By Sgt. John M. Holman, U.S. Army, Germany
AUGSBURG, GERMANY -- It was a happy day for Connie and me this ninth day of January. 1953, for today we were to receive our new apartment in which we'll live for the remainder of my tour of duty in Germany.
Our appointment slip read "11 o'clock," and that's what my watch indicated as our taxi pulled up in front of building No. 514 in Centerville. Centerville was the name chosen for the Army's new housing development in Augsburg. Every apartment building (there are 23 of them) consisting of 10 apartments each looks exactly alike except that each one has a different number painted on the side of the building.
Ours happened to be No. 514, apartment 16 on the top floor. As we mounted the stairs, a Quartermaster German employee came out of one of the apartments below us, and inquired as to our apartment number, to which we answered in unison, "16". He then produced a bunch of keys which looked like those a janitor in the local town hall would have, but which we later found out were ALL ours. He told us to go right up and look around, as he would be up shortly to have us sign for the apartment.
This was ours, no doubt about that. I inserted the key in the lock, turned it and the door was open.
Lo, and behold, what a beautiful sight! Compared to the two rooms we had been living for five months, it was a dream castle. We stepped across the threshold into the hall from which five doors led into the various rooms.
Just inside the outer door to our left was the bathroom, complete with wash bowl, commode, combination bath and shower with curtain, medicine chest, a large floor-to—ceiling closet for extra towels, soap, etc., a drying bar over the radiator, and two air vents for ventilation.
After Connie and I finished our inspection tour of the bathroom, we moved to the hall again and the next door on our left took us into the kitchen. More surprises there. Closet space galore. Equipment which included a large Frigidaire refrigerator, a four—burner electric range with oven, double sink with hot and cold water, drain board for dishes, garbage disposal unit to the cellar and a kitchen table with bench-like affair in the corner.
We left the kitchen through an other door to come into the large spacious combination living-dining room. The left side included dining room furniture, all finished in mahogany. We found a dining table with extension leaves for extra guests, nine dining chairs, a china closet, a writing table and a gateleg table.
The right half of the room constituted the living room. This contained two occasional chairs, two green upholstered chairs with divan to match, end tables on each side of divan with lamps on each, a floor lamp, a coffee table in front of divan, and on the floor a beautiful brown plush rug.
After being satisfied that everything was in order, we crossed the hall into the guest room. This was about the same as the master bedroom except that there was only one of everything, such as a bed, bedside table, lamp, one rug and two closets.
Going back into the hall we found a clothes closet, clothes rack, a mirror with three small drawers beneath, a telephone shelf for telephone, which came at this writing.
We have a two-way door bell. Downstairs to the right of the front door are push buttons with the name of each tenant beside each button. When a visitor comes calling he or she pushes the button with our name beside it, which rings a bell up in our hall. Below the bell in the hall is a button marked "door," which when pushed, releases the door latch downstairs, admitting the visitor. Also there is a bell upstairs next to our apartment door. Each of the tenants has a key for the front door, and one for his apartment.
After Connie and I had finished our inspection of the apartment, the man from the Quartermaster came and I signed the necessary papers. A short time later all was finished and we were on our own. Much work had to be done, such as cleaning the floors, dusting, washing the dishes and table ware, hanging the drapes for the windows and moving our clothes and personal belongings from our old rooms to the new apartment.
When five o'clock rolled around things were in pretty fair order, and both Connie and I were very tired. And so ended a day which neither of us would forget for a long time to come, for we had finally acquired our new home in Germany.