Walt Mercer Saves the Day
by Gary Anderson (62-63)

From the 11/15/05 BIA Newsletter

After the episode involving the room full of Air Police and the subsequent base confinement (Ed. Note: see the November 15, 2004 Newsletter), I received a letter from a girl that I was pretty involved with before I went into the service…………small, blonde, sparkling blue eyes, a pony-tail hair cut, nice figure and loads of fun.

She was a nurse and was working in New York City. I spent three days in New York with her, doing the sites and sounds of the Big Apple, before we said goodbye at the Port Authority bus station when I shipped out to Berlin.

I hadn’t seen her in nearly a year and a half when I got a letter from her. She was working at the US Army Hospital in Frankfort and was planning on visiting Berlin with a friend. Could I arrange a place for them to stay and give them the grand tour of the divided city?

I pled my case to Sgt. Rufus T. Standard who graciously forgave my confinement to base and I made arrangements for Patty and her friend for their visit to Berlin.

Since I wanted this to be a great time for both visitors, I set about finding the appropriate companion for Pat’s friend.

I settled on a Baker trick buddy, Walt Mercer who met the criteria I was looking for…………..tall, well built, wavy black hair with a southern drawl and charm that would send shivers down any woman’s spine. Walt was an old timer in Berlin and knew the city very well. He was also as nice a person as you could ever hope to meet.

We met the girls at the Checkpoint where the Autobahn enters West Berlin, said our hellos and took them downtown to the hostel where I had arranged for them to stay.

We met them later that afternoon and Walt took us out to a small café that he knew well. We had a great German dinner and later took in some of the sights along the Kudamm and made plans for the next day.

While my meeting with Pat was fun and exciting, her friend and Walt’s date was considerably less than spectacular………….You couldn’t drink enough Schulteiss bier to make her pretty or fun!

The next day, Walt was a true southern gentleman and did his best to show all of us things and places in Berlin that none of us had ever seen or would experience again. The Berlin Zoo was a great tour as well as the wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Russian War Memorial and Brandenburg Gate, and some of the other places which are long forgotten.

Patty and I were alone and spent the evening at the café on the top floor of the Hilton Hotel. It was fascinating to be able to see the entire area of West Berlin in lights and to see the darkness where East Berlin started.

I said a long goodbye to Patty the next day and Walt and I went back to work on swings.

I was selected for the 2T program in October, 1963 and was scheduled to return to the states in mid December. In anticipation of that event, I spent more money than I should have on some jewelry for Pat and looked forward to seeing her.

The first night I was home, I put on my best, called Pat’s parents number, explained who I was and asked to speak to Pat! There was a long pause before her mother said…………..”Gary………….Patty is married”………

I never saw her again.

© 2005, The Berlin Island Association

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