March 25, 2012

Howard Whidden, class of 1962, is currently on a return visit to Vietnam





Howard Whidden's sixth-grade picture in 1956


A Marine during the Vietnam war, Division Avenue High School graduate Howard Whidden has returned, but this time on a nostalgic visit. He is traveling with Marc Kwiatkowski.


Whidden, a retired teacher who lives in New Jersey, emailed your blogger from Vietnam on March 25, "Marc Kwiatkowski is an almost 50-year old software engineer who recently worked for Facebook. He is also without a doubt the most intelligent student I ever had.


"We recently reconnected on Facebook and he shared with me that he remembered my slides from Vietnam that were shown in his history class, and since he was planning a two-week vacation there he invited me to go as his guest. We are now one week down and I am having a ball acting as his interpreter. I was a little apprehensive that I wouldn't remember much of the language but it has amazed me how much has come back.


"The most pleasant surprise has been the very warm reception we get whenever I speak the language, first a little laugh and a big smile when a 'nguoi My' is speaking their language, then a regular conversation! So far we've visited Ha Noi and DaNang (we're staying at the Furama Resort...look it up), visited Hoi An today and will be heading up to Hue tomorrow.


"The Vietnamese people, just as I experienced my first time here, are wonderfully friendly. I will have a lot more to report after my return on April 2," Whidden concluded.


He has posted dozens of photos of his trip in Facebook and a few are presented here. You can look forward to his follow-up story next month.


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