I, Ada Bodmer, was recruited for a position with American Dependents Schools, Germany, in 1949. My assignment upon arriving in Germany was to the very remote Grafenwhör Military Post as teaching principal of a two-room school of some 50 pupils, grades 1 through 8. This was a bit of a disappointment in as much as my teacher shipmates spoke so enthusiastically about their assignments in Heidelberg, Munich, Stuttgart, etc. I was, however, excited about being chosen to come to Germany, so I decided to give it my best and enjoy whatever.
The little school was charming. My billet not quite so. I had two small adjoining rooms, one large enough for an army cot and a small chest of drawers. Oh, yes, it had hooks on the wall for my clothes. The other room had a small sofa and a coffee table. In one corner was a small wood stove and a little box of fuel. This stove was to heat both rooms. The bathroom and two showers were down the hall to be used by five other ladies – Red Cross, U.S.O., secretaries, etc. We all took our meals at the Officer’s Club. Not bad. One day I ate breakfast with General Patton’s son. (more…)
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.
MY FIRST TEN YEARS: GERMANY
It has been a great experience, my twenty-seven years with the DOD Schools overseas. My only regret is that I didn’t get into the program sooner. Teaching is teaching wherever one is but this was also an adventure. I applied for an overseas teaching position while I was teaching in Seattle, Washington. I was accepted and left for Germany in August, 1950.
My first assignment was in Bad Wildungen as a first and second grade teacher. Subsequent assignments in Germany were Hochest am Main and Wiesbaden. I spent two years at each location before I was finally given an assignment in Sevilla, Spain. (more…)
This write-up is not intended as an in depth description of the American Dependent Schools in Europe. Mostly they are my answers to questions I was asked as I replied to the request, “Tell us like it was.”
The American Dependent School System Overseas is probably the most unique school system in the world; it certainly is the largest, geographically, encompassing about 90,000 miles. (more…)
I started with the dependent schools in 1948. My first employment was under Mary Palmer at the Hoyt S. Vandenberg Elementary School in Wiesbaden as Head Registrar for all the schools. That included the elementary schools at Hainerberg, Crestview, Camp Lindsay, Aukaum, and Wiesbaden Air Base. All incoming parents with dependent school children processed through me. I checked the student’s paperwork to determine grade placement and the parent’s paper to determine eligibility. If the parents were civilians not connected with the government, I informed them of tuition requirements. (more…)