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.

Memories: The Blue Bird buses play an indelible part in my memories of being in school there. We traveled to games, movies, field trips, dances, to Joe’s and the Faison, to school; we sang, dated, fell in love, necked and lived a whole life on those buses. (Some brats were extremely horrible to the French bus drivers, a regret that still bothers me) The drivers made sure we got where we were going safely; we should have had a statue made to honor them. The bus driver who took me home to Balsan the night Kennedy was killed, was crying and telling me how sorry he was.

Memories: I still long for the cheeseburgers made in the base Snack Bar, the French fries drenched in brown gravy. In the 56 years since, I have never had either food as delicious as those served to us there. I have learned over time that memories and love are actual ingredients in good food.

I always felt safe in both Brassioux and Balsan Park, (except when I had to get off the bus at night and the French soldiers across the street at their base guard gate would whistle and cat call to me). I think I have never felt as safe in my life since as I did when I lived there, both emotionally and physically. The older I get, the more homesick I get, which doesn’t make sense but indelible love from so many in the years there have left a longing in me. I would have liked to raise my own children in that same environment.

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