Saigon Kids Emporium
February 2018
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Saigon Life 1955 – 1965: A Day In The Life …

by Admin and Richard Turner, Contributing Editor
© SaigonKidsAmericanCommunitySchool.Com

A Day in the Life: Saigon 1955 – 1965

The Saigon Kids American Community School website is assembling an archive of stories by people who lived in Saigon between 1955 and 1965.

This is your story.

We need your help.

The structure for the narrative is *A Day in the Life* of the members of the American international community in Saigon and their French, Vietnamese and Chinese friends and acquaintances.

The project will be completed in stages of 1 to 2 months each, ending in one year.Saigon Life 1955-65

The accompanying outline (with suggested topics) is the framework we will use to organize your accounts of life in Saigon.

Many of you have already sent poignant, humorous or thought-provoking recollections to the website.  We will begin the task of creating *A Day in the Life* by plugging these entries into the outline in the appropriate places. The author of each entry will be identified as will the years that the author lived in Saigon, eg. Jane Doe 1961-1963.

These entries and the material you send us will be arranged chronologically in terms of the time of day that it references and by subject matter.  For example all of your stories about afternoons at the Cirque Sportif would be grouped together.

Your contributions to *A Day in the Life* can be fact or fiction.

They can be brief or lengthy.

They can be something you have written or something written by another person, so long as the original author is credited.

We also want your images of life in Saigon to illustrate this history. Scan your photographs, slides, etc. and send them to the website. Identify, as best you can, the people in the photos and the events that they represent. If you have home movies taken while in Saigon that you’d like to transfer to DVD contact us for assistance instructions.

So, send us your stories and your images.

We were participants in a unique period of history.

No one can tell this story better than we can.

Submission Guidelines:

Submit all stories via the *Contact Form* on the website.

Stories should be submitted as a text document (MS Word, Note Pad, Open Office Writer, etc.).

Please include your name and the time period you were in Saigon. Ladies please include your maiden and married last name.

When submitting longer stories, please submit them as an *Attachment* to your message on the Contact Form by copying the text document with your story to a File Folder on your computer, ZIP (compress) the File Folder and send the File Folder containing your story as an *Attachment*.

Photos and images should be cropped, re-sized to 1000 pixels wide, and submitted in JPEG format.

Photos and images should include information identifying the people in them, location, event and approximate date taken (month and year, or at least the year).

Photos and images should be sent as an *Attachment* to your Contact Form message. When submitting multiple text files, photos/images copy them to a File Folder on your computer, then ZIP (compress) the File Folder and send the ZIP File Folder containing the text files and photos/images as an *Attachment*.

All photos/images must be your own. If they are not your own photos/images you’ll need to submit documentation the owner and/or copyright holder of the photos/images has granted you written permission and license to use them.

Phase Two

This phase of *A Day in the Life* project will focus on — *Saigon Arrival*. This phase will last for about 2 months during which we invite you to submit your stories about why and how you came to Saigon.

  • How did you arrive in Saigon – plane or boat?
  • What were your first impressions when Saigon first came into view?
  • What was your and your family’s reaction upon disembarking in Saigon?
  • Who greeted you upon arrival in Saigon?
  • What was your trip to your first living quarters in Saigon like?
  • What sights, sounds, smells, people did you experience while traveling to your temporary quarters?
  • Where did you stay in Saigon until your permanent housing was arranged?
  • What where your first impressions and reaction to your temporary quarters?
  • Who introduced you to the other kids in Saigon?
  • What was your first day in Saigon like?
  • What do you remember most about your first day in Saigon?

Submit your *Before Saigon* stories and photographs by using the
*Contact Form*.


Phase One

The first phase of *A Day in the Life* project will focus on — *Before Saigon*. This phase will last for about 2 months during which we invite you to submit your stories about why and how you came to Saigon.

  • What Brought you to Saigon?
  • Where were you when you learned you were going to Saigon?
  • How did you learn you were going to Saigon?
  • What was your initial reaction when you learned you were going to Saigon?
  • What was the reaction of your family members when they learned you were going to Saigon?
  • What was the reaction of your friends when you told them you were going to Saigon?
  • What was the reaction of your teachers and other community members when you told them you were going to Saigon?
  • What was preparing for your trip to Saigon like?
  • What was your trip to Saigon like?
  • What places did you visit en-route to Saigon?
  • What do you remember most about preparing for and traveling to Saigon?
  • How did you feel about moving to Saigon?
  • What feelings did you experience leaving your friends, class mates, family and community members to go to Saigon?

Submit your *Before Saigon* stories and photographs by using the
*Contact Form*.


Use the Comments form below if you have questions or need additional assistance or guidance.

Saigon Life 1955 -1965: A Day In The Life … Saigon Arrival

by Admin and Contributing Editors Richard Turner and Kevin Wells
© SaigonKidsAmericanCommunitySchool.Com

Below are Saigon Kids™ stories about our Saigon Arrival – when and how we arrived in Saigon and our initial impressions and experiences.

Bob LaysonBob Layson (1959-61)
How Did Mrs. Yamaguchi Know?!

After landing the plane taxied to the arrival gate. I watched out the window as they rolled the exit ramp in place. Once it was positioned they announced we could exit the plane and proceed to the terminal. Since we were in First Class they had us exit first. Following my parents I stepped out of the plane onto the ramp…. Continue Reading HERE

Kevin Wells

Kevin Well (1959-62)
USOM Guest House

Everybody new to Saigon had to start somewhere and our start was at the US Overseas Missions (USOM) Guest House. It was our first night and I lugged the luggage up the stairs, flailed my way through the mosquito netting and fell face-down on the bed. By the morning, the air conditioner had lowered the air temperature to a mere … Continue Reading HERE

Submit your *Before Saigon* stories and photographs by using the
*Contact Form*.



Submitted by Cathie McIntyre (ACS)

[Admin Note: Received this note from Cathie.]

Hi Bob,

Best wishes to you for the holidays. Thank you for our Saigon Kids™ newsletter.

I am writing to let you and other Saigon Kids™ know that I spent Christmas in Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. When my family lived in Saigon from 1959-1961, we were not allowed to visit there. Fortunately, the war did not destroy the old city and port, although nearby Danang suffered a somber fate.

Maybe I will finally see Hue too.



by Admin

2018 New Year has arrived with hopes anew for each of us. Wishing you, your family and loved ones a wonderful year ahead in 2018.

As the New Year dawns, I hope it is filled with the promises of brighter tomorrows for you.

Each year is a gift holding hopes for new adventures. May 2018 be filled with exploration, discovery and growth for you.

Even if our talks may lessen, our hellos and our stories as well, remember that, no matter what happens, my prayers and wishes for you will never fall short. May 2018 be your best year by far, and may it bring you endless joy and happiness.

I hope what you see in the mirror delights you, and what others see in you delights them. May someone love you enough to forgive your faults, be blind to your blemishes, and tell the world about your virtues.

Time is like a flowing river, no water passes beneath our feet twice, much like the river, moments never pass us by again, so cherish every moment that life gives you and have a wonderful 2018 and all the years to follow.


Rock Onn …



by Admin

Merry Christmas to you and your family this Christmas. May your days be filled with love, happiness, peace, joy and grace.

Wishing you many, many blessings through the holiday season and the New Year.

Rock Onnn…. Saigon Kids™


Christmas in Saigon, 1960

Submitted by Bruce Thomas (ACS)

Whenever I travel the couple of hundred miles over to a neighboring state, to the city where my mother was born and raised, I visit the graves of my parents. And then I’ll stroll the hundred yards or so across the city’s largest cemetery to visit the grave of my mother’s mother.

It never fails to jar me that the date of my grandmother’s death seems to be off by one day from when I remember it having been — the gravestone has it as 12/5/1960, but my head thinks it should instead be dated 12/6/1960, for that was the date of my birthday that I spent in Saigon.

Before we left for Vietnam, my parents had agreed that in the event of the death of one of their parents, the distance involved would make it senseless to travel back home for a funeral. So I remember the sadness that occurred on my 15th birthday when a telegram arrived in Saigon from my uncle telling of the death of my grandmother twelve time zones behind us. In those days, a telegram was our form of “IM”, and so it always seems like Grandmother died on my birthday.

My mother mourned from afar, and only 3 weeks before Christmas. In the days ahead, the freshly-cut fir trees arrived from the upland region around Dalat and were on display in profusion on Flower Street in Saigon. Preparing for Christmas would be a salve for my mother.

I don’t recall the source for the strings of lights or the other decorations we used — surely we hadn’t brought them from the States in our household goods, had we? — but the cheerily festooned tree graced our living room and intrigued our servants and their children, especially the youngest boy, Tam. I suppose he was closer to my age, but he looked more like he was seven or eight.

I think it was the joy that my mother derived from surprising Tam on Christmas Day with a shiny new bicycle that stood by the Christmas tree, and the size of his smile when he first saw it and understood that it was his, that helped her absorb the ache of her loss half a world away.


by Admin

I’m thankful for the memories we created together and share.

What are you thankful for?

Tell us in the Comments section below.

May you and yours enjoy many, many blessings …

Rock Onn…


“In the end all we are left with is our memories.”