Faye C. Abrell
Faye Abrell was born in Freedom, IN where she completed her elementary and secondary education. Faye attended Indiana University where she earned both her BS and MS in Education. She was an elementary teacher in Bloomington when her superintendent invited her to be interviewed for a position in the new schools opening overseas in the fall of 1946. She was hesitant at first, but when selected over many applicants, never regretted the decision to go.
When she learned another Indiana selectee had orders, and she did not, she called and learned her orders had been sent to Bloomington, IL. Faye was told to go to New York without them. Paperwork was straightened out in NY, but her group was delayed due to a NY boat strike. At last underway, they caught up with the teachers who had departed earlier in Frankfurt, Germany.
“Arriving by train from Bremerhaven, the damage in Frankfurt was unbelievable. The first teachers’ meeting was aboard Hitler’s yacht on a Rhine River trip. I was assigned to the Frankfurt Headquarters Command and was provided an apartment in a building that was only half-standing; the other half had been bombed and was rubble. The old school building across the street was where I taught fourth grade.
The principal soon decided to leave, so I became the temporary principal. I was asked to remain in that capacity, but declined, preferring to return to my classroom. A new principal was soon assigned.
A German teacher came to class daily to teach the language to the students, who picked it up quickly. Field trips allowed the students to see such things as a fort dating from 400 AD, and to have an exchange visit with a German school. It was the coldest winter for 50 years and we wore field coats to keep us warm while teaching.
I had the opportunity to travel to most courtries in Europe which, later, I could not have afforded to do.
That first year it was easier to meet German people if you had letters of introduction. I had one from IU friends and got to know Dr. Beutler, curator of the Goethe Museum, and family. I saw some artifacts they had that had been stored in caves. I was able to renew my acquaintance with the family when I returned to visit Germany in 1967, and saw a Germany remarkably rebuilt.
I decided to return home on the latest departing ship in August 1947, but my experiences that year were valuable in my following teaching years.”
After her year in Frankfurt, Faye returned to Bloomington to teach at both Hunter Elementary and Rogers Elementary schools. Upon her retirement she volunteered in the health program in those schools for several years. Faye is currently living at the Meadowood Health Pavilion in Bloomington, and in her 80’s still attends water exercise classes at the Y.
The paver honoring Faye and the other early educators can be viewed by returning to the alpha roster and highlighting The Magnificent Seven.
Prepared by Faye C. Abrell and Ann Bamberger,2001