My Journal – A Flyer Arrives – 2005

The Beginning – A Flyer Arrives from Travel Designs

Something happened to me when I looked at dad’s notebooks and any of the other papers or medals pertaining to his wartime experience.  A flame inside of me began to flicker.  I had the overwhelming need to know more; to find out everything that I possibly could about his wartime years. 

My thirst for knowledge about my dad’s experience took me to the internet searching by the names of his camps; Stalag Luft VI, Stalag Luft IV and Stalag Luft I.  Wherever there was a guest book, I wrote looking for anyone that may have been with my father.  I would always give my name, address, phone number and e mail address.  The end of January, 2005, I received notification of, and the itinerary for, a trip planned to Barth, Germany, the site of Stalag Luft I.  This was the camp in which my father was interned for three of the fifteen months that he was a prisoner of war – from February 8, 1945 to liberation May 1, 1945.  He was flown out of Barth on May 13, 1945. 

It was the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Stalag Luft I so it was back to the camp for the POW’s 60 years later.  I was home from work due to a flu virus and could only glance at the pamphlet as I was too sick to absorb the information.  The state that I was in, and having read just enough about the trip, incited a dream about being where my dad was all those years ago.  I could see him there so clearly and imagine what he looked like then and how the surroundings looked to him and I was feeling almost that I was him and that I was there seeing through his eyes.  You know how dreams are especially if you are very sick; the mind can reel and it was almost like I was hallucinating.  It was such a vivid vision that it invaded my thoughts in my waking hours. 

When I felt somewhat better, I e-mailed Ellis Gibson (Gib) from the Travel Agency and said how I wished that I could join them on this tour but that it was impossible.  I already had scheduled 2 weeks vacation from work which were the 2 weeks preceding the trip dates and I was sure that I could not take an entire month’s vacation.  I did not say this to Gib, but I also do not like flying and I would have to fly by myself all those hours to Germany.  I have only ever flown with my husband.  I would be spending 2 weeks with people that I did not even know.  I would be all by myself.  And then to justify spending the money was another obstacle that weighed on my mind. 

There were so many reasons that made this trip seem like only a dream to me.  The chances were slim that I could participate and it was virtually out of the question.  I still couldn’t stop thinking about what a great opportunity that going to Barth would be for me to find out more about dad.  Who knew, maybe someone there would, by chance, have even been dad’s roommate. 

I had to at least find out if it would be possible for me to take the time away from my job.  After some consideration by my supervisor, I was surprised, but the 2 additional weeks of vacation would be allowed.  I then had to think about the money.  Could I justify spending money on this trip and more importantly could I come up with it?  It just so happened that I had done some finagling as we were possibly going to be making a purchase and I needed the ready cash just in case.  It was decided that we did not need to make the purchase and I had this money just itching to be spent. 

After discussing how much that it would mean to me to retrace my father’s steps, my husband, Brad, told me that if it meant that much to me to go for it.  The impossible was getting to look more and more like probable.  The way things fell into place indicated to me that it was undoubtedly meant to be.  I felt such a strong drive that eliminated any fear that I may have had of flying by myself and not knowing anyone that I would meet there.  

The flame was growing brighter.  I was filled with the anticipation of finding the lifetime of my father that was unknown to me.  Therefore, I progressed to the last step; I called Gib and told him to sign me up.  I began to gather the facts pertaining to my father to take with me.  Soon I would be walking through an area that my father, Sergeant John Kyler, walked.  The dream would become reality.