He hoped it was some good news that I couldn't wait to share with my family.
Well, as a matter of fact at one point I did have some good news that I couldn't wait to share: the news that Tom and I were engaged.
But I didn't call home for that. Special and exciting as that news was, it was relegated to traveling by letter along with all the other mox nix news.
Miguel So I didn't call because of good news.
And I didn't call because of bad news.
I called because my parents were coming to visit me the next day and in their last letter had asked me to call them the night before their flight to confirm from their end that everything was a go and from my end that I'd be there to meet them when they flew into the Frankfurt airport.
Which to me at the time seemed a rather superfluous reason for which to have to schlepp over to the Deutsche Bundespost (see Friday's post) and rock a $2-a-minute overseas call.
But then I was 24 years old and possessed of the typically free-wheeling world view of young people while and my parents were, well, my parents. Older people. They needed reassuring.
Not like my siblings and the many friends my age who came over from the States to visit me while I was living in Europe. Back then we made all the arrangements for meeting up 4,000 miles away by letter. How did we manage to get times, dates, and places right? Eh, I don't remember now. But somehow we did.
Of course there was the time two friends were coming to visit me and when I showed up to gather them at the Frankfurt airport they weren't there and I could find no information posted about the flight they'd told me they'd be arriving on. So I went up to the information desk and gave the clerk my friends' names and where they were flying from. I don't think I even had their flight number. The kind and helpful desk clerk did some research and was eventually able to track them down and tell me that their plane was held up in Bangor and would be six hours late.
So I spent six hours waiting for my friends in the Frankfurt airport full of anxiety that their plane had somehow ended up in India.
That was before I knew that Bangor was a city in Maine.
But it all worked out.
Of course there was always the risk that correspondence could get crossed, as it did the first time I ventured to Germany after having made arrangements by letter to meet up with a friend who was traveling across Europe and was going to meet me when I arrived. But as it turned out she wasn't there to meet me because she'd changed her mind about spending more time in Europe and was already back in the U.S. by the time I arrived in Germany.
But that all worked out, too.
My friend and I had originally planned to meet up at the American Army post in Babenhausen, Gemany where an old college chum, Tom Liszkay, was stationed. This was actually a terrible idea but of course neither my friend nor I knew that anybody couldn't just stroll past the rifle-toting guards onto an army post and then go wandering around looking for somebody.
However I did end up staying and snagging a job with the Army.
And things also worked out well regarding Tom.
Which they probably wouldn't have if we'd had cell phones and email.