Wednesday, December 11, 2013

An old photo

I love FACEBOOK because you never know what you’re going to find every time you click to it. I found this interesting picture posted by a fellow teacher who got it from a blog created by an American, who in early 1960s served in the headquarters of the U.S. 13th Air Force located just beyond that small mountain. Half way up the mountain, there were several lines of single-story houses and a pole on which our national flay was flying, which I believed that was the air force barracks. In fact the whole mountain belonged to our air force’s operations unit. This photo shows the neighborhood near Gongguan of southern Taipei city, where I had lived from 1961 to 1970.

The railway was a minor passenger-cargo line from Wanhua to Xindian, built by the Japanese in 1921 and torn down in March 1965, two months after this photo was taken. It became today’s Tingzhou Road. Note that there was a guy riding a bicycle at the bottom right, that was where we crossed the tracks to school every day, disregarding our parents’ constant warning to stay away from the tracks, my friend Zhixin and I loved to press our ears on the track listening to the coming sound of the train. We also loved to walk or run on the tracks to show how good we were at balancing ourselves.

Following the road which the bicycling guy was going was Wanshen Street. From there up to the middle left side, you could see a truck heading to Jinmei. That was Beixin Road, which is Roosevelt Road Section Five now. I still remember the thrill of riding my bicycle rushing down from the slope where Wanshen was connected to Beixin. It was just fun. And not far from the truck was going was the bicycle shop where I rented my bicycle.

Last night I spent some time viewing that picture again and again. It has been over thirty years since Zhixin and his family immigrated to the United States. I am sure he would be equally excited as I to see this half-century old photo.

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