Friday, September 23, 2005

Some good letters.....

I get a lot of letters from former expat residents of the island. Here's one I got yesterday:

I am sorry, but I do not know your name. My name is _____ and I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your pictures of
Taiwan on the internet. I lived in Taoyuan county for a couple of years and had a great time. My wife is from Taiwan and we return each year for Chinese New Year. Sometimes at work I think about Taiwan and I am thankful that you are willing to share your family pictures. It brings back good memories when I look at your pictures. Also, you have a nice looking family and must be a very blessed man. May God continue to bless you and your family.
And one from the day before. I especially love letters that talk about the life on the island many years ago. Nowadays it is a formidable challenge to find a place to park by the train station.....

I really appreciate your pictures and running commentary on so many subjects relating to current times in Taiwan.

I was reminded of an incident that happened in 1966 or 1967. I was stationed at Taipei Air Station. I had a moonlight job at the Officer's Club Annex as a Night Manager. The job kept me out of trouble and helped time pass. I was single at the time. (I later married a Chinese girl.) Anyway, rather than sleep in the Chinese Army Military Hostel which was located next door to the Navy Exchange, I and my room mate, another guy who also worked part time as a Night Manager at the club, decided to rent an apartment. We were fortunate to get into a brand new building a few blocks from the Navy Exchange. Within 6 weeks, someone broke into the apartment and cleaned out everything that they could carry! Only a couch remained in the living room and kitchen and bathroom. My roommate's bedroom was emptied, only the bed remained, they even took the linen. My bedroom was locked and the thief tried for sometime to dig out around the lock, but didn't get inside. My poor buddy lost everything! You can imagine how he felt. He was in shock! At the time of the burglary, we had no bars on our windows. I don't think anyone in our apartment building had bars at the time either. Life went on for me. My roommate moved back into the barracks at Taipei Air Station to recover his losses and save up some cash. I invited my girl friend to move into the apartment and later married her. A couple of weeks after the burglary we were awoken on a Saturday or Sunday morning by the police knocking on our apartment door. They had captured the thief. He was disheveled; from his looks I guessed the police had worked him over. He was tied with large rope which was also strung around his neck and he was bare foot. The police told us the thief was taking them to the residences he had burglarized. The police had us come by the station and identify items taken. My buddy was able to recover some of his stuff from a pawn shop across town, but had to pay the shop for each item he recovered. I believe Uncle Sam reimbursed him for his loss. Interesting that the police did catch some of these guys in the 60's......

I loved my time in Taiwan, visited all over the island, drove up and down the old Highway 1 many times. I have some stories about that road. I wanted to stay in Taiwan, but my wife wanted to come to the US, I understood and we returned to Texas. I later returned to the military and retired in 1980. Have not been in Taiwan since 1972 or 73. Plan to make a trip back later this fall. Your pages provided me with a lot of current info, not much has changed really. Still hauling water to drink in Taipei - 40 years later! Unbelievable huh. The traffic situation appears much worse. Hardly any automobiles were on Taiwan in the mid 60's. Easy to get all over town in a few minutes. I remember parking at the Main Railway Station waiting for my girl friend to arrive and I would be the only private car parked there during the evening hours. I bet you can't get close to the station today. I'm anxious to visit again and see the physical changes, doubt I'll recognize much though.

Thanks again, loved your pages. Much aloha to you and your family.

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