Thursday, June 4, 2009

32 years!

2009. It's been 32 years since we came together in 1977 for our Peace Corps training. Still a lot of fine memories, and good to share them with old friends. Since the old web site is soon going to disappear, here's a new one to keep our connections alive.

Some of what you've written lately:

My daughter's graduation from high school is today in Chiang Mai (Friday 22 May) and my son (25) has finished his Masters 2 years ago and is working in Sydney. My daughter will be going to the U of Hawaii to study Marine Biology. Following retirement from the Asian Development Bank a few years ago, I got bored and started working for the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center in Bangkok heading their Public Health in Emergencies team.

I want to pass this along: just this morning I finished reading a novel that is an absolutely outstanding literary achievement (it's going to appeal to an AG volunteer who may not recognize echoes of classics, too). It is "Go With Me" by Castle Freeman Jr., published by Harpers. Down to the smallest detail (e.g. paper, type face, etc.) it is a miracle.

Bill Preston
Jason has decided on University of Pittsburgh. It's a bit far away, but I think it's a good choice. We visited there in April and liked the city and university area. It's a fairly big school, but seems manageable, has some very nice architecture. And Pittsburgh is a nice, smaller city that seems very pleasant, relaxed, easy to get around.

I learned as we prepared for the reunion in 2002 that Bob Anderson had died before that. That hit me hard, as he was one of the youngsters, like me. We had shared a room during training in Maha Sarakham. We went to Singapore together in 1978, and I ran into him when he was in grad school in Missouri in the 80s. I regret not keeping in touch, and the PC official who told me about his death had no details.

I’m still plugging away in Bangkok as a corporate language trainer in the Oil and Gas industry, currently working for the exploration and production division of PTT. We’re, of course, called PTTEP. I have more or less stayed in EFL since my volunteer days, primarily in Thailand—Thammasat University, the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Unocal (now Chevron), and now PTTEP. I also did two, 2-year EFL gigs in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. But, Thailand is still home base. Will probably retire here when I get around to it.

I’m still quite single, and am no doubt too stuck in my ways to get out of this rut, but I am most grateful that I have remained relatively healthy, happy, and financially secure for so long. –Count your blessings...

Peter & Parichart
If you would like to see pictures from our son Harris' recent wedding:

In Tribute to Pat

Sad news, but I appreciate your passing it along. I had just recently come across the attached photo from your wedding, and Neal and I (in the context of the photo) were discussing Pat on the phone a couple of weeks ago. Time marches on and we need to enjoy every day.

I’ll have to admit though, I'm still kind of just processing the news about Pat.

He and I spent a lot of time together in those formative days, especially because we were often roommates in the luxury hotels we so frequently occupied during our training days. I particularly remember the hotbox fleabag in Mahasarakham. With room walls actually too hot to touch for very long. And this was evening. Pat and I shared a room quite close to the local movie theater, which of course, kept blaring away its obnoxious promo music well into the night. Absolutely miserable. And we had to do our practice teaching the next day!

Thanks for letting me know about Pat. I didn't really get to know him that well until after Peace Corps, when he and I worked for about three months for Joint Voluntary Agency (based in Bangkok) doing refugee resettlement work. We spent about 6 weeks in Nongkhai working in a Lao refugee camp with about six other American staff (none from PC, as I recall). We worked with Lao translators to interview refugees to see if they could be resettled in the US. I actually remained in touch with a couple of the Lao I worked with there after they were sent to the US, and visited one family in Virginia back around 1981. I've lost touch since. Then Pat and I worked for another 5 or 6 weeks in Phanat Nikhom, this time with Cambodians. That was kind of depressing because it was just after the camp opened (it was in a very primitive state) and not long after the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia, allowing refugees to flee the Khmer Rouge. Needless to day, the refugees were in pretty bad shape. Again we interviewed refugees, but it was sad to learn how many had lost family members to the Khmer Rouge or who simply didn't know where members were. I hadn't really heard much about the Khmer Rouge at that time, so this was a real first-hand history lesson. I remember too that Pat and I had to go to Malaysia in order to get work permits after we were terminated from Peace Corps. We had to wait a few days in Malaysia for the permits, so we were able to visit the Cameron Highlands for a day or two, which was very lovely. Anyway, Pat was a pretty quiet guy, so I probably wouldn't have gotten to know him except for this post-PC work we did. I can't even remember where his PC site was--I think he worked at a teachers college, but not sure. I'm sorry to hear this news, especially as he and I are the same age (he was about two months older than me).
~Bill Preston

How splendid to hear from you and to think of you both, but what sad circumstances, I am very sorry to learn of Pat's death--he was in language class with Peter and me. I liked Pat--always smiling, ready to laugh, a good guy.

Below is the text of the obituary:

Clarence Pickens "Pat" Satterwhite Jr., 60, died Saturday, July 19, 2008, at his home in Pinehurst.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at the Village Chapel, Pinehurst, with Dr. Larry Ellis officiating.

A viewing will be held 30 minutes prior to the service. The family will receive friends after the service in the chapel hall.

Mr. Satterwhite was born April 1, 1948, a son of the late Clarence and Lucille Boulware Satterwhite. He served in the U.S. Navy. He taught school in Saudi Arabia for many years prior to moving to the Sandhills in 2003. He taught English as a Second Language in Moore County Schools.

He is survived by his wife, Phea; and three children, Sean, Brenna and Emlyn.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Donor Services, P.O. Box 4072, Pittsfield, MA 01202.