Taipei Air Station - 1966 - - - " What you have in the end are memories"......... Photo Courtesy of Richard Reesh.

Monday, June 13, 2011

MAAG in the South - A Youngster Remembers

Very little has been written about Kaohsiung and Tsoying, a MAAG assignment for the most part. Today, more information on the area as seen from the perspective of an 8-9 year old girl.....

Christy Veasey, the daughter of SGM Ronald E. Veasey spent 1968-1970 living in the MAAG Compound in Kaohsiung (Tsoying) with her family.  The trip to Taiwan was quite an adventure for a young girl in the 3rd grade.  Christy’s story..

Christy outside the MAAG Tsoying Housing, circa 1968
When we arrived on island, we stayed at the Diamond Hotel in Taipei for a few days and then took a plane to Tainan where we stayed in a hostel.  Our beds were in the middle of the room and my mother soon discovered, for the first time in her life that lizards could climb walls, inside a house!

We shortly moved into our house and discovered that we had to get a freezer because the supply ship only came once a month to Kaohsiung with groceries.  The freezer was necessary for milk, bread and other things that could be frozen.  The ship also brought things  that my Mom ordered from J.C. Penney and Sears Roebuck as well as regular mail. We always looked forward to the giant pails of Bazooka bubble gum that my Grandpa would send. Our house had grass rugs to keep the snakes from coming inside.  We named two of the lizards Charlie and Lucy.

Monthly Supply ship tied up at Pier 17 in Kaohsiung Harbor.
The Kaohsiung Exchange/Commissary seen on the right, with windows, sat on stilts.
(Ed Note:  Note absolutely sure if this is the PX or the Commissary building) 

L to R - Christy, Ronnie and my Mom Emma on our back patio in Tsoying 

My mother was different than the other women as she did not get into the “Clubby” things women did back then, sewing, bridge, whatever.  She did volunteer at school when the teachers needed her.  She would not hire a maid, but she hired a gardener named Jim.  
I hated green peppers and would pick them and throw them over the cement wall.  Unknowingly, my Dad was picking them up when seeing them on the road.  I did not do that, ever again.  Jim warned us to keep our Maltese dog, “Kou” which we purchased in Tainan, close to our house because “the bad people would get our dog, cook and eat him.”

We had a TV, but not much to see. We did get to see the first man walk on the moon on TV. We played Life, Dominoes, Yahtzee and a lot of games.  I miss those days…
We lived on the Naval Compound in Kaohsiung.  Behind our house was the Stephen B. Luce Elementary School which I attended as a third grader.  My parents held me back as they felt I was not mature enough to go into the fourth grade.  So, for the two years my Dad was stationed in Taiwan, I was with the same teacher whose name was Mrs. Tuciano.

In a field adjacent to our school was a small building where the USO would perform as well as where we would go to the movies.  We went to the showing of The Yellow Submarine at a cost of 10 cents per person. Also in that field was an annual event for military personnel and their families which was like a picnic and there was a greasy pig contest as well as a greasy pole contest.

I recall also “going to town," there were rice patties galore and once we got into town there were rickshaws and many, many bicycles.  As we drove over the railroad tracks we came into what I think was Tainan.  I do remember there was a railroad station in the middle of town.  This was also where our Friday and Saturday nights were spent at a club where a lady we called Noodles would be eating her noodles outside every night. 

I grew up in the clubs on the weekends and was used to the club scene.  It was fun to go there.  My Dad and Mom loved to dance.  My Dad used to let me stand on his feet and I would drink Shirley Temples and they would drink 7 & 7’s.  Sometimes we would play Bingo there.  
Another recreation was bowling.  The pins would fall and men would come out from above the pins and set them back up.  The first time a man came down, my Mom thought it was a monkey, because of the small body coming out from the top.
Before we came to Taiwan, the wife of the Army MAAG Commander in Kaohsiung wrote a letter to my Mother.  It brings to light eminent hardships we were to have endured, although it was not a hardship to an 8 year old girl.

I found this letter recently, written to my mother before we left for Taiwan.  

I suppose this time in Kaohsiung most likely made me the person I am today.  I have been through adversities that many would not fathom being able to cope with.  I learned to adapt, overcome and keep on pushing….

Here are some photos taken in the Kaohsiung area.

A number of photographs of Christy’s Dad, SGM Veasey, conducting MAAG business follow.

Christmas Party - SGM Veasey and Chinese Army Counterpart SGT Smiley

Christy and Ronnie with SGT Smiley at Christmas Party

It’s been 40 plus years since the Veasey family lived in Tsoying MAAG  Housing.  
What has happened to the area?

What a beautiful street, notice the chimneys on the upper left center of the photo.
These homes remind me of the BOT homes in Taipei and Hsinchu.

I am so happy to find these old homes still standing.

This looks like an old Army Parade Field.  In Kaohsiung...

If you'll look again at the previous photo, notice the white reviewing stand in that photo.
Here is the same area as seen from Google Earth.  Notice yellow pin on that reviewing stand.
If you'd like to look around the area on Google Earth, use these coordinates: 
Thank you to Scott Ellinger for his time and efforts in furnishing these new photographs.
Kaohsiung and Tsoying are both still much a mystery in regards to our role in the south of Taiwan.
Coming up in a few days.. more information from a youngster who lived in the same housing area, whose father was a US Naval Officer working at Tsoying.  

Please e-mail or leave your comments below...



Anonymous said...

This was the best redition of all times about my life. Ken and Scott I commend both of you for doing such a wonderful job. Tom and Sandy Browning were our best friends and next door neighbors. Sandy found me on Facebook about 6-8 months ago. She has some fond memories as well.Thank-you

Christy A. Veasey

VaDuchess said...

Oh, did this bring back wonderful memories. My dad was MAAG USMC and we were there 1958-1960. It appears things had not changed a great deal in the those 10 years except for the high school students going to Tainan. We had a couple of rooms in a building near Stephen B. Luce School with some wives who were tutors. We took correspondence courses from the University of California, watered down to a high school level. I majored in international relations because of our time in Taiwan. How I would love to see it now.

Paul Franco said...

my family lived in the same neighborhood from 73-74. My brother and I went to Stephen B. Luce School and my 4 older sisters went to the other schools outside the compound. I think our house is where they just built a bunch of new high rise buildings, but I was 7 so I can't be sure.

Paul Franco

Unknown said...

My family lived in a compound outside of CCK near Taichung at the same time. We lived in a hotel in Taipei at first, then in at the MAAG club, Taichung for a few weeks before finally settling into a compound with family housing (concrete thank goodness considering Typhoon Elsie partway through our stay!). Great to hear a similar story!

pogo said...

Our family lived in Kaoshiung but not sure where, we lived in a walled estate about a 20 minute bus ride to school (Stephen B Luce). I remember the commissary and PX down at the docks and the youth club with swimming pool and baseball diamond. I remember one of the events that happened while we were staying in the Garden Hotel the Harlem Globetrotters came for an exhibition game and stayed in our hotel. My Brothers and sisters and I rode rickshaws to the game with the team. A quite enjoyable posting until we had to leave and finish our tour in Okinawa.

Fond memories.

Christopher Geraghty said...

I just came upon these posts looking for information on the area -driven by my desire to see what has become of the place! I was living in the Tsoying compound and walked to the Stephen B Luce elementary school there for my 6th and 7th grades, between 1970-1972. My father was a Marine Corps 1st Sgt and with MAAG. The stories you have shared bring back so many wonderful memories of a childhood there! Little league, Boy Scouts, and Soccer, all great things as a kid. Not to mention that we were able to roam the village and parts of the city of Kaohsiung.

I would love to connect with folks who lived there during the time between 1970 and 1973. We came back to the states at Camp Pendleton in summer of1973.


Christopher Geraghty

Christopher Geraghty said...

Hi again, if anyone wants to connect as someone who had memories of the Tsoying life in the American Navy base there, my email is or you could text me at 847-471-3370

WEPIV said...

I'm assuming we're still able to post here. My last post here was in 2008 when I talked about living in Hai-Yu Villa on the navy base housing in Tsoying in 1978-9. My step-father Len Dahlvik worked for Honeywell, and was there working on a ROC navy contract. We went to school on the air base in Tainan. While we were there, the US military left due to Jimmy Carter changing agreements with the mainland. But us business kids stayed, as well as the missionaries. (I also went to school at Morrison our second school year there.)
My brother and I still have very fond memories of Taiwan and our base housing, which was largely a ghost town like area when we were there. We continue to enjoy reading these posts here sporadically.
Gene Page
wepiv at hotmail dot com