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The Deutsche Mark

"As an Army brat who has had the luxury of living in Europe and traveling, I collected coins from the countries I visited throughout my 20s. I thought that one day I would make a charm bracelet with all of the coins. When we moved to Frederick this February, I found the box of coins. When I picked up the box, I thought, this is way too heavy to make a charm bracelet with. I started to think about which coin meant the most to me. It was an easy choice......

One summer, right after my parents moved to Heidelberg, I brought some old college friends home. My mother and father had a party earlier in the year with a group of lieutenants. As the lieutenants left that night, my mother asked if they would be single in the summer. If they were, they were to give her their number. Her daughter was coming home with some of her friends. A few days after we arrived, my mother was hosting a party. Unbeknownst to me, she had called those lieutenants AND told my father to find some more... because the odds were not good enough for us.

The lieutenants came to the party. After about an hour, while the girls and I were enjoying dinner with them, the doorbell rang. Two lieutenants were standing at the door, the 2 my father found. I welcomed them in, told them to quickly have a bite to eat because we were heading to a bar. The guys ate quickly, we all loaded into 3-4 cars, and drove downtown. The car I drove was the first in line. I ran a red light. All the cars followed me except the last one. The two lieutenants that were late were in that car. We never saw them again.

The next morning, I felt extremely guilty about abandoning those 2 lieutenants. I asked my parents and the girls who they were (I didn't really get a chance to talk to them). The only information I got was their names were Joe and Mark. No last names, no idea where they were from. The only person that I could think of, that would be able to help me, was my father's secretary. I walked over and told her my story. I told her that I, at least, owed them a beer. I told her I would meet them anywhere after I returned from a trip to France with the girls. She laughed and then sighed.

A week later, the girls and I returned to Heidelberg and were told we were going to a wine tasting with my father, some of his co-workers, my brothers, and ALL of the lieutenants. We had a great time. At the end of our time there, I told the guys that we were headed to Frankfurt that night if they wanted to join us. They did. We enjoyed playing, drinking games and talking. At the end of the night, knowing the girls were flying home the next day and that I had no friends in Heidelberg to hang out with, I gave them ALL my number. I told them if they were doing anything to give me a call. I figured none of them would. A week later, I returned from a run. My mother told me that Joe had called. I was excited! I had dated Joe, an Irish car salesman, the summer before. I thought I'll head to Ireland tomorrow! My mother said, 'No, that nice lieutenant.' I said, 'Who?' She says, 'Just call him back. He was nice."

I went to take a shower. I heard the phone ring. When I returned to the den, my 10-year-old brother was on the phone, asking someone 20 questions: What's your favorite color? What's your favorite baseball team? Then he says, "Do you want to talk to my sister?" I got on the phone. It was Joe, the nice lieutenant. We talked, and he asked if I wanted to go out. I told him that I already had plans with friends in Frankfurt, but he was welcome to come along. We met at my house and drove to Frankfurt together.


That night we realized that we were both Army brats, and we had mutual friends in Kansas. Before he left that night, he asked if I would write him. I said, 'No, but I'll call you.' I returned to Virginia the next week. Joe and I continued to call each other throughout the summer. One day in late August, he called and told me he was coming to Virginia to visit some of his high school friends. He asked to see me and that anything we did that weekend was on him! That was the beginning of our long-distance relationship. Flying back and forth, paying $1,000 long-distance phone bills, writing letters. Now, we have been married for 27 years. We have 4 children, one was born in Germany, and one is now a lieutenant in Germany.

Yes, I chose the Deutsche Mark. On the front of the coin, it has the number one, which, for me, symbolizes my husband, Joe. The pieces that go around the coin remind me of how life repeats itself, how Germany keeps reappearing in my life. When Stacey finished the pendant, it did not have the 4 small diamonds on it, but we both thought it needed something, so she added them. Afterward, I thought, 4 diamonds for 4 kids!


Thank you, Stacey, for creating something so meaningful for me. I love it!

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