Burt left these Comments after reading “The CLOD Economic Recovery Plan”
[ “Good grief! Brilliant! What a splendid idea!! How can I join the Clods? I don’t remember any such group in my day (1961-1962). Is this a secret underground organization? What are the membership requirements?” ]
After reading Burt’s comment, I realized that most of you are too young to have known or remember The Clod’s. What a shame, as your life would have been so much more enriched if you had had the benefit of Clod association.
Unfortunately, Burt, all Clod’s had (by choice or mandate) departed Saigon by the time of your arrival. So, you missed the boat … so to speak.
No, Burt, the Clod’s were not a secret underground organization. Just the opposite, in fact. The Clod’s were known by everyone within the American, French and Vietnamese communities of Saigon; and, at ACS. You might say the Clod’s were extremely “High Profile” … and, even that might be an understatement. “Icons” and “Idols” might best describe the Clod’s … as they were idolized and looked up too by all the youth of Saigon … particularly, the fair maidens of ACS and the Cercle Sportiff. Any lovely lady who could be seen in the presence of a Clod would be the envy of all the lovely ladies of Saigon. Of course, the Clod attitude and code of conduct dictated a Clod be very selective of which lovely ladies he allowed to be seen with him. (Yes, this was way before the time of women’s lib … when man was king.)
Can you join, Burt; and, what are the membership requirements? Well, the answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ … Burt.
As a healthy mentally stable All American male member of ACS you most certainly would be eligible to be Clod. However, (the ‘but factor’ and there is always a ‘but’, isn’t there?! ) you would first have to prove yourself “worthy” to be Clod. You see, Burt, for one to be Clod they must be of extreme literary intellect, non-conformist, anti-communist,Confucianism
The Clod’s prevailed on the Saigon and ACS social and academic scenes from 1958 through every early 1961, by which time all Clod’s had either left by choice or a mandate of deportation to pursue literary intellect in other communities around the world. For you see, Burt, the parents of the youth of Saigon strongly discourage their children’s association with the Clod’s. Primarily, because of Clod
Below is the only group picture known to exist today of all of the Clod’s.
(Left to Right) Larry Duthie, Rique Turner, Me, Joe Christensen, Roy McDonald, Paul Christensen and Mike Parker. (More commonly referred to by the lovely young ladies of Saigon as … The Magnificent Seven. )
There were a few other guys who were sometimes Clod, but most of the time Cobnobanacious, such as Frank Stoddard and Larry Smith. We always thought they straddled the fence so they would not be deported as a Clod.
During the Clod reign in Saigon we were known as the leaders, the doers, the initiators, the instigators, and the movers and shakers of the American youth community, both academically and socially. For example we insured, by every means at our disposal, ACS was as ‘unlike’ a Stateside school as possible requiring only minimal classroom time (like 3 hours a day). After all the high school didn’t really have teachers that taught anything. It had ‘adult room monitors’ who you turned your correspondence courses completed lessons and tests in to, and got a new set of lessons to complete. Like, how much time did this take?! So a typical school day was show up at 7:30 a.m. or as soon thereafter as you could make it, turn in your lessons, get new lessons, hang out and socialize with the gang until 11:30 a.m. then split for the day. This allowed ample time for ‘cultural and social studies’, Cercle Sportiff exercise programs (basketball, tennis, swimming, etc.), baseball practice and games, dances, parties, and general socializing around Saigon. Savoring a few Ba Muoi Ba’s along the way, of course. If there was not a party going on someplace, you could always count on Clod’s to get one going at the drop of a hat (or the pop of a bottle cap … ba muoi ba, preferably). Clod’s viewed such activities as “Youth Group” events, to keep Saigon Kids from idly roaming the streets … by providing constructive group activities for them to participate in.
While Clod’s were considered extremely controversial for the times, they did contribute a lot to the school and the social life of Saigon. They conceived and initiated the publication of the first Gecko yearbook in 1959/60, serving in various editorial capacities. They were instrumental in establishing the first ACS Carnival. As well as, the only “Hag Drag” (that’s a ‘beat’ term) ever held at ACS. It was through the initiative and fortitude of Clod’s the Teenagers baseball team was founded (which is another story for another time). They organized many school dances and celebrations … if it involved a party, the Clod’s were on it! They served as Editor-in-Chief of the Gecko, Literary Editors, Art Editors, Chaired the Carnival Committee, the Publicity Committee, served on the Student Councils. Clod’s were everywhere and anywhere instigating and initiating something someplace somewhere, at any given moment in time. Who else was creative enough to search Cho Lon buying up enough fish net to drape the entire interior of the ‘hut’ with fish net and streamers as special effects for a school dance … then provide the music and entertainment for the function … the Clod band ROCKED! The Clod band made many a party rock and a success in Saigon. Then their weekly afternoon Cercle Sportiff Jam Session Tea Dances were always a high spot of the week for Saigon Kids. It’s even been rumored the Clod’s were the first to introduce Vietnam to American Rock N Roll music. It was the ONLY American rock band in Vietnam at the time, and quite possibly the first too.
In essence, Burt, the Clod’s were the “BEAT” (the stimuli and the motivational force) of the American youth community back in those days.
Burt, it is truly unfortunate you didn’t arrive in Saigon earlier, as I’m sure you would have enjoyed Clod life immensely … and, just imagine what it would have been like to be known forevermore as the only Sam Pan Clod in the world!!
[ Any of you older Saigon Kids who were there during the Clod Era, please feel free to leave you comments below … remember a Clod … share a Clod story … 🙂