The following story was written by “Uncle Wes” Peterson. Wes provided a key role in our bike tour this last summer by ferrying our vehicle to our desination and meeting us with a smile! Thanks for the help and the memories…
The year was 1954. I was a member of the Allied occupation forces during the last year of the occupation following World War II. Knowing that some of my ancestors had lived in Germany made it seem even better. Things were a bit drab as the German people were only ten years into the reconstruction following World War II.
I was stationed at what was called the Fifth General Dispensary in the southern part of the city of Munich. This was a clinic staffed by a number of military physicians backed up by several German physicians. It provided outpatient medical needs for the headquarters staff of the Southern Area Command as well as several thousand American dependents of the military staff throughout the greater Munich area. I enjoyed my work.
Many of the GI’s spent their off duty hours in beer halls. My roommate and I bought a new three speed bike imported from England. I rode it far more than he did. The freedom of travel my bike allowed me to explore the city of Munich and the surrounding area during my time off.
Some days would find me dressed in civilian clothing as I rode out into the country countryside. I would often find a farm family making hay. I would pick up a hay fork and begin helping them heap the freshly cut grass onto a temporary fence so it could cure into hay. It would have rotted had it remained on the ground. Soon a couple of the older men would come over to speak to me. Finding that I spoke only English, they would call one of the young boys who had learned English in school. He would translate for us. The workers were astonished to find an American GI who was interested in them. Soon one of the younger ones would be sent to the farmhouse, obviously to tell the women that there would be a guest for the noon meal. And what a meal it always was!