I wanted to go to California. When I received my letter, I had been selected to go to a town of 450 people. What a difference from a city of 1,800,000 people.
So wrote Ulf Dammann, the Hawks first foreign exchange student, in the 1968 South Hamilton Annual. He thanked the Kenneth Bottorff family for their role as host family and the Bottorffs responded by hoping we also gave Ulf some good memories to take home with him.
Though nearly 30 years ago, Ulf Dammann made yet another stop in his American home during a portion of his vacation in the United States. Ulf is employed by German Public Radio seven months of the year and freelances for them for the other five months. During his nearly twenty years of radio work with the Berlin based network, Ulf has covered changes towards capitalism in China, the Clinton Campaign, German soccer, several documentaries on the American Labor Movement and the American Farm Crisis. Thoroghly an international reporter, Ulf and his wife connect from their Berlin home to the rural reaches of Iowa periodically as he touches base with the Bottorffs and friends in the South Hamilton area. Another of his ties with South Hamilton area is his association with 6th grader Danielle, who is the grand-daughter of Ulf's original host family.
During the week of October 19, Ulf spent time with the Bottorffs and the Herrens of Stanhope. He also visited South Hamilton government and band classes for a documentary he is making concerning life in rural central Iowa (this will air in Germany in January, 1988), and journeyed with a group of senior students to the North Central Correctional Facility for a first hand look at an Iowa prison. He ended the week asking South Hamilton seniors what they first thought of when they heard the name Germany. Though some expressed blanks, many associated the holocaust, the Nazis, some automobiles, and related foods to the term Germany. Obviously our association with Germany is less than the continued and welcomed ties Ulf has with the United States and rural Iowa.