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The Early Years: Frank and Susy Q

by Frank Stoddard, ACS

I actually am wishing that Ken will come back up and tell us about his life. I miss his quality. BUT in the meantime here goes.. Perhaps as we get older and have time we start to reflect

Music was always playing in our house.

My first memory was when I was three years old. We were moving into what the locals called the “Jap Camp” (the term would become enduring to us resistance). Heart Mountain, WY was set up to lock up Japanese Americans during World War II. (The history of the place is important if for nothing else, young Japanese American here, at this camp, had opposed the government over their legal status of limbo.)

The Bureau of Reclamation (Big Horn District) took it over after the War. My father at that time worked for them. We would live in the Camp (for about three years) until half way through my first grade. The first song I remember is “Hard Rock Candy Mountain” by Burl Ives. This song reminded me, and still does, of that Wyoming home. Gene Autry’s song “Rudolf The Red Nose Reindeer” also came out at that time.

I started to learn to read, saw my fist death when our dog Skippy was run over. I got my first kiss from Gwyneth, my first girl friend. I got in my first fight(s), Jimmy Legg being the first, Larry Roberts the second, etc… We planted gardens every spring in that fantastic plots the former residence had created. It was a great place to live (Heart Mountain’s name reminds me of Valentine Hearts). Thanks to my father, I learned at a very young age about bigotry. He used to say that the people that lived there before us were treated wrong.
Heart Mountain became a National registered site a few years ago. My wife and I plan on meeting my brother next summer there. It is 12 miles north of Cody (which has a terrific Museum) and it is 12 miles south of Powell. Powell is where I started the first grade at Park Side Elementary.
We were referred to as the kids that lived at the Jap Camp.

By the way,I often wonder, whatever happened to Gwyneth. In 1948 she and her family moved to N.M..

Oh and why we moved! My father got a new job at a relatively new government agency called the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in Idaho.

O.K., are some asking why is this on the blog?

Perhaps my background helped me have something in common with my future wife. When she was in high school she live on the Crow Indian Reservation, Montana (Little Big Horn). Her father worked on the Yellow Tail Dam. They had a school bus drive of over 50 miles. She and the Yellow Tail Dam kids were referred to as the “Damn kids” in Hardin,Mt.

8 comments to The Early Years: Frank and Susy Q

  • frank

    I forgot to say that we also have a grand-daughter from my wife’s side. By the way, Justine is part Crow Indian.

  • frank

    Bob, You most know that Geronimo surrendered in our (today’s) county, Cochise. He died near and is buried at Ft. Sill, where my youngest was born and my oldest grand daughter was born. Geronimo was the last hold out. I think it is very American to have a “wild side”. Cheers!
    (actually I think most Indians or Native American or whatever is best to say, did not like the Crow.

  • Christy Kent

    Frank, I think another reunion is a great idea. Don’t know how feasible the East Coast is for folks but there are some great places in New Hampshire that are reasonably priced for events like that. Wherever it is I’d be happy to work with others in planning. Too many losses recently; would be good to have a happy event with the Saigon Kids.

  • George Baggett

    One of the great things about this newsletter is the diversity of the group having some common thread as being Saigon Kids. Though only a veteran who worked at 3rd Field Hospital, I’ve gained a great deal from discussions and the history of young people who were taken to exotic and strange places as the children of parents who have been involved in the Post WWII history of the US. The history is uniquely non-partisan, interestingly worldly, and appears to be an effort to live normal lives after extraordinary life experiences.

    This is how I feel about service at 3rd Field, and for the experience of working in the industrial gas industry recovering water, reducing air emissions and cleaning up environmentally significant sights.

    I have always felt the experience of working at 3rd Field has affected every life-decision I’ve made, giving me moral direction, a sense of purpose, and most important a determination to do something significant rather than just the ordinary.

    Every time I read a detailed story about one more Saigon Kid, I am so very pleased you all have allowed this Vietnam Vet of 3rd Field to join you. Thank you all.

    • George … I think you hit the nail on the head with your words *… an effort to live normal lives after extraordinary life experiences …* — that pretty much sums up what it is like to be a Saigon Kid (or 3rd Culture Kid) … great description!

      Thanks for your comments and contribution. Much appreciated.

      Bob

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