News from Bad Aibling alumnus, Nick Dostie

Well, here we go. December 1967, I arrive at BA with Art Ehrenberg (classmates at Ft Devens). We arrive in the middle of the night, tired and confused.

Before being assigned operations work, our first job was to help the old German groundskeeper “Pops” to hang Xmas lights. Needless to say, we didn’t care much about the chore, and we kept frustrating “Pops” by dragging the lights in the snow.

A couple days later, I was on my first European outing. No language skills, little money, but nerve enough to get to Rosenhiem and get a round trip train ticket to Innsbruck. That was the first of 3 1/2 years of great travels.

Some of you may remember my first wife, Kathy. Most of time I lived off post, back to barracks for a few months mid-tour, and also last few months at BA. We had 3 different apartments at BA. Last was certainly the best. Top floor of modern home in AU, with balcony and picture window views of Wendelstien.

May of 71, I am escorted to the Rosenheim Bahnhof by Bob Banis and a few others. With tears in my eyes, I leave for home. Back to the real world, and a career with Veterans Canteen Service, which I am sure many of you may be familiar with as the VA Hospital version of military PX/BX system. I had worked for them part-time in high school and college from 62 to 67, and went right back in as a management trainee.

My home was Massachusettes, but since BA days, spent most of my working life in various VA Hospitals throughout NY State, as Asst. Manager and Store Manager. Also had 3 years at West Roxbury Mass in mid 70’s.

Latter part of career was a 15 year stay as manager in Syracuse, NY. I finished career as a Retail Buyer at the Canteen Central Office in St. Louis, MO. I retired from VA in 2001, and got my first Soc. Security payment last month, so you can see, I am getting on.

Ina is my Wife of 36 years, we have two boys (Kevin is 28, Keith is 25). Kevin isn’t married, Keith is, and gave us our first grandson last November; there is already a second one on the way. My wife is from Syracuse, not much family left there anymore. I was from Northampton Mass area, not much family back home for me either. We have lived in Belleville, IL since my transfer to the buyer job in 1995.

I have had only very limited contacts from former BA folks since leaving there. While visiting my family in the early 70’s, I did visit Bob Wallace and Gabi at their home on Cape Cod. I remember bringing the beer(Piels draft was 99 cents a 6 pack). After enjoying a few beers, Bob began dialing up info numbers for major CT cities, trying to locate Gerry Boyle(we had no luck, does anyone know of him and Rosalind?).

After that, I had a chance contact with Dave (from Mass.,can’t remember last name) Captain America – who you all will remember by his distinctive red, white and blue ski jacket. That meeting was at Turn 6 at Watkins Glen during either a Can-AM or Grand Prix race in early 70’s.

My next meeting was with Bob and Judy Banis (the only people that I kept any contact with from BA). Ina and I went on a 3 week road trip in 75, from Boston area thru St. Louis, Oklahoma City, route 66 to Las Vegas, North to Yellowstone and Bozeman, MT where we visited Bob and Judy, and home via I-80 and 90. Wonderful trip(except for no A/C in car). It was summer travel, and so hot we only made about 300 miles a day.

My next contact was with Steve Cosby from Indianapolis. I was in Indy for business in late 90’s, got in touch and we met for a few beers. Except for a phone call or two that has been it.

Since retiring in June of 2001, I have been doing a lot of traveling. I have been in all of the states except Hawaii and Alabama (how did I manage to miss that one?). I have had a couple trips to the Canadian Rockies and Alaska, by car, and have also been to some of the Canadian Maritime Provinces. I love scenic drives and get to the mountains as often as I can.

From the St. Louis area, it’s about a 1000-mile drive to either the shore or the mountains, and that is what I like the most. As you can imagine, I put a lot of miles on my cars (on my 3rd since retiring). National car rental also loves me. I have put as much as 6000 miles on one “un-limited” mileage rental, and 4000 on another.

I have been to a great many of the National Parks, and if any of you don’t know about it, the greatest value in the country is the Senior National Parks Pass. You can buy it at 62 for $10, and it offers free admission to all fee-entry National Parks and monuments.

One trip of historic import to New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. That morning, while the Trade Center was hit by planes, I was in a subway train en-route from Brooklyn to mid-town Manhattan.

There began to be a buzz on the train, as some people had headphone radios, and as passengers entered the train at each station on the way to mid-town, there was more and more talk of what was going on in the city.

At first, it, of course, seemed accidental, until we heard a second plane had hit the other tower. I got off at the 33rd St. Station (Empire State Bldg). When reaching the street, both towers were burning.

Incredible sights and sounds, sirens everywhere, Emergency vehicles of every sort travelling south to the towers. Streets lined with people on cell phones, many in tears. In the New York area, most would know someone who worked in or near the towers.

I saw the first tower fall, and will never forget it. I did not see the second one go; I was walking towards Times Square, it was there at one glance, gone the next time I looked.

Another memory that will never fade was the smell of the smoke that filled the air, and that was on the clothing of thousands of people walking north, away from the towers. There were other memories of that day, but I’ve spent enough time on that.

I have never been back to Europe, want to desperately, but the exchange rate is so poor, it’s keeping me away. We certainly were spoiled by our 4 Marks to the Dollar exchange rate (not to mention the 80 pfennig beers)!!!

I am going to send out some messages to e-mails posted on the Balta home page. I would be very happy to be able to make contact with those who knew me back when. If you have had the patience to read all of this, and care to, you may contact me at nickdostie@hotmail.com. I hope to hear from some of you.

Regards,Nick.

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4 Responses to “News from Bad Aibling alumnus, Nick Dostie”

  1. Shea Says:

    Nick Dostie…

    Good to hear from you (you may not remember me, but I remember you).

    Belleville IL? wow, you’re rigth across the big Muddy from the McCown’s in St Louis (the hosts for this year’s reunion on the Redneck Riviera in September. I don’t know if they’re driving or flying but, in any case you should try to make it. I’ll forewarn you that we’re all old or quickly getting there. Time’s awasting! Do it while you can.

    Best regards,

    …Bill Shea
    BA ’69 – ’71

  2. Nick Dostie Says:

    Bill, your name rings a bell, but for life of me cannot place you. What section did you work in, or who did you hang out with? No kidding on getting old, got my first Soc. Security payment last month. I have been in contact with Larry, we have been neighbors for 13 years, and didn’t know. I will not be at this years reunion, maybe next time, am planning on getting together with Larry & Brigitte. As the wheels turn, I probably will remember you, right now, my apologies. Regards,Nick.

  3. David O'Connell Says:

    Dear Nick,

    Turn 6, Watkins Glen, both 1972 and 1973, I believe. You came prepared, with self-contained seating. I with my friend stood, drank, and ate. Jackie Stewart won in ’72 with a Tyrrell sweep with Cevert, who tragically died in the Esses in practice the next year.

    I remember it well.

    D.

  4. Keith Dostie Says:

    Dad,

    I had no idea that you were on here. It was good to hear a little bit about your life. You are always so busy helping my family out and bantering with Mom that you never really talked about your experiences. I want to hear more over some beer.

    Love,
    Keith

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