CARETTA, WEST VIRGINIA
I was born on July 12, 1944 in our old house on Main Street in
Caretta, West Virginia.
Rollie Quesenberry was a coal miner. My mother,
June Quesenberry was a house wife.
My mother anf father had four boys: The oldest
David, the next to oldest
Larry, and the youngest
The family name has a German origin. The original name Von Quentenberg can be translated into "of the crested mountain". Quest being crested, berg being mountain. This seems to be derived from the region of the snowcapped Harz Mountains of Germany where the family lived. Von Questenberg or Questenberg seems to be the German version of the name. The English versions were Questenbury and Questenberry. As mentioned, Thomas could not read or write upon his arrival in the U.S. When asked his name for immigration records, he pronounced the name with the silent "t".
BIG CREEK HIGH SCHOOL from 1959-1962. Big Creek High School was a vibrant and entergetic, rich in legacy. Through these halls walked every profession, spauning all walks of life, successful, indegent, rich and poor. A motivated student, could learn what was needed to fulfill their potential. Football was the compassion of many of the students. Here was life long friends, ones that would stick by you, visit you when you were sick, help you to get out of trouble, help you in any way. This is the strong suit of Big Creek High School.
BIG CREEK HIGH SCHOOL
After I graduated, I joined the Army, and I borded
the Geiger a US Army troop carrier. I remember being on board ‘the Geiger’ (I later learned that Geiger is the German word for violin) docked in New York City, talking to a fellow soldier. He said, ‘I’m afraid I’ll get sick.” I said, “You see that foam coming in and out, just keep watching it go in and out, and you won’t get sick.” Many things that I did, were in fun, but, perhaps somewhat mean too. I wish I could do over a lot of things; but, you don’t get to go back.
It took ten days to get to Bremerhaven. Sea Sickness was a big problem. Some stayed in bed, sick the whole time. I did not get sick myself, I enjoyed the trip.
I went to the wrong compartment on the first day to avoid ‘KP’ duty. We went through a big storm and ‘baton down the hatches’ took on new meaning. I stayed ‘top side’, went to the back of the ship and locked my legs around a bench and rode out the storm. The waves smashed and shot over my head. Up and down like an elevator, I would raise my arm and shout “Yee Haa!!!
AS we neared Germany, I picked up German radio stations and listened to German for the first time, and for that matter, any foreign language. I was fascinated.
When we came to the English Channel, we picked up a pilot to carry us to Bremerhaven. When I got on land, I had sea legs. I would lean to the left and to the right, as if I was still on board the Geiger.
I was sent to
Flak Kaserne Augsburg, Germany.
FLAK KASERNE, AUGSBURG, GERMANY
Through this gate, enter Flak Kaserne. After disembarking ‘The Geiger’, I am sure I boarded a olive drab bus, and rode to Flak Kaserne. For some reason, I do not remember the ride. But, I do remember being there. We would get up at the buggle sound of revele and fall in outside, “Platoon 3 all present and accounted for, Sir!!” We might ‘right face’ and take a lap, do the daily dozen calisthentics, or ‘left face’ and go to breakfast. Most of the time, we had scrambled egg, sometimes, S.O.S. , sometimes powdered eggs. And then, off to work.
I was a radio repairman, attached to the 24th Infantry, Signal Corp. ..a ‘tube jockey’. If it was simple, we fixed it. Most of the time, it was sent to ‘higher echelon’. I was assigned a duce and a half truck, with a trailer (with a generator loaded on). My boss was Sgt. Mull, I believe. I remember, he wrote on an index card, handed it to me and said, “Congratulations, you are a truck driver, but, I am not riding with you. Once, after a field trip, I was again told to clean the stove. I said, “Why doesn’t ‘so and so’ have to do it? I asked for a transfer I was denied. That was silly of me, wasn’t it?
In addition to my regular duties, I had guard duty. We were only given three cartridges. Our laundry was done by a German business and KP duty was done by Germans. We paid them a small amount. The cooking was done by Amerrican cooks. We had a PX, a dentist office, a hospital, a NCO Club and tayloring services. I started as a private and left as a Specialist Fourth Class.
I think I made $100 a month. I saved $18.00 out of every payday as a ‘savings bond’. In April, 1966 I was processed out, went back to Bremerhaven, boarded a ship (I think it was the Patch). Sailed to New York, boarded a plane and (after a short stop in D.C.) went home to see my mother and father, and brothers. I had a German accent.
24TH INFANTRY DIVISION
This is me, standing at the door of the radio repair work shop, smoking a cigarette with Sgt. Harris.
24TH INFANTRY DIVISION
At the age of nineteen, anything can happen. When I went downtown, I always had in mind to meet a pretty girl, and have a girl friend. That was my objective. And, I did try; but, I never really succeeded. I would go to every ‘Gasthaus’ and drink beer, usually too much. I have often wondered, what if I did not drink, and I went to church, wouldn’t that have been a better way? You can’t guess your fate, I suppose. This was 1964. I did get saved in 1979. I am glad of that!
It quickly became clear that I needed to be able to speak German. I took German 101 and 102 with the University of Maryland, studied on my own, and tried to speak with the town folk. This was complicated by the fact that the local town people spoke
Schwäbisch a German dialect.
I did have a passion for the German Language. Learning to speak German was an intriguing endeavor.
I am sure my biggest error was to neglect to learn the correct article for a noun. The other weakness for me is the lack of an adequate vocabulary.
When you get old they say one of the first things you loose is your foreign language. It is like the flat that I had one time, I told the attendant to put air in my tire and he said, “Hey Buddy, the air is going out as fast as I am putting it in.” About that time, the motor let go and, I said, “Never mind, I lost my motor now.”
My favorite song
Lolita auf Deutsch.