between another revolution taught me a series of values that had nothing to do with clothes or sleepovers or even music. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was carried out simultaneously on Shanghai’s waterfront; a large piece of shrapnel flew through my parents’ iron bedstead and lodged in the opposite wall. It was December 8, because Japan and China lay across the International dateline.
I, the youngest of four siblings, had still to begin my education. But where and how? There were no creditable schools around, for those had packed up and left town. I was finally placed in an amateur institution cobbled together by two ex-secretaries. That lasted three months. Next, my mother found a school for refugee Russian children run by Irish nuns. I don’t recall how long that went.
Then, as the war ended and foreigners began to trickle back (the Irish were neutral in that war. The secretaries, we heard, found work as hula dancers in a nightclub), I was enrolled in the Sacre Coeur. My term there was a blur.
Afterward, the American School of Shanghai, for about a semester. Always, I faced textbooks far ahead for me because I’d no advance preparation for them
After that came the Loretto School, with American nuns. I remember that best, made lasting friends, a couple of whom I found again in California. The communists took over about then, April 1949, and my course again changed. I couldn’t continue at Loretto; there was no money to pay the modest tuition which in any case was required in American dollars. To buy those, one had to go the black market route; as far as I knew there was no official bank rate for American currency, not under the communist regime.
Those were the days!!!