Welcome to one of the February 17th stops on the blog tour for A Rendezvous to Remember by Terry Marshall & Ann Garretson Marshall, organized by iRead Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for book spotlights, guest posts and interviews with the author, and a giveaway! (More on that at the end of this post.)
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.
What NOT to Do in Communist East Berlin
(Guest Post submitted by Terry Marshall & Ann Garretson Marshall)
Writing our memoir—A Rendezvous to Remember—has become a cause for self-flagellation. I did some really foolish, even dangerous things when I was young! It’s tempting to sugarcoat them. But that wouldn’t be authentic, would it? Here’s an example:
In 1964, I wandered around Communist East Berlin, by myself, on foot, before the wall fell, and without a clear idea of how to get to my destination. That was dicey enough. Jack, my soldier boyfriend, had warned me, “They aren’t nice people. Don’t call attention to yourself.” I should have listened.
I could have gotten swept up in a police dragnet, and no one would have known. But what I did on my way out of East Berlin was completely foolhardy.
I’d entered East Berlin in part on a mission to bring home examples of propaganda. In my first year of teaching English, I wanted to work with all students, not only college-bound kids who grew up as readers. I would immerse them in real-life issues, helping them discover how words could impact our lives. Communist propaganda, I thought, would be the perfect vehicle: newspapers, handbills, and manifestos we could dissect as a class.
But I hadn’t seen a single newspaper dispenser in East Berlin. No flyers, no posters—no propaganda at all. Then, I realized that if I did see anything, it would be in German. What was I thinking?
The guard shack at the Checkpoint Charley exit to West Berlin was as forbidding as it had been when I entered. But while I waited in line to exit, I spied a pamphlet—in English—the kind of propaganda I wanted to share with my students.
Lying by itself on a counter, a white pamphlet with bright red letters said, “You’re right, Senator Fulbright.” A blurry black-and-white photo in the corner was of our own J. William Fulbright, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman. Unobtrusively, I read the smaller print upside down. It seemed to say he supported the right of East Germany to close the Berlin Wall.
At last—an example of real propaganda! I wanted it.
But I was afraid to ask, afraid the East German guards would detain me, afraid the Americans at the exit would lock me up. I waited. I watched. When no one was looking, I snatched it and stashed it in my purse. And for the next twenty minutes, I nearly disintegrated from anxiety as I smuggled my booty through both the East and West Berlin checkpoints.
Luckily, I made it out safely.
Nowadays, I shiver to think of what could have happened to me, ever since I read about Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old student—same age as I was then!—who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in January 2016 for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster while on a school trip to Communist North Korea. Stealing a propaganda poster? I could barely breathe when I read about it.
Otto was released 18 months later—in a coma. He died days afterward, having never regained consciousness. His parents say he was tortured. Whoa! That could have been me. I’ll be forever grateful that I made it out of East Berlin safely. Word to the wise: Don’t do what I did! —Ann Garretson Marshall, coauthor, A Rendezvous to Remember
About the Book
A Rendezvous to Remember
A Memoir of Joy and Heartache at the Dawn of the Sixties
by Terry Marshall & Ann Garretson Marshall
Published 9 February 2021
Sandra Jonas Publishing
Genre: Memoir, Romance
Page Count: 378
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Content Rating: R. This memoir contains mature themes, explicit sex scenes, one f-word, and occasional profanity.
n June 1964, Ann Garretson skips her college commencement to tour Europe with Lieutenant Jack Sigg, a tank commander on the German-Czech border, with the hope of returning as his fiancée. A month into their rendezvous, her best friend, Terry, proposes marriage—by mail—throwing all their lives into turmoil.
Jack offers the military life Ann grew up with. Terry, a conscientious objector, will leave for the Peace Corps at the end of the summer—unless the draft board intervenes and sends him to jail. Her dilemma: she loves them both. Caught between the old mores and winds of change, Ann must make an agonizing choice.
In alternating voices, A Rendezvous to Remember presents firsthand accounts by the two who eventually married, enriched by letters from the rival, whose path led him elsewhere. Provocative and delightfully uncensored, this coming-of-age memoir, anchored in the tumult of the sixties, is a tribute to the enduring power of love and family.
About the Authors
Terry Marshall and Ann Garretson Marshall taught English in the Philippines as Peace Corps volunteers and later served as Peace Corps country co-directors in the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Tuvalu. Back in the States, they worked side by side as community organizers and activists in Colorado. Terry went on to write fiction and nonfiction works on discrimination, poverty, rural development, and intercultural conflict. Ann has thirty years of experience as a writer, editor, and community-government go-between for issues related to nuclear and hazardous waste cleanup. Always seeking adventure, Terry and Ann have traveled to forty-three countries. They live in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Win 1 of 2 print (USA only) or 1 of 3 ebook (international) of A RENDEZVOUS TO REMEMBER (5 winners, ends Mar 8)a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.