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Published in The Connecticut Review in 1991.

In the old days, back before the American war broke out in Vietnam, there was a small American community in the heart of old Saigon. The year was 1960, and I was seventeen years old. The kids all attended a correspondence school set up in some concrete buildings near the airport, where a few wives of the diplomats volunteered to conduct school, which meant overseeing the opening of our school packets and keeping us quiet while we filled out the multiple answer sheets during tests. A small library had been set up in a rusty corrugated iron shed; a gallery ran along the side leading to classrooms, and behind was a dusty playground.
We got there by taxi and cyclo, a kind of motorized rickshaw, and when school let out by two, we headed back to our villas and apartments. ……

Click Here to read the complete story

Paul Christensen was a Saigon Kid and fellow CLOD during the late 1950’s to early 1960’s era of ACS. This is one of Paul’s many excellent compositions.

If you’d like to know more about Paul and his life after Saigon – Click Here – to visit his web site … you’ll be glad you did.

As always, you are welcome to leave your comments below.


3 comments to CLOD – RITE OF PASSAGE

  • George Baggett

    What a wonderful story of building courage and finding no outlet for the adrenalin. I tell the story of the maid that took care of me at the Columbia Hotel – likely the youngest woman in a group of older beetle-nut chewing hens. She was in her mid thirties, had a son in his teens, and I fell for her upon first sight. I had too much respect for her to advance, but like Paul says, Saigon women have serious beauty.

  • Great story and insight into the Vietnamese culture. I lived on the JDP compound and until I read Paul’s story had never known what it stood for all these years.

    • Admin

      Jay – back when I was in Saigon the only thing we knew about JDP is that it was well supplied with ‘cute’ sweet teenage girls. At one time I was dating 2 sisters, at the same time, who lived at JDP. Geez, talk about a juggling act to keep each of them from finding out I was dating their sister … LOL. To this day I don’t know if they told each other – as I gave in to the temptations of a French girl at the Cercle Sportiff before I ever got busted by the JDP sisters – LOL. I probably ticked them both off when I dumped them for the French girl. A few weeks later the French girl dumped me. I then tried to back peddle to JDP where I received a veryyyyyy COLD reception … LOL


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