Now in retrospect I wonder if perhaps I had misinterpreted my friend's letter. Perhaps what I'd read was not exactly what she'd meant. Obviously what I read was not what she'd meant. Because when I found Tom at the Babenhausen Kaserne he handed me a letter from my friend addressed to me in care of him.
My friend had gone back in the States.
I was a little confused, but had some time to think through my situation because I spent much of the rest of the day in a jail cell in the post stockade.
As it turned out Tom was on guard duty that day, he was the Kaserne Officer Of The Day, or KOD, as the position was called. Babenhausen was one of the smallest American Army posts in Germany, too small to have its own military police force. Hence the units took turns in shifts providing the policing for the post. The soldiers whose shift assignment was to guard the gate (which I'd whizzed through in the car of the soldier who'd picked me up along the highway) carried M16's and the officer in charge of his unit's shift, the Kaserne Officer Of The Day, wore a .45 caliber sidearm and big white helmet with the letters KOD printed on the front, which was what Tom was wearing when I met him that day.
Of course the problem was that he was on duty and, me being technically an unauthorized presence on post, there was really no place for me to just wait around until his shift was up. No place except in the jail.
So I waited in a cell, which was actually nice because the cells had comfortable beds and so I was able to take a nice nap after my long train ride from Paris.
At that time Tom was renting two rooms (with a shared hallway bathroom) in town on the second floor of the home of a woman named Anna. He let me crash in one of his rooms.
However I learned within a few days that, in spite of what my friend had heard, American Army posts in Germany seldom hired American tourists for their civilian jobs. For any jobs that weren't filled from States-side applicants first priority went to the qualified military spouses living on post, second priority went to German nationals, and if no one was available among the spouses or the locals, an American tourist could be hired.
But as luck would have it, there was one such a position on the Babenhausen Kaserne that nobody else either wanted or was qualified for: the position of youth activities director.
The post was in real need of someone to run the activities center for the children of the soldiers stationed in Babenhausen and living in the post housing area. So I had a job.
As more luck would have it, one of Anna's sons owned an apartment building in Babenhausen and had a nice one-room efficiency that she arranged for him to rent to me. I had a place to live.
As even more luck had it, in 6 months a better job opened up about 11 miles down the road from Babenhausen in the post craft shop (see post from 1/30/2015) in Aschaffenburg, a beautiful gem of a city at the foot of the Spessart Mountains along the Main river and known for its parks, walking streets, markets, and a castle that dates back to the early 1600's.
Photos of Aschaffenburg: Me