I was an L.D.S. missionary in Austria from Dec. 1969 to Oct. 1971.

My first area was in and around the city of Leoben, Stiermark.

My second work companion there was Randall Beavin from Illinois.

He was an interesting sort of guy who would eat low cost meals like Serbishian Bohnen Suppe (Serbish bean soup) and semmel (breakfast rolls) in order to save money so he could buy film and develop it. Why? He was on a limited monthly income, less than I received, and he wanted to catch memories of the places we saw, the castles, forests, churches, people that he’d most likely never get to see again. (An interesting note, his life’s work was for the U.S. government and took him all through Europe for many years; but at the time he had no idea that would occur.)

He took an untold number of slides of the countryside, cities, towns, dorfs and people. He like many others rode an old 3 speed bicycle.

I left him in Leoben to go to work and live in Vienna.

He vowed that when he left Austria to return to the U.S.A., he’d come back to Vienna and throw his old bike into the Danube.

“Not me.” I informed him. “I’ll sell mine to another missionary.”

I worked in Vienna (Wien) for about 6 months, mostly in the Old City the 1st and 19th Bezirks (districts or wards in the city). While there, I worked with four different missionaries and one in the 17th Bezirk living above a saurkraut factory.  We walked, rode bikes, and used the street cars or buses.

Sometimes the street cars go under ground and go over the Danube or over the canal around the Old City, not the ancient one that Napoleon had filled in but the newer expanded city canal.

One day on the tram, we came out of a tunnel onto a bridge crossing that canal or man made loop of the Danube. You should know that the blue Danube wasn’t blue at all right there but brown or blackish and full of rubbish of all sorts. To see tires or other things in the mud was not uncommon. As I was saying, on this particular day from my window on the street car, the first thing I saw as we started across the water was an old bicycle, upright with its front wheel stuck in the mud the back wheel sticking above the water spinning slightly.

All I could say was, “Randall Beavin strikes again!”