Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Requiems on YouTube

I have heard several "Requiems" by different composers on YouTube. They were very good and reminded me of the time when I was singing with The Civic Chorale. We did quite a number of  Requiems during those years. I looked for some of the sample programs sheets which I had saved in my file. Unfortunately, I do not have all of them, but I am going to put the ones I found here below: 



Clearly, I do not have many of our programs, as I remember we did both Verdi's and Mozart's in addition to the Brahms Requiems shown above. I did not save most of the programs as I took for granted that  singing was just part of my life, and it was not important enough to consider it special. I did save a couple of newspaper clippings, as they were more important to me at the time:

During this year of the Pandemic, one of the nice things I have enjoyed is the huge variety of musical productions available on YouTube. I would probably never have found the time to explore what was offered. Perhaps the Pandemic has also encouraged many groups - both international and local - to put their productions on YouTube for all to enjoy!

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Henry Grant Fernald

This is the full name of my Father-in-law. He was a man of few words, which turned out to be very typical for a "Chinese"  like me. Not that I have others to compare him with, but it was very comfortable for me to be with him during the years I have been married with his daughter, Janice, in all occasions of our lives. Before he was ill with Alzheimer disease, he was requested to write some words about his life. Janice and I recently got a copy and I thought it was well-worth putting in this blog. I am now presenting it here with his picture, taken when he was a young man:
    Just before the 2nd World War, I tutored a large number of students at Harvard. They were taking the Navy V5 courses for prospective officers. Their professors couldn't seem to get their subjects across and expected them all to flunk their exams. I knew as little as the students about such things as internal combustion engines, but we studied together and they all passed and became naval officers.
    During the was I was in civil engineering down south. I was always elated at how surprised my boss was that I could look up trigonometric functions so easily.
    After the war, I came to A.O. (American Optical) During my first week I showed Miss Clancey a formula from civil engineering which greatly simplified her lens computations. I was pleased when I was given credit for it in a magazine article she had published.
    I am always pleased when people comment on my ability to write Fortran programs which don't need to be de-bugged. Also, it did something for my ego when people came to me as the expert on Fortran problems.
    Some of the programs I have written lately produce fancy plotting, which various people wanted to hang up as samples of what can be done.
    I am always pleased to get my name on patents and magazine articles, even though it is usually in second position. 
    I even amaze myself with the facility with which I can juggle algebraic and trigonometric equations. Figures have always been my pride and joy, and I am not happy unless I am dabbling with them.
    I am very good at deriving mathematical equations for solving nasty problems, and finding new methods for presenting data.
    I enjoy being praised for being a home handy-man, including electricity and plumbing.
    But my crowning achievement was the house my wife and I built on Cape Cod, doing all the work ourselves!

Saturday, August 8, 2020



     Not long after he returned from serving in the Navy during the Second World War (he was in the Pacific), our Uncle Fran Mardulier and our Aunt Dot bought several acres of land from a farmer in North Truro and sold a few of those acres to our Mom and Dad (Rita and Henry Fernald).  (It was probably around 1948.) They then bought (salvaged?) two army barracks from a base that was being closed down in Welfleet. Fran and Dot put up their "new" house first, including, of course, the outhouse we called Peony. Then the Fernald house was raised. I remember our Mom painting over the graffiti as the walls went up. There were no ceilings on any of the rooms and no paneling at first. (This made for a lot of peeking into other's rooms!) Shari, Greg, and I then became the first generation of kids to enjoy the Cape. At that time, the land in back of our house, which has since been sold, was a pasture where the farmer had kept his cows. I remember making "horses" out of pieces of discarded lumber. We painted them, attached a tail and reins, and rode them all over the place. I had several favorites - including a pinto and a black "stallion"! Another favorite memory from that time was our construction of a two-story(!) structure - deep in the woods where our parents wouldn't find it - which we called Hernando's Hideaway,  named from a popular song. We had help from our friends the Armstrongs (Paul, Sheila, and Bill).  Aunt Dot and Uncle Fran had a son (now known as Captain Jim) in 1952 and he joined in most of our activities as he grew older.  Sometimes we were also joined by cousins Donna and Marc Belisle, whose parents built a house on Hart Road. And, of course, there were those square dances down in Truro and Welfleet which we all attended faithfully (with the Armstrongs and the MacLauchlan's, who had a small cottage down on Great Hollow Road).
July 1948

     The next generation to fall in love with the Cape, included Doug and Laura, Margaret and Steven, Erin and Shelley, and David and Fiona Paul.  Babs and Bill Paul, the parents of David and Fiona,  had become "honorary members of the family" soon after they came to the States in 1952. Among other good memories from those days were the Plays which were performed regularly - complete with costumes and dialog.  Most of you may not have found it particularly memorable but, for my family, bringing Tom's Father to visit our families on the Cape in 1972 was a special time! Everything was new to him! And I don't think any of the parents can forget the evening that David Paul (newly licensed) drove Fiona, Doug and Laura, and Margaret and Steven to "dinner" at the Howard Johnson's in P'town.  Fortunately, all went well but we certainly heard a lot of complaints about David as he had insisted that they use a fork while eating french fries!

     The third generation to enjoy being together on the Cape includes Michaela and Cam, Meghan and Alex, Matthew and David, Jimmy and Annie, Kingsly and Cammie, and - last but definitely not least - Max. Many of them enjoyed the swing set that the Pauls provided in 2003. Starting in 1999, there has been a "Fernald Family Reunion" on the Cape every two years - except that occasionally there was a gap due to a wedding or some such thing! We all owe a debt to Laura for inaugurating these wonderful get-togethers! She has been the guiding light! I do remember that Judy once called attention to the fact that she was often the ONLY Fernald at many Fernald Family Reunions! Gatherings usually include wild games of croquet, loud and rambunctious games of Bonanza, lots of good food, and, of course, the beach! 

     I feel certain that there will be more generations coming to the Cape in the years ahead! We hope they hear our laughter and feel our love when they come!  Jan

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Hart Island reminded me about Another sad Story

I talked about two of my siblings who passed away as very young children in this blog on Oct.10, 2019. Today, I will talk about one of them. This morning we heard a story on the CBS Sunday Morning Program which made me think of her. The story describes Hart Island, which is the burial ground for all the people who have died nameless in New York City hospitals, when the doctors could not save them.   The story focused on a lady who lost her daughter as an infant during a major snow storm. The child died of a heart problem and the lady could not get to the hospital because of the storm. The hospital sent the child to Hart Island but only told her mother she was sent to a NYC burial ground. It was only recently, after 25 years, that her mother learned the name of Hart Island. Unfortunately, there are no grave markers there.

This reminded me of a sad story in my own life. I had a sister who died in ZuoYing (Taiwan) in late 1949 or early 1950. She had an infection and we could not get any medicine for her. I was ten at the time and we had recently arrived in Taiwan after fleeing from the Communists in mainland China. I remember the scene vividly. Our family, including myself and my eight-year-old brother, Dean, went to her burial "get-together". The hole for her casket had already been dug. My mother was crying loudly and my dead sister had been placed on some kind of board near the hole. My father asked us to bow and say good bye to her, which we did. Then we were asked to run away. Later I found out that my parents were waiting for a burial casket, as the first one purchased was too small.  My uncle (my mother's brother) went to have another one made by some of his soldiers at the station. Later, I found her burial place covered with a small pile of dirt. When we went back to Zuo-Ying in 1969, I remember that we went there to look for her grave. But, I could no long find that pile of dirt - the whole area had been built up with new roads and everything was changed. The picture that I had in my mind was no long there!!

The only pictures I have of this sister were cut from some of my group pictures!


Sunday, March 15, 2020

My Connection with UI (University of Illinois)

My connections with the University of Illinois really defined my life, although it is certainly late to mention it at this stage of my blog! Primarily it is because I took this fact for granted and I did not feel it's importance until I was recently thinking about it!
I went to the University of Illinois, specifically the Chemistry Department, mainly because the President of National Taiwan University, Chiang S-Ning, received his Doctoral Degree from that University. He was frequently involved with the Chemistry Department in Taiwan personally. The picture below was taken in 1961 when we graduated. We had a dinner to thank our teachers and he was there, sitting in the front row,  fourth from the right:

 And most inmportantly, he wrote a recommendation letter for me! Later, when I went to ETSU, it turned out that the chair of the Chemistry Department,  Dr. D G Nicolson, was also a graduate from Illinois. He was the one who later offered me a position at ETSU at the time when I was teaching at the University of Kentucky. He not only taught me but he also hired me back to the University, to which he had dedicated his whole life! The following picture was taken in 1978.

Finally, and most importantly, I met Janice, my wife there. You all know that part of my story, you just do not realize how important a simple folk dance could start the life story of two people from the other ends of the world!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

More about my high school teachers

I finally found a few pictures of my "ChengGu" High School teachers who were very important for my education. They were all female teachers. The top four teachers all taught me mathematics, chemistry and physics. The fifth teacher was one I did not have in class. I do not know who wrote on my school books (the banners in yellow). He was trying to identify who taught what. Below are some pictures from my yearbook, some of which include students in their classes!

They were our favorite teachers, including one who even brought her daughter to take a picture with the best students in her classes! All the teachers names are printed in the book! You certainly could see that taking pictures were a very serious business matter, we were ALL in our uniforms with our hats on! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

"Bridge" is more than just a game!

During our first year in East Tennessee a group of eight women, mostly wives of new faculty members at the University, decided to form a "bridge" group to meet one night a week, so that they could share their experiences. Who could imagine that this group would continue for nearly fifty years, as of today! (Two of the original members left in the early years, as their husbands accepted positions at other schools.) The women certainly shared a lot of stories about raising their children, about the the frustrations of not having family living near-by, and, of course, about their husbands!  "Bridge" may have been their starting point, but everything in their lives was shared, one way or another. From new born babies, boys and girls, their children's marriages, and their grandchildren, to the death of beloved family members, every part of life was included in many different ways. Sadly, one passed away recently because of illness. And, two members have lost their husbands, which has affected all of them greatly. I have chosen four pictures to give you a glimpses of this amazing group!

This is one of the first pictures of the group:
Yes, they were very young!

The second picture was taken slightly later, showing the eight members who belonged to the group for the last 40-some years:
This is a more recent picture, taken a long time after 1971! The husbands frequently joined the group to celebrate the holidays!
This most recent picture was taken in January 2020. A new member was added for the first time since Janice and I moved out of the East Tennessee area.