Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Good bye, old Friend !!!

It was very difficult to say good bye to an old friend from Banqiao Junior High School this past summer. 孫乃競 Naiching Sun died on July 2nd in New York at 80 years of age. The funeral was held on the following Sunday, which turned out to have very bad weather. Our class leader, Chen, and another classmate, Lee, who were supposed to represent our class at the funeral, could not make the trip as their flights were canceled. At the last minute, another classmate, Warren Gao, drove there from Philadelphia to represent us. Sun was the first person to die in our class after we started to have class reunions in the USA. In 2016, he invited all of us to New York to have a class reunion and we had a group picture taken:

This 19 "boys" in the class took a picture together in 2016:
 
Sun was famous in the class for his skill in investment and his know-how about the stock market. He gave many lectures and wrote many pamphlets for  the class. Most inportantly, he donated quite a big amount of money to National Taiwan University, to be used for scholarships for those who needed the support! A major achievement of his early life was that he did not take the senior high school entrance exam, preferring to study at home on his own for three years. He then passed the college entrance exam and went on to National Taiwan University to get his degree in Economics. This was an extremely unusual accomplishment! Sun will always be remembered by us for his generosity and kindness. He kept a low profile but shared his knowledge and experience freely. We bid you farewell, old friend!

Family Trees

Over the years, Janice and I have often talked about many of the relatives in both our families. They certainly played a role in all our lifetime events. We often marvel that I, an "Ordinary Chinese" person, born during the Japanese War, survived without a scratch and miraculously married into a very old American family (dating to the late1600's) which gave birth to Janice. And, often, what seemed at the time to be ordinary events changed, in retrospect, into very unusual and quite rare happenings. As both Janice and I grow older, the family structures become more difficult to remember and even more difficult for the younger generations to sort out. Janice decided to tackle a plan to plot out the family trees that both she and I are familiar with and, hopefully, get at least some clarification of the relationships within our two families. It took quite a bit time for her to work this task out and she finally plotted two family trees showing what we know about each group. These are printed below. She had, as her main goal, the identification of many of the individuals who are directly linked to our children and grandchildren, so that they will have some knowledge of their ancestors. We realize that there are many "branches" of the trees which are not developed due to the space allowed. Perhaps we will try to create much larger trees in the future,
 using tabletop-sized paper! But that is for another day.

Chinese Family:
     
American Family:

We know that these diagrams are not very clear if you look at the blog-size. However, we hope that you can download the pictures of the family trees and see them on the computer screen in the larger, original sizes. The Chinese names are spelled out as clearly as we could, with apologies to Chinese scholars!  Hopefully, these two trees can be used by whoever is interested and we hope that they will provide some accurate information.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

My "big" Investment!

In 1977, we made a big investment. After reading in a newspaper advertisement that a parcel of land was for sale, we contacted the owner and went to see the property. The owners, who were retiring and moving to Florida, agreed to extend us a loan for the sixty acres, more or less. At the time, we imagined building a log cabin there to use as a get-away. At one time there had been a farmhouse on the land, as you can see from the picture below. It was really a pretty place - with a steam flowing down from the mountains behind, which, over the years, had created a "hollow".

After a few years of monthly payments, I do not remember how many, we were the proud owners of the land.  It was not until the end of last year (2018) that we sold it - after more than forty years! Everyone in our family, including my father and Janice's parents, visited there on different occasions. Of course, our friends and office mates did, too. They all enjoyed walking up the trail toward the mountains.

Early on, I cut down a pine tree and Janice debarked it. It took us an entire day and we were both exhausted! After that,  the idea of building a log cabin using the trees on the land was totally dismissed! We took quite a lot of pictures at this place, but to find them is almost possible. The only one I could find is this picture of the chimney, which had been part of the original farm house! That was the only evidence we had that someone had once lived on this land!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Some Side Stories about the Civic Chorale (III)

This story is about Kenton Coe, an internationally- known composer, who came to live in Johnson City and was active in many aspects of the arts and music in the city. The Civic Chorale performed some of his works and I am giving you one example below. The top picture appeared on the cover of our concert program. You can see that "The Light in This Room" was the featured part of the concert. It was written by Kenton Coe and performed on October 19, 1986 by the Chorale. The complete program for the concert is in the second picture below; the chorale performed Coe's piece after the intermission. The third picture contains the Notes by Kenton Coe concerning the music.




Some Side Stories about the Civic Chorale (II)

In the early days of the Chorale concerts, the local news paper, the Johnson City Press Chronicle, usually asked a local musical specialist to write a concert review right afterwards. In particular, there was a couple who were often asked. They were Dr. John and Mrs Anne Dowd. He was the Chair of the Music Department at nearby Milligan College and she played with the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra and was a piano teacher who happened to be our children's first piano teacher. It was a very common routine then. Both Janice and I would read their reviews and we learned from their feedback. I am now posting here a couple of examples so you can appreciate their efforts:

 

Some Side Stories about the Civic Chorale (I)

There is a new web page now for the Civic Chorale (formerly known as the Johnson City Civic Chorale). The web page includes a write-up about the new fourth director of the Chorale and a brief  history of the organization. (See https://www.thecivicchorale.org/ ) Since I know some detailed stories about the chorale, I would like to add them here before they get totally lost. In this post I will report the first story. The chorale was first started in 1973 by Robert LaPella, acting by himself, and primarily involved his students. It certainly was not registered in Tennessee as an "official" organization. It was not until a local attorney, Mr. John D. Goodin, talked to me about the process of obtaining tax-deductible status (which might encourage more donations) that I realized that the first step in the process required you to register the organization as "official" in the state. He offered to help us reach that goal and we started the application process in 1975. The next year I was elected as the chorale's first president and the organization was officially registered in Tennessee. I was asked by John to thank him by singing at his church on the Milligan Highway a few times. He even played the organ occasionally  while I sang. It was great fun!

John was shot in his office by a violent gunman several years later. It was a very sad end to his career!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Cabin was certainly Part of our Lives!

Yes, the cabin quickly became an important part of our lives when we lived in Tennessee! We did not mind the extra work to open up in the spring time and to winterize the place before the freezing temperatures arrived. Both Janice and I enjoyed this small place with our elders and our young generation on many, many occasions. From cooking in the kitchen to swimming in the water, we were every place on these beautiful six acres! We went there mostly, of course, in the summer months, but we did visit there in the winter as well. At those times we usually did not sleep there but went to cut firewood or check on things.  Pictures of the place in the fall and spring are below:

At other times of the year, the beauty of this cabin place varied according to the weather. For example, morning fogs or winter snow changed the outlook. I have two pictures below to show some of the variety. In the first one, if you examine it closely you can see the tall mountain behind the mists. This was not a picture easy to take as the scene changed continuously.


 When the snow came down in the winter time, it provided a totally different picture! We did not experience that as much as I would have liked to, but that is the way it went!!