Hallo Welt!

Gerhard Maroscher’s latest book, Why Can’t Somebody Just Die Around Here, now has a website!

This website, www.themaroscherstory.com, is where you can find all sorts of information about Gerhard’s book, including peeks behind-the-scenes, excerpts from the book, ways to get in touch with Gerhard, and links to buy or pre-order the book.

The site is still new, but we’ll be adding content gradually as we make our way through this project!

dawson_cover_draft_02_caslon

Mark Dawson, one of Gerhard’s old Circleville friends, is helping Gerhard get the word out by creating the website as well as managing the book’s Facebook page. Mark also designed the book cover, shown above.

Mark is a freelance photographer and photographic artist currently based in midcoast Maine. He does a good deal of commercial photography work, as well as fine art photography using historical processes such as tintypes and gum bichromate printing.

First visit to an American grocery store

We arrived in Columbus, Ohio, from West Germany, via the Port of New York, on Easter Sunday, 1952. Prior to that the only time within my memory that I had had enough to eat was on the ship sailing to America. There were many new and amazing things to experience in our new country. The abundance of food was a pleasant culture shock.

Excerpt from the book:

Our first visit to an American grocery store

I remember our first trip to an American grocery store, the A&P on Main Street, near the Capital University campus. It was a family affair with my Mom, Dad, my brother, and me. A nice American lady helped us with the shopping, a big help since everything was strange to us. We had just moved into our home on Mound Street, and we had no food in the house; the cupboards were bare.

The amount of food in the A&P was astounding. I had never seen such a so much food or such a wide selection. We filled a cart (smaller than today’s carts) full of groceries, which cost about $10. (That is about $88 in 2014 dollars.) I did not know someone could actually have enough food to fill such a huge basket. While amazed and pleased at the amount of food, it almost seemed wrong to buy that much. We had a refrigerator in the house for perishable food. Now that was amazing!

First family portrait in America

Our first family photo in America, from The Capital Chimes, April 24, 1952.

After a 10-day voyage through the angry North Atlantic we made it to New York Harbor.

A day after receiving our alien registration card we were on a train heading to Columbus, Ohio.

We attended the church service at our sponsoring church on Easter Sunday, the morning of our arrival. We stood at the front of the church and were introduced.

Thinking back: there were no shower facilities in New York, on the ship, during three months of out-processing camps, in Rothenburg, or in Ohrenbach. I’m sure we did take a bath the week we left Ohrenbach, months before. Between that last bath and Columbus the only way we cleaned ourselves was with a washcloth and a bowl of cold water. If we stunk, the kind Christians did not let us know.

30A newspaper article - front page

Can you tell from the picture that we were happy to be in America? My brother and I dressed up in our best clothes for the picture: Lederhosen. The only other clothes my brother and I had when we arrived were one pair each of sweatshirt-like pants and shirt.

The Capital Chimes published an article on the new refugee family who had just arrived in Bexley, Ohio.

The USNS General CC Ballou, Part 2

12 Ocean cruise

Bunks aboard the USNS General CC Ballou. With permission from Russ Padden: http://www.rpadden.com/157/AP157.htm

We were packed in in the ship like sardines. Maybe we even smelled as good as sardines? There were no shower facilities. Frankly, as a kid I did not mind the accommodations. We had all lived in worse conditions. We did have flush toilets in the front of the ship, and they were spotless. As I recall there were perhaps two rows of 30 toilets facing each other, rather close side by side, and totally open; no privacy walls. Privacy was not a feature of this “cruise”.

Needless to say, with such wonderful accommodations, we spent as much time on deck in the fresh air as possible. Mom felt strongly that it was healthy to be in the sun and fresh air. Both my brother and I were eager to be on the top deck as much as possible. We did not have cameras to take pictures, but there are pictures of the living quarters. Shown in the picture are the bunks of the USS General Ballou filled with GIs returning from Europe in late 1945.

We slept in the same bunks during our voyage as the GIs. Those young Americans also had a happy trip across the ocean.

The USNS General CC Ballou, Part 1

uss_general_ballou

When we came to the States in April, 1952, nearly all traffic across the Atlantic was by ship. Our ship, loaded with cargo and immigrants, was the USNS General C. C. Ballou. This picture was taken in Bremerhaven, Germany, sometime in 1952.

ballou_manifest

We departed Bremerhaven for the United States, together with over 1000 other refugees. Most were heading to America; for some the final destination was Canada. Seeing our names on the inbound (to NY) passenger manifest is quite exciting.

Because I can speak German, lived in Germany, and taught German in my second career, most people who know me think I was German. The manifest shows we weren’t German citizens, instead we were “Roumanian” displaced persons. Our names are listed on lines 7, 8, 9, and 10.

We sailed for America on March 31, 1952.

1951 class photo

1951

Gerhard Maroscher: 2nd row from the top, 3rd from the right.

From Gerhard: I just received a 1951 class picture via snail mail from a former classmate in Germany. I’m in the 2nd row from the top, 3rd from the right. I’m wearing a suit coat that Mom made by cutting down an adult’s coat. Since there are a few weeks till the book is in print, I’m considering adding the picture to the book. In June there was a class reunion of the four grades in the picture. Because I was working on the book I could not attend.