23 November 2010

Traveling Back in Time – Butzbach, Germany

Have you ever wished you could travel back in time to see that favorite someone? You know the person, the one who stayed for a little while, but left their footprints in your heart. Perhaps if you have never moved, you can’t understand this desire, but when you move a lot, there end up being several ‘someones’, who you would love to go back in time and visit.

This is a picture of me and my first two favorite people:

Jennifer Lina and Tina (1 of 1)

The woman’s name is Lina, but I called her Mutti (German for Mom). The girl leaning on her knee is her daughter. When we lived in Butzbach, near Frankfurt, Germany, my Mother had many duties to attend to as the wife of a young US Army officer. Lina took care of me for the first three years of my life before we moved back to the United States. According to my mother, I continued to ask for Lina for a long time after we had left.

As I mentioned here, my parents, sister and I will soon be traveling back to Butzbach and Frankfurt, Germany. We will visit the places we lived and will see the 97th Army Hospital, where I was born. You can read about the hospital on The USAREUR Military History Office website. My sister never made it to the hospital, she was in too much of a hurry to see the world.

While my parents were at our house recently, we decided to try to figure out if it was possible that Lina might still be living in the area. Luckily they remembered her old address in Butzbach. They had corresponded and exchanged photos until the late seventies.
How do you find someone living in Germany? First, I used Google Translate to get the German words for phonebook and directory. Then on Google, we searched for Butzbach Telefonbuch. We found the website and searched for Lina and her husband Walter. Up popped Walter at the same address where my parents had last written to Lina thirty years ago.

I am excited, but nervous to have found Walter. Many questions remain to be answered on our trip. What to do? I could write a letter asking about Lina or announcing our visit, but I am not sure if a letter would arrive in time. We will be right near her home. Should we just knock on the door? Should we call first? I had German in school, but speaking it on the phone for the first time, would feel like running a race without warming up. It’s been so long…, but I can still feel her footprints in my heart.

Thanks for reading!

Scrappy Gen


  1. What an exciting story! I can't wait to hear how your visit goes. Please keep us updated.

  2. It was amazing!! Posting the story tomorrow. And thank you.

  3. I to lived in Butzbach on the Army base. My building was across the old hospital and from the back was a play ground. When you are little things seem so BIG. there was a field with a huge willow tree I loved.(wish I could get a branch from that tree.)
    Further down was the play ground. then another field that was fun to take a card board box as a sled during the winters there. My name Aida Clark

  4. Its now 2015.....What happened when you looked up Walter & Lina ? Was she still there at that address your parents had ? I lived in Butzbach 1964 - 1967......I lived with my sister & 1st Lt husband off base in Butzbach at Frau Pohl's home. She 'let' us live in her basement but its was so cold . Lina worked as a housekeeper for Frau Pohl....Lina came ever day to work at the house & she also cared for my sisters baby girl Theresa age 2 when we arrived & began to speak German after being cared for by Lina. I hope this msg reaches you. Can you give me the address of Lina to write to her ? My name is Susan & I was 18 yrs old when I came to Butzbach. I got a job at Kirshgoens base . I loved living in the town & have always thought about going back for a visit. Please email me. 4sue.vallejo@gmail.com


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