Living in the 1950s

    Taiwan has gone through incredible economic development in the last five decades. Some of the most fascinating memories of Taiwan missionaries have to do with the difference in lifestyle between 1951 and 2001. Arthur Stejskal, who served with TEAM here for twenty-eight years ministering to Taiwan's aboriginal people remembers, "We lived in a Japanese style wooden house with a tile roof. We had electricity from dusk until 11:00 p.m. and there was limited plumbing, with a pump outside and an `inside outhouse.' Our refrigerator became an ice box supplied with ice from the fishing port . . . Our electric washing machine and iron could only be used at night when there was electricity and that was very unpredictable as the generator failed frequently."

    Alan Cole, who served with OMF from 1952 to 1955 comments that life was "very simple, in Taichung; there were only two private cars in the city then, and one missionary air conditioner. We cycled everywhere, and cooked on a charcoal stove, and lived in a Japanese style tatami house with a pit toilet and `night soil man' to collect . . . I took baths after dark in the yard at the back of the house."

    Everett Savage reminisces, "During our early years in Taiwan most of our transpor tation was by motor scooter or pedicab. We would bargain before getting in and be sure that for short distances we said the four with four fingers in his face, so the driver could not claim later that we bargained for ten. At that time for most people having a bicycle was real prosperity. People who had a radio were lucky and played it with the volume up high so everyone around could hear too. In Keelung we, like everyone else, bundled up for the cold weather and paid close attention to having dry clothes. Without disposable diapers it took a lot of trouble to have dry ones. Fortunately a retiring missionary sold us a dehumidifier, so we could get clothes dry within two days."

    What if you needed a doctor in those early days? Penny Dale remembers her husband's medical practice, "Donald did many house calls on his bicycle, and there were no cell phones in those days to catch him as he crossed town. He might get home only to find he was urgently needed back at Mackay. His black bag tied on the back of his bicycle was a common sight around town!"

    Missionaries often hired people to help in the home. Mary Hanson (previously Mrs. Oliver Olson) who served with her husband in TEAM from 1953 to 1969 remembers, "We usually had two helpers in the home so that there was always someone to watch the gate. Shopping was a daily occurrence at the local market . . . usually done by one of the girls who helped us."

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