As you grow up, you learn quickly that some things are yours and some things are not yours - but you would like to have them! It is very difficult to get rid of the idea of “possession”. Different cultures do differentiate and change the meaning of this term, but everyone knows that one only takes care of one’s possessions more carefully when they are personally owned. For a long time in the US, slaves were part of people’s possessions. Now that idea may be considered uncivilized, but there are plenty of human beings who still own some others, regardless of whether it is legal or not. How is it that this subject came to my mind when we had just arrived in Taiwan after my leaving it for seven years? Well, it was because we stayed in “my” room. When Janice and I brought baby Margaret back, the room was no longer mine! Ed and Kai were ten years younger than Dean and I, that is almost one generation apart. Our rooms had changed hands to our younger siblings. (See sketch of our house below.) I labeled Tom’s room and Dean’ room as they had been before I left. But this was no longer correct!As a matter of fact, the whole house is no longer there any more! It was torn down a few years after my father came to the US –but that is a story for later. in 1969, we enjoyed the house in the back room. It was the base for all our travel in Taiwan. This was a beautiful Japanese style house, with azaleas plants in the backyard and many other fruits, such as coconuts, papaya, jambu, and betel nut in the yard. Yes, there is a fruit called Jambu, just Google it so you can see what it looks like!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
When you come home after seven years for a brief visit, everyone related to you and your family would like to meet with you and your new family. There was just a very limited way to do that. Most of the time we would end up meeting together in a restaurant for lunch or dinner. Father was still working at National Taiwan University and some people there invited us to meet with them, even though we did not have much of a relationship. However, Father thought we should accept, just to be polite. That was the Chinese way! As the result of this situation, Janice and I ate out most of our lunches and dinners at restaurants during the three months we were in Taiwan. Of course, we ate at the homes of our relatives too, but that was not usual, since at that time most homes did not have air conditioners, and restaurants were all equipped with the necessary machines. So I have just a few pictures to show you here at relatives homes:
Monday, March 26, 2012
I left our old style Japanese home in 1962 in a big rush. I had been serving as a second lieutenant in the Armored Corps and had requested to be released one week early to go to the USA. There was little time to say “good bye” to all the people I knew and and to all the familiar places. I was going to a place which I had learned about primarily from books and newspapers.
In 1969, seven years later, a family of three came back together, to a place that I felt that I knew well. But it was totally strange – for me and, of course, for Janice. Our baby, Margaret, was not yet two months old. The leaves in the backyard seemed the same to me, the fruit trees did not seem to have grown more after I left. Yet I had changed in many ways and my Taiwan family was a bit nervous about how the new family would adapt to life in the old style Japanese home. What a change, yet nothing seemed changed!
Every one was at the Taipei airport. It was a typical Taipei day, hot and humid. And, finally, I saw the front-gate of our old home - together with Janice!
Friday, March 23, 2012
In 1969, flights across the Pacific Ocean usually stopped in Tokyo for a rest overnight at a local hotel, which was included in your flight ticket. When we stopped there, it was in the middle of the night. Maria’s parents were living in Tokyo then. They were very kind to come to our hotel to meet our new daughter. We did not know how far they had to drive to get to our hotel. it is very clear that Mr. Ting was very tired! Of course, Margaret was wide awake!
Monday, March 19, 2012
Some of the pictures of that weekend are below:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
After we decided to accept the teaching job at the University of Kentucky, Janice and I did not have much time to visit Lexington together to find a place to live, as we were busy welcoming Margaret to our home! However, just before our planned big trip to Taiwan, we made a house hunting trip on a beautiful late spring day. We drove our VW from Urbana, IL to Lexington, KY.
We enjoyed Margaret’s first picnic at a roadside park. She was very responsive already. Both Janice and I were “Oohing and Aahing” - full of pride as if we were the only parents ever. These are the pictures at our picnic place.
Oh, yes, we did find a duplex apartment in the downstairs part of this house that weekend!
Thursday, March 8, 2012
I was formally appointed as the director of Junior Choir at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church during the last year when we were there. I don’t think I accomplished much, but we had some fun with the kids. We had a small party at our home before we left Illinois. As you can see, some of them were bored at the party, too!
Monday, March 5, 2012
As you know, church music has been in my life ever since I first heard it when I was in junior high school. I did not have to learn to appreciate it at all. After Janice and I got married, we tried to keep up her habit of attending church on Sundays. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Champaign, IL, was a relatively new church with mostly young members like us. The Lutheran service was very similar to the Roman Catholic liturgy, so Janice was very comfortable with the service. It did not take long for us to become part of this church community. There was no choir at that time, but I sang special music once in a while by myself or with Linda who was a soprano of about our age.
Seeking God was an important part of my trying to become a good Christian. I was in that mode for a long time. Maybe I was afraid of the answer. It was just much easier to concentrate on my love of church music and ignore other aspects of religious belief. We were involved with Good Sheppard’s youth group also; we even took a group to attend a Chicago Youth Convention. The picture below is a current picture of the Church; the second picture was taken one year after we left there when we went back to be invited to a picnic with some people involved with the church, such as Pastor Carl Kalkwarf, his wife Faythe, Linda, and her husband. Margaret was in the picture too!
Friday, March 2, 2012
In 1969, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts was completed. It is an enormous complex of one square block. The Oratory Society was asked to sing the first concert in the Great Hall. It is an acoustically perfect auditorium of about 2000 seats. We were very impressed by the claim that “everyone in the seats could hear a pin drop on the stage”. It was a beautiful place, but I forget what we sang!