View From Afar
Written by Elva Suderman Tuesday, 25 November 2008 14:01Editor’s note: Dale Suderman, a Marion County native who made his home in Chicago, wrote a popular column called View From Afar in the Free Press from 2001 until April 2008, when he suffered a severe stroke. With our encouragement, Dale’s sister wrote this essay on the seasons of their close relationship.
Dale, you have finally achieved one of your goals when you moved to Hillsboro from Chicago recently. Our thanks to Dan, Tim, Doug and Ben for bringing you back.
You were getting excited about coming to town to retire in two more years and constantly checked the Free Press realty ads to find your dream home.
However, things did not go as planned. You never expected that your dream home would be a room at Parkside Homes...
Written by Dale Suderman Wednesday, 16 April 2008 01:21“Can I visit a farm in Vietnam?” I asked my friend Greg Farris when we were planning our overlapping trips to Vietnam.
“No problem. My wife Chau is planning to visit her relatives who are farmers and you can come along.” Greg was also a GI in Vietnam in the 1960s. He married a Vietnamese co-worker and they have lived in California for decades.
Chau hires a van for the day and we bounce off to her hometown of Cu Chi. Two years ago I visited the famous tunnels of Cu Chi, a maze of tunnels that served as the command center for the forces fighting the South Vietnamese government. The farms we visited were only a few miles away.
Our first stop was a diary farm. We stopped at a huge outdoor tavern where it appeared customers were...
Written by Dale Suderman Wednesday, 02 April 2008 17:08I am writing this column rapidly from a four-star hotel along the Perfume River in the old Imperial City of Hue. We splurged for a chance to get a buffet breakfast and a balcony with a river view.
The downside of four-star hotels is living in a cocoon of European tourists and Asian businessmen.We are in a sanitized world with a view of Vietnam but not the sounds and tastes of life we find when staying in cheap back backer hotels. (Americans are such a rarity in Vietnam that we often strike up conversations with each other when we hear a familiar accent.)
Tomorrow we leave for Hanoi by train and hope to visit Ha Long Bay and take a second train trip to the Vietnamese Alps near the Chinese boarder.
I continue to ponder celebrating...
Written by Dale Suderman Wednesday, 19 March 2008 05:19So why am I in Vietnam for a three-week vacation? I was there two years ago and had a fantastic time. Forty years ago I was there and had an interesting time. But how do I justify or rationalize this third trip?
I can be cute and say that the American dollar still has some value in Vietnam. Many meals cost $2 and the hotel room is $15 for two persons per night. (And this includes breakfast.)
Vietnam is a safe country—the nearest things to terrorists are aggressive street vendors selling fruits, books and post cards. I thrive on the irony of being in a wildly capitalist country that flies the hammer and sickle over the industrial parks of Fortune 500 industrial parks.
On a practical level, it is warm and humid in Vietnam and cold and...
Written by Dale Suderman Wednesday, 05 March 2008 14:37Historians are dangerous and subversive. While often soft-spoken andmild mannered they quietly undermine our conventional wisdom.
Howoften do we hear folks say, “But this is the way we have always doneit” and “This is what we have always believed”? Sometimes we are takendown the opposite road, “Here is a wonderful new idea or insight thatwill change everything.”
Historians are messy people. They subvert both our certainty of eternal truth and our discovery of what we believe to be new by digging through old books and archives and emerging with data that challenge both our past and our future.
If a school is given a choice between hiring a Marxist or a religious fanatic versus the option of hiring a good history teacher...
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