A Mini History of Don Ricklin, continued:
While in Berlin as a US Army Regular, I was stationed with the 287th MP's
at the former SS Headquarters in the Lichtefelde section of Berlin. This was March
1973 to August 1975. Of course the Berlin Wall was still very much there.
During my first nine months or so I was the PMO operations clerk. Then I was moved
to company operations clerk. In my last year there I was TDY to Rec Services and
was involved in 12 plays in 12 months and helped run the show stages at our German/American
summer carnival. What I liked best about this time was the opportunity to constantly
revisit a number of very interesting museums in Berlin. They included two art
museums, the Schloss Charlottenberg (a castle, something like Versaille), a museum
of musical instruments and many others. Because of my heavy involvement in the
local entertainment scene I almost opted to get out of the service and remain
overseas. Instead, as I mentioned previously, I returned to Roger
Williams College and pursued my second bachelors degree.
While in Berlin I picked up the nickname "Herr Shmetterling", given to
me at that time by a female friend because I was in the habit of wearing a a blue
jeans jacket with a large embroidered butterfly on the pack, as well as a lapel
pin of a butterfly on my suit coat in place of a boutonniere. When I returned
to the Providence, RI area I earned the nickname "Dancing Don" from the
way I danced and how much I danced, especially at clubs. I am still known by that
knickname in some quarters, even here in Worcester, MA. Actually, while I'm on
the subject of nicknames and seeing as this is my class's 30th Reunion
(June 1967, Colt High), when I was a senior in high school some undergraduates
called me "Ranger" because I wore my Dad's old Army-Air Force Field Jacket
(WWII). I still have it!
My first professional theatre job was with Matunick Theatre-By-The-Sea.
My first play I helped build there was "George Washington Slept Here."
I had fun building the break-away stair railing and other special items for that
show. I was known there for my fly walk up the back wall of the stage loft during
the opening scenes of "Kiss Me Kate."
That summer, 1976, as many may recall, was a troubled post Vietnam time, as well
as July 4th being our 200th birthday as a nation. I was watching the bigger than
usual Bristol 4th of July parade, with my parents and siblings at the old
Angevine house across from "the wall". Next to us in a, then, open field,
were many bikers and Vietnam Vets. Somebody then did something real foolish, like
throw a bottle into the paraders, or the like, for the next thing we knew the
police had over reacted and were teargassing a large number of spectators, including
my family. Needless to say the parade was cut short, without us even getting to
see my brother Ethan (now a bartender at Trinity Brewery, Providence, RI)
on a float that was the MetCafe Bar, complete with band and regular patrons.
That fall I came to Worcester to work for Worcester Foothills Theatre Company where in no time at all I met my wife Leona. We celebrate our 17th Wedding Anniversary this coming June 21st. We hit the seven year common law point in 1984 and decided to make it official.
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Written 1997, Updated 3/20/05