As Bob has said many times, we all lived in Saigon in various times and therefore we don’t all know everyone that was in the ACS.
How many of you remember the PX and commissary on Phan Dinh Phung Street, # 17, I believe? The Yeager family lived on the third floor (US style counting), south west end and the Smith family on the second floor, north east end. The PX office was on the 2nd floor under our flat and the PX on the ground floor. Commissary was on the south west end and I think the commissary office was also on the 2nd floor, north east end. Post office was located around the back side of the compound and the CG for all military forces lived in a large house on the other side of common wall with the PX-Commissary compound. When Dad retired from the Army and went to work for USOM, we moved to the JDP compound out near the airport. Oh, didn’t Suzie Hunt live on that main street that lead from Saigon proper towards the school and airport?
Brooks Toland lived up the street and Maile Miller not too far away (on the street parallel from Phan Dinh Phung, closer to the Circle Sportiff, I think) as did Fred Bonner (same street as the PX). Anyone remember the Sing-Sing restaurant on Phan Dinh Phung, just about opposite of Fred Bonner’s digs? Little garage restaurant with great garlic steak and pomme frites. The Circle Sportiff was close as well.
Who remembers the collision between Fred Bonner and Larry Smith while trying to catch a fly-ball? Fred was shortstop and Larry left field. Fred was evacuated to Manila for a head injury…Larry seems to come out of the accident OK. My dad drove Fred to the medical clinic, such as it was. That part is a bit fuzzy. Our Chevy station wagon got used as an ambulance several times, once during the bombing of the ball field. Dad had switched his normal seating to chat with a friend when one of the bombs went off, right where he normally sat. Wow…that was a close one.
After Dad retired, we moved out near the school but my mom hated the place as she kept seeing rats in the yard so eventually they (I was in the US at the time) moved to the JDP compound out near the airport. Remember the JDP parties? Steak and beans, but no booze for the kids. And in case you may have forgotten, JDP = Johnson Drake and Piper…they built the Bien Hoa highway.
My little sister Debbie is also a Saigon Kid but she was in just the first and second grade before dependents were evacuated and she and my Mom resettled in Bangkok.
As I look back on my time in Saigon, it did seem like one big party. Can’t say school interested me at all but the evenings were great. Party and then down to the floating restaurant for some grub or perhaps wait outside the PX compound for a Soupe Chinoise wagon to come along. I seem to remember sitting on the curb talking to other kids, just to avoid going home.
When I returned to Saigon after graduating from the Dalat school, most of my 1961-1962 friends were gone and it wasn’t the same after that. My little green Puch motorbike, the Red Honda, and then driving the MiniCooper and my dad’s huge Chevy wagon around town. Great memories, great times and great friends. How could I have been so stupid to lose track of all those wonderful folks that made those years so much fun? But not being the best correspondent and lazy to boot, well, thanks so much to Roy and Bob for their website and trying to bring so many back together even if it’s only on line.
Hugs to all – Ken