"Hey guys, give us a
hand, will you?"
Reluctantly, Bob and
Jean-Robert turned away from their aviary to help Robert offload the multitude
"I like the blonde
one," Jean-Robert said dreamily as Robert dumped one of the boxes in his
arms. "Have you seen those beautiful eyes?"
"I haven't had the
pleasure yet," Robert said wryly. "Now move along, will you?"
Bob grinned. "He's too
narrow-minded, you know. I like them all!"
"The girls or the
birds?" Robbie asked as he returned for his next load. And chuckled in a
high-pitched tone. "Or both?"
And there was Rob. With a
huge grin on his face. "Don't expect any more help from Jean-Robert,
Robert. Bella and Bobbette and Maggie are already inside, perusing through the
Bob jumped into action.
"Well, give me a box then! What am I standing around here for?"
The quintannual Hogan's
Heroes camp-out was born a few years after the war, on the initiative of – who
else – Andrew Carter.
The idea was immediately
embraced by the others. Busy as they all were with their new families and
careers, they were all aware of the fact that something was slipping away from
them. Something they didn't want to let slip away.
Of course they had had every
intention to stay in touch when at last they were allowed to go home. It had
been strange at first not to have your buddies around you 24/7 – those buddies
with whom you'd been through so much over the past years. And especially those
first months, contact had been very frequent.
But as it goes, life goes on,
with a new job, friends and family claiming their share of attention, falling
in love, getting married, having a few children... And over time, the distance
becomes more and more an obstacle. Newkirk and LeBeau kept in touch, yet saw
each other but rarely. Kinch was on General Hogan's staff, so those two saw
each other on a daily basis. And from his periferal home in the Midwest, Carter
did his best to try and stay in touch with everybody, regaling them with
stories about his wife, his children and his company, but the fact remained
that their old comraderie was slipping away from them. And they all knew it.
And they all didn't like it.
So when Carter proposed a Hogan's
Heroes camp-out, 'for old times' sake', suddenly the spark was back and within
a few weeks they had hired a campsite with a few wooden cabins on a lovely
lakeshore, and good old times returned. With wives and kids in tow, even LeBeau
and Newkirk agreed to come over once every five years (and once had the
Americans come over to Europe instead), and a new tradition was born.
But this time was special.
CBS had begun to broadcast their capers in a TV-show. It was all a bit over the
top of course, and danger was downplayed with humour, but in all of them it had
awakened the wish to see everyone again this time.
And what better occasion than
their quintannual camp-out?
So Kinch had taken it upon
himself to locate as many of their old friends as possible. Good thing that the
Internet had been invented by now, or it would have taken him years!
Another good thing was, that
many of their European friends had migrated to the U.S. after the war.
Howard Cohen (also known as
Wolfgang Hochstetter) had brought Hilda back to his home in the U.S. as his
Helga had already gone to
live with her father in Detroit during the war.
Langenscheidt had come to the
U.S. with wife and kids a few years after the war because his line of work
simply didn't exist in a country recuperating from such horrid war-wounds.
And as soon as the former
Kommandant had been free to go, he had taken the plunge to make his dream come
true: he had moved to Palm Springs and opened up an antique shop that soon
acquired a good name with the connaisseurs.
Which left only Schultz and
Tiger to make the long trip across the Atlantic with the Newkirks and the
Exclamations of joy and
surprise filled the air as more and more old friends arrived.
"Olsen! You old pirate –
I'd never recognize you with that beard!"
"It's good to see you
again, Schultz. It's really been too long."
"It sure has. How are
you? I heard you moved to Amerika!"
"Maryse? Is that really
you? What are you doing here?"
"I brought my medical
bag, Colonel. Just in case."
"Kommandant! How is the
cuckoo clock business?"
"I still think you
should have gotten Marya here, too."
"I tried, Louis. But I
don't speak Russian, and without even a last name..."
"Enchanté. You must be Suzanne Lechay. I've heard so much about you!"
"Well, it's Suzanne
Hogan now. And you must be Marie Louise Monet then. Or do you still go by the
name of Tiger?"
"Hey, Baker, my friend!
Where have you been hiding all those years?"
"Hello there, Helga
baby. You're as pretty as I remember!"
"It's Cohen now, Carter.
Hochstetter was only an alias."
"He'll probably keep
calling you major Hochstetter till the end of his days. He never got the hang
of calling me General either."
"Well, it's just so
confusing, you know. People suddenly changing their names, and..."
"Well, you've never
known me as Hilda Hochstetter, so Hilda Cohen should be easier."
"Kommandant, how is life
in Palm Springs?"
"So how are your parents
– still living the happily ever after?"
"They sure are. They
moved to Florida after my Dad retired, and are as happy as ever."
"Life certainly seems to
have been generous to you, General."
"Thank you, Kommandant.
And I must say you certainly don't look so bad yourself either."
"So this is your
grandson, huh? My, he's the spitting image of you!"
On the beach, away from the
excited greetings of the grown-ups, the younger generation was quickly getting
acquainted with each other over a game of dares who dared to go into the lake
"Look how far I
go!" young Jimmy Carter boasted.
His brother Pete snorted.
"Baby. Look how far I go!"
Elise LeBeau wrinkled her
nose. "You boys are crazy. That water is freezing!"
But Robbie Cohen and George
Lynn were already taking off their socks and shoes to follow the others into
Celia and Camille Kinchloe
looked at each other. "Shall we?"
"Come on, Robbie!"
his little sister Helga cheered. "I'm sure you can go the furthest of
But suddenly the General's
voice boomed out over the camp, and Jimmy lost his footing in surprise.
George and Pete were at his
side in an instant. "You little fool."
Mothers came running to the
shore, calling for blankets and towels, with the General's voice booming over
their heads telling the kids to get out of the water for now. "You got a
whole week to go swimming. First we have to get things in order here."
And turning back to the
others, "This camp will be just like our good old Stalag 13. So the
Germans among us – the Kommandant, Schultz, Langenscheidt and Cohen – will
sleep in barracks 1, which will be known as the Kommandant's quarters.
"Barracks 2 will house
its traditional residents, plus Wilson.
The underground ladies Hilda,
Helga, Tiger, Ridinghood and Dr. Lechay will be in barracks 3. The other ladies
and the younger kids in barracks 4 and 5. The older boys have barracks 6 and
the older girls have barracks 7.
"So get settled in
everyone. When you're ready, either come and help set things up for the
barbecue, or start gathering wood for the campfire tonight."
And Hogan grinned.
While Joey Wilson and Jack
Newkirk were putting up a home-made sign saying, 'Welcome to STALAG 13. All
visitors report to the Commandant', Rob Hogan was approached by a few of
the young ladies of the troop.
"Hey Rob!" Maggie
"Yeah?" His cheeks
reddened a little as he saw who was coming towards him.
"Do we have to gather
wood, too? I thought we were here to read!"
"We are. I mean..."
Young Rob Hogan blushed a fiery red under the sudden attention of four rather
attractive young ladies. Oh, why couldn't he have inherited his father's
ease with the ladies along with his looks?
"I didn't come here to
go camping – I just came along to read," Bobbette told him rather
petulantly. "In fact, I hate the outdoors. So can't we get started on the
"Sure we can."
Uncomfortably, Rob looked around at the eager faces. "Let's go find the
others, and meet in the rec hall, okay?" And with that he hurried off,
dropped off his contribution of firewood at the campfire site and began to
gather his friends.
Ten minutes later they were
all seated on the comfortable benches of the rec hall – the largest cabin,
hence it automatically had been promoted to that function.
Rob started when he more or less could make himself heard. "Welcome to the
Papa Bear Awards everyone – the election of the best Hogan's Heroes fanfiction
story of the past year."
"You know what my
favourite was? The Safecracker Suite!" Bob interrupted him.
"No – The Pizza
Parlor!" Robbie cried.
Robert's voice held enough authority to shut up the others, and Rob could
"We're not talking about
episodes on television – we're talking about written stories," he said.
"The list of categories is up on the wall there, and you can nominate one
story in each category. But first of all..."
it roared from eleven young throats.
And Rob grinned.
"Exactly. There are the boxes with the stories so help yourself.
To be continued: um... some day