Unexpected Odyssey: Danzig to Tennessee

Rated 5.00/5 based on 2 reviews
A memoir of a European immigrant, surviving WW ll and growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y. Graduated the Merchant Marine Academy, spent life on 14 ships and
was the first member of Texas Maritime Academy faculty as Associate Professor, into business as an Engineering Sales Specialist. Retired and then to graduate school, a career as an Executive Chef and finally to Tennessee as an addiction counselor. More

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About Klaus V. Luehning

Klaus V. Luehning was born in Zoppot, Free State of Danzig, 5 February 1940. He went through World War ll in Hoechst outside of Frankfurt, Germany, and emigrated to the United States in 1947. A graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School, then The United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point with a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering, a Federal License as a Merchant Marine Officer and commission in the United States Navy. He sailed on 14 different ships in various capacities and became First Assistant Engineer, Chief Training Officer and Associate Professor of Marine Engineering at Texas A&M University, and also earned a Master of Science degree. He rose to the position of International Sales & Engineering Specialist for Ingersoll-Rand Company for specialized compression systems in the nuclear, and chemical process industries. Retired from engineering in 1979, he pursued a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology, and had an opportunity to pursue a life long passion becoming an Executive Chef and Certified International Foodservice Executive, and managed and operated a succession of gourmet restaurants. Returning to Counseling he was Senior Clinical Counselor for the Delaware Dept. of Corrections, and moved to Chattanooga, TN where he practiced as Senior Clinical Counselor for Addiction at CADAS in Chattanooga, TN, and continues part time Addiction Counseling work in retirement.

Reviews

Review by: Rodger Castleberry on Sep. 10, 2014 : (no rating)
Unexpected Odyssey: Danzig to Tennessee, By Klaus Leuhenig and edited by E.H. Peterson lives up to its intriguing title - and a heck of a lot more. As a personal memoir of his own life, Leuhenig tells the incredible tale of his and his family's journey from war-torn Germany to the peaceful hills of East Tennessee, with all stops on the way, such as the seemingly incongruous episode I call, "Brooklyn Pizza, Im deutschen Stil" (Brooklyn Pizza, in the German manner).

Leuhenig was most fortunate to have his mother's own memoir, which is the basis for events, people and places prior to Klaus' own memories, including the accurate tale of how the short-sighted Treaty of Versailles made possible the rise of Nazism and that most despicable villain of the Twentieth Century, Hitler.

To call what happened to Klaus and his family an "Unexpected Odyssey" is somewhat lacking in that it hardly conveys the depth of the Author's "Trip," an ongoing saga now more than 74 years in the making. "Odyssey" can be seen as a metaphor for a truly Homeric life of travels - and travails, and a tale worth telling and reading.

If I were asked, "What role would best fit Klaus Leuhenig?" I would respond with: Ship's Captain, where he also assumes the duties of Sous Chef, while Counseling his shipmates on their troubles and addictions, while manning the helm as Captain, only to be found down in the engine room diagnosing a noise emanating from a failing bearing, this also an Engineer.

Rodger Castleberry
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Kordish on Aug. 16, 2014 :
Comments on Unexpected Odyssey:

The memoir reads like a “bildungsroman” of a young lad in the 18th-19th C. with a youthful resolve to pursue a chosen path regardless of obstacles and without the financial means to undertake a more formal or traditional path.

Without a father figure, or someone to provide guidance, he relied on inner resources for much of adolescence, and somehow, acquired the confidence to move away, and found others who took an interest and supported him. An intense desire to do a job conscientiously, and to the utmost of his abilities on the one hand, and on the other, putting up with indifference, and vexations of all kinds seem to be a driving force of his life. Given his life’s experiences to a point, there nevertheless, seemed to always be a cleft separating his outlook, preoccupations and expectations from those of his peers, and a disquieting caution with close relationships.

The recall of dates, names, and details is amazing: the events are so firmly etched in his memory. Pride, shame, the emotional highs and lows are vividly portrayed; as well, the frustrations, misplaced authority, tolerance for pettiness and smugness or indifference. He provides instances of kindness shown to him on several occasions by people he would never meet again that stayed with him all his life. It is so intriguing that he can pinpoint incidents early in the narrative that lead to events he could not have foreseen, but which are indelibly linked.

And periodically, there is the presence of his mother, a bright star if somewhat removed, who is always there. She encouraged living one’s life however it fell out, as it did for her. It was a moral issue, a consequence of choices, circumstance, and survival.

His summation, a “weltanschauung,” has a tinge of bitterness? Contentment is elusive, and ultimately a static state of mind and his life was more dynamic and fluctuating.

It is perhaps always dangerous to view an earlier life from the perspective of maturity and to project back, but there seems to have developed “clear” water between himself now, and the events which brought him to this point.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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