December 2023
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Suellen (Oliver) Campbell Joins Blog

I’m sure everyone has noticed Suellen (1958/59) has reconnected with us. She has been visiting our Blog … leaving Comments everywhere … 🙂

WELCOME HOME – Suellen 🙂

Everyone give Suellen a BIG WELCOME!!

I’m sure Suellen has some memories to share of ACS and Saigon from back in the early days of the school … before there was even a yearbook or a base ball team – LOL 🙂

Suellen the next time you visit the Blog be sure to:

Register on the Blog by CLICKING HERE so you can benefit from all the features.

Subscribe to our “The Saigon Gecko” Newsletter by CLICKING HERE.

Register in our Photo Gallery and share some photographs by CLICKING HERE.

Also, if you’ve not already done so, please contact Roy by CLICKING HERE and ask him to add you to our Saigon Kids “Directory” and give you a Password to access it.

Visit often to share in the fun and enjoy all those sweet sweet memories 🙂

11 comments to Suellen (Oliver) Campbell Joins Blog

  • RSS is great. Hooked it up the other day. Thanks

  • Kevin L. Wells

    A chance remark for a recently new “Saigon Kid” brought back memories. The no-longer-missing Euellen Oliver Campbell sent me an email message thanking me for my research into the Lander College yearbook. Her fifth sentence was “Mom was just relating a story several days ago to her assisted living friends about attending a formal reception there in 1958-59 time frame.” The video tape that is our lives rewound to early 1960 and the reception and the red spot incident. Let me explain.

    The briefing new State Department families received in those days counseled that many consumer goods readily available in the USA were unavailable or difficult to find in Saigon. What was at the time delicately called “intimate apparel” was one such category of consumer goods not readily available or available only at a horrendous price or after a long delay.

    Put bluntly, a lady should take all the bras and girdles she would need for two or more years, and the wise woman took plenty because the tropic climate would ruin all rubber products quickly. My mother was wise and prudent but mere words cannot convey the range of forces the tropics bring to bear on intimate apparel.

    In those days, just before the build-up of the US Mission to South Viet Nam, all official Americans got at least one Ambassadorial Reception and a dinner at the Ambassador’s residence. The variable was the Protocol Officer who would pass these invitations out by Foreign Service Rank. Newly arrived, but high ranking members of the mission, civilian or military, obviously got bumped to the top of the list while lesser luminaries waited for their turn. A Flag Officer waited a few weekends, while more junior personnel could expect the invitation months and possibly a year later.

    My father was somewhere in the middle because in March, 1960, the invitation arrived. The Wells household went into emergency footing. Although none of the offspring were to attend, we all had duties, primarily along the lines of “You will be watching your brothers and sister Saturday night.” We were all under orders not to have inconvenient situations develop, such as gastrointestinal eruptions (remember those?), failure to appear home at the required time and so forth.

    On the day of the reception, my mother kicked into high gear, checking household arrangements, the “hair thing” and laying out the wardrobe. Chee Ba as head of household, took the brunt of the work. I could not tell you how many time she went up and down the stairs on various feminine missions. Then there was the enrobing.

    Disaster! A brand new factory sealed industrial strength girdle from the Playtex High Compression line developed a problem. Fully enrobed, it appeared that my mother had a mushroom emerging from her buttocks, trying desperately to erupt through the fabric of the dress.

    Back in those days, an industrial strength girdle from the Playtex High Compression line was a vulcanized rubber impregnated fabric. Bicycle inner tubes are vulcanized rubber and they can be patched so why not attempt it on the aforementioned industrial strength girdle? Those were my orders. This was mission-critical because my mother’s rotunda could not otherwise be comfortably encased in the dress.

    I have never worn a girdle. My opinion is that girdles of the industrial strength type should be classified as an instrument of torture United Nations Convention Against Torture. I can only imagine the effect on the human body of wearing such a thing in a tropical climate, with or without air conditioning.

    So off I went to the local bicycle repair man. He must have been clueless about the use for such a thing but it was rubber and he knew what to do. What he did not know what why he was doing it. A young lady happened by, sized up the situation, and told him something in Vietnamese. This generated laughter and I assume that the kind lady explained the use of an industrial strength girdle. If you have ever seen someone really rolling on the floor laughing, tears streaming from his eyes, drooling, passing gas and, for all I know, wetting his pants, you get the picture.

    He had red patches. He did his duty and earned his fee and off I went on the return trip. My mother was duly encased, enrobed, brushed out, fluffed, sprayed & etc, and descended the staircase where she issued the stern orders to me to make sure they were all in bed by 9:00 PM, no trouble was to ensue, behave yourselves and etc.

    Then I saw it, the red spot, not much attenuated, and clearly visible. It was, (how can I put it), industrial, obvious, glaring and right there for everyone to see.

    My father, dead these nine years, intuited what I was about to say. He quickly stepped over to where I was and said “Don’t spoil this for your mother.” I regarded his tone as slightly menacing so this was a very thinly veiled threat if I ever heard one.

    So they went out the door, my mother first then my father who turned and gave all of one of the grins he used when he was in the pursuit of a particularly devious gag. The more devious they were, the better he liked them.

    The door closed, Chee Ba groaned and headed for the kitchen, and my sister said “Did you see the red spot on mother’s bum?” a little too loudly. This set off a wicked laugh in Number 2 son, and I had a feeling of foreboding. Somebody would suffer, and I was concerned about collateral damage, me for instance.

    The light was out in my room when they returned, so I dodged the crossfire and waited for dawn. I noticed a certain frosty atmosphere the next morning. My father, being practiced in stonewalling, just went about his business and I decided to be scarce. Chee Ba was still groaning and muttering to herself in the kitchen. The rest of the household staff was attending to their duties at top efficiency in a jittery, caffeine overdosed way. The old gardener that came by once a month was trimming bushes and laughing and talking to himself. (Talking to himself was normal, the laughing was not.)

    There was eventually a detente, but I did not confess to knowing about the offending spot for 35 years. In 1995, I reminded my sister of the incident and of course she rolled on the floor laughing, tears streaming from her eyes, drooling, passing gas and, for all I know, wetting her pants. Of course, I had to admit my role when my mother asked “What is the big joke?”


  • Too rich!! — rotfltsfmedpgwmp

  • Admin

    Kevin – I think in today’s world of advertising they call that “Product Branding” – LOL 🙂

    Boy, Oh Boy! Did Playtex miss the boat on this or what? … by not coming out with their exclusive line of “Red Spot” garments … ROFL!!! … I bet Victoria’s Secret would come out with a complete new line of “Red Spot” – if you turned them on to the idea. It could even be an “exclusive dipolmat” line – LOL – 🙂

    Rock ONnnnnn … Red Spot Kid …


  • Kevin L. Wells


    KEWL! If big polka dots ever come back into style, Playtex can be fashion forward on their intimate apparel!


  • Maile Doyle

    Only men would cackle so hilariously over this!!! However, 40 plus years later, this is a great story – send it to Elvira for her book!

  • Randy Seely

    Thanks for the laugh! I love stories that bring up all kinds of visuals…this one’s a classic! I can only imagine what the good folks at the Reception thought! Thanks for sharing!! Randy

  • Kevin L. Wells

    For Maile:

    Women of the world were avenged in 1970. As a newly wed, I witnessed, for the first time, the donning of the new panty-hose routine. Brand new, the panty-hose looked suitable for a “tween” of about 12.

    In went one foot, then the other. Then the shimmy-shake to stand up in them, then this thing that was something between the Watusi and the Mashed Potato.

    Quite fetching actually, but then I laughed.


  • Kevin L. Wells


    I don’t know what the people at the reception thought, and I was afraid to ask.

    I have to admit there were private discussions, furtive glances, and etc. at the Circ the next day. I did just what any teenager would do, I just pretended that I did not know “those people”.

    My father suffered for weeks and weeks.


  • Les

    Funny story! To set the record (in the comments) straight, Elvira is filming a documentary. This story would make a nice addition.

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