Notebook
February 21st, 2020 by Gary Osberg

I celebrated my seventh birthday in Vienna, Austria. I was an army brat. Dad served in the navy during the war and later he joined the army. In 1950 he was a Sergeant in the 5th Army stationed in Vienna. As “dependents” we were housed in an apartment building that was quite nice. There were two marble faced fireplaces and a baby grand piano along with a crystal chandelier in the dining room. I ran with a group of other army brats and I was the oldest in the group.

One day in February we were hanging out in front of the large estate on the corner next to our apartment. One of the kids stuck his hand in the fence opening and a dog took his mitten. I bravely offered to go through the gate and recover the mitten. I still remember starting my walk across the large yard toward the two “Boxers”. They greeted me by jumping up and knocking me to the ground. They proceeded to chew on my arms and legs until an Austrian man who we referred to as the “fireman”, (he took care of the furnace in our apartment building) came in and pulled the dogs off of me.

I walked home nearly naked and my mother fainted when she opened the door. I spent about 6 weeks in the army hospital. It took me a while to get over my fear of dogs. The occupant of the estate was a Colonel in the U.S. Army and they gave me a new winter coat. 

In April of last year I returned to Vienna and I was able to take a cab ride to 41 Gregor Mendel Street.  We had lived in an apartment on the second floor.  I told the cab driver to wait for me and I approached the front door. A resident was getting into his car and he asked me if I needed help. I shared with him that I had lived here as an Army brat in the fifties and was hoping to see the apartment. He told me to push the button for Benedict, the owner of the building.  Someone buzzed me in and I walked up to the second floor.  The lobby looked very familiar.  The elevator was new.  The faucet which provided water for the flower garden was still there.  (photo attached).  The guy that let me in was a live in boyfriend of the owner, Verena Benedict.  He let me in but he would not allow me to take pictures.  I would love to return to Vienna to take Marcus and Verena out for dinner.  I love it when a plan comes together.

Live from Here this week is a live show from the Town Hall in New York City.  Special guests include Nathaniel Rateliff, Haley Heynderickx, Aoife O’Donovan, Rachel Syme & Josh Gondelman.  Last weeks show was one of the best I have ever heard.  You can enjoy this week’s show on the radio, on your computer or smart phone or you can watch it on YouTube.  

The St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra is performing Horizons” Saturday night at 7:30 at Ritsche Auditorium on the campus of St. Cloud State University.  Tickets at the door or at www.stcloudsymphony.com 

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”  Abraham Lincoln

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