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The Magical China Trip 2012

The Adventure Begins with an Incredibly Miraculous Day

USA | Tuesday, 28 August 2012 | Views [1206]

Meeting with Oliver and Gloria --
Today has been an incredibly miraculous day.  When I got to SJC, it appears my phone did not really shut down when I clicked power off.  I had little or no battery left!  Between the plane and the rental car center it occurred to me that a truly up-to-date car should have an USB port, so I asked at the counter.  Sure enough, the Kia Soul has one, so I upgraded to one of those; it's a mid-size that feels and drives like a compact.  Anyway, it cost another $24, but my phone had juice.
I made it to the Stanford campus by about 10:30, getting lost, as I mentioned to you when you called.  But I turned on the phone GPS - you gotta love it!  On Google maps, GPS displays a little blue arrowhead that is me driving to or away (as in being lost) from the Stanford campus.  I used it again going from Stanford to the hotel.  I don't like GPSs that tell me where to go, but I love them telling me where I am!
So, I phoned Oliver and he sort of directed me where to park (which didn't help much at first), because all I found was a pay parking spot that gave me 20 minutes for 2 quarters.  Then I headed to the tower, to meet him in front on the east side; I guessed by the sun, which was in the south, and we found each other.  He is a very young looking man (probably between 22 and 26).  We were so excited to meet that we hugged each other right away!  I told him the parking situation and he went with me to find a better spot.  As I drove, we found a dormitory parking lot he thought wouldn't be monitored, so I parked there and we walked back to the Hoover Institution Archives.
We sat in a student lounge and talked for over an hour, getting more and more excited.  Every time I mentioned something different about my father, Oliver's interest peaked (more to come on that).  Then, he fetched his wife and she, too, hugged me.  They are very nice people, both warm and friendly.  We went to lunch - Chinese food at Panda's (the fast food place), talking a mile a minute during lunch, then returning to the student lounge, where I showed them pictures from my computer on the truck and the Chinese documents I have.  After that, I registered at the archive and was able to go in and do some research.  It is an amazing place.  Their collection of Chinese related documents is fabulous.  We watched a movie made in 1929 of Sun Yat-sen's funeral for which they moved his body from Beijing to Nanjing. I also took a quick look at a book, The Generalissimo:  Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China by Jay Taylor.  I will look at it more thoroughly tomorrow because the first part of the book is about what was happening in the early days of the Chinese republic, much of which happened while my father was in China.  The archive also has the diaries of Chiang and Zhang Xueliang, but they are in Chinese and I am unable to read them.  
Now the miraculous:
  • It seems more than just a coincidence that Jody just happened to be at Columbia University and talked with Oliver while he was there and that he is now at Stanford (until Sept.6).
  • Oliver is focusing on China's financial history and the Dept. of Finance during the war - after Daddy left Shenyang, he worked for the Chinese Dept. of Transportation, which was under the Dept. of Finance.  I mentioned H.H. Kung and Oliver knew immediately who he was.  He mentioned T.V. Soong (Song) and I'm sure I've seen that name in Daddy's papers.
  • Oliver's professor, Prof. Wu, is considered the world expert on Chinese financial history.
  • Gloria is focusing on the China Defense Supplies, Inc., and my father worked for them on the Burma Road.
  • Daddy also taught at  Jiaotong University in 1937.
  • It turns out that Daddy's importance to China was far greater than he had ever understood because he was doing his best to help at every turn of the road, from Shenyang in Dongbei to the Burma Road, which ran from India, through Burma, to southwestern China.  Oliver almost had me in tears with his complete understanding of the significance of my father's work and the need for the Chinese people to remember people like my father.
  • Gloria asked me when I was going to Nanjing - turns out she is originally from Nanjing!  I invited her to come with me and she accepted.  She will be my guide there during the Chinese National Holiday!

Tomorrow I will meet them again at the archive.

Tags: d. f. myers, dfm, hoover institution archive, myers



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