Frankfurt American High School Revisited

Remembering Frankfurt American High School at a reunion before the school was closed in the 1990s.

When my daughter picked me up from the airport in Frankfurt, it had been 35 years since I had last been at that airport.

Although, she and her husband lived quite a distance from Frankfurt, I had her drive me to FAHS. It took a little while to find it. So much had changed, but the flood of memories that washed over me was overwhelming.

The first time I had faced that front door, there was 3 feet of snow on the ground and it had taken the bus over two hours to get to school from Darmstadt. I was a freshman and totally terrified! The entry vestibule had couches then and there was an unspoken rule that only Seniors were allowed to hang out there.

At that time there was only 450 students and the school consisted of the main building, the dorms, and the football field.

My freshman year was pretty uneventful, but I tried to fit in with all of the kids from everywhere imaginable. Me with my socks rolled down and everyone else in bobby socks. I was from California and thought I was cool until I got there!

I remember singing with the Melloteens. And what a blast, being one of the four very first majorettes to march in the volksfest parade!!! Boy was the local population suprised! Short skirts and snow..somehow it worked. At least we made all of the German papers!

I remember with such sadness when Rick Oglesby drowned with his friend. Rick was a friend to everyone.

And we even had our bomb scare when one of our more brilliant students called in a bomb threat and we all spent one of our final days at the theater.

How about when Jack Friel, the AFN disk-jocky, that brought back hoola hoops and “In the Still of the Night”. we had him play it all night.

The only bad memory, was saying goodbye to all of my friends and especially to my “Bill”.

I guess it all sounds pretty sentimental, but there is nothing like a brat and nothing like all of the experiences we share. even at my age, all the memories are like yesterday.

So here’s to all the good times, bowling with elvis, stealing the cable car, dancing at the sock hop, cheering at the football games, silver city, drinking too much beer (and throwing up) and to all the rest of the good memories.

Goodbye FAHS!

Editor’s note: this article first appeared on Military Brats Online.

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  1. Don’t know what caused me to search today for “Rick Oglesby” but was startled to see the link to your note.  I was at FAHS only one semester, 2/57-5/57, as a sophomore, but I remember the drowning.  Happened during spring break, as I recall (or did we call it Easter vacation then?).  He and a friend, whose name I cannot now recall, were canoeing on the Main (I think) and were caught in the turbulence near a lock.  Their fathers were at the embassy in Oslo, flew down.  Later the dorms were named for them.

    The bomb scare happened the day before I arrived, so this is what I recall being told.  Bomb sniffing dogs and their handlers flown from Heidelberg on two helicopters, landed on the football field (closed that year being turtle-backed for proper drainage).  Four boys called in the threat to cover up their tardiness but only succeeded in drawing attention to themselves.  Supposedly their fathers were required to pay all the costs. 

    Hearing in a public speaking class a girl telling of being on the Stockholm the night it collided with the Andrea Doria.

    Driving pre-dawn to FAHS to ride an army bus to the high school basketball tournament, that year in Kaiserslautern, called K-Town by some.

    My father was Air Force and we lived near Rhein-Main Air Base.  We were bused in daily to FAHS in downtown Frankfurt on blue AF buses.  That summer Dad’s unit moved to Wiesbaden, so I finished my last two years at what was then called General H.H. Arnold High School.  A few years ago a classmate reported that all AF left Wiesbaden and army moved in, renaming it Wiesbaden High School.

    Thank you for triggering all these memories!

    Steve Polansky

  2. If you google Frankfurt American High School, a picture will pop up with all sorts of info.

  3. I arrived at FAHS in september of 1963, I lived in Ross Hall, because we were stationed at a Brittish AFB 7 miles from Holland. I lived on the 2nd floor with all the other 7 dayers.  It was a great life.  You had to learn resonsability as you did everything from washing your clothes to a daily room inspection.  It was almost like going away to college.  On school breaks taking 2 trains an 5 hours to go home for a viset.

       How many  high school kids get to learn how other people in the world live?  This was a great place to live, away from home, at a great school.  The teachers an house parrents at the dorm really cared about us, went the extra mile.


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