My father had to return to the United States while we were in Bangkok. His father, my grandfather was very ill and the family wanted dad to go over and say goodbye. I remember vividly the look of sadness in his eyes as he left. A few weeks later dad was back in Bangkok and Grandpa Andersen died. I remember mom and dad telling me because the Gilbert O’Sullivan song “Alone Again, Naturally” was playing on armed forced radio when they told me.
Dad didn’t fly back for the funeral. He didn’t talk about Grandpa Oly often. He kind of walled that off I guess in the end so it wouldn’t hurt. It was a really hard time for him (I understand that now and looking back it must have been earth shaking).
The first time we went to a movie in Thailand I did my normal movie thing. At the end Dad stood up (for a second I thought it was an IU Ball game) and then he leaned over and said to me “get up.” At the end of a movie they show a picture of the King and it is a sign of respect to get up. So from then on we got up at the movies end. I did that for about 3 months when I got back in the US – more embarrassing than you can imagine.
Dad learned a lot of Thai while we were there. I didn’t learn quite as much and struggled with the language. I was also learning French at the same time so in the end it was a little harder to learn two languages than I was prepared for.
We would go on Friday nights to a restaurant to eat. One time Lynne and I wanted pizza really badly. We ended up going to the Playboy Pizza place. I think my mother was mortified. Often we would go to a little restaurant on Sumkumvit just off Soy 12. It was called Barney’s. Barney wasn’t a purple dinosaur he was a French Vietnamese refugee that had opened a fusion restaurant in Bangkok. It was little more than a hole in the wall but Barney could make anything. My mother in particular loved his Bouillabaisse. I turned my nose up at fish stew for a long time but did eventually try it and she was right it was the most amazing tasting dish.
.your loving son