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Sunday, June 23, 2013

I Dated a Spy?

When I first learned that I was to be stationed in West Berlin I was so excited. Never in all my life did I ever think that I would be a part of history as “A Defender of Freedom” in the Berlin Brigade. Patrolling the wall between East and West Berlin was something I had read about as a teenager and now I was being sent to actually take part in it. The United States was in the middle of the Cold War and Berlin was the hot spot to see it firsthand.

I had to go through several security clearances to be stationed here as did all those soldiers before me and after me. We were warned that Soviet and East German spies were all over the place and we were to never talk about what we did or where we were going to those not connected with the military.

To help this situation I promised myself that I wouldn’t date any German “frauleins” , not only so I would not be forced to lie to them about what I did but I really didn’t want to break a young ladies heart because I would be leaving after a year and a half.

After six months in Berlin I met a young American lady who was a dependent, the child of an Air Force serviceman stationed at Tempelhoff. I was 19 and she was 18. Her father didn’t like us Army guys and made it be known that he out ranked me and that he held a very high security clearance to which he was a member of the Air Force Intelligence. His dislike of me made it difficult for him to allow his daughter to accompany me downtown to the discos. Yes, this was the early 80’s and the disco scene was big in West Berlin but he would not let his little girl go out with some infantryman with only a year of college under his belt and barbarian tendencies. It was a relationship which held little hope for a future. However, I wouldn’t leave her because her father didn’t like me. He would just have to deal with me.

Like most weekends I wanted to go out with my friends but she wasn’t allowed to go with me to a bar called the “Kudorf” or Cow Town in English. So my friend Ron and I went out to have a good time. After a few drinks it was now my turn to go and buy a round of drinks for us. As I’m waiting in line I hear the two ladies behind me speaking English. Both were tall, blond and beautiful and had my attention. Being the ever so curious person I asked them where they were from. The taller of the two spoke up and said that her friend was from Texas and that she was from Berlin. I noticed during our brief conversation that they both spoke English without an accent, neither Texan nor German. Strange! I got my drinks and left to tell Ron that I met a young lady from Texas (his home state). After I told Ron about her he decided to have a look for himself.

Soldiers from my company started to show up so I hung out with them when Ron left. About an hour later Ron comes back to us and tells me that he’s chatting with the girl from Texas and the Berliner wants to dance with me. At first I said no! I have a girl friend and I would feel uncomfortable dancing with another girl. He begged me and eventually told me he would buy me two beers. Well, two beers was a reasonable offer and what harm comes from helping a friend in the utmost of situations. Off I went following my friend and fellow soldier Ron, from Texas, into battle.

Ron introduced me to Michelle from “Texas” and Antje from “Berlin”. Wait! No accent. Ron from Texas had an accent. Others in my company were from Texas and had an accent. You know the type I’m talking about. That draw….And Antje from Berlin? I was in Germany and every German I knew (not many) had a German accent, but not Antje from Berlin. Her accent was more British. Not only that, a German man insisted on talking to Antje and my German at that time was not good. It was poor! Not only did I not understand a word they were saying but, when ever this German man would start talking to Antje, Michelle would divert Ron’s and my attention and start asking questions. Of course we were brief and short not saying much except some bullshit about what we did. We quickly brought the conversation back to Michelle asking if she knew what they were talking about. No she did not.

Finally, we asked Michelle and Antje how they knew each other and where they had learned English. They laughed and giggled only like a 19 year old female can and proceeded to tell us they had met in Norway. Norway? No way! They then laughed more and said that she was Pakistani having been born in Lahore, Pakistan. No way! 1984, Cold War, Pakistan, neighbor to Afghanistan, Soviet Union fighting in Afghanistan and back to the Cold War. Not only is that an incomplete sentence but I didn’t know what to think then or now. Why would I think all of this? Oddly enough, I had a similar case a few months before while flirting with a young German lady. Her name I will always remember, it was Magda. Why would I remember her name? Because she had a sister named Eva. Any reader of World War II history would put 1 plus 1 together to get my point. Magda, Eva, Magda, Eva…? Well, Eva, everyone should know, was the name of Hitler’s Bride, Eva Braun. But Magda was the wife of Joseph Goebbels, the famous Propaganda Minister of the Third Reich. Why would someone name their children Eva and Magda? Either because they were Nazis or they were spies. This was a good reason to stop flirting.

Those were my thoughts, that she could be East German. Being the friend I was to Ron, I took the challenge to find more information about Antje while he could talk or dance with Michelle. Just when I got into a good conversation with Antje from Berlin this German guy came back to the table where we were sitting at and started talking German to Antje and again Michelle would divert my attention.
What the heck!
I continued to be polite and held my conversation with Michelle while still trying to listen to this German Guy talk to Antje. Nothing! And just like that, off he goes as Michelle stops talking. Not long enough so I can listen in on what they were saying. I kept my eye on this guy as Antje and I walk out on to the dance floor. Now he continuously would budge in and talk to her as we danced to the loud music. I still couldn’t hear a damn thing they were saying! After a few dances we go off and sit down at our table. Out of the corner of my eye I see the guy getting ready to sit down next to Antje and lightening quick, I slide myself under him and take the seat with her on the inside. Finally I asked Antje who the hell this guy was. It was her brother Dirk and she introduced us. He also spoke English and with a British accent. I still wasn’t convinced that things were cool. The night went on with small talk and dancing as I tried to keep my distance since I had a girlfriend.
Finally it was time to leave. It was 4 am, the Kudorf was closing, the sun was coming out, and as we were gentlemen, Ron offered to drive them home in the Texas Pumpkin. The Texas Pumpkin was an orange colored VW Beatle. Being the smart ladies they were (Dirk left 2 hours earlier), they didn’t want a drunken Ron giving them a ride so they chose a taxi. As we walked to the taxi stand Antje took my hand and held it. I was stunned! I did not, in any way, attempt to hold her hand, she took mine. We get to the taxi stand and are getting ready to just say good bye when Antje gives me her phone number and a little kiss on the cheek. Wow! I really wasn’t expecting that! Ron blurts out that I should give her my number before she gets into the car. No! I didn’t want to do that! She stopped and pulled out a piece of paper and a pen and gave it to me. Being nice I gave her the number to the barracks and gave her a kiss on the cheek and said thank you and good bye!
Of course I knew she wouldn’t be able to get hold of me because I was going to be gone for 2 weeks of training. Lucky me, I get to come back 2 days early and have nothing to do except have a long weekend. Ironically, my friend Ron has CQ Duty, which is staying up 24 hours to watch the barracks and alert us if anything should happen, so I hang out with him. After a while Ron asks me if I’m going to call Antje. No! “Why not?” he continually asks and for over 2 hours our conversation is about the pros and cons of seeing her again. Finally, and I mean finally, to shut Ron up, I promise to call her. What harm would come from calling? It’s not like I would be cheating on my girlfriend. As I’m walking to the front desk, the phone rings. As I get closer the sergeant turns, looks at me and smiles, “It’s for you Baildon!” To my amazement it was Antje asking why I hadn’t called her. She wanted to see me this weekend and I told her it would be hard to do since it was my 20th birthday and I would be partying with my platoon. Actually, my girlfriend and I were to have a date but she had to babysit her little sister and couldn’t go out. I’m sure it was a sinister plan devised by her father to prevent us from going out. I told her I would meet be at the Kudorf around 10pm and if I was lucky to get away.
Saturday comes and in the back of my head is the thought of the mystery behind Antje and why she had been all over the world. Maybe her father was a spy? I really was intrigued by her and at the same time didn’t want to make any advances toward her since I had promised myself that I wouldn’t date a German girl. I think to myself if I really should meet up with her or just play her off and hang out with guys. That wouldn’t be nice, I might be a trained killer but I would never hurt the feeling of a young lady by being a no show. To make this long story short, I walk in to the Kudorf at 11:30, over an hour late and walking towards me in a white jumper is this drop dead gorgeous woman who looks at me and smiles. Is this Antje? She said hello gives me a hug and then asks why I was late. 26 years later the answer to that question is forgotten but the answer to my question as to if she was a spy, you’ll never know, it’s our secret!