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Army Officers’ Club Morphs to Music School

Ann at former military hangout—where weapons have been replaced by flutes, and clarinets, and …

Ann, from A Rendezvous to Remember, Epilogue: Dare We Relive History? May 5, 2014, Landshut, Germany:

“We find the former American Army Officers’ Club. No Military Police on duty, rifles at the ready. A brass plaque identifies the building as Stadtische Musikschule Landshut, the Landshut Music School. Below that, another brass plaque verifies that it was indeed the Officers’ Club.” In a word, we’ve found the military hangout!

“The front door is unlocked. We creep in. No receptionist. No soldiers in dress greens.

“From far down the hall, a single flute plays—not a German Jean-Pierre Rampal, assuredly, but not a rank beginner; a simple melody, not one we recognize.

“This isn’t the free-flowing club I remember. The interior has been sliced and partitioned; rows of doors lead, apparently, to tiny practice rooms, all locked.”

The Military Hangout Is Gone—What Am I Looking for?

“A whiff of reminiscence, perhaps? The thrill of a recaptured memory that I can wrap in a tissue paper of words and safely stow for the future? Or is this an inquiry into the fragility of human institutions? Where now are those hale warriors who guarded the borders of human freedom? Long since gone . . . every one.

“We enter a glass-walled great room through an open door and discover a small stage fronting rows of neatly arranged folding chairs on a burnished parquet floor. ‘This was the dance floor. We danced here, my brother and I, and—’

“Terry is looking at me quizzically. ‘Yeah, I bet you did. Just you and your brother, huh?’

“‘Well, Jack too, of course.’” Delicious memories from this military hangout paint themselves on my mental palette.

“Fifty years later, I no longer have to speed from one conversational safe house to another, trying to skirt memories too painful for Terry to hear.”

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