Owen, Elizabeth: Paris and La Rochelle, France

They were the best educational years of my life. All of the teachers were excellent. I remember attending 5th grade at the dependents school in Garsches, just outside of Paris. We lived in Meudon, just outside of Paris. My father was an American Army officer attending the Ecole Militaire just in back of the Eiffel Tower. The military bus would pick us up early and then circle around the city picking up other students. 1957 was the beginning of the Algerian uprisings and our bus had thick cross mesh covers on the bus windows and we had 2 armed guards on the bus. We had to stop frequently at major rond-points (roundabouts) because the French military had barricades and machine gun placements at those points. Frequently, we would get to school and within an hour or 2 be back on the bus homeward bound because of bomb threats at the school. When we were stationed at La Rochelle for 3 years we lived in Aytre housing for a year then on the economy in La Rochelle for the remaining years until we returned stateside in 1961. My father was assigned to the transportation battalion in La Rochelle. I remember that the high school students went to Poitiers during the week and returned home to LaRochelle during the weekend.

I concur heartily, being a Brat was the best, most educational period of my life. Don’t think I’ve ever really adjusted to civilian life!

Torchia, Ginny Perez: Frankfurt AHS , Germany and Rochefort AHS, France

This memory is in the form of a question. Are there “blank” portions in your memories? I was in Europe for approximately 2+1/2 years, 1953-1956. A subject may come up about a movie, TV show, music……I know nothing about it if it occurred during that time frame. We didn’t have a TV, The Stars & Stripes was our newspaper, didn’t have a phone. When a “ new” brat came in we were hungry for the current Hit Parade music, are people wearing white bucks shoes, rock & roll ?, hair style ….ponytail or DA? What are your blank portions?

Cade, Marilyn: Paris

When I was 9 years old my father was transferred to Paris in December of 1953. The arrival of thousands of US dependents into post WWII Europe was well under way but still a bit chaotic. No schools were built yet in Paris, so I was in an elementary and high school in an old downtown building not far from the Bois de Boulogne. Infrastructure In France was still partially collapsed and the beautiful Paris buildings seemed grim. But it was Christmas, and teachers did what teachers do, and pulled off the miracle of a Christmas concert. I don’t think I had ever been to a concert before in my life. This was the first time I heard the 12 Days of Christmas, with all the accompanying hand movements and it was so unexpected, funny and fresh for me. Completely delighted.


Lee (Caballero), Carmelita: Orleans, France: 1959-1962

I was a student at the high school (both Maison Fort and Foret D’Orleans) in Orleans, France during my father’s Army service. We arrived when I was in the 6th grade in 1959, and stayed until May of 1962. Honestly, they were the best years of my life as far as being in an enchanted place, and loving the country where we were stationed.


Perlmutter, Jim: Orleans High School: 1963

Our family arrived in Orleans in October of 1962. I was a senior (my 4th high school) and welcomed to a most warming class. We lived for a while at the Hotel Bovaird right across the George V bridge in Olivet. The school bus stopped there and our driver was named Jacques. He would shake hands on entry and departure in the morning and afternoon with every rider and knew all the kids’ names. We then moved on the economy to Fleury-les-Aubrie. What I also recall from those rides is that we had kids from 1st grade to seniors on board which made for interesting friendships. At the time, October 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis was ongoing and MPs were guarding the Foret d’ Orleans compound and occasionally boarded the buses. In the summer of 63 we moved to Olivet housing.

Miller, Kathleen: Chateauroux American High: 1959-1965

I think the years I was there 1959-1965 were the fullest and most solid. The school seemed to be well organized and we didn’t want for much.

It is really hard to describe the mini culture that made up the school, of note was the collective nature of being “foreigners” in another country, living on a military base and all the rules that went with that, the efforts to make this a “normal” American high school experience, the sticking together as children of military, the obvious class distinction between enlisted and officers’ kids, the differences of living on or off the economy, and, of course. the microcosm of the various housing areas.


Teets, Karen: Chateauroux: 1960-1964

Bonjour mes amis. Je m’appelle Karen Teets.

My family and I moved to Chateauroux in the spring of 1960. My father, M/Sgt. William E. Teets, my mother, Lillian, my sister, Marilyn, and I lived in Chateauroux until 1964. We arrived in France when I was 12 years old and my sister turned 13 the day we landed in Paris. We lived at the Hotel du Faisan for about six weeks until our house on the economy was ready for us to move into.


Hilley, Don: Chateauroux: 1962-1964

My Recollections of My Time in Chateauroux

I was 16 years old and enjoying life in sunny Southern California (Redlands – my father, Willam A. Hilley, was stationed at Norton Air Force Base) when my Dad was assigned to go to Chateauroux, France. I was desperate not to go. My life was playing basketball in Redlands. I did not want that life to be disrupted. I got my driver’s license when I was 16 in California, and was enjoying the “freedom” that wheels brought. It shocked me when I found out that the driving age in France was 18. I was bummed out about that. I was enjoying some success with basketball in California, and when I found out that our family was moving to France, I wasn’t sure they even had basketball teams there.


McHenry, Sue: Orleans, France: 1963-1967

The day after arriving in France after sailing on the USSS United States, I became a freshman in high School at La Foret d’Orleans, an old WWII American hospital set up as the school for military and civil service dependants, K-12, all 600 of us. I think that there were American dependants, not associated directly with the Army who also went to school with us. Of course, high school years are incredibly memorable, so there’s so much to say about living in Orleans for 4 years.


Cuoco (Nadeau), Judy: Orleans High School

My family and I moved to Orleans in the summer of 1959. I was a student from 8th through 10th grade. The friendships I made there are still sustained today. A group of girls all started together and many left at the same time at the end of the 10th grade. I will always consider OHS my high school and have many fond memories of “the 8th grade girls” as we now call ourselves. We lost touch over the years and were ecstatic to find each other again at Dave’s first reunion in Washington DC…no one wanted to sleep we just talked and talked. My husband and I have been to most of the reunions since then and he has been added as an honorary member of the OHS family.


Ditzel, Pat: St. Nazaire, France: 1956-1958

We were stationed in St. Nazaire, France 1956 through 1958. My dad was the Company Commander of the unit that ran the Army Port facilities in St. Nazaire. We lived in Pornichet about 50 yds from the beach. I attended the two-room school house where the principal taught 5-8 and his wife taught 1-4. We were the first pickup for the Army school bus and the last drop off. That made for a long day, but we didn’t care.


Douglas, Tish (Sally Latitia Britt): Orleans High School, The Early Years: 1954-1957

Orleans American High School. OHS. I graduated with the class of 1957, having arrived in Orleans in the early winter of 1954. We came back to the States on the USS United States in July of 1957.

There were essentially two OHS schools in the span of years from its opening until it closed in 1967: the old school and the new. It became the new OHS after it moved to an actual high school building. The old OHS, the only school I knew, was on the second story of an office building. The library was one room, math was another room, etc. There were outside stairs to the main entry.


Newstadt, Molly: Orleans High School: 1955-1958

I was at OHS 1955 to 1958. Started the eighth grade there, ninth and 10th and part of the 11th. We arrived in the summer of 1955. We lived at Combleux in a small hotel until Dad found a house on the other side of Orleans at a point in the road called Fourneau. It was on the main road from Orleans to Blois. With our school out at Maison Forte, it meant a very long bus ride both ways. Our bus left Maison Forte going down along the Loire to Beaugency. Crossing the Loire it drove through Meung-sue-Loire Eventually getting to my house and then on to Orleans and Olivet. I was so happy to get to school every day to see the other kids. We were all so spread out from one side of the city to the other. After about a year and a half, we did move to Saint Jean de Bray And this made the high school experience for me a lot more fun. Whoever didn’t live there might live at Saint Jean de la Ruelle. We could get lunch at the mess hall but I remember it being a very cold walk over there.


Walton, Susan: Orleans Elementary School: 1963-1964

I went to 4th grade in Foret d’Orleans in 1963-64. The elementary school was in the furthest wing of classrooms from the front of the school… My 4th grade classroom was on the top floor, on the side nearer to the playground. We had recess in the chain-link fenced, dirt yard beside the school and I can remember kids linking arms and chanting, “Hey, hey, get out of my way, I just got back from the U.S.A.” I remember being a volunteer in the school library, which was on the bottom floor nearer the middle of the wings. We, volunteers, used an index sorter for the cards of the checked-out books. Those cards came out of the flaps inside the books and we stamped the Due Date on the pocket, pasted inside the cover, that held the card.


Medders, Kim: Our Time in France

In 1965, my dad finished up his Masters degree in Educational Administration at San Jose State and reapplied for a principal position with the military dependent school system in Europe. Dad had been offered some remote place in Turkey, but his long time friend, Roy Kilkenny, asked him to take a school of which he was superintendent located in Beaulieu Sur Mer, France. The small resort village of Beaulieu Sur Mer was located on the French Riviera between Nice and Monte Carlo. The school, Joshua Barney Elementary was a K through 8th grade and there to support the U. S. Navy dependents of the U.S.S. Springfield, which made its European homeport there.


Scheel, Lyman F.: 1953 – 1954





Shortly thereafter I left by train from Alhambra, California and traveled to New York to report for indoctrination at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn. After several days we sailed from New York on the MSTS General Buckner, a ship carrying supplies, troops, a few officers, one other male teacher and some 200 female teachers. After an interesting, but uneventful voyage we docked in Bremerhaven, at that time an American enclave in Northern Germany. From there we were sent by train to Frankfurt am Main for assignment at the I.G. Farben building (with open, no-stop elevators one jumped on.) (more…)

Armstrong, Julia: 1950 – 1952

Upon graduating from high school in 1938, I neither had the money nor the dedication to go to college. But after three years of being at home and just helping on the farm or doing odd volunteer work, such as leading a children’s choir, leading a 4H club, or working as a temporary helper in a nurse’s office, I decided that I was cut out to be an elementary teacher and applied at a teacher’s college for admittance.

At that time, after completing a two-year curriculum, one was able to get a teacher’s certificate. But after teaching three years in a one room school and three years in a small village school, I deemed it expedient to go back and get my degree-which I did at the University of Illinois. I had never heard of the Dependent Schools of Germany until I went to the placement bureau at that school. Since I now had my degree and also had experience in all the elementary grades and rural schools, I was deemed a qualified applicant for overseas teaching. In Chicago, at the Fifth Army Headquarters, I was interviewed by Mr. Miller (who was the civilian in charge of the EUCOM Schools at that time) and eventually was notified that I had been accepted. (more…)

Heiges, Harry K.: 1947 – 1958

Early experiences with Dependent Overseas American Schools were most interesting, at times exciting and generally unpredictable. Each person had special unique experiences and I will list here some that have left a lasting memory with me.

Let’s start with my interview by Virgil Walker, the first Director of Dependent Schools, the summer of 1947 at University of Michigan where I had just completed a Master’s Degree in School Administration. As an experienced science teacher qualified to coach all sports, I was offered an overseas teaching position. My problem was Margaret, who had no teaching experience and couldn’t be hired. We planned to get married but regulations at the time didn’t permit teachers to take dependents. Virgil said we should keep in touch. Regulations did change and I was name requested for Germany in 1948. So we were off to Germany on the same ocean at the same time, but our military orders had us on two different ships. (more…)

Weihe, Dorothy C: 1955 – 1979

August 17,1955 was my date to leave for DEG schools in France. I was certain that I would find my assignment to be one of the isolated one or two-teacher schools that Charlie Tinder repeatedly mentioned while he interviewed me at the University of Minnesota. After our flight, via Flying Tigers to Paris, I was pleasantly surprised to be assigned to Verdun, France. Four of us that met at the Litre Hotel, were to leave by train the next morning. They were Margaret O’Hare, Marion Sather, Marian Carmody and myself. Also on the same train were Robert Miller and another fellow whose name I’ve forgotten. He was transferred out of Verdun early in the year.

Tell Us Your Story

We'd love to hear from everyone who worked and lived overseas either as a student or an educator.

Share Your Memories
Share This: