heidelberg. Then on to the monument of Robert Bunsen who discovered the bunsen burner and using spectrum analysis. As the tour came to an end we left our guide at American Express. She had been one of our best guides.

Finally, our bus hurried back to Studenttenheim for a quick freshen up before practice. We were scheduled to leave for practice at 5:45 p.m. Several kids such as Pat and Hermine were late, but there were no charges today. I guess we’re not charging for being late anymore. Yea!

At the Amerika Haus there was a big recreation room so we moved the piano down from the stage and set up seats on one end just like the bus for dress rehearsal. Girls were in capris, hats and bags. Dr. Rogers and Mrs. Hansen gave the prayer, Betty Page was the emcee. Then came the practice numbers. We sang Home on the Range followed by Guten Abend, Gut Nacht, as a septet.

There were song and dance numbers for Paris, Italy, song and dance numbers by Joyce. Mrs. Rogers did the Switzerland piece and Bev followed with a Salzburg Bavarian dance. Followed by Dr. Watkins and the chorus. It was a small crowd but they seemed to enjoy it. We sure had fun doing it.

Some of the people took us to the snack bar after and treated us to hamburgers and malts. We walked home with a serviceman from Payson who had been on a mission in Mexico. There was a beautiful half moon over the edge of the mountains with the Neckar River below. O’ Heidelberg you were really a beautiful sight at night.

Irene had the key to the room, so Alene, Carol and Lucy were locked out of their room. So we had a party in our room until Irene came home about 1 a.m. just as I was turning out the lights and putting my head on my pillow. I gazed at the beautiful moon shining through my window as I fell asleep.


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