Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chinese Home

Sarj Bloom took this photo of his 1957 Chevy in front of the home of his in-laws.
This photo shows my good old '57 Chevy - that served me well - outside of my wife's parents' house. I went there often and always had a good time as part of the family.

My wife had four sisters and three brothers so the house was always busy. The oldest daughter was married and one other daughter got married about the same time. So with one of the boys in the army, there were only the two younger boys and two younger girls at home. That was still a lot for this small house, but they were a happy, healthy family.

The inside was very comfortable with Tatami floors, as was the style in a lot of these homes. Everyone would gather in the one room for eating and conversation. The kitchen was outside under a roof and very large with plenty of room. They kept everything here, even a few chickens. The toilet was of course outside too. There was no refrigerator; not many had one in those days. I imagine it was only a few years later that people started being able to buy them and TVs too. I often compared Taiwan in those days to stories I had heard growing up about what life was like back in the '20s and '30s in America.

It was a good time to be alive with not many distractions like TV, computers, cell phones, beepers and iPods. We had friends and family and conversations and travel to keep us busy...in a good way.

3 comments:

Stev said...

Sarj,

I had forgotten about no TV in Taiwan, but now that I think about it I remember I didn't miss it. I went to Yokosuka, Japan, in Nov. 1959, and saw TV again there. The audio was Japanese, so I didn't understand it.

I had a Zenith Transoceanic Radio and liked to listen to the Communist propaganda coming out of Peking? Do you remember Peking Polly? When Lou, my house boy, would hear me listening he would wag his finger at me and tell me that was a no-no.

Don said...

I had a small black and white Sony portable TV that I bought at the Navy Exchange right after I arrived, but I rarely turned it on. I sold it just a few years ago at a garage sale and it still had a pretty good picture!

Morris Chen said...

Sarj,
Normally only people working for the government were entitled to housing of the style shown in the photo. These were houses left behind by Japanese after 1945 when World War II was over. Chiang Kai-shek's government took these properties over and provided them as dormitories to the government employees. My father-in-law who worked for Taiwan Sugar Research Institute, a state owned organization, used to be living in this kind of dormitory during 1947-1974. Afterward, they were able to buy an apartment and moved to live in their own property. Because the land cost soared over the years, I think there is hardly seen one property like that in Taiwan today.
Morris