This is the transcription of a recording from 2 Oct 2014 when Patrick accompanied me on a trip to Prescott, Arizona for the Prescott Rally. I’ll see if I can upload the recording at some point so you can hear his voice.
JP: For each of the major European cities, what things are the most memorable from the first time you were there, and what things would you recommend a first-timer see if someone were to visit today?
PM: Of course today everything is different from when I first arrived. The first thing I remember is arriving in… let’s see… Paris, and going to the apartments of the young ladies we had met in Greenwich Village and let us use it for the month of August because they went to the sea.
We got in the car, they met us at the railroad station, they drove us to the apartment. Along the way we were listening to a radio station, and listening to French music, this French song. The driver asked, “Do you like that song?” I said, “Yeah, it sounds great.” She said “It’s an ad for soap suds!” That was my first memory.
The next one would have to be when we were looking for a museum… not the big one….
JP: The Louvre or the Musee d’Orsay?
PM: The one with all the impressionists, in those days they were in a separate museum.
JP: That would be the Musee d’Orsay.
PM: So we were there on the Place de la Concorde I think, and there was a cop in the middle directing traffic and I crossed all of the traffic lanes and looked up at him on his pedestal and asked Parlez-vous anglais? He replied, “No, do you speak French?” So… I would avoid Paris! The only thing was, the food was fantastic. I didn’t get back there until… that was in ’61, I guess. I got back there in ’71, ten years later, working for that company, writing for that company. It had changed a lot already but it’s still great.
If I go to a country now, I like to go to the small towns in the mountains. I don’t like to go to cities! I like to live in a small town in the mountains. It’s where I was born. I’m thinking of moving to Palma and getting an apartment with an elevator and a nice view out the window, but I haven’t found anything so far that’s good enough that I can afford.
In Germany, Berlin has really bulged since … I was there in ’88 and the wall was still there. But it’s booming now. It’s the capital again.
Some beautiful things to be seen, nice rivers to ride on with boats to see the scenes, and the zoo. It’s not recently that they ate all the animals. They’ve got them back. In Barcelona they even ate the elephants during the civil war. That’s going pretty far. Times then were tough.
I always liked Wiesbaden. That’s where I first stayed in Germany. Actually going from Paris to Wiesbaden at the end of that month, I got on a train and got my first lesson in German on the train. I think I told you this.
JP: I’m not sure….
PM: We were sleeping on the train and I had my feet up on the bench and the puchsfrau came through and said “Nicht shoers da!”
JP; No shoes here!
Patrick: Trier was nice. That’s where Mari finally flipped. That’s a part I’m working on now [writing] off and on too. Trier was the northern most point where the Romans were. They left a triumphal arch there.
JP: Was it an arch, or an aqueduct, or just a monument?
Patrick: A monument. It’s still there, and it’s not too far from the Svengale air force base which is where I was playing at the time. It’s right across the border from…. what’s that little tiny….? Luxembourg. Like five minutes from Luxembourg. That little town Beensfeld, means field of beans. It was like that, sort of. Population about 200, plus chickens.
That’s where Mari flipped. Several things that happened there. I’m pretty sure… oh, never mind…. it’s not important.
JP: Don’t feel like doing that one now?
Patrick: Nah, it’s not of great interest. I’ve written it fifteen times different ways and …
JP: All in good time. Or no time.
Patrick: Or no time…. I’ve got one section separate… I’ve got notes going… scattered notes. Whenever I think of something I haven’t written, or think I haven’t written, I make a note right then in that folder, called Scattered Notes. I can search through that at any time if I’m looking for something. Like Missouri, or Mari, or Nancy, or kids, or …. I can find all of those. That’s one big pile. Then I have another one that’s for West Virginia notes. Which I’m slowly deleting and putting into the book so that I don’t have that to do. Then there’s one called All About Mari. Every time I think of something I haven’t discussed yet, I put it there. So when I get to the point where Mari is in the book I’m working on, I can go there and find out what fits next. It’s pretty well organized. Whether it’s worth the trouble or not is something I’m not sure. I’m really not sure.
JP: I use a similar, but much more simple approach. I have an electronic file called Things to Record. As I think about stuff I want to put on a digital for future typing, I carry that list in the car (I don’t think I brought it in the truck this trip) but it’s just so I can remember occasionally what I want to talk about next.
I’m the son of Patrick of Meadows.