The Stars and Stripes

When living overseas where the local paper is usually in another language, having access to The Stars and Stripes was like getting a letter from home, and our way of connecting with the United States.
I remember the PX having a mini bookstore with some limited newspapers in 1973 and 1974 when I lived in Germany and shopped at Friedburg, the base where my Dad worked and the closest base to Bad Nauheim, where we lived.

I don’t think we bought the Stars and Stripes because it won journalistic awards, but because it seemed to always just enough news from back home to keep it interesting, but not too much that would make us worry.

Between the Stars and Stripes and Armed Forces Radio, we could stay fairly informed, but without any of the stress of the U.S. nightly news TV broadcasts. With the isolation of living within a foreign country, even though we had friends and all the comforts of base life, it always seemed we were removed from the rest of society.

As a teenager, I must confess (pun intended) to looking forward to reading Dear Ann Landers (or was it her sister, Abby?), whose column appeared in the paper. When you read about the many strange situations a lot of her readers got themselves into, our life overseas didn’t seem that bad.

We also enjoyed reading Erma Bombeck, who wrote about the absurdities of everyday life in a way that even we kids could relate to.

And Comics
We loved the comics and there was something for all of us. BC was my favorite by far, but I do remember following the adventures of Dick Tracy when we lived in Germany in the early 1960s.

Today, when I pick up a Sunday paper here, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, which weighs in at 5 or 6 pounds at least, full of its sales flyers and multiple sections, I sometimes wish for the simple pleasures that came within the compact, efficient format that was the Stars and Stripes.

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  1. I always read Ann Landers too…(or dear Abby) I too have the “block”. We read the Stars and Stripes all the time. Dad always followed promotion lists that came out, and we all enjoyed the comic strips. My favorite memory of the paper was at the end of the Viet Nam war. I woke up early and sleepily made my way down the hall and into the living room. Dad was sitting in his corner chair reading the edition that had just come that morning. As I entered the living room, he glanced up from the paper and said something like “Hey Dawn look at this” and he held the front page up for me to see. THE WAR IS OVER shouted the headline…and I ran squealing into his arms…we sat together, I on his lap for awhile reading the comics together..My dad wasn’t going to war.

  2. It’s 2010 and I still read the Stars and Stripes (I consider it my “hometown” newspaper…only now, I access it online.  It keeps me connected to what’s going on overseas.  But back in the day when we actually lived in Germany, Sundays were the best, as the comics were in full color!  I recall one Sunday that my father asked that I ride into BFV in Mannheim (we had recently moved off-post to Vogelstang) and get the paper.  The ride was several kilometers both ways, and I was looking forward to getting back to the house so I could read the paper.  Naturally, when I walked into the house, my father promptly confiscated the paper from me and took his time reading it cover to cover before allowing me the privilege of reading the paper I had just peddled so hard to deliver…

  3. I delivered with my Spanish friend Carlos the Stars and Strips and the Iberian Daily Sun in Royal Oaks at the off base housing at Torrejon AFB, Madrid Spain in the late 60’s. We lived in casa 10-B on the low road. I have great memories of the 3 years we spent there.

  4. I worked summers as a 13 year old at the warehouse of stars and stripes in Darmstadt germany like 1973 ish.    pretty much just looked at magizines all day .. Germany not a place for a 13 year old american boy .. no drinking age and octoberfest … Dad also took us to Amsterdam for a week  . wow . another place NOT for a 13 yr old american boy .. lol    I’m ok today …. ARMY BRAT FOR LIFE !!!!!

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