Hamilton County

 

Maj. Franklin Wilson

 

 

 

LOCAL SOLDIER TOURS ATHENS; ENJOYS SIGHTS

Maj. Franklin Wilson Spends Evening in Historic City


Nick Demand is just in receipt of an interesting letter from Maj. Franklin Wilson, formerly of this city, now with the armed forces in Italy. He had just returned from a brief furlough spent in Athens Greece. The letter in part follows:

“This will be indeed a surprise to you—but it was of you that I thought and remembered upon my most recent visit to Athens, Greece. Of course I recall my history teacher in dear old Lincoln high—but I am sure, you will appreciate this little note even more than they, because Greece is your fatherland.

Trip by Air

“Friday morning we left Italy and flew to Athens. It was only a two and half hour trip, and to say the least, was most interesting. We arrived about 11 o’clock in the morning and drove from the airport to downtown Athens. We first went to the Hotel Brieitane, which is next to King George’s bar.

“I trust you have been in Athens, because it would be most disappointing to me to tell you of all this and then have you not know of what I was speaking.

“Having checked in our baggage and taken our room, I opened the window which overlooked the park on the north. The first thing I saw were the king’s guards who walked back and forth in front of the palace. We also watched the changing of the guard and later bought a miniature pair of shoes which they wear.

See Acropolis

“At noon we ate in the dining room of the hotel and enjoyed a lovely lunch. After lunch we took a cab and went to the Acropolis and with a guide we spent the entire afternoon. We learned about the Greek wars with the Persians, Assyreans and Egypt and, the battle of Salamis and Platea.

“It was most interesting to say the least. One doesn’t realize when he is in high school what is really meant by Greek culture until you have seen the ruins of the Acropolis. It is marvelous, interesting and educational. I am only sorry that we did not have more time to spend. However, we saw about everything of interest in the short time we had.

“We left the Acropolis by taxi and returned to the hotel. After cleaning up a bit we stepped next door to the Kings Bar and had a couple of drinks of Black and White Scotch, at the price of $1 a shot. The first I had had incidentally, since I left England in 1942.

“Having whetted our appetite, we decided to eat at a local restaurant and what do you think we had? A good old steak just like George and Steve would turn out. This really was grand and the old boy spoke English, had spent some time in the States around Detroit and, not being naturalized he came back to Greece to fight. He is now back at his old job and he hopes to return to America when transportation is again resumed.

Go To Sports Arena

“After supper we borrowed a chauffeur and a 1942 Ford from the Red Cross and drove all over Athens. It was really enjoyable. The climax of the evening was our going to the Athens sports arena—the large athletic stadium which was begun in 1901 and finished in 1905, completely constructed of marble. It seats 40,000 people. Well, I stood right in the center of the field and for a few minutes just looked around with awe and wonder at the construction of such a beautiful stadium. The track, however is too narrow and the turns too sharp for setting any records.

To A Night Club

“It was about 8 or 8:30 when we returned to the hotel. Here we learned of a night club called the Argentina, so we proceeded in that direction, picked up three very nice English speaking Greek girls and continued to the club.

“To my surprise, as well as my friends, it was very American in many ways, especially the music. The lovely part of the whole evening was the fact that we could speak with our dates that, of course, plus the fact that we were drinking 1927 Munns champagne at $4 a bottle and could and did stay until 2 a. m. and dance.

“Sorry the evening came to a close so quickly—but home and to bed for the morning came much too soon for everyone. However, we managed to have breakfast and then went shopping.

Buys Gifts

“I bought some very lovely gifts—some table cloths and napkins, some ash trays, little billfolds and pocketbook. My best buy was a Zeiss Kron Skoflex German camera and 24 rolls of film. I surely hope my pictures turn out well because when I come home I want you to see them.

“Having spent all my money, it was time to return to the airport for our trip home. But in closing, I can truthfully say I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and I am sure you—if no one else—would enjoy hearing about my trip.

“Incidentally I saw Kelting, the one who worked for you. Bumped into him down at the Red Cross one Sunday afternoon.

“Enclosed find some German occupation money, which today is no good. The large 50 dragon note is the equivalent of two 10 cents in American money."

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - July 10, 1945