27 Jan, 2010 | Posted by: photosource

When I was 26, and living in Maryland, USA, I made a wanderlust trip through Europe, Africa, USA, Mexico and Central America that lasted over 35 months, almost three years. That was in 1957-60. When I returned home I began writing a memoir during 1960 and ’61. When I finished, I put it away in a closet and forgot it. I really didn’t forget it. I just didn’t think I should publish it because there were so many episodes and descriptions in there that would be awkward to people like my relatives and my friends along the way. So I left it all alone. It’s now 2010, almost 40 years later. . I’ll dust off the manuscript and publish it here for the first time. I thought you would like to know how me and my family came to living on a farm here in western Wisconsin -RE

My Story


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We sold our trip across Europe and Africa story to the then popular Saturday Evening POST. Rudi is steering our raft on the Niger River. That's me coming out of the water. By the way, the first publisher of the SatEvePost was Benjamin Franklin.


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homeless man
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-Rohn Engh - - - - - - 1957

It’s funny how like when you get sent to a foreign country, as the U.S. Army sent us to Germany, it’s like a vacation, and you act different than you did back in your hometown. You develop a different character that sometimes you really don’t recognize. You’re not as responsible as when you were at home

So that’s why when you get back home, you know that those characters that were in your unit won’t be the same as you knew them back then, they’ll be a different character, and you’ll be a different character, so I guess that’s why I probably won’t be contacting them, or them me.

But there’s one guy I think I’ll be contacting.

I think he’ll pretty much be the same as when we were in Wuerzburg.
His name was Rick Tolman.. The guys called him, ol’ Rickety Rickshaw Rick.

One day we were eating a snack in the commissary, and Rick said, “Hey, Engh, I got an idea I wanna tell you about at the Gasthaus tonight.”

Rick was a swarthy lady’s man type who grew up in Hoboken. Like a lot of the young men in our CIC unit, he was a recent graduate from an east coast law school. He had failed the bar exam in New Jersey and wasn’t looking forward to another exam and a future lifetime of law practice.
Germany had opened his eyes to the delights and pleasures of freedom of not having to attend college classes
anymore. Girls were his main focus now.

His German speaking skills were not too bad. At least in the area of picking up girls. His favorite maneuver was the ‘bottle of wine’ technique.

“You see, Engh, it’s a lot different in this country,“ he said. “Girls here are always fishing. They want you to marry them and take them back to the states. The nice girls don’t want to look too eager, so you have to figure out an excuse for them to approach you. Otherwise you’d consider them a slut.”

Tolmann’s best technique (he told me) was to go to a grocery store, one of those larger kind, and stroll around with a single bottle of wine in the wheel cart basket. That’s all, just a bottle of wine. Pretty soon a girl would come up and say something like, “Looks like there’s a party tonight!” or, “Are you going to drink that all alone?” Or other stuff like that.

Depending on what the girl looked like, Rick and the girl would end up in his apartment that he rented in Wuerzburg. One time he said he had to buy a second bottle of wine because the young fraulein he picked up had a twin sister who insisted she come along as sort of a chaperone. Well you know what happened there.

So, back to Rick’s idea he wanted to tell me about.
I met him after work at the bierstube and he laid it out to me. “We’re going to Monaco this weekend.. You and me.”

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