Have you ever lost someone? I don’t mean in the sense of a loved one dying, I mean, actually lost someone. My wife and I did, and it has been a puzzling mystery ever since.
I was posted to a hospital in Muenchweiler Germany during the latter part of the decade. I was fortunate because my new wife, Jean was able to come over and we lived together in the small town. During Advanced Technical Training at Brooke General Hospital, San Antonio we met and made friends with couples and single enlisted folks alike. We even had privilege to attend a wedding of two singles that had met on post, fallen in love, and wanted to marry, Jerry and Jan Smith. How excited we all were when orders came down. The Smiths were going to Germany, as were Jean and I.
Jerry and I were medical laboratory technicians. I should have gone to Munich, but arriving at Frankfurt, they changed my orders to a 1000 bed field hospital in the south-western region, not far from the French border. Jerry received orders for the regional reference lab in Landstule, about an hour away. As time permitted, we’d hook up on weekends and such.
Nearing the time for our return to the States and discharge, we arranged with the Smiths, who had about nine months yet to go, that we’d communicate our address in Normal-Bloomington, Illinois once we were established, as I was continuing my education there at ISU. The Smiths mailed back their enthusiasm for the hook-up, because we planned to travel caravan with them to California once he was discharged and on the road.
When they did stop at our place, it was two weeks earlier than planned. Jean and I were both in classes for another two weeks, plus I was working at a local hospital lab and had arranged for the time off two weeks hence. Jan and Jerry seemed rushed. They did a load of wash, had a lunch, we socialized , and then off they went down I-55 toward the lowering sun. The new plan was that we’d stick to our timetable and contact them once we hit LA. That was a mistake. They were going to telephone us their address once they got there, we hadn’t thought to get ANY additional address or phone number!
When we got to LA, we stayed with another couple that had mustered out before us. They had not heard word from the Smiths, as we had never gotten the promised call, either. Thinking we might be able to phone Jerry’s mom there in LA, we got out the telephone book! Can you imagine how many Smiths there are?
Jan and Jerry Smith embraced our friendship there at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, then while in Germany. But in the blink of an eye they disappeared. Our lost friends remain a mystery even to this day. Have you seen this missing couple?