Friday, May 27, 2011

No Single Snowflake......The story continues

As the expression goes, no single snowflake feels responsible for the avalanche. That's the way these things develop.Someone tells someone that Milton is looking for all the lost classmates on the class website and they tell someone else who looks at the website and says, Hey, I know where that person is. And so it goes.

Debbie Forrest comments to one of these blog entries and all of a sudden, we know where Lynette Foisy Gonzalez is. Right in Wayne as it is. Deb says "you won't remember me" and I tell her "Don't be so sure about that." I don't know you, but I remember that you were there with me in school. It was a big school and a big class. I understand it's even bigger now. Linda's class here in Evansville was only 360 or so and she didn't know everyone there. I don't know how small a school has to be for everyone to know everyone. But like I said before, it doesn't matter. Your information is just as helpful and your desire to help is just as appreciated.

By the way, the Roberta MacDonald I was speaking about is Roberta Vreeland MacDonald. That might cause a flash of recognition for some.

Flashes of recognition don't come easy now, and they didn't come easy back in 1971 either. I was lost. My dad's company still owed me a trip to Taiwan, where my parents had been moved since '68. I headed for Taiwan thinking that total immersion in my Chinese heritage would give me the grounding I really needed back then. I got a job teaching English as a second language. I also came to realize something about that Chinese heritage. The one thing that Yale did have was probably the best Chinese language instruction in the country at the time. The US military sent their interpreters in training there. I didn't take advantage of it quite frankly because I was embarrassed to be a Chinese learning the language I was supposed to already know by heritage along with a bunch of whities. Therein lies the paradox of being Chinese American. A banana. Yellow on the outside; white on the inside. I determined that I would fix that when I got to Taiwan. I studied when I wasn't teaching. Got to where I could find the bathroom and order food. Still wrote like a 5 year old. And even as I gained vocabulary, I was still thinking in English and translating and then speaking. That's not fluency. There was an even more profound problem. I finally came to realize that I was Chinese by genetics. I was American through and through in every other respect. I felt like a white guy wearing a mask the whole time I was there. I would not find my answers in Taiwan. I went back to New Haven, to my reality, to my friends, and back to the process of becoming a person.

What to do, what to do. My friends and I are in idle conversation (there was a lot of that back then) and one of them says, we could go to Nebraska and run my Dad's tavern? Sure, why not? And that's the start of another story. There is a Chinese classic called The Journey to the West. It's actually about the priest that brought Buddhism to China from India and describes his travels to and from with a small group of companions, but the situation is similar. The subject matter is definitely not.

Until that story is told, keep a weather eye out for other classmates. There are still at least 120 or so out there. Most probably above the dirt. I'll be looking. Roberta will be looking. I'm hoping others will start too. Just let me know if you hear anything. Like I said, even unfounded rumors sometimes have the grain of truth hidden within that will reveal a location to that missing classmate. Maybe even a neighbor! (That happened to Linda)

And hey, if any of this is of any interest to you, click the follow button on the right. Then the Blogspot will send you a notification that Milton is clicking away at the keyboard again. And feel free to comment, either on the Blog itself or on my FB page. The more people reading, the more people thinking about classmates, the more we will find. Trust me on this. It works.

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