March 2024
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Vietnam Vacations

My family was in Vietnam from ’62-65, and my two brothers and I attended ACS, although my oldest brother Mike left a year before we did. One great thing I remember was that there were some great places to visit. I remember my mother’s favorite trip, a journey to the ruins at Angkor Wat. I’m sure she was just thrilled with my father as we mounted smelly elephants for a trek the the swamps, full of all manner of creatures. I think she made my father take her back to Hong Kong for a weekend at the Astor Hotel to make up for it. Just reading some of the posts is bringing back some things I haven’t thought about in years. I still think the best hamburger I ever had was at the PX, and Christmas time was a-comin’ when the parents brought out the Sears Big Book several months in advance! And finding unusual creatures to put in my brother Jim’s bed in the hope that I could have a room all to myself! I thought the bat would do the job….

6 comments to Vietnam Vacations

  • Maile Miller Doyle

    Tom, this posting makes me smile. I was the oldest of my siblings who accompanied my folks to Vietnam and was the recipient of similar disrespect. 🙂

    I just visited my youngest brother, Jerry (age 57!)in New York this Memorial weekend and he told anyone who would listen about the time my brother, Bob (then age 14) and I (then age 15) took him and our two little sisters out onto the front balconey, taught them to take a drag off a cigarette and then warned them not to tell Dad or mother that we, the two older sibs, smoked OR we would tell on them. He must still hold a grudge. :-

    My favorite hamburger was at the bowling alley. We teenagers had bowling as one of our PE classes in 1963 to keep us occupied until our sessions at school started after lunch. The little kids went to school in the mornings. Ree Johnston was the best bowle of the school. 🙂

  • Admin

    LOL Maile … PE Classes at ACS????!!!

    In 1959-61 we didn’t have PE … geezz we verily even had classes … lol It went like this arrive at ACS around 7:30 a.m. or sooo .. lol .. sit in a room for a couple hours, at a desk (sorta) .. pretend to be completing your correspondence courses lessons .. then cruise the hallway and ‘the hut’ .. lol … then about 11:30 a.m. leave school and head home for lunch .. then take a nap … get up and head to the Cercle Sportiff and hook up with everyone to see where the PARTY was at that afternoon and evening … lol … if by rare chance there was no party going on that day .. then “The Clods” (and Clodettes, if we felt like letting them tag along) headed out on the town (mostly bars) to create our own little ‘Ba Muoi Ba’ party .. lol (after baseball practice of course … ahhhhh what a life it wasssssssss …. token school attendance … and party party party … if there was not a party going on in the American community, there was in the French and Vietnamese communities … lol … Needless to say once I returned to the USA mainstream teenage American life seemed kinda BORING after Saigon …. lol Particularly, since if you were under age 21 everyone treated you like a KID … lol

    Ahhh the memories of the GOOD TIMES! 🙂


  • Jim Cooper

    PE classes – I don’t remember any PE classes at all, we were there for my 5th-7th grades, fall of ’63 til Feb ’65. But the new gym was completed in late fall of ’64 and in Jan ’65 we had a couple of orientation classes about how were were going to start PE classes soon, and were actually taken over to the gym, but I don’t think we had an actuial gym class before we were evacuated.
    I do remember the burger joint at the snack bar by the Capitol Kinh Do – I remember the food as good, of course, but, what really was the competition in that category?
    As for the Astor Hotel in Hong Kong, when the Cooper family frequented it in 1963/1964, it was great. When I took my wife to Hong Kong in 1978, the Astor was unchanged – I don’t hink they’d even cleaned it since 1964 – very seedy and rundown. Luckily, we visited a tailor popular with Navy officers the afternoon we got in, and he arranged a great deal for us at the newly-opened Hong Kong Holiday Inn, for $25/night – keep in mind that the Holiday Inn International chain are all top-of-the-line luxury hotels, nothing at all like we’re used to in the States.

  • Tom Cooper

    What’s wrong with Holiday Inns? I used to work at a Holiday Inn! Big Brothers, always snotty!
    Back to burgers, I do remember us having some pretty good ones after the government put us up at the San Francisco Airport Hilton when we were evacuated. I tried to convince the helpful Red Cross Ladies that my brother was a VC spy, but my mother won the argument. She always did like him best. As to the evacuation, I remember not really getting any notice, just getting home from school to find mom with some small bags packed, then off to the airport.


  • Alice Ahlgren Blackburn

    Cooper Brothers,

    Lovely to hear about you both. Your brother Mike came back to New Jersey with my mom, my brother and me, and graduated from East Brunswick High School. I have completely forgotten how this came about or why your folks agreed to that. Do either of you remember? Where is Mike these days? I need to remind him that I got a Ph.D. frpm Stanford and the blond junior he dumped me for probably ended up selling clothes in a department store.


    Alice Ahlgren Blackburn

    Are you related to BG Donald Blackburn?

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