By Matthew C. Durkee
Triplicate Features Editor
In 1986, 12th grader Janine Kroisandt enjoyed an all-American high school experience in Crescent City.
Hanging out at Bogart's ice cream parlor.
Playing video games at The Stockade.
Times have changed.
"I'm really sorry that these places don't exist anymore," Janine, whose surname is now Kohrs, said Wednesday afternoon.
After 21 years, Kohrs is back from her native Germany to show her husband and sons, 6 and 9, the town she fell in love with during a one-year stay from 1985-1986.
But the town is not entirely as she remembered it.
"It used to be a small villageit's grown a lot."
Driving into Crescent City from the south, the numerous new hotels along U.S. Hwy. 101 made it almost unrecognizable to Kohrs.
Bogart's and The Stockade are gone.
A police officer is now assigned to the high school.
Houses can easily run half a million dollars.
But the changes haven't altered Kohrs' feelings about Crescent City.
"I love the city. I love it. When I retire, I would like to spend winters here," she says, making her husband chuckle.
Whenever the family plans a vacation, Kohrs always wants to come to America, and she has been to 40 states over the past several years.
She loves how friendly Americans are.
"In Germany, no one asks how you are doing. In America, everyone asks how you are, and even if they don't mean it, they ask with a smile. Germans are grumpy."
Kohrs likes that you can drive for 50 miles through American countryside and not see a single housean impossibility in Germany.
"Everything here is bigger. In Germany, no one needs a Durango. I think the cars in America get bigger every time I come here."
With a laugh, she wonders aloud if the time will come when Americans drive semis just to get around town.
She wants her children to appreciate the differences, large and small.
Windows and doors open differently. Soda cans open differently. Refrigerators are massive compared to their German counterparts.
Wednesday morning, Kohrs spoke to a 2nd grade class and brought one of her sons. She noticed that the snacksmostly crackers and chipswould not pass muster in German schools, where kids can only bring healthy foods.
And in German schools, students are now required to study religionan effort to foster tolerance of the country's growing immigrant population.
Kohrs is spending four days in Crescent City and is hopeful that she will get to reunite with old friends during her stay.
Reach Matthew C. Durkee at 464-2141 or mdurkee@triplicate.