Jones, John Paul, PhD: Kaiserslautern High School, Germany: 1970’s

I Understood

While we were stationed at Ramstein AFB, and I was attending Kaiserslautern American High School, I was recommended by my teachers for a tutoring job at Landstuhl Hospital. The patient (student?), was a young boy, about middle-school age, however his curriculum was definitely high school. I taught him algebra, geometry, US History, US Government, German and Spanish, Chemistry (minus the lab) and English (I provided books and we discussed them). I met three times a week. He had a badly broken femur and some internal injuries; his older brother and father were also there but were hurt much worse. At $20 a session this was some serious scratch back in the early/mid ‘70’s. I learned that they had been forced off the “road” in Afghanistan to fall off a cliff. Now being a curious type, a trait I’ve never been able to divest myself of, I asked the boy one day during lessons what they were doing in Afghanistan in the first place (this was long before 2001, or even Russia’s debacle. He was evasive and uncomfortable in his answers so I dropped it. The next time I went in, I was met with two tall men in identical pressed suits, shiny dark shoes and dark sun glasses (I kid you not), they handed me an envelope with my pay for the week and a bonus of $100, they asked if I liked the job, concerned and puzzled I said yes, they replied, Good, we hear you are doing a good job, we also hear you speak some Swahili, cautiously I replied in the positive, for a raise we’d like you to add it to the lessons. Now, we wish to make one thing very clear, you are being paid to tutor, not to ask questions, certainly not about his accident. Do we understand? I did.

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