In 1985, China not only opened wide their doors to allow visiting graduate students to study in the US, but also urged quite a number of their professors in the Science Departments to visit the USA, with all expenses paid by China. ETSU was lucky enough to get two of the Chemistry Professors from Wuhan University, one of the top ten Universities in the whole country: Professors Lin and Yin. They were in Physical and Analytical Chemistry, respectively. They chose to come to ETSU as we had two professors, Dr. ChuNgi-Ho and myself, who could communicate in Chinese with them to facilitate their work. The official press anouncement picture of the four of us was sent out in a black and white picture from
ETSU as shown below:
I certainly took more pictures of them, not only on campus but also in front of our house, when they came to visit us with one of our graduate students from Wuhan, their home town.
After we bought the cabin on the lake, we, of course, went swimming whenever we felt warm enough to dive into the clear nice water. Of course, we had plenty of parties for our children and their friends. We had them on many occasions for a variety of reasons. I don't even remember what the reason for Margaret's party in the picture below was! They were having a great time! Soon it occurred to us that we could try water skiing. It was just the right time, as our kids were both at the right age. We bought a used boat and they quickly learned how to ski - all by themselves, literally! Almost immediately they were standing behind the boat and riding the waves. Oh, yes, we had a lot of fun! I was by then over fifty years old but I decided to give it a try myself. I hung on to the tow line a few times and was pulled through the water. However, believe it or not, I did finally get up and found myself skiing - just having fun like all the teens! For the next five years, whenever our kids were home during the summer, skiing was a major part of our activities on the lake. The pictures below were all taken during the time when we all tried to learn how to ski. Of course we also had to swim quite a bit during those times.
Over the next three decades, the following scene became one of our favorites. The shots I took of this scene became a must for all our visitors. I will post seasonal pictures of this scene below. Since there are seldom severe winters in Tennessee, I never got a good winter shot. So I cannot show you what it looks like in the winter time! Spring and fall were the longest seasons there, as you will see:
Of course, most of our activities were centered aroud the summer. So with the help of my stockroom worker, Walt, I built a staionary platform on the shoreline, in preparation for the summer, as shown below:
We used this dock not only for boats, but for all shore parties and a lot of other activities such as jumping fancy jumps!
In 1984, I went to see a piece of land on Watauga Lake. The real estate agent told me that a widowed lady had a big plot of land for sale. I asked the sales person to inquire if the lady would agree to sell me just a small part of it. I would be willing to pay for a new surveyor's expense. It was agreed, so I had it surveyed, and we mapped out a total of six acres, with about 150 yards of shore line included. I bought that piece of land with the small cabin on the property. Since the building was not winterized, we did not get to use it until spring of 1985, when the weather was warm enough and before we went on our China trip. We had quite a number of visitors and we certainly started to enjoy the water as often as we could be there. The pictures below are the early pictures taken of our visits there:
Clearly, the biggest event for the whole family in 1985 was our visit to China. We had started to prepare for that trip a year earlier, in the spring of 1984. Since it involved every member of the family, the planning part was quite complicated - beyond just applying for everybody's passport. If you have read my blog posts so far, you have seen that we really had a wonderful trip in China. Now let me report on an earlier event which happened in the spring of 1985.
Confirmation was an important ceremony in our Church. Unfortunately, in 1983 I stopped attending the Church, due to my dismay at the behavior of the minister at the time. The result was that I did not have pictures of the ceremony when Margaret was confirmed. However, by 1985, we had a new minister, Pastor Lyerly, who conducted the ceremony for Steven's class. It was quite a big group and Steven had two classmates from University School, Kelley and Kurt, who were part of the group as well. These ceremonies were both important and are worthwhile to be remembered.
The group picture in 1985 was taken right in front of the Church door (Pastor Lyerly is on the left.):
The three classmates were in the church fellowship hall during a reception given by the Church:
Both my father and Janice's mother came to this event, and we had a family picture taken together:
We visited many places in the area on this trip. You can see more pictures at our webpage.(http://jat.esmartweb.com/china-1985/china_1985.htm) In addition to the Monkey King's Famous Flaming Mountains, we went to the Nanshan area where there were many different kinds of animals and where we could rent horses. We had a great time riding on the backs of these Mongolian horses - they are smaller and love to run! We also walked to the beautiful water falls:
We got a glimpse of the old Silk Road this time, during our visit to Xinjiang. The University arranged a very nice small building in the Tianshan (Heavenly Mountains) area where we could stay. It was not very far from where we could see the beautiful Tianchi (Heavenly Lake). The following picture was taken in front of this building. Steven was playing a game with Professor Liu to see who could stand without moving longer than the other:
Of course, we took a cruise in the lake. As you can see from the pictures below, it was truly a very beautiful place!
We visited Hami in the Turban area, where the famous sweet Hami melons are grown and sold. We were very lucky to be there during the right season and were able to taste some every day!
The famous place called JiaoHe (or old city) (交河故城), was originally on the Silk Road but was destroyed by the invading muslims during the Tang dynasty. Unfortunately, our two young children did not know enough Chinese history to appreciate any of the stories.
To visit Urumqi is as difficult for most Chinese as it is for anyone in the western world to visit the Antarctic. After my course was finished, Tsinghua University very kindly treated our whole family to visit there for almost a whole week. To save time, they made arrangements to fly us there instead of using the rail-road. Furthermore, Professor Liu accompanied us for the whole trip, even though he was not even allowed to eat with us together at the same table! At that time, the government had many rules which seemed silly to us. We visited, not only Urumqi city, but also many nearby areas including Heaven Lake, Tianshan (including the Flaming Mountains,) Nanshan, and Hami. In 1985, there were more "native" Uygurs than Han people in Xinjiang. That is no longer true! Our children were then relatively bigger than local children of the same age. This can be seen very clearly and dramatically in the picture below. However, there were very few differences in comparing me with people of a similar age:
While we were there, not only did we go to see one of their mosques, we also watched some local dancers and ate many local foods as well. The following pictures give you a feel for the flavor at the time: