Sometimes at the oddest of times I come up with an idea in my head for a post on a weird subject and I think to myself where the heck did that come from. I had a very interesting child hood to say the least and part of that time was spent in what my older brother Denny and I called the Dungeon.
The Dungeon was located in the basement of a small house in Siefersheim Germany, a very small town about 60 miles south-west of Frankfurt. We had moved from on base housing in the thriving area around Kaiserslautern (K-Town) where there were an estimated 500,000 Americans living to this small town out in the middle of nowhere when my mom was transferred to a different Army base. In K-Town we had AFN TV and all of our neighbors were American so in actuality it was not unlike living in the United States. In Siefershiem we had no such luxuries as TV, unless you wanted to watch German TV, and we were the only Americans in town and the closest base was about seven miles through the hilly wine country.
The house we had moved to was in reality a two bedroom with an extra room built in the basement out of concrete blocks. There was no heat in the basement and there was barely any light, but my brother and I made the best of it. Since there wasn’t a worry about messing up the walls, for the first time in our lives we were allowed to hang posters and whatever we wanted on the walls. Being 14 and 15 years old we plastered the walls with Rock n Roll posters and pictures, everybody from the Beatles and the Stones to the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. We would come home from school and retire to our rooms to listen to music and read. I know that I read more books in that six months we lived in that house than any other time in my life. It is there that I read JRR Tolkien’s trilogy, all to the soundtrack of Rush 2112 playing in the background. It is those few months cooped up with my brother in the Dungeon that I really began my love for music. My understanding of what real music was and what crap was.
It was also in the Dungeon where we awoke to the cold and the darkness with the radio giving us news that John Lennon had died.
Soon after Lennon’s death we would pack up on Christmas day and move two miles to a majestic German Mansion situated on a horse farm within a vineyard. While Denny and I continued to share a room, our posters were relegated to moving boxes where they would never again see the light of day. We continued to read and listen to music, but it was different when you had a room with a balcony and a scenic view. The music couldn’t be played as loud nor as often. We still didn’t have TV but as the winter turned to spring we were free to take the bus or hitch hike into town to hang out with our American friends on base. Spring turned to summer and we returned to the States and for the first time in years, I had a room to myself.
In some ways the Dungeon is a family joke, something we bring up at Thanksgiving or Christmas to gig my mom and dad about our living conditions at some of our many stops along the way. But in reality, it was six months of great music, books and friendship with my brother. Six months that had a huge impact on who I am today.