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MERRY CHRISTMAS SAIGON KIDS™

By Admin

During the past 3 months I’ve only heard from 3 of you, so thought I’d drop in here and wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

I hope you are enjoying a happy blessing filled holiday season filled with wonderful memories.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas of love, peace, good health, and joy.

May you enjoy Christmas for many, many years to come.

Merry Christmas to all …

Rock Onnnn … Saigon Kids™

Bob

PS: What do you remember about your Christmas’ spent in Saigon. Share your stories and memories in the Comments section below.

24 comments to MERRY CHRISTMAS SAIGON KIDS™

  • Daniel F. Murphy

    Dear Kids

    Christmas 1958 Two things came to mind
    First our family flew from Ban Methout to Saigon for Christmas. We stayed at the Majestic Hotel at the foot of the Rue Catinat later known as Tu Du street by the river. That Xmas the Catholics had a candle light parade from the Cathedral to the river. The Sang a long Ave Maria.. lol The parade went past the Continental Hotel to the Majestic and there were Xmas decorations on the street lamps and telephone poles??There were many shops along the street decorated with Santa and the latest fashions as well as toys and other stuff.

    In 1959 we moved to a JDPV Camp #134 out side of Pleiku. We had many unusual people who worked for
    JDPV who lived at 134. One was a former navy chief, Shaky Lewis, of the silent service.He was the camp warehouseman, in charges of cement.dynamite and engine parts , gasoline,diesle and sundries shipped to us. So getting close to Thanksgiving Shaky decided to go hunting for Turkey.I never saw a Turkey in Vietnam excepted cooked.I asked my dad, Spud Murphy if I could go.Dad said Yes.We took a deuce and a Half and off we went,We drove west towards Pleiku then up in to some hills on a logging road.We did not see any turkeys, I was riding in the bed of the truck standing up behind the cab, I started banging on the cab of the truck , and Shakey. was yelling, but he did stop. He got out of the truck looking at me, and I just pointed and Said “Xmas Trees” Luckily all of our trucks came with tools,Saws Axes ,shovels and other stuff.I was nine years old.
    Shakey got the Idea though.I had found one of the only stands of Scotch Pines in Vietnam. We cut a lot of trees and some of them we sent to Saigon. So if anyone remembers a fresh Scotch pine in the Xmas of 1959 . thats where they came from.
    Oh I am sure glad we did not find any Turkey’s, Shakey for got his medicine.

    Dan Murphy
    The Highlands of Vietnam,1958-1960
    Merry xmas , with fond memories of Vietnam

  • Mike Erickson

    Merry Christmas, Bob. Rock on.

  • MIKE PARKER

    BOB,

    HOPE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAVE A MERRY, BLESSED CHRISTMAS ALSO.

    MIKE

  • Maile Miller Doyle

    The year was 1962, December break from school. We all traveled to New Delhi, India for Christmas. It was cold there, so we borrowed coats from anyone who had them in Saigon. Mine was a tan wool long coat and I was grateful to have it. We did the touristy things, New Delhi Zoo, riding an elephant, central market shopping, temples and the Red Fort; eating curry every meal. My little brother, Jerry, finally revolted and only ate white rice and fruit, peeled, of course. So, Christmas Eve we gathered in our parents room for Dad to lead us in prayer and the reading of the Christmas story from Luke 2. Off to bed as we were arising before dawn for our Christmas surprise. Mr. Singh, our driver, met us out front of the hotel and we headed out of the city in the dark. As dawn began to break, I could see elephants and water buffalo along the side of the road; women in saris were walking with water jugs on their heads; young boys were keeping the donkeys walking in a circle, irrigating the fields as the wheel they moved opened the gates. I really felt transported to the time and place of Christ’s birth. We arrived at our destination just as the sun rose on the gleaming, white marble of the Taj Mahal! What a wonderful Christmas gift that was! Our Christmas dinner was at a very small inn, English Christmas Goose and not one bit of curry for my brother LOL. Thanks for helping me remember that Christmas 56 years ago! Blessings to you all, Saigon Kids! Thanks again, Bob, for keeping us connected. Love, Maile

  • So funny…have very little memory of Xmas in Saigon…but the festivities of Tet celebration are so clear. Found a picture of the family gathered around what looks like a Xmas tree…wonder where the Colonel got that one? I relived the visit to India with you. We had gone earlier that year. It was amazing.

  • Sally casey

    I remember big parties, our home was always full at Christmas and New Years. My mom would invite US troops off the streets in Saigon for Christmas dinner, and any others who lived close by. There was a unit that lived in a bungalow down the street and they had movies on their roof top which I loved.
    We lived in Saigon from 1963 until early 69

    • Frank

      Sally, what you wrote was so nice to read. G.I.’s , whatever era, are so thankful of kindness. Your family was one of those that knew it. Thanks Gal, former G.I.

  • Tom Jacobs

    Merry Christmas Bob..
    Christmas 1962, I remember getting a BB Gun.. After doing some Target practice on the balcony, which quickly got boring, I starting shooting the Geko’s off the walls. My little sisters hated it..
    We went to Christmas mass with Fr. Crawford.
    Thanks for your great work, we all appreciate it
    Tom Jacobs..

  • Michael H. Cunningham

    Thank you so much for this newsletter. It is a pleasure to read. I served as an infantryman in I Corps from 1968-’69 and have returned several times – once on a POW/MIA Mission. So many fond memories. I can share some articles I have written if you would like. All the best and Merry Christmas.

    Mike Cunningham
    Norwood, Mass.
    781 812-9101

  • Christy Kent

    For our last Christmas in Saigon, my brother Alan and I flew back from Brent School in the Philippines to celebrate with our parents. Roy Chappelle and Buzz Wyke were with us on the flight. When we got home (we lived on Cong Ly,) as always, my mom had decorated every inch of the house, there was a large tree with beautiful Vietnamese decorations, , and LOTS of cookies, including Spritz, her speciality, and all of our favorite foods. We reunited with our Saigon friends, including Sondra and Vicki Shankey, and there was a Christmas dance which was great fun. Christmas Day I remember opening wonderful gifts (some from dear old Sears, some from the local markets, and many from relatives back in the States), trying to keep our three cats out of the Christmas wrappings, having a huge Christmas dinner, then heading over to the Shankeys to compare notes. (We may have gone to the Cerc, although I’m not certain.) I think my memories of that Christmas are so strong because while we thought we’d be back for the summer, Mom became ill that spring and was sent to Clark Field for medical treatment. Her illness was very serious and we were evacuated from the Philippines to the states without having a chance to say goodbye to Saigon or our friends – that was hard, but I’ve always been grateful that that last Christmas was such a very happy one. Six decades later, I hope that this year’s Christmas is that happy for each and every one of you, and that the new year brings great health, joy and much laughter.

  • Dave Burford

    Wow, Christmas in Saigon! Our first Christmas in Vietnam was in 1962 and we had resigned ourselves to not having snow on the ground. Funny story by Dan Murphy about Christmas trees since my folks had been told before we moved to Vietnam that there weren’t any Christmas trees so we should bring an artificial tree with us. Artificial trees in the 60’s weren’t the best and my mother refused to get a green one since they looked “so unnatural”. To us kids’ surprise our parents brought what we called “the aluminum foil tree”, it was 5 feet tall, with what appeared to have been a broomstick handle painted silver with pre-drilled holes for the “branches” which were covered with shiny silvery needles made of foil. My mother decided to use only blue Christmas balls and a string of blue lights. Come to think of it, that would be sorta camp today. We fell in love with that scrawny silvery tree and had one of our best Christmases ever since our whole family was together–and used it the next two Christmases as well. In 1965 when we were back in the US we continued to use that tree for several more years. Memories, right?
    On another note I want to share that my wife and I were in Europe this past summer and while we were in Paris I managed to have a reunion of three “Saigon Kids,” me, Alain Perry and Charlie Trueheart. The last time the three of us had been together was 54 years ago, and we spent two hours sharing very many wonderful recollections of our exploits in Saigon.
    And finally, my wife and I are looking forward with great anticipation to our 3-week O.A.T. tour of Vietnam first thing in the New Year. It will be the first time back for me and great seeing more of the country than most American civilians were allowed to see during the three years we lived there. Unfortunately our last two days will be in Ho Chi Minh City (doesn’t Saigon sound so much better?) and there is no time for independent travel to try to find either of the two houses we lived in, or the the old ACS or even the Cerque Sportif (sp?) Who knows, I may find something, have been in touch with our Vietnamese Program Director and maybe he can arrange something.
    Best wishes to all for a Very Merry Christmas followed by a Happy and Healthy New Year. Dave Burford, Saigon ’62 – ’65

    • Cathie McIntyre

      Dave, the Cercle Sportif is still there, but it is now a government-run facility and is quite pathetic. Basically, it looks as if it is falling apart. I was there in March 2012, and there was a fantastic restaurant almost across the street from the old Cercle Sportif. If you find the old haunt, maybe you’ll want a good meal too.

  • Jay Oyler

    Merry Christmas to all. Loved the stories.

  • Laurie Methven

    Like a few of you, I don’t remember Christmas in Saigon either & I was there for 3 of them [’62,’63 & ’64). I remember Tet better and most of the coups! I would so like to go visit sometime and Laos as well (evacuated from there in ’61). Don’t know that it will happen but I enjoy hearing about others visits. Dave – we were their the same time but must have been in different grades?

  • Al Misker

    Merry Christmas to all the Saigon Kids. We spent two Christmases there, 1957 and 1958. Like the others, I really don’t remember a lot about them, but we did spend them in the JDP housing by Tan Son Nhut airport. We lived in Unit 113 and we decorated it with some ornaments that we got from the Sears catalogue that Mom ordered in September! We even managed to have some sort of tree that got “decorated”! All in all, it wasn’t too bad, but sure didn’t measure up to back home! Good memories!

  • Franklin Stoddard

    Christy, As I told you before, I wish we would have known. My Dad died from his WW II injuries at Clark Air force base on 20 August 1962. If we could have connected I really think it would have been easier on us.

    • Christy Kent

      I wish so too, Frank – You and I were both awfully young when it happened, and I didn’t know anyone else who had lost a parent at that time. It would have been wonderful to have someone to talk to who really understood the depth of the loss. Truly, everything in our lives changed so suddenly, everything and almost everyone familiar, even where and how we lived. But — to their credit, our parents did raise strong kids!

      • Frank

        Christie, what you say about strong kids, I beleave. I remember that strong looking, beautiful woman walking down the streets of Boston, toward us. Gosh, I do not even know when that happened. By the way, what do you think of us “hooking up” in Cody Wy. On the 4th of July 20-9?

  • Cathie McIntyre

    Merry Christmas, Bob, and to all Saigon Kids. I have little memory of Christmas in Saigon, though I distinctly remember wishing for some current 45s to play on my record player. Tough luck; Santa didn’t leave me any.

    I am in North Carolina for Christmas, staying with my mom who is now 96. I know we will not have many more visits together and realize how lucky I am to spend time with her. Later today we will drive to Cary for gift exchange and a ham dinner with my sister Susan and her family. This winter I will not see Lynn, but we did spend time together in June.

    On January 11, I will return to Phnom Penh where I live most of the year. I still work much of the time when I am there. It is contract work, and sometimes I am free as a bird; at other times, I am in an office all day. Before traveling to the US, I finished some work for the NGO Open Institute, and then I vacationed in Japan ( Hiroshima and Narita) for a week. I loved Japan. The only other time I was there was in October 1959, on the way to Saigon. Guess what?! It has changed a bit!

    Happy New Year, everyone!

  • Huong Clark

    Bob,

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, and to all Saigon Kids.

    Huong

  • H.Clark

    Bob,

    Happy New Year to you and all Saigon Kids.

    Huong

  • Christy Kent

    Dave Burford, Vicki and Sondra Shankey and I did the 3 week Vietnam OAT trip a few years ago and it was fantastic. I confess that we skipped a few events on the OAT agenda in Saigon to have time to go on our own and find our old houses and the market, etc. Our old homes were still standing – mine had become headquarters for an Aloe Vera company, theirs was a restaurant. We were able to recreate some old photos! Didn’t make it to the Cerc, though – hopefully next time!

  • Our first Christmas in Saigon was a cultural shock for me, but the memories are sweet. The streets surrounding the Cathedral were lined with booths, and ropes hung with large, colorful paper stars, similar to pinatas.

    Mom did all she could to recreate the holiday spirit at our home and we did have a small tree with lots of ornaments. Many of the ornaments were bought in shops on Tu Do Street, and I still put a special angel made of pipe cleaners and silk gauze on my tree every year.

    My unique memory from 1958: we were celebrating Christmas Eve at home when a huge, live Christmas tree was delivered to our door with a note that read, “Happy Christmas, compliments of the Vietnamese government.” My guess is that the government did not realize Americans usually put up Christmas trees several weeks before the actual Day. I do not remember what we did with the tree, but it seemed enormous.

    Merry Christmas to all. We joyfully celebrated Christmas Day with all of our children together this year in our newly reconstructed home. Our contractor worked hard to repair our Hurricane Harvey damage so Charles and I could celebrate Christmas 2018 in our own home. Blessings abound!
    Love to all of my Saigon friends…the memories of our time together are treasures.

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