When I was…um…13…

(I had no memory of the exact time until I read the dates off the paperwork)

…I went to Berlin. This was 1983, well before the wall came down, and my father’s mother and sister and her husband had all come to visit–we’d been in Germany a little over two years at that time–and so we all went to Berlin.

Berlin was an interesting place, although like so much of our time in Europe, I really wasn’t old enough to truly appreciate it. It was definitely the biggest city I’d ever been in, even with a wall running through it.

I guess it says how much of a geek I am that, although I do have some fuzzy memories of seeing the Berlin Flughaven, and Checkpoint Charlie and KaDeWe, and the wall itself, my most immediate memory is actually of sitting on the troop train in…Frankfurt, I guess, although that could be wrong, waiting to leave, reading the new issue of ??Compute!?? magazine.

And no, I never actually got to see East Berlin. In order to be sure to not get picked up by the Stasi for spying, Allied service personnel had to wear full unform when actually in East Berlin. My dad forgot his regulation tie, and had nowhere he could get another, and we were advised that it would be best not to take any chances–if it wasn’t a regulation tie, it was better not to go.

Anyway, this reminiscence was provoked by going by a box of old stuff in my closet (part of the aforementioned office cleanup project), and finding a copy of the orders that were required for us to be able to cross East Germany to get to West Berlin via the troop train.

The individual images are kinda big (300K+), so be warned.

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Michael Alan Dorman

Yogi, brigand, programmer, thief, musician, Republican, cook. I leave it to you figure out which ones are accurate.