Hanau my home away from home for 18 months
by David Arsenault
I was stationed in Hanau with the US Army at the Pioneer Kassern from July 1966 to Jan 1968.
I can't tell you enough how much I enjoyed my stay there. The wonderful times I had in the city during my off duty hours. Partying and drinking some fine German beer at places like the Eden Bar on Lamboy Strasse or the Jolly Bar. Also the fine German food I ate at the many restaurants through out the city. Oh those Bratwurst and Wiener Snitzels.
But the best part is the really good German friend I met while I was there. His name was Bernhart Koenig (Bernie) and he worked on the base with me in one of the mess halls. We bonded a good friendship and enjoyed going out together partying at the local bars doing some sight seeing and of course admiring the pretty young fraulines in the area. At 19 y/o and the first time away from home, I became very homesick and lonely but that all changed when I met Bernie and considered myself very lucky to have met and became friends with such a nice friendly German guy, who also spoke English very well.
Unfortunately due to some circumstances beyond his control he stopped working there on the base and I didn't hear from him or see him during the last 6 months or so of my stay there. As I went back to the states and got discharged I continued on with my life but always thought of him and wondered how he was doing. For some reason through the years I always had the premination that I would hear from him and see him again.
Then one day nearly 40 years after I left Hanau I came home and had a voice message on my phone from someone in a nearby town of Westford Ma. I came from a city near there called Lowell Ma. The message asked me if I had ever been stationed in Hanau Germany and that someone he was chatting with on line was looking to get in touch with me.
I had thought maybe it was and old army buddy from my company in Pioneer Kassern. So I called the number he left me and the guy gave me the email address of this person. I wrote him an email and he wrote back to me. I was shocked to learn it was Bernie. This was incredible, I couldn't believe it was him after all these years.
We immediately rekindled our friendship and the following Sept I went back to Germany to visit him and his wife of 35 years. It was such a wonderful time visiting him and Hanau again.
He and his family, a son and daughter and 3 grandchildren, were so friendly and hospitable to me.
I have since been back there twice and the last time with my daughter and grandson also.
I am returning to visit him again this Sept and this time he and his wife are taking me on a week long trip through Bavaria and the beautiful Bavarian Alps. It is a trip I'm looking forward to very much and of course a chance to do some sightseeing around Hanau again and a trip to my old base which was closed and all deserted last time I was there 2 years ago.
So that's my story about Hanau and can't wait to go there again this Sept.
(Submitted 31st July 2012)
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