Peace Corps
Thai 27
1969
 
 
 
/
UPDATE MAY 2009


40 years ago This month Most of us ended Peace Corps training in Hawaii and checked in to the Petchburi Hotel in Bangkok.
Fast forward 40 years later, And this is what Some of us are up to.

u-
KEVIN
DELANY

 

Kevin Delany was Peace Corps Director when we arrived in Thailand in 1969.
Life continues good for Joan and myself in the last 12 months. We consider ourselves as among the fortunate in a lot of ways too numerous to mention.

The Thrilling High Point of the last year: Joan and I had been doing volunteer phone banking and other stuff for the presidential inaugural committee for the three weeks leading up to President Obama's Inauguration.
That Friday we volunteers were told that we – along with one guest -- were invited to a reception at the White House on Wednesday, the day after the inaugural. Naturally I gave them Joan's name and the information needed for secret service clearance. We had no idea what the event would be like.
On Wednesday afternoon Joan and I lined up outside the visitor's entrance and within a half hour we were inside the East Room with a hundred or so others. For another half hour we were diverted by White House lore from a secret service agent playing tour guide. Then we started moving toward the nearby Blue Room in what turned out to be a receiving line with no less than President Obama and his First Lady on the end of it.
When we got closer to them, I was struck by how relaxed they both looked – even though we had heard a report that they had been touring the Inaugurals balls till after four that morning.
As we reached them, I said, Mr. President, "We have met before. I am Kevin Delany and I had one of the early websites urging you to run -- and this is my wife, Joan Kennan, whose father was George Kennan."
So help me, before I had even finished, Obama said, "I know" to both of us, and then he turned to Michelle and said, "This guy was one of those website guys that wanted me to run."
Michelle said sardonically, "So you're the ones that got me in this mess." I
thanked her for her work on behalf of veterans and she said, "Yes, but we need to find ways to help them more." With that, we made way for the ones behind us.
I think that Barack did recall that I had met him a few weeks ago when he visited inaugural committee headquarters to thank the volunteers there – so I am savoring this as a last hurrah before he puts me on the No Go list. I think he did remember Joan from the 45- minute meeting we and several other website hosts had with him on the Hill in March of '07 after we had turned over our website materials to his campaign.
A young Chinese woman who was standing next to me asked what that was about. I explained about our website and how we turned over the materials to Obama's campaign after he announced and were then asked to meet with him so he could thank us -- and that ten of us -- including my wife -- had a 45 minute session with him. She said, "I went to your website, and wasn't it something like. "draftBarack in2008.com.?" Spot on. I was amazed.
Seriously, it was a lovely experience, coming just a day after his swearing in and his magnificent speech. It was also a footnote of forgettable proportions – the first reception of his New Adminstration.

Joan and I continue to do volunteer work for the White House a day or two a week -- taking calls to a comment line or dealing with the correspondence to the WH. I'm also involved with the endless sage of trying to get DC a vote in Congress. Otherwise we try to stay fit and visit our farm in PA on warm weekends.


Gaynor
Turner

 

I finally made it to Australia and New Zealand. A friend Sharon Hahn and I went with Colette Vacations on a tour of eastern and central Australia and the south island of New Zeland from March 21 to
April 9.

I really enjoyed the whole trip to Australia. The best part for me was meeting my cousin who resettled in Australia after teaching in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe for a time. They settled in Australiawhen things got too hot politically in each of those countries and they wanted to raise their family in peace and safety.
I also enjoyed the trip down to Phillips Island from Melbourne where we got to see the
colony of Little Penguins that reside there under protection. They emerge from the sea at sunset and go back in around dawn so bus loads of tourists are brought in to witness this event every day at dusk. By the time night has fully fallen, the show is over except for some stragglers still plodding their way up the hillside to their burrows. It is quite an event and one I'll remember the rest of my life. I also enjoyed the
exploration of the outback around Alice Springs and Uluru. We had abarbecue inthe bush and the optional "Ride A Camel to Dinner" which was a bit of an adventure with no spitting camels fortunately--all very well
behaved, tamed animals.

The south island of New Zealand was varied and beautiful and well worth visiting. Lots of sheep, cows and deer are raised on the east side of the Southern Alps and the dense rain forests and Milford Sound are truly
scenic although I am sure the fjords in Norway and those up in Alaska compare favorable to Milford Sound. All in all I am glad I went. The people of Australia and New Zealand are really great. We were always
treated courteously

I am attaching a photo of myself taken with a koala bear at a Wildlife Preserve outside Sydney. They are such sweet, docile animals.

Otherwise nothing much is happening here at home. I am still active with my square dance club, delegate to the Area Council, Vice President incharge of special events and visitations to other clubs, and newsletter
editor which I need to get at as it is due out next week. Also next week I will go sit on the Peace Corps desk at the Street Fair on the U of O campus. The local Peace Corps recruiter is very active and needs help from RPCVs. The Seattle recruiter normally comes down to help too--going out to classrooms and talking about what is available. Of course since I got home I have been busy betting my garden looking its best and addingnew perennials. I also have some projects to upgrade my house, like adding a gas fireplace in my family room and inset lighting in the kitchen to replace the florescent ones there which I cannot stand--the
light is too harsh.

Hugh
Leong

Hugh wites from Thiland: We bought a piece of land right next to our house, about 1 rai. We have planted over 100 tress on it and work on the land every day. Here is a picture. Our house is the one on the left in the back. That's Doi Pui/Doi Suthep on the right and Wat Prataat Doi Kham overlooking our house.

I continue to write (all my columns are on my website). But publishing is slowing down a lot because of the economy. I am still waiting for my second textbook, "Professional Office English" to be published. I did write another book called "How To Read Thai Newspapers - An Advanced Thai Reader". The reading is pretty hight level but if you want a copy I am giving it away for free as a .pdf file to anyone interested. Just let me know and I will send it on. It is pretty hard though but you'll learn lots of new vocabulary.

We go to the US at the end of June for my son's wedding. We will be in country for only 10 days though and will be pretty busy. Although Warren is still living in Sacramento the wedding will be in Seattle so we won't be able to see you guys.

I just posted a new essay on my website (on the home page) on retiring early.

Janice Oldroyd

"Clark and I are enjoying being grandparents. Lia Charlotte Oldroyd was born on Nov. 28, 2009 to our oldest son and his wife. They live close by, which is such a pleasure for us. We babysit most weekends for at least a couple of hours! We haven't done a lot of overseas traveling lately, but we did enjoy a cruise to celebrate our 35th anniversary this past spring. Both of us are still working (University of Colorado at Boulder) and looking forward to retirement (who knows when with this economy!)"

Dave
Johnson

I'm still doing commedia dell arte, the Renaissance Itlian theatre form I've been working with for the past few years. I finished devising and directing a show this spring, and next spring I'm taking a number of the students in the company to teach again at Tech's campus in Italian Switzerland for a semester. This summer I'm acting in a Glassity Theatre Company production of WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF at theatre festivals in Hungary and Transylvania. In the fall we're opening another new theatre on campus, and I'm directing Valclav Havel's INCREASED DIFFICULTY OF CONCENTRATION in it. Other than that, life on the river, lots of classical and flamenco guitar; date last night with a beautiful doctor, and hoping there'll be few a few more before she figures out what an insignificant creature I really am.


Bob Blau

I've got nothing. Been waiting, thinking something will turn up, but ... no. I was hoping, at least, to have a new family picture to send, but ... no. (That may come along a little later.)On the other hand, everyone's fine. Nothing

But for fun, here's a snapshot of an agency far, far away that may ... in some respects ... bear some resemblance to mine ...


Dan Curry

Dan was a volunteer from Thai 25 and worked with Mike Scmicker and Ernie Geefay in at the Bangkok Municipality Educational TV department. He is now a emmy award winning Hollywood Director and Special Effects Supervisor:

Dan writes: "This last year I was Visual Effects Supervisor on CHUCK for NBC, and will be going back shortly for another season.

We just got back from Northern California where I was commencement speaker at Humboldt State University.

Devin (son) and I developed an animated television series that we are now negotiating with Disney about. Their first offer was an insult, but we are hoping we can reach an agreement we can live with.

Ridge and Dtim Watson are still in Carmel Valley where Ridge is making excellent wine under the label Joullian Vineyards. This year he won lots of gold medals. You can check it out at http://www.joullian.com. He is more than happy to ship small orders."

Dan has always had a great love of art and you can see some of his work at http://dancurrygallery.com/

 

Clay Nagao

Clay , like Pock, was one of our trainers in Hawaii

We were in Hokkaido, Japan in February and followed that trip with another to Las Vegas. For the first time ever in 20 years of gambling in Las Vegas, I broke even--came home with $60 more than I took with me.

Jean and I are fine and trying to decide where to visit next in September or October. So many possibilities...so little money.

It's 45 years this year since i went to Thailand. Have thought of going back for a visit, but still haven't gotten around to it. Maybe next year. Say that just about every year and go elsewhere. Anyone know of any good guided but non-touristy tour of Thailand, and Angkor Wat, that Jean and I could sign-up for? Ideally, it would cover the country but exclude such things as riding on elephants and watching cobras get milked. Let us know if you've aware of such a tour. Am not too interested in doing Thailand on my own after all these years.

Pock Otis

1. On March 28th of 2008 I fell in love with Mimi from Ojai. I come often to Ojai. We met at a beautiful restaurant on Steamboat Mountain (that's in Steamboat Springs, Colorado) at the 65th birthday party of a girl I dated in St.Paul in the 8th grade.

2. Two years ago this spring I was re-certified to teach TEFL. Went to Samui but they've ruined it. So I came home.

3. My eldest son, Sheff, 32, had his seventh child, Daisy, wrote a wonderful song about his vasectomy, lost his job in the building trades, and has started his own company.

4. My second son, Ty, left NYC after three years there writing songs and doing "green-roofs" on skyscrapers, won a grant to write music in Oakland (CA), and is now living in the Bay area .... somewhere.

5. My former wife, re-married some rich guy from Tiberon. She lives on a houseboat in Sausilito.

6. I spent a lot of time in the winter of 2007-8 and 2008-9 skiing at Vail. God has punished me for my self indulgence with viruses and degeneration of my knees. And I loved to be in my Rockies anyway. (I let others use them but, make no mistake, they're MINE!

7. I joined a writing class and a small four-person caucus from the class liked each other so much that we have a tiny writing club. By far the best writer in the group is a gay guy from KL. I asked if English was his second language. He said it was. I almost quit the class. He's really gifted.

8. I've had some wonderful and magic times, and some very lonely times at our lake place in Wisconsin. Sometimes with friends and family (wonderful and magic) and sometimes alone (sometimes lonely and sometimes wonderful and, yes, magical).

9. Since joining audio.com I've read over 320 books through my ears. I always have at least three books going. I'm now in my second time through with: The Age of the Unthinkable by Joshua Ramo which I strongly, STRONGLY recommend you, and everybody you know, read. It's the future. And it's good.

10. I came to KNOW of the existence of God when Obama was elected president. In 2004 I thought my only options were bible class or New Zealand. America was NOT my country when "we", "the "people" re-, I mean, RE-elected that moron. He and his white house axis of evil, war criminals Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the rest of the lot did more damage to our country than the British, the Germans, the Japanese, and Alkeida combined. Men and women died defending the constitution, OUR constitution, that they tried to gut. Anyway, I got pretty wound up in it and having Obama and his family in the White House is like breathing sweet, spring air again after being under water for FAR FAR FAR too long. My faith in our little democracy has been restored. But did it have to take so damned long?

11. I am proud to announce that I have caused no unwanted pregnancies.

12. Spring has finally come to Minnesota after what I'm told was one of the longest, most brutal winters in our history. Happily, I spent a lot of it in sunny Ojai and Colorado.

13. I love teaching more than anything else I've done, and I've done quite a lot, and have been interviewing at Cate, Thacher, Ojai Valley, etc. but without result. There is zero turnover. Just a Mandarin teacher at Cate outside of Santa Barbara. When I learned of the position, I immediately began speaking Mandarin to my host, Ben Williams, a fellow Williams graduate and headmaster of Cate. Sadly I wasn't convincing since I could go little further than "I like beer" and "I want to go home now." Both useful sentences but not enough to earn the position.

But if anybody in Thai 27 knows of a good teaching position for a non-credentialed teacher (no public schools) for TEFL, ESL, and/or history or creative writing within an hour drive of Ojai, please let me know. I'm looking.

14. After watching the PAC-10 tournament in Ojai just a couple of weeks ago, I've decided that I have one request of God, besides taking care of my sons and grandchildren, siblings, members of Thai27 et. al.) and that is, before I die, to give me, (and I'll do the work), but grant me a consistent, topspin forehand. Not a lot of money. Not power or fame. Just a damned consistent topspin forehand. Is that too much to ask? Is it? I've played crappy tennis for 55 years and now I want to be able to hit the ball hard and have it curve DOWN well within the lines of my opponent.

15. If a good teaching position, here in Minneapolis or there in or near Ojai is too elusive, I will try to gin up my international consulting business which has tentatively morphed into an international executive search firm for Asia/Pacific. I've done it. I'm very good at it. It pays well. And if and when the world is ready for it, I'm a "go."

Love and kisses to you and all the members of the magnificent and absolutely unforgettable Thai 27 group.

 


Mona Melanson

Mona continues to live in San Diego California and work in the HR iindustry. Mona started Aviso HR after working in corporate human resources management in a number of different industries for 25 years.

Derek P. Brereton

My only news is that my book, Campsteading: Family, Place, and Experience at Squam Lake, New Hampshire, is scheduled for publication by Routledge in November. I'm also planning to build a little log cabin in Sharon Hollow, Michigan, this summer, if the fates allow.

Lloyd Miller

I have left the travel industry and now represent a company called Send Out Cards. With Send Out Cards, individuals and businesses can create postcards, greeting cards and two fold cards on the Internet using the library of 13,000 cards or create your own including your handwriting and signature downloaded digital photos, graphics and logos. You can also enclose gifts and gift cards. Submit your design to the company where they print, cut, fold, stuff, address and stamp (first class) the card for delivery via the US Mail. Cards cost less than a dollar plus postage. If interested, go to www.sendoutcards.com/32877 and send three free cards on me. There is a tutorial to accompany the experience. It is fun, easy and very affordable. Try it.

Other than that three weeks ago we visited my sons in Florida and got to warm up from the Wisconsin winter. Spring has arrived here in Wisconsin which reminds me what I like most about this locality: spring, summer and early fall. Exquisite to say the least. We pay for it dearly during winter, however.


Robert Stroshine
Bob writes:"
Things have been pretty quiet around here for the past 12 months or so.
Diana and I did build a new home, which will probably be our retirement digs. We moved in last August. We now live about 30 miles west of Milwaukee, on about 3.5 acres of wooded land.

My wife Diana turns 60 in June, and her children and I have a big surprise for her. We are sending her to a cooking school in Tuscany, outside of Florence for a week. Unfortunately I cannot go with her, so her sister-in-law is joining her. This has been a lifelong dream of Diana's, and remains a big surprise which we'll announce at her birthday dinner at the end of this month.

Grandson Michael is one year old on June fifth. He lives in Denver. We'll be flying out there to spend a week around his birthday in order to celebrate the occasion.

Everyone is healthy and well. I killed my first deer last week. Unfortunately I used the front end of my SUV to do the deed while we were driving up north to our condo. Those critters can do a lot of damage to a vehicle at 60 miles an hour!
Fortunately Diana and I were unhurt.Felt terrible about the deer, and hope it did not suffer too long, if at all.
 

Tom Horne

I have been doing many new things here at the AOPA Pilot magazine. The web and videos now take a big chunk of time--in addition to the usual writing assignments. The other new thing is Twitter, which we're experimenting with as a means of exapnding the magazine's audience. But alas, I am a Twitter slacker!

I am certainly not complaining, though. I flew a couple of Atlantic crossings last year, and may even fly a leg or two in SE Asia in a month or so, including perhaps Chiang Mai, Phnom Penh, and Saigon. Two trips to Brazil to do stories on Embraer's new jets were other interesting adventures. I must say that I am thinking more about retirement--but I'm afraid that's not in the cards, owing to the economy. No vacations to speak of last year, although I did take a few days off after a convention. I now have 4,400 flying hours, and the Airline Transport Pilot certificate. That was more of a personal goal; I'm too old to be hired for the airlines, that's for sure!

I hope everyone in Thai 27 is well and happy. I cannot believe it has been 40 years.


Susan Auer

We are awaiting the birth of our second grandchild, a boy due any day now. My daughter, Joanna and her family live close by. I help her get some rest while I play with my 3 year old granddaughter, Megan. Last year we skipped the usual tandem trip in Europe and and vacationed in China. This year we are planning a month in France in September, two weeks of which will be on a tandem. We hope we can train enough to be in shape to ride in September. I occasionally find time to play with my art, mixed media, but that seems to be a lesser priority.


Dewleen Baker

I continue to live in, and enjoy San Diego.

I have worked a lot since arrival, but some of the work has come to fruition. I have a couple large research projects that are “off the ground” and that hopefully will contribute to our knowledge of PTSD. I remain on faculty at the Univ. of California San Diego and continue my work at the San Diego VA.

The exciting new thing this year is the marriage of my daughter which will take place in July.

I look forward sometime next year or beyond to a Thai 27 reunion.




Joyce Wagner

Still doing the dog thing with my service dog, Tareth. We visit hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, special ed classrooms and sit with the dying. All in a day's volunteering. Did take a week off on the Oregon coast before the crowds come. Tareth gets to hand out the diplomas at the local pre school graduation the week after next. Too funny !!! Life in a small town. All is well.

Paul Hobleman

I am teaching half-days now, about three times a week.
I am working on my house when not resting.
I will be preparing for a 100-mile roundtrip trek to Cole Creek on my bicycle this summer for my week's vacation. I'll take fishing equipment, a camera, camping things and rice. I'll cook the fish I catch.
I am dreaming of moving to Arkansas when I can't work any more, and spend my time wandering the hills of the Ozark National Forest, north of the Arkansas River (Russellville area). I have been there before in May and it is beautiful. The cost of living in a smaller town there might be lower than in Wichita. Maybe two or three years from now. Fly Creek is a beautiful stream cascading down through the hills. I may drive out there a year from now and check out the area for living opportunities.

Kevin Snow

Those of you who attended the reunion in Santa Barbara several years ago will remember the evening at Kevin and Sheila Snow's home in the Santa Barbara Hills. His house was in the fire zone of last weeks big fire and he writes:

We did survive yet another bullet--3 major fires within a year. This last one almost did us in. Just down the way, lower down on Tornoe, one house was badly singed and a neighboring garage went up in smoke. Out of town firefighters happened to be nearby and caught the thing before it took the whole hill. We owe them a debt of gratitude since our local fire crews would not go up the road (say there is no way to turn around--but the others did it, albeit with some damage to some chrome on the truck). I happened to be in Canyon de chelly, far from any cellphone contact until just this Saturday. Drove stright home (14hours straight) and walked past the police barricade to reach the house--and one "wiped out" Sheila and dog. They had had to stay in a different place each night for 4 nights, including one in her office. She was overjoyed to see me but also pissed at my being away. I don't blame her. It was chaotic and deeply unsettling to everyone. You realize this now that the smoke has cleared and the cleanup begins. It makes one crazy, not to mention irritable.
Otherwise I'm fine, as is Sheila. Have been to see David once, and a couple of fun trips to DC and NYC. Last summer a camping trip was aborted when Derry (our 3yr old female Airedale--Derry-Aire) chased a squirrel in Sequoia and ended up with a rattlesnake bite on the tongue. Almost did her in but she made it, poor thing. Still doesn't know what hit her, though.
Obama is a breathe of fresh air after the foul days of president Cheney, et al. What a waste!



Judley and Mary Wyant


Mary and I are fine. It’s been awhile since we last communicated. When I last checked in with you, our daughter was serving with the Peace Corps in Moldova. She finished her term and added a second term. She is home now and works with the trust section of M & I Bank in Milwaukee.
Our youngest son spent time as a volunteer in Ecuador with a Swiss organization teaching in a remote village in the Andes. He started law school last September and is now in his second week of final exams. He checks in periodically but like all first year law students is very busy but with nothing to report other than how hard he must study.
Last February I taught at the University of Wisconsin Law School for a week so was able to take him out to dinner several nights which is the most Mary and I have been with him. He comes up for air in another ten days, so I think we will get to know him again.
Our oldest live in Chicago so we have the kids close enough to be close and far enough so we all have some breathing room. We both remain active in community affairs. Mary received the President’s Award from the United Way this year.
Our daughter prevailed upon us to support his best student from Moldova through college which we have agreed to do. He has been living with us and attending the University of Wisconsin Parkside and graduates with sum cum laude this Saturday and earned the Academic Achievement Award for Economics. We were initially reluctant to take on the expense and responsibility but I guess this shows we made the right decision. He is a great kid. His sister and mother will be here next month. We have been to Moldova twice so are pleased to be able to try to match the hospitality they showed us.
This is all starting to sound like those Christmas letters that can be so annoying but so much of what we do is pretty conventional. We even have a white picket fence around our yard.
If you do manage a Thai reunion, please remember us to the volunteers. I seriously doubt if our small group from Afghanistan (there were only 12 in cycle 3)will ever have a reunion. I think it would be too painful. Between the Russians and the Taliban I doubt if many of our student have gotten to middle age.


Steve Tripp

Steve writes: No changes in my life. The bad stock market has made me postpone plans for retirement. I’m working on a huge database of English and Japanese verbs and hope to turn it into a product in a year or so (he said optimistically).
There’s a conference in Chiangmai in November that I might go to.
Rather be sailing,


Ernie Geefay

Ernie and Dim survived the wedding of their daughter,Cathy, to Mark Schreckenstein.
Kevin Wheeler was there to represent Thai 27. The highlight of the wedding was a Thai water ceremony
In November Dim and I boarded a plane for thailand. big mistake. The Yellow shirts decided to close down the new airport in Bangkok. For a day or so we were not sure if we would be able to make the trip. But we exaggerated our desperate need to make the trip to thailand and bluffed our way aboard one of the few flights destined for Thailand. The plane was diverted to Utapao..the old US vietnam era airport 2 hours south of Bangkok. It was strange landing there
That was about the worst of it. we went directly to Hua Hin (where we hope to retire one day soon)...far enough away from the noisy annoying protests. We spent about a month there relaxing by the pool of our sister-in-laws new house.
In March Dim and I spent 2 weeks in Tulum mexico, where dim consults with a Thai restaurant along the white sandy beaches of the Mayan Coast.
On a totally different subject, Kevin wheeler and I have joined forces with a group of other folks to start a non profit charitable organization called
fordecUSA. If you have a moment, visit our website and if you are looking for a worthwhile cause to deposit a tax deductible donation, Click the "Donate Now" link and make a donation.


Barb Thomas
I am back in Maryland after spending the winter teaching ESL for a Cambodian NGO called "Conversations with Foreigners," whose profits go to the Cambodian Rural Development Team in NE Cambodia for sanitation and sustainable agricultural projects. It was great fun to teach ESL again. Cambodian students are very similar to Thai students--from the 70s. Phnom Penh is an inviting town. No buses, just motorcycles and tuk-tuks to get around. The NGO scene is prospering. There is much work to do there. Prices are quite manageable ($850 for room and board for 3 months!) . If interested go to www.volunteerincambodia.org. Back in Annapolis, I've decided to continue volunteering by teaching ESL at Centro d'Ayuda, which serves the local Hispanic community as well as by organizing conflict resolution training at the Boys and Girls Clubs.
NOTE

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