“Travels to a Different Time” : August 12, 1971: My 15th Birthday in Three Countries and The Communists Throw My Passport In My Face: “Kennedy” is Not Appreciated in the DDR! A Birthday Present of Memories!

We woke up today in our hunting lodge in the Black Forest and Fritz was in bad shape with a runny ear and a bad headache. We have been disease free in Yugoslavia for two months and we come to Germany and Fritz and Mom are sick! Have we imported a Yugoslavian plague?

We went to Albert the Farmer’s for a breakfast of ham and eggs. The German’s know how to get to my stomach! We returned to the hunting lodge and the two invalids and I went for a walk in the forest which was beautiful. After our walk into the speeding bullet Alfa Romero through the Black Forest and up in the mountains of Switzerland to Basel. We checked into the Continental Hotel which was very nice with HOT SHOWERS and for $11! We bought two train tickets to West Berlin. Fritz said good-bye after that. We loaded up on provisions for our trip to Berlin and I had a can of cold ravioli and a litre of gorgeous cold milk for lunch. After dinner we had a surprise visitor Fritz! He stayed for 15 minutes and we said good-bye to him again. Early to bed at 9:15.

August 12, 1971: Up at 3:00 a.m. for our Berlin Trip!

Our train departed at 4:30 a.m.so we went downstairs to check out and our breakfast had been prepared to our surprise by the night clerk. We gobbled down our breakfast and the porter called a taxi and after our tip to the porter we had 10 Swiss Francs left. Call it cutting it close we arrived at the train station with the meter at 8 francs! Mom was sick as a dog and we stumbled into a car with a sign saying “Berlin”. We transferred into another train at Frankfurt and we hit the East German border and there were guards with ladders, mirrors, snarling dogs and machine guns to greet us. An East German soldier checked my passport and saw my middle name as Kennedy and he snarled in German and threw the passport in my face saying in German “fucking Kennedy”. It was President Kennedy who ordered an airlift to West Berlin in the 1960’s when the Russians had blockaded West Berlin. President Kennedy spoke in West Berlin saying “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” which means I am a Berliner. The communists hate him for that. By the way I am named after my godfather Kennedy Jones who was a Minister of Finance in Nova Scotia. That East German border guard got it all wrong. Pardon me but I felt like saying fuck you to that piece of shit guard but at 15 I have enough experience to hold back. How many 15-year old’s in Canada have been through such an experience?

We arrived in West Berlin and met our friend Dr. Boden who was so very happy to see us as we were happy to see her! She is an incredible and kind person who speaks an impeccable and “kind” English. She had a beautiful flat and we talked and talked like dear friends. We met her boyfriend Michael a West German diplomat and he took us out for a delicious meal of Chinese food. My goodness hot food I love and not swimming in Yugoslavian grease. He took us to the Berlin Wall at night which is something I will never ever forget. Floodlights in East Germany with soldiers and dogs patrolling. Michael said they don’t even trust the border guards in East Germany as many are killed trying to escape into West Berlin. Heidi stayed the night with Michael so we had her flat to ourselves.  I am in another strange world and I dream of the Berlin Wall and its guards, dogs, machine guns and an incredible sense of the evil of communism. Happy 15th birthday. No chocolate cake but memories that will be a gift for years to come.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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