Today's challenge is your favorite memory. I have a lot of those, and most are from 20 years ago spanning the course of a full year. My favorite memories consist of the carefree life I had while living in Frankfurt, Germany. There was no particular day that stands out as being the best day of my life. I was in the ninth grade, usually a year filled with trauma for most teenagers. But I lived through all of my teenage trauma the year before, which is why I think my year in Germany stands out as being so wonderful. Maybe I should explain...
When I turned 13 I had two friends, whom I'll call Jackie and Sara. Friendships in threes almost never work out well, and this story is no exception. Jackie and I became close. I knew she had a lot of problems, but we also had a lot in common and genuinely enjoyed each other's company. Long story short, Sara became jealous. She would whisper little fables of Jackie's supposed betrayal in my ear. This went on for awhile until I had enough and finally stopped speaking to Sara. I never believed Sara's lies. However, it turned out that Jackie did.
I found out the hard way about what happens when a deeply insecure, disturbed, and angry girl becomes convinced her best friend is hurting her. Trying to physically fight me, calling the police, spreading vicious rumors... she made "Mean Girls" look like "Pollyanna." After ten months in the hell of middle school bullying, even captivity in a Siberian prison would have been heaven. But fortunately I found a safe haven in Frankfurt.
It was hard for me to find my place in high school. I'm a geek who looks like a cheerleader. I don't care about clothes, hate gossip, and aside from my Johnny Depp obsession, didn't really enjoy talking about boys for hours on end (I mean what 14 year-old boy can compare with Johnny Depp??) But for some reason I managed to gain a lot of friends while in Frankfurt. I finally started dating, fell in love, had the freedom to travel on public transportation anywhere I wanted. I joined the Frankfurt Galaxy band which introduced me to the wonders of American football.
The height of irony was that I made two best friends named Kelly and... Kelly (who thankfully wanted to be called Kaye) while in Frankfurt. No jealousy, no drama... and our friendship of 3 has lasted for over 20 years now. Our best times were spent at Rebstockbad, a swim park in Frankfurt. That picture is at the bottom.
So... thanks for the memories Frankfurt. Almost all the military bases are now closed. Our old hang-outs have been razed to the ground to make room for parking lots. Frankfurt American High School is now a German school. But I will never forget the freedom and love I found there. I've run into complete strangers who were wearing letter jackets from Germany, and we became instant friends. There was something about living there that just made you happy.
I'll never forget you, Germany. And we all miss you!
Note: I don't own any of these pictures (thank you, google). Some are courtesy of forgotten-frankfurt.blogspot.com. Others are owned by travel sites in English and German.