Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Do I Remember?

An old friend of mine (someone I knew while we lived in Japan, in the early 70's) asked me what I remembered of Taiwan. Well, it was in the early 60’s, and I was very young, so there isn’t a lot I remember. Just bits and pieces, as I mentioned before. I was in the 3rd and 4th grade while there. We didn’t live on a base. The house we were in was the last house on the street we lived on. We could look down and see rice paddies. To get to the main street to catch the school bus, we had to walk past a house that had ducks running around. The ducks were mean and would chase us. One time the Taiwanese family that lived in that little house let my brother and me in to see the kittens that had been born.

I do remember that one morning my brother came running into the house early from a sleep-over he had at a friend’s house a few houses down. He ran in saying President Kennedy had been shot. We were able to see the news on the television.

My brother had a small rabbit as a pet. Sometimes that rabbit was allowed to run around the house for awhile, but not often because he would leave little “droppings” that had to be cleaned up. Even back then I loved to read. I used to lay on the floor in the living room and read. One time I was so engrossed in the book I was reading that I did not notice the rabbit was eating my hair! For the longest time the hair in that area would not grow.

I don’t remember the name of the school I went to in the 3rd grade, but I do remember learning how to do the Chinese jump rope. Then in 4th grade I went to a different school. It was run by nuns and they were mean. I mean, really mean.

My father got us a dog. A german shepherd whose parents had been the champions of the island. But my parents used to laugh because this dog was the biggest coward. While he was in the small back yard, he was brave and would bark at anyone who approached the house. But when he would break his chain and get loose, he was afraid of everyone and everything.

My mother wanted to adopt a cute little girl from an orphanage nearby, and we would have the little girl stay over sometimes. But we could not get her over her jealousy of my younger brother, who was the same age as the girl. I don’t know the whole story, but we did not adopt the girl. I always did want a younger sister, so I was unhappy. But I was happy with my two younger brothers. Back then, my brothers and I were close.

One thing that definitely sticks in my mind is the time I fell off a high wall. Because it did some damage to my lower back and I have suffered with that pain all my life. No one believed my pain, thinking I could not have hurt myself because I was so young. That’s how people thought back then, I guess. Anyway, I learned to ‘suffer” in silence. It wasn’t until I was a lot older that I had x-rays done and a doctor saw the damage. Over the years it all got worse, due to ignoring it.

Anyway, there isn't a lot I remember, as you can see.
Here is a map I found online.

1 comment:

Chin Wei Lien said...

Hey, stumbled upon your blog by accident. I am a Taiwanese studying abroad, but I go back rather often every year. It's interesting to hear the stories about my country from somebody else's perspective as well, since I feel that I am gradually losing my own for staying in a foreign land for too long.

I had a German Shepherd when I was a child too, in fact it was the champion dog of the island as well, though I am pretty sure it wasn't the same one that you had. My dog was pretty ferocious, almost bit the arms off the children in the neighborhood because they threw rocks at it.

I wonder if you still remember how to speak the language?