Memoires 9

FROM CHAOS COMES OPPORTUNITY:

After they’d left China, the decision by Peru to grant an entry visa to the family who had lived through a tumultuous 18 months in Hong Kong was met with joy and relief. The post-war revolution in China would eventually displace millions and the world was also living through the post-World War II resettlement of millions of displaced European Jews, ex-Nazis, and other displaced persons (referred to as D P’s). The countries of the world for the most part had been economically decimated by the War and did not have the appetite for more refugees who generally arrived with little besides the clothes on their backs. Even the United States, whose economy was on the upswing after World War II and had stimulated its middle class, had harsh limits on the number of immigrants it would accept. Thus when Peru, their last best hope, finally granted the family entry visas it was the first step in rebuilding their lives.

 

Upon arriving in Lima Sandy’s grandfather used his personal and business contacts that had been made decades earlier and the money and gold he had left after spending 18 months in a Hong Kong hotel to become a prominent businessman in Lima. Sandy's father went into the business well as becoming a respected tennis player at the country club. Sandy followed in his father’s athletic footsteps and became an outstanding tennis player in his own right, becoming the National Junior Tennis Champion of Peru as a high school lad two years running.

 

Nearly three decades after the gambling debt negotiation had been completed it came time for Sandy to attend college. His grandfather contacted Didi, the woman he'd help settle her husband's huge gamblong debt, and with whom he'd maintained a friendship since their days together in Peru. He told her of Sandy’s accomplishments on the court then asked if she had any thoughts as to where he might use those tennis skills to get into a good US college. Didi when to her brother Clarence, by then the family patriarch, and posed the question to him. Clarence contacted his friend Dave Freed, Captain of the U.S. Davis Club team, who was from Utah and knew most of the collegiate tennis coaches. Dave made a few calls and based on Sandy’s strong tennis resume a full tennis scholarship was offered to him by the BYU coaching staff. Thus, Sandy and I, both with backgrounds as different from the main as they were different from one another, became next-door neighbors in a BYU dormitory. We were so different in so many ways but shared a bond of being irresponsible 17-year old free thinkers and slobs in the midst of a highly structured, conservative, everything-in-its-place Mormon university environment.

Sandy had come from an international culture and was much better versed on world affairs and world geography than was I. It was difficult going from an upper class living environment in Latin America to a dormitory life of mostly Mormon college kids who had little clue of life outside their enclave. I had similar difficulty adjusting but not for the same reasons. In a sense I'd been pampered too, as the only son in an ethnic family, but certainly not because of any worldly culture in my background. Nevertheless, Sandy and I had more commonalities than differences. Neither of us were Mormons and both felt out of place. We became fast friends and that friendship has lasted a lifetime.

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Comments

  1. rhardin

    So great that you have a wonderful lifetime friend, many people don’t even know what that is in this date and time

    November 16, 2010
    1. Memoires

      It is true. For most of our working years we were separated by thousands of miles but always stayed in contact – and thaat was BEFORE email.

      November 17, 2010
    2. Memoires

      It is true. For most of our working years we were separated by thousands of miles but always stayed in contact – and thaat was BEFORE email.

      November 17, 2010