In April 1990, my wife’s grandmother had a birthday party at her house in Schweich, Germany; and in this photo left to right are: my wife’s father, her grandmother, David and I, my wife’s great-aunt and one of my wife’s cousins.
It was now the middle of summer in July 1990, and one Saturday after mowing the yard I took pictures of our entire property – this view is of the empty lot beside the property looking down the long sidewalk in front of our home.
I had spent the previous fall and winter pruning out all of the deadwood from the overgrown property – and burning it as kindling in our wood stove and fireplace – and now the new growth was maturing in the summer; this view is of the front of our house.
Everything was now looking quaint and manicured, where before the entire property was overgrown and needed lots of attention; this view of the front yard and sidewalk leading to the front door looked very nice and peaceful – which the whole property was for us.
My wife hung new lace curtains in the kitchen windows and the flowers were in full bloom in the small stone planter in the our front yard; and the house began to feel like home to us – even if we were only renting it – but in reality my wife and I have been “nomads” our entire adult lives…so home is anywhere we happen to be living it seems.
A view from across the street looking back at our car in the driveway; we always took the view in life that we were only caretakers and stewards of the “things” in life that were entrusted to us – houses, cars or furniture – which made it easier to move houses as often as we did.
From this view of the front of our property you would never know that there was a house in the middle of this forest; our stewardship approach to life has meant that besides houses or cars, we never sell anything when we no longer need it – but just give it away to someone else to care for.
The property in Monzelfeld was shaped like a triangle with streets on the two long sides of the triangle – and from this perspective it looks like the bow of a great ocean going ship coming straight towards you.
Our car in the driveway is visible from this view of the side yard looking back at the wood shed and garage; we were always proud of the fact that the majority of items we gave away through the years were still in essentially brand new condition.
The rustic swingset stands in the side yard that is now completely private – surrounded by the forest that encircled most of the property; everytime we had to move to a new country we always started by downsizing and giving away what we didn’t need to pack and take with us.
At this point in our marriage of four years, Monzelfeld was our third home together (Heckenmünster, Germany; Sacramento, CA, U.S.A.; Monzelfeld, Germany), with two international moves across the Atlantic and back and David was now three years old.
The side yard continued around behind the house, garage and woodshed (left in this picture); and it was only days from now that Kuwait would be invaded by Iraq in a move that surprised – and changed – both the world and our family forever.
From the backyard this view our our house shows the corner where our dining room is located on the left side deep into the shadow; officially there was no mention of Hahn AB being involved in Operation Desert Shield – but a couple of us on the Wing Staff were convinced the odds were very high indeed.
These are the floor to ceiling windows of our dining room, which allowed for plenty of light to enter the house and made it feel like the forest surrounding the house was invited inside as well.
This shows just how dense the growth on the property was – even after cutting it back – and this sidewalk led behind the house to a BBQ pit and to the covered back porch; at work we would begin pushing every bit of information about world events out to our three F-16 squadrons: the 10th TFS, 313th TFS and 496th TFS.
The forest was my pride and joy and a never ending sense of enjoyment – after I had finished cutting the deadwood out of it; and now you could easily walk between the three narrow rows of young trees that surrounded most of the property.
I always thought that Bilbo and Frodo Baggins from, “The Lord of the Rings,” would have felt very much at home in the almost “Shire like” property that we cared for in Monzelfeld – as dappled shade beckons the visitor ever onward.
The back yard behind the living room’s sliding glass doors – where David had stood in front of the colorful tulips only a few months ago; and off to the right is the “hunter’s lodge” style covered porch at the end of the house near David’s bedroom.
Looking out across the back yard from the house reveals an eight foot high hedge – even before you reach the three rows of trees prior to the fence and sidewalk behind our house – complete privacy that felt like we were miles away from any other civilization.
The far corner of the back yard behind the “hunter’s lodge” style covered porch; this would be the last series of pictures until October 1990 – there was no time for sightseeing and photography with the onset of ever changing world events.
Looking out from the patio in front of the covered porch, the view of our backyard shows how dense the new growth of the forest had become – closing us off completely from the street directly behind us.
The “hunter’s lodge” style covered porch emerges from the trees at the back of our house, as if a secret meeting house for “Robin Hood and his Merry Men” deep in Sherwood Forest – which we would one day have the opportunity to visit while in England.
This is what I call the “hunter’s lodge” style covered porch – huge and open to the forest on two sides with flower boxes on the outside of the knee walls; the unfortunate thing was that we never got the time to really grow into this part of the house and it often went unused.
Looking at the “hunter’s lodge” style covered porch, you can see the size and height of it; the window on the right with the blue and white checked curtain was David’s bedroom window, and the one on the left was our guest room and my music room.
Looking from the outside end of the covered porch through to the backyard, it was like we were in a forest camp miles from anywhere, yet we were a stone’s throw from the houses across the street behind us.
The far back corner of the property where the unfinished lot meets it, reveals the windows of the master bedroom suite – which was the only area upstairs – in this naturalistic and rustic styled, contemporary, custom built tri-level home in Monzelfeld.
Now we fast forward to October 1990, as David drives a car on a festival ride that fall – most villages, towns and cities have “fests” that come into town for a few days and then move on to the next; and it was during this time we were preparing at Hahn AB to be ready if called to deploy to Operation Desert Shield.