Monday, October 9, 2017

We visited Tao-Shi-Lin

There are not many things that happened in my life before my teenage years that I can remember clearly. This story about Tao-Shi-Lin is, however, an exception. Tao-Shi-Lin is the sister of my best friend Tao-Tze. I met her when I was 12, and she was close to 10 years old. We only met each other when I occasionally went to visit Tao-Tze at their nearby home. Sometime, when she was close to sixteen years old, I heard that Tao-Shi-Lin had run away with an American soldier stationed in Taiwan. This was very unusual at that time and in that place. For a young girl from an educated family to meet and fall in love with a foreigner, and then to run away with him, was unheard of!
Of course, Tao-Tze's family did not want to talk about her very much and we only knew that she left for the USA with this GI. In 1983, I found out where she lived. It was in New England, where Janice's family lived and, believe it or not, our family went to visit her there. We had a picnic dinner with her family at their home, which had a swimming pool. We took three pictures together, and the visit ended before we realized it!!! Overall, this story had, to me, a strange beginning, and, as it developed, it remained very unusual and strange. However, she appeared to be happy with her life.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Student Pictures in my Office

There were four student pictures in my office during the 35 years of my teaching at ETSU. I moved to many different offices during those years, but the pictures were always the same ones. I will let you know in this blog something about them. They were close to my heart and I was the only one knew who they were and why their pictures were in my office. Jane Adams was the first of my graduate students at ETSU. She was working full time at Tennessee Eastman Chemical Company when she decided to work with me in the evenings for her graduate thesis in the Chemistry Department. I tried to be with her when she started her thesis research at night. It was a very difficult task to start and terminate chemical reactions at night after her full time work in another town. She worked on the decomposition of Oxalic Acid reaction in Dioxin. It was published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry and it was also part of my first publication while I was at ETSU. Later she became the first female president of the local ACS section before I was elected!
The next picture is of Tony Ellis. He was the first undergraduate student who selected me as his research professor. It took some courage to make that decision as the students had no idea how research could be started, and there was no requirement to take research as a chemistry major.
The next two pictures were added to my office wall slightly later, but they were there almost three decades. The first picture below was of Sharon E Campbell who exchanged it from one of her alone, after she had her baby with her husband, Brain Campbell. She was in my General Chemistry class, and later asked me to give her away at their wedding - a request which I was happy to oblige!

The final picture is of Jenny Fox, whose thesis was co-directed by my best Jewish friend and co-worker, Boris Franzus. After struggling with her first thesis topic, she chose to work in the area where Boris and I were collaborating. Boris and I published quite a number of papers together over the years. Jenny Fox was the first and, perhaps one of the best, representatives of that collaboration!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Christmas Season 1982

Every Christmas Season was very busy at our home. We spent time, not only preparing to sing in the Civic Chorale Christmas Concert and for our Church's Christmas Music, but also attending several concerts just to enjoy the music! Other things, such as plays, TV specials, and theater events, all required us to make arrangements and schedule our time appropriately. There were also many events just before the season and immediately after the season, which kept us all very, very busy! The year 1982 was no exception. I would like to show you just a few pictures below which illustrate some of  the events we participated in before, during and after the Christmas season.

 The first two pictures are of the Christmas Party for Janice's colleagues at Milligan College:
 The next two pictures include old and dear friends who visited that year: Boris and Betty Franzus and Bill and Ginger Francis

Janice and her good friend Prudy Zinser

There were often some special programs in which our children were involved. This year it was Steven's turn!

Then we traveled to Winchester to see Janice's grandmother and we had meals with the Paul family in Massachusetts and with the Tangs in New York:

Believe it or not, Janice's mother later flew to Johnson City to visit us and we all went to pick her up at the airport. At that time, we could walk all the way to the plane to receive her! And my father was visiting us at the time too! We took a picture together to celebrate the rare occasion!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Vietanam War - a TV Documentary Series

Tonight our PBS will broadcast the last episode of a series of 10 shows, part of the two week long showing of a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick entitled "The Vietnam War." Both Janice and I have been glued to our TV for the last two weeks, watching this prime time series. We were familiar with most of the facts about what happened in the first ten years of my life in the USA. But these same facts shocked us more this time and we learned much more about how naive and ignorant we were about the events when they occurred. We were so busy with school and our newly formed life together, and with looking for jobs, that I only wrote once about that time on this blog (see We both feel now that we did not pay enough attention to our government and to what they were doing. I was so grateful about what had happened in my life up to that point, and I was feeling so thankful for the opportunities opened in front of me, that it was impossible for me to watch and comprehend what was happening. You can see the conflicting emotions now in my thoughts! I recall a quote by one of the people interviewed during the film to the effect that his was the last generation to believe that the government told them the truth. That belief was certainly shattered when we learned of the actions of five presidents of our country during the war years. Burns and Novick have done all of us an enormous favor in researching and creating this film. We must resolve to pay close attention to what is going on in Washington and demand accountability from our leaders.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Wedding of a Chinese Faculty Member

Most of the faculty members at ETSU were married by the time they become a faculty member because they were the "older" people in society. However, in the Fall of 1982, we attended the wedding of a Chinese faculty member in the Department of Internal Medicine at the newly established Quillen Dishner College of Medicine. Dr. David Chi's wedding was in the Veteran's Affairs chapel. Both Janice and I were there to attend the wedding and we later went to the reception as well. Even though we did not know David very well, we wanted to show our support for a fellow Chinese! 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

You only have your eighth grade once in your life!

It was just about one year before the start of Margaret's eighth grade. She was telling me that she only had one time to experience her eighth grade and she hoped that my consideration to go to Germany for one full year as an American Fulbright Fellow would be terminated. Indeed, that was a year that we had a full schedule. Ed had accepted a job in Florida and he and Judy bought a house in Lakeland. Not only did they live close to Disney World and Epcot Center, they even had discount tickets for many nearby attractions, such as Sea World, and Universal Studios, etc. Starting from that year, we visited them many times. Their house had a swimming pool, too. The pictures below were all taken  when we enjoyed our holiday vacation days there.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Stockroom Personel

One of the very important jobs for the Chairman of the Chemistry Department is to make sure that the stockroom is well stocked at all times, not only for the experiments done by students in different classes but also for the experiments being conducted by faculty. The specific solutions needed for each of the lab classes must be prepared properly before students arrive. We might have as many as four to six labs going on at the same time. Therefore, we had many student workers trained for each lab so that all students could be served in time to finish their experiment within their allotted time. The full time lab staff consisted of two people in 1982. They were Mrs. White and Mr. Jones. The person overseeing the lab was Dr. Ron Orcutt, who was also the radiation officer for the whole university. The American Medical Society required that such a position be filled before they would certify approval for the new ETSU medical school, the Quillen and Dishner College of Medicine. Dr. Orcutt was one of the few people on campus who was qualified to serve in that capacity. This arrangement, by which Dr. Orcutt had half of a position in Chemistry and the other half in the Medical School, benefited the Department for many years! At Thanksgiving time, the stockroom people hosted a dinner to share with both faculty and students who worked in the stockroom. The following pictures were taken at such gatherings:
 Mrs. White is in the center

 Mr. Jones is center left, sitting

  Dr. Orcutt is on the right side

Monday, July 31, 2017

More old pictures from Terry Ponder

Apparently, I made some mistakes in identifying some names in the pictures when I posted my last blog. The young lady with Terry was Debbie Waters and the picture was taken in the ACS office, not in the stockroom with Ann Peoples as I wrote earlier. It is bad when I not only forget what my students looked like, but I also forget how to spell their names! Getting old is not fun either! Included in Terry's email were several other pictures which I did not have, so they have not been posted in this blog earlier. I will post them here to complete the record. Two were of Dr. Nicholson in his office and the other two were of his very attractive secretary Mrs. Joan Shirley. After working there for many years, she left the Department, I believe, not too long before Nicholson retired in 1977.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Voices from the past, Terry Ponder

Just about a week ago, I had an email from Terry Ponder, who was one of my former students in the 1980s, or before. Apparently, Terry was reading this blog and realized that I did not have a picture of Mrs Lilly, who was the stockroom manager until the early 1970s. Since he had several pictures taken during that time, including one of Mrs Lilly, he offered to send them to me. Terry's email and his pictures from the past brought back more of my memories from my time at ETSU when Dr. Nicholson was the Chair. Terry and a bunch of students who worked in the stockroom used to spend quite a bit time "just chatting" in the stockroom - even when they were not working.  They enjoyed being there with Mrs Lilly, who had a warm relationship with them and always made them feel welcome.Terry did send me a few pictures from that time and I have posted them below. The first picture is of Mrs Lilly, who was the stockroom manager both when I was a student there and later when I came back as a faculty member:

The second one is of Terry with Ann People in the stockroom:
And the third is one which I posted before, a picture taken at Duke Garden when we participated in a Student Affiliate Meeting.  Terry has identified the people in the picture for me:
from left: Sarah Barron, Ann People, Anne's husband Bob, Terry Ponder, Steve Winters, Floyd Quillen, Galen Queen, Jeff Wardeska, and myself. Terry , Floyd and Galen were also basketball players on the Chemistry Department team. We won quite a number of games at the intramural competitions every year!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Fiftith Wedding Anneversary for the Nicholsons

September 17th, 1982, was the Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary for the Nicholsons. There was a nice reception at their church Fellowship Hall. We were invited to this get-together, where we met very few people we knew, as we did not participate in other of the church activities and their friends were not our acquaintances. Life is very dynamic, it changes quickly! After Dr. Nicholson retired from the University, I no longer saw him regularly and he seldom came to visit the department. He was very much involved with his church and family activities. While I was in his former position as Chair, I was so busy with the department affairs that I rarely had any time to pay attention to other things. A wedding anniversary did not have much weight in my mind. However, I am very glad, in retrospect, that we went to that party. The picture below was taken after the celebration. (I do not remember the name of the other lady with the four of us.) We were happy at seeing each other, as we did not have the chance to get-together with them very often.
Both the Nicholsons had hair which was as white as my hair color now! I am sure that at the time, I could not possibly imagine that sometime later my hair would change to totally white and I would have the opportunity to find this picture after Janice and myself had passed more than 50 years of our marriage! I can still see the beautiful smile on Mrs. Nicholson's face!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

It was another busy Summer!

As usual, the summer months were very busy for our family. The summer of 1982 was no exception.
As I wrote in an earlier blog, Janice's Father was very ill that summer and her Grandmother had also taken a turn for the worse. So we had decided to spend some time in Winchester, Massachusetts, in order to be of help to them and to Janice's Mother. While we were there, we decided to visit the Cape for a weekend with our kids. As you can see by the pictures below, they found the Cape's salt water in the bay very cold! (The water on the ocean side was even colder!) The following pictures were taken with two sisters who lived next door to Janice's parents in their Cape house.

In August, when we drove back to Tennessee, we stopped to visit the Tangs in Queens, New York. We stayed there for a few days to get to eat theirs special dishes! I posted some pictures of this visit, including the trip to the Statue of Liberty, on an earlier post. But the following pictures were not posted at that time.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Li Jing's visit

While I was teaching at Huazhong Normal University in Wuhan,  Li Jing and her classmate Yaxi Shen were responsible for overseeing our children. One year later she came to visit us in Johnson City, during the summer of 1982. She was on her way to Graduate School at the State University of New York at Albany, and later completed her PhD at Cornell University. She eventually became an outstanding University Professor at Rutgers University. During the summer of 1982, she had quite a long visit with us. Our children still remembered her vividly and we had many places to show her in the area. We went to Watauga Lake and Roan Mountain. Certainly we also took her to the World's Fair in Knoxville (see the last picture). Since she was from the Hubei area, she knew how to play some of our "home" card games! The pictures below were taken during that visit!