Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Luke and Sally Chu

Quite a number of my friends from Taiwan are from Friendship Corner(FC). Luke and Sally Chu were both singing in the choir I directed at the FC during my four college years. FC was a very good place for young people of similar age to meet, to get to know each other and to fall in love! There were few places like FC in Taiwan. Luke and Sally were one of the few couples in the choir, later to have gotten married. In 1972, they were living in Kansas City, Kansas, with their two young sons, Francis and Jeffery. We stopped at their home for a couple of days. Besides repeatedly singing our favorite Youth Hymns, we visited Kansas City, and of course we took our children to the Kansas City Zoo. They, the children, had a great time together, and we had an unforgettable experience and memory.

A Big Driving Trip West

It all started in 1972. We started to use summer vacations to drive west as a family, and yes, that included our dog. Over the years, we took the unique advantage of an academic position which provides a summer vacation flexible enough to be used for long trips. We drove to the west coast many times, using different routes so that we could visit various places in the US. Before Pan-pan and Steven went to college, they both had visited most of the states in the country. In 1972, Dean took a teaching job in Dodge City, Kansas,  and our father decided to come to visit the US with Kai, who was coming to graduate school in Kentucky. We decided to drive west to pick them up in Kansas. We started in late June. Our first stop was in Knoxville to pick up an air conditioner for our new station wagon. We had been sweltering in the heat during our long first day! With a child mattress in the back, and the rest of back space for our dog, Princess, here we went on our first big family trip to the west!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Roan Mountain

Everyone who lives in East Tennessee knows about Roan Mountain. It has the highest peak (6,327ft) in the area. The Appalachian Trail passes its peak right at the Tennessee-North Carolina Border. Every year there is a Roan Mountain Festival which celebrates the Rhododendron blossoming time, in the latter part of June. In 1972, we went there for the first time as a family, without anyone else, just the four of us and our dog, Princess. It was a glorious day. We enjoyed this place many, many times over the years. Every time, we had the same feeling - that we were lucky to live in such a beautiful place.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Where is “God”?

Sometime after I was sixteen, I started to encounter the word “God” as used by Christians.  My mother belonged to a “Chinese” church, but the depth of her belief ranged between “hot and cold”, depending on her own mood. Her church was labeled Chinese, I suppose, because everyone was speaking Chinese and there was no foreigner involved in its operation. Most other Christian congregations had some foreigners involved, either as missionaries or ministers. I reported my association with Miss Jones early in this blog. It was then that I started my search for “God”.  My early definition of “God” was as “love”. However, since at the time I had no realistic ideas about  Love, that was clearly not satisfactory. Then my definition changed to  “Nature”, about which I knew very little. So I needed to do a lot more searching. Quickly I learned that the scientific method I had started to learn at school was not applicable here. No one seemed to mind that the approaches to faith and science were different. As a matter of fact, I learned quickly that you were not supposed to use one to interpret or explain the other. The discovery of Church music made me conclude that there had to be a “God” , since so many composers had created so many beautiful melodies, which I appreciated so much! They had such creativity only after they found “God” or God had found them. That was the only possible solution, I concluded.
After we moved to Johnson City in 1971, we joined the Lutheran Church quickly. Both of our children were confirmed there, I was involved with the choir. My desire to search for “God” was still strong. There were a lot of life’s experience ahead of me and there were a lot of areas that needed to be explored. I was pretty convinced that I would find what I was looking for eventually.
“Thou shall seek to find!”

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

First Birthday Week

While Grandpa and Nana were in town for the week, we went to visit around the town. Most importantly we wanted to give them time to get to know Steven better. There are some great shots of Steven! They certainly expose the personality which lurks behind the generally serious manner in his nature, which was present, as I see it, directly from birth. As a parent, you observe the differences in personality among all your children, and, while you try to mold them as you would like, you usually find that your effort is mostly wasted!

First Birthday Party

It might not have been a very important day for Steven himself from his point of view, especially at the time. But it was certainly very important for the rest of the family. Grandpa and Nana came from Winchester, MA, just to help celebrate. Dr. and Mrs. Hsu were there as well. Pan-pan was very excited, as she knew what birthdays meant! There were quite a number gifts. Steven did get more excited than usual. Since I have quite a number of pictures, I will only show you a few that were taken on that one day! I will show you more pictures later which were taken during the Birthday-week!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Music in my Life

As you might have noticed, music has certainly been an important part of my life. In both junior and senior high schools, I won the top singing prizes and that had kept me interested. While I did not get the proper education to learn any formal music, I always tried to absorb what I could. I learned something in the church choirs, by being a singer in one choir and directing another one, while I was in Taiwan. In Johnson City, TN, and in Urbana, IL, I still continued my music life, singing in choirs for seven years.  Certainly I learned a great deal when I joined the Oratorical Society in Urbana. Our group sang in the opening concert at the University’s Krannert Art Center. See program below:

         music-1              music-2 

You might not believe that I kept this program booklet. Yes, I even surprised myself when I found it! As you can see, I considered this event important enough not only to file it in my memory but also to keep the program!

When we moved to Tennessee, we joined the Our Savoir Lutheran Church immediately. In 1972, I first started to direct the Junior Choir. Later I took on the responsibility for conducting the Senior Choir and did so for more than a decade. When my birthday landed on a Wednesday, which was the choir practice night, I would get a birthday card from the choir. See below:


I do not need to tell you how important music has been in my life. I could say that music has always occupied a central role, bringing me joy and much happiness!

Monday, February 4, 2013

“I am three!”

It did not seem to take long for Pan-pan to turn three! She was very happy to tell everyone “I am three'”, while trying to bend her thumb together with her pinky so that she could show her three other fingers straight. It was certainly one important accomplishment at her age. Dr. and Mrs. Hsu came for the celebration. Pan-pan was very happy to share the cake and open the gifts. Yes, I took quite a number of pictures.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Travel with Children and a Dog

When both Pan-pan and Steven were young, (somehow we did not use Steven’s nickname Bing-bing for very long) we traveled quite a bit. At that time, our dog, Princess, also traveled with us. We drove with both children and the dog in the back of the station wagon. When we traveled long distance we even put a baby mattress in the back so that the children could take a nap. There was no car seat or seat belts to worry about. It was a different time. We have certainly changed a lot since then and very fast!  Unfortunately, I could not find a good picture to show you here. The picture below, was the only one we have now which shows our dog and Steven in the back of the car. Steven was in a car seat but without a belt. The purpose was to raise him higher so that he could see outside the car! Was Steven a cute baby!