Espinoza, Marie, O.: Morocco: 1954 – 1955

Memories of Elite First Decade DODDS Teachers”

When I was in college at New Mexico Highlands University, I’d hear “Far Away Places” and in my heart I knew that song contained a secret message for me. So I started pursuing my goal of “traveling in far-away places!” I think it meant Europe.

In 1954, by then a college grad and teacher in Albuquerque, I applied for a job as a DODDS teacher through Washington, D.C. from an article in the newspaper. Beautiful French Morocco, near Casablanca, was my first assignment. Aside from the washing machines in the BOQ’s and colorful Arabs everywhere I turned on base, it was very much like Albuquerque – warm weather, golden sunshine, and cactus plants.

Socially, I quickly graduated from airmen to officers. My social life was tremendous, and I had so much fun!

Salina Hantelmann, the only one with a car upon arrival, used to drive us around base and to historical sites in the country of Morocco. Emma Gilmetti, Betty Daughtridge, and Cathy (Butto) Weir were my co-workers and my traveling companions.

At school, the kids were super. I taught them commercial subjects with an assortment of antiquated equipment, but we managed.

For our Christmas vacation to Madrid, Spain, my friend, Eva, and I missed our flight the day before. So, Bob Weir drove us to the airport at six o’clock next morning! After our return, Eva found a picture of a medal in a magazine and we made a card with it to present to Bob for “services above and beyond the call of duty!”

That year I was so involved in TRAVELING within Morocco and to Europe that I did not have time to go to the States that summer.

In the fall of 1955, I was a teacher in the choice spot of Wiesbaden, Germany! My travels and my social life continued to improve further, and life was absolutely the greatest!

Because I joined the glorious program of DODDS in 1954, I attained the distinction of being a member of the ELITE FIRST DECADE DODDS TEACHERS!

Copyright 2004 American Overseas Schools Historical Society