Saigon Kids Emporium
February 2020
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Saigon Life 1955 – 1965: A Day In The Life …

by Admin and Richard Turner, Contributing Editor
© SaigonKidsAmericanCommunitySchool.Com

A Day in the Life: Saigon 1955 – 1965

The Saigon Kids American Community School website is assembling an archive of stories by people who lived in Saigon between 1955 and 1965.

This is your story.

We need your help.

The structure for the narrative is *A Day in the Life* of the members of the American international community in Saigon and their French, Vietnamese and Chinese friends and acquaintances.

The project will be completed in stages of 1 to 2 months each, ending in one year.Saigon Life 1955-65

The accompanying outline (with suggested topics) is the framework we will use to organize your accounts of life in Saigon.

Many of you have already sent poignant, humorous or thought-provoking recollections to the website.  We will begin the task of creating *A Day in the Life* by plugging these entries into the outline in the appropriate places. The author of each entry will be identified as will the years that the author lived in Saigon, eg. Jane Doe 1961-1963.

These entries and the material you send us will be arranged chronologically in terms of the time of day that it references and by subject matter.  For example all of your stories about afternoons at the Cirque Sportif would be grouped together.

Your contributions to *A Day in the Life* can be fact or fiction.

They can be brief or lengthy.

They can be something you have written or something written by another person, so long as the original author is credited.

We also want your images of life in Saigon to illustrate this history. Scan your photographs, slides, etc. and send them to the website. Identify, as best you can, the people in the photos and the events that they represent. If you have home movies taken while in Saigon that you’d like to transfer to DVD contact us for assistance instructions.

So, send us your stories and your images.

We were participants in a unique period of history.

No one can tell this story better than we can.

Submission Guidelines:

Submit all stories via the *Contact Form* on the website.

Stories should be submitted as a text document (MS Word, Note Pad, Open Office Writer, etc.).

Please include your name and the time period you were in Saigon. Ladies please include your maiden and married last name.

When submitting longer stories, please submit them as an *Attachment* to your message on the Contact Form by copying the text document with your story to a File Folder on your computer, ZIP (compress) the File Folder and send the File Folder containing your story as an *Attachment*.

Photos and images should be cropped, re-sized to 1000 pixels wide, and submitted in JPEG format.

Photos and images should include information identifying the people in them, location, event and approximate date taken (month and year, or at least the year).

Photos and images should be sent as an *Attachment* to your Contact Form message. When submitting multiple text files, photos/images copy them to a File Folder on your computer, then ZIP (compress) the File Folder and send the ZIP File Folder containing the text files and photos/images as an *Attachment*.

All photos/images must be your own. If they are not your own photos/images you’ll need to submit documentation the owner and/or copyright holder of the photos/images has granted you written permission and license to use them.

Phase Two

This phase of *A Day in the Life* project will focus on — *Saigon Arrival*. This phase will last for about 2 months during which we invite you to submit your stories about why and how you came to Saigon.

  • How did you arrive in Saigon – plane or boat?
  • What were your first impressions when Saigon first came into view?
  • What was your and your family’s reaction upon disembarking in Saigon?
  • Who greeted you upon arrival in Saigon?
  • What was your trip to your first living quarters in Saigon like?
  • What sights, sounds, smells, people did you experience while traveling to your temporary quarters?
  • Where did you stay in Saigon until your permanent housing was arranged?
  • What where your first impressions and reaction to your temporary quarters?
  • Who introduced you to the other kids in Saigon?
  • What was your first day in Saigon like?
  • What do you remember most about your first day in Saigon?

Submit your *Before Saigon* stories and photographs by using the
*Contact Form*.


Phase One

The first phase of *A Day in the Life* project will focus on — *Before Saigon*. This phase will last for about 2 months during which we invite you to submit your stories about why and how you came to Saigon.

  • What Brought you to Saigon?
  • Where were you when you learned you were going to Saigon?
  • How did you learn you were going to Saigon?
  • What was your initial reaction when you learned you were going to Saigon?
  • What was the reaction of your family members when they learned you were going to Saigon?
  • What was the reaction of your friends when you told them you were going to Saigon?
  • What was the reaction of your teachers and other community members when you told them you were going to Saigon?
  • What was preparing for your trip to Saigon like?
  • What was your trip to Saigon like?
  • What places did you visit en-route to Saigon?
  • What do you remember most about preparing for and traveling to Saigon?
  • How did you feel about moving to Saigon?
  • What feelings did you experience leaving your friends, class mates, family and community members to go to Saigon?

Submit your *Before Saigon* stories and photographs by using the
*Contact Form*.


Use the Comments form below if you have questions or need additional assistance or guidance.

Saigon Life 1955 -1965: A Day In The Life … Saigon Arrival

by Admin and Contributing Editors Richard Turner and Kevin Wells
© SaigonKidsAmericanCommunitySchool.Com

Below are Saigon Kids™ stories about our Saigon Arrival – when and how we arrived in Saigon and our initial impressions and experiences.

Bob LaysonBob Layson (1959-61)
How Did Mrs. Yamaguchi Know?!

After landing the plane taxied to the arrival gate. I watched out the window as they rolled the exit ramp in place. Once it was positioned they announced we could exit the plane and proceed to the terminal. Since we were in First Class they had us exit first. Following my parents I stepped out of the plane onto the ramp…. Continue Reading HERE

Kevin Wells

Kevin Well (1959-62)
USOM Guest House

Everybody new to Saigon had to start somewhere and our start was at the US Overseas Missions (USOM) Guest House. It was our first night and I lugged the luggage up the stairs, flailed my way through the mosquito netting and fell face-down on the bed. By the morning, the air conditioner had lowered the air temperature to a mere … Continue Reading HERE

Submit your *Before Saigon* stories and photographs by using the
*Contact Form*.


Well that took longer than expected

Hi Everyone,

If you’re seeing this, you are visiting the site on the new server. That move has been completed, now it just needs to replicate on the DNS servers worldwide.

I will be removing all of the ads on the sidebar. They’re all linked to Bob’s accounts that are being discontinued.  The move to the new server brings a great reduction in costs too. Basically my only additional cost to host this site is the price of renewing the domain name and I’ll use Bob’s funds to extend this one for 5 years once his estate is settled. He was pretty specific about his wishes to keep this site running, so I will.

It has been one heck of a month here at Chez Mel and I haven’t forgotten about you.  My surgery went well. I had one little setback and ended up home for an extra week.  I actually go back to the office in the morning after working from home for the last 2 weeks, wish me luck. I’m feeling good but my energy has not yet come back. They say that’s pretty typical for Sleeve surgery and it takes a few months to get it back.  I did win some money on the office squares for the Superbowl, so there’s some incentive to get moving in the morning.

I have not forgotten my promise to write a bit about Bob. He was an interesting character, but also very private, so I’ll do my best to convey his personality, and his life, without violating his trust.

In the mean time, as Bob would say, Rock Onnnnnnn  and I’ll add my wish for the world: Peace.



Thank you Saigon Kids

Hello again, this is Melanie.

I want to thank you all for your responses to my previous post. I responded to a few in the comments there but there are so many names that I recognize as Bob’s friends and I don’t want to miss anyone, so please accept my heartfelt condolences for your loss of our friend too. He had a beautiful soul and loved everyone.

Bob created this site as an act of love and he certainly would appreciate how much you all cared. Frank, who was one of Bob’s friends beyond Saigon, asked that I write more about his life. I will do that, but it will be a week or two. Bob was a Jack of many Trades, and he loved to “talk story” as they used to do in Hawaii, so I have quite the repertoire of subjects to choose from. I don’t want to turn this into a memorial site to Bob though, so I’ll choose a few and write one more time about him. After that, we’re back to just being Saigon Kids together, and if you’ll all allow me to be an honorary one while I take care of his website, I’d be honored.

I am going on medical leave myself, having a small procedure on my stomach on Friday. I’ll be in the hospital overnight and home for 2 weeks. Once I get through the initial healing, I’ll have some time to write a bit. My daughter is also coming in to help me for a week, and while she’s nursing me she will also be the webmistress that moves this site from Bob’s host to mine.

I hope your holidays were wonderful, and here’s to a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year for all of us.

Sad News

Hi Everyone,

This note is from Melanie.

Bob and I lived together for the last 13 years.

I am sorry to report this, but he succumbed to pneumonia on Sunday December 15th.
The end was peaceful and he knew he was loved. I was there with him through it.

He loved all of you so much, and was so jazzed about how this site brought everyone together. We spent many dinners discussing his escapades as a Saigon Kid. He had quite an adventurous life, and he smiled a lot when he told his stories and remembered all of the places he’d been. I feel like I know a few of you personally from all the discussions that we had about the people and activities there.

He has left the responsibility for this site in my hands and I will do what I can to keep it running. In the next few weeks I will be moving it to my host account. That should be invisible to you, I’m just moving it to a different server. It will be the same URL and should look identical. Once that is done I will let you know.

Thank you in advance for your kind words.

Bob’s Off To Hospital

Bob’s Off To Hospital

Idon’t know if I’ll make it home this time

ROCKOOOnnnnn Saigon Kids



Submitted by Frank Stoddard (ACS)

Reunion Time SignI am very serious.

In July of 2020, if I am still alive, I would be willing to host a Saigon Kids reunion in Cody Wyoming.

It is like such a perfect place. I love this place. It in my mind, is the heart of America!

Yea, do you have to think about this before you go there?

Yes, your folks had to do the same thing before they went to Saigon?

Cody is worth a Google from ya all!

If you think that is crazy, what about meeting fellow Saigon Kids™?

Please let me know what you think in the Comments section below.


Saigon Kids Reunion 2020 (Update September 27, 2019)

We now have 20 folks that plan/hope to be at Cody.

Of that group, my wife is still up in the air. Her Mom, who is 98 moved in with us after a fall two months ago. She is very dedicated to her Mom, which makes me proud, but she may not be able to make Cody.

Folks, so looking forward to the July 2020 full moon.

Please pass this update on to other via email and social media, etc.


Scroll down to view previous updates about this reunion.

Saigon Kids Reunion 2020 (Update September 11, 2019)

Well folks, we have seventeen people saying they plan on going.

I would like your input on one matter. I have been working on my old pickup for years and plan to take her to Cody. I bought her in Fort Sill in 1988 and my youngest named her Clunky.

I plan on writing the Cody 4th of July parade officials to see if we can get in the parade, rather then just watching.  Some folks could ride inside and in the back and some (not on walkers, LOL) could walk along and pass out candy. It is against the rules to throw candy. We could all dress  as Cowgirls and Cowboys. I think that would be fun.

Let me know what you think!

Hopefully my thought is just not a “pipe dream”.


P.S. Please pass on this update to others via email and social media etc.

Scroll down to view previous updates about the reunion.

Saigon Kids Reunion 2020 (Update August 29, 2019)

Small talk:
In planning for a reunion, certain things always come to mind.  How many people will come?  Where do we stay?  Should it be a fancy place or can we just make do? How expensive should we make it?  Do we need a banquet room?  Oh, and so many things go through the mind.

Now to be honest, my health is not as it used to be.. I get a little tired now and then, which at this point, goes with the territory.  I have pondered about having a reunion in Cody, Wyoming for next year. I did not want to use a lot of time on arranging events and collecting money and guessing on who would come.  I figured that I may lack the energy.  After you finish reading this, you will understand that these will not be an issue for this reunion.


Cody is about 45 miles due east of Yellowstone Park.  If you have not been through Yellowstone, now is your chance.  Cody is a cowboy town…well maybe now a tourist/cowboy (and cowgirl) town.  It is a lovely little spot and is very Western American.

I decided the reunion would take place on 4 July 2020  (actual dates 2 July to 5 July).  It will be crowded on that Saturday. Well “crowded” for Wyoming standards, but a fantastic parade will take place downtown and that night is a “full moon”  (All Saigon Kids Reunions have taken place on a full moon) with fireworks in the evening.
Getting to Cody:

Yellowstone Regional Airport is about 5 miles out from downtown.  Rental cars are available at the airport and there are various shuttle buses. This airport is served by Salt Lake City and Denver.

There are airports in Idaho Falls, Bozeman and Billings, but then you will certainly need a car.  Billings Airport is about 110 Miles from Cody, which is about a two-hour drive.

Driving through Wyoming is spectacular.  You will see antelope roaming a lot of open land. If you drive up through southwestern Wyoming, drive by the Grand Teton near Jenny’s Lake at Sunset.  Unbelievable! From the West, drive through Yellowstone (I believe you will be charged about $35 for an entrance fee) and the experience is well worth it.  Most of Wyoming has very little traffic, so you will make good time driving down their highways.  Yellowstone Park is the exception.  It is very slow and tons of traffic.

Things to do:

Go to Yellowstone and there are various tours available.  I recommend this before the reunion or after.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West with the cost being about $20 (I recommend seeing the whole museum).

Shops, cafes and bars in Old Cody.

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center. It is about 12 miles north of Cody and was one of 10 Japanese Relocation Centers back in WW II. (About $7.00).  We could car pool together for those interested.  It is worth seeing!

The one thing I would put on our agenda is the “Cody Cattle Company”.  It would consist of a buffet dinner followed by country singing group. If you had the desire, walk over to the rodeo (well worth seeing this world class event) after dinner and the music, it would cost $49 a person.  For just the dinner and music it would be $32.  I will call the Company and get it set up where we sit together.  You would then call and make your own reservation..  Don’t do it yet.  Also, the rodeo over that weekend may be a little different then normal.  It is then called the Cody Stampede Rodeo so I need to see if the cost is different. I will get back with you on this.

Places to stay:

Google Cody, Wyoming and look up Hotels/Motels.  They have many good ones.
All hotels have their unique qualities and vary in the star ratings.  Downtown hotels have the advantage of where you just walk out the door to shops and cafes that line the street.  The “Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel” is famous and old (1902) and right downtown.  The town of Cody does have Taxis and Ubers.

Activity Room:

Getting a place with an “Activity (Party) Room” where we can all meet up and visit whenever we want is so nice.  Finding a place with that room is always the hard part.  Do they have such a room, the cost, where is it, etc. is a challenge for the organizer.  Well for Cody, I’ve already rented an AirBnB. It is about 1 ½ miles north east of downtown.  The AirBnB will be open 24/7 if you want to meet folks, or have a drink or have Munchies.

Tentative Schedule:

2 July …Get-together in the evening at the AirBnB for drinks, munchies and conversation

3 July …Visit Heart Mountain (The Interpretive Center cost $7) in the Morning and those with energy, visit the Buffalo Bill Center ($20) in the afternoon.  That evening at 5:30 sharp we would all meet at the Cody Cattle Company for dinner, music and maybe the rodeo as an option.  The Cody Cattle Company is on the west end of town.

4 July  … meet on Sheridan Ave and watch the parade.  In the afternoon come to the AirBnB and we will all join in and cook our own Barbecue…cook hot dogs, burgers, etc.???  More about this later!  I still have to find out where the fireworks are that evening.

5 July would be nice to have a breakfast somewhere.  I have to work on that.  Again, the little town will be packed that week. Perhaps we can get some food and have it at the Airbnb.

I do not plan to collect activity fees for this reunion.  That makes it easy.  Get your own rooms in the place you wish to stay.

Cody is a hot spot in the summer and especially on July 4th.  I rented the AirBnB today.  Hotels/motels will start getting booked relatively early.

Bob Layson will post updates periodically on Saigon Kids American Community School web site.

I will also send out emails if I have your address.

The only thing requested from you is to send Bob and I an email if you plan to attend.  We can then update this list to let everyone else know who is coming.

Please give thoughts about the reunion plan.

Also, if you have a question, please ask me at

P.S. If Bob shows up, I will ride a bull.

The Cody Cattle Company

Buffalo Bill Museum

Heart Mountain

Cody Stampede Rodeo