9 Comments

  1. Khamphanh Sayaphoum says

    You are probably my age Sir I am a born Laotian from Vientiane . Growing up during civil war . Life was fun and rough at time. My dad was a royalist colonel, he dressed in full uniform with a sword during the military parade honored the King of Laos. I always on my dad side many times. Life is dead in Laos for me and to many diasporas, when Laos fell to the communist. Now I live in USA having a new life without oppression.

  2. Andy Wallace says

    We must be a similar age. I don’t remember hearing the name Sayaphoum, but we attended some social events organised by the military. I do remember Colonel/General(?) Sananikorn and his French wife. They hosted a party on an island in the Mekong during the dry season, with sunshade made from parachutes. I wonder if you were there??

    • littlelaosontheprairie says

      Thanks again for sharing your story with us, Andy! The writing was lovely and your memories and that postcard? Amazing. I’ll have to inquire about the party you mention above, with my parents. That last name is my mom’s side of the family. –Sai

      • Andy Wallace says

        Yes please do ask! My Mum and Dad stayed in touch with members of the Lao community and also some ex Diplomatic and Voluntary Service workers for years after we left Laos in 1971, but mostly in the UK and in France.
        Happy New Year

      • Andy Wallace says

        Hello again,

        I have just found some small prints by Bounxou Sananikone in my Dad’s flat, dating back to the 1960s. Would that be a relative of yours?

        Kind regards

        Andy

  3. Kathy says

    I was 5 when we lived in Vientiane. My dad was US Army but dressed as a civilian and my mother was ‘social secretary’s to the ambassador. In reality she did admin housekeeping for the CIA. You are lucky, we had to go to a French school without benefit of any language training so we rarely went to school. Our cook taught me in the kitchen with the books Sent to us yearly. She was a Chinese lady in her 80’s who smoked marijuana, popped rinsing and had young men in at night regularly according to my mom. She was a superb cook and I adored her. We lived in a housing are called ’13 houses’. The family across the street managed the commissary. We were awakened one night and hustled out by soldiers. We hadn’t seen our folks in several days but Chin was with us so we felt safe. We finally met up with our mom and hustled on a private plane. The ambassadors wife was brought on and complained about sharing the plain and we were moved to a troop transport and strapped in on the floor and evacuated to Bangkok as the communist insurgents moved in. Many happy memories there including lots of parties where I would steal the olives out of the guest martinis.

    • Andy Wallace says

      Wow, amazing story! I remember the cargo nets on the floor of those old DC3s though. Almost laughing out loud at the thought of them being used to keep diplomatic kids from being bounced around on the flight down to Bangkok. There was one boy in my class at the international school whose Dad was plain clothes US Military. His dad was a pilot & did not come back after one of his missions. It was really hard to know what to say to him after that. obviously I had no idea what he did, though I recently visited the ‘war remnants’ museum in Ho Chi Minh city so I could probably take an educated guess. It sounds like you were there til 1975 by the sound of your sudden departure. We were in Singapore by then and had a house full of refugees from Saigon, Phnom Penh and Darwin, which wasn’t anything to do with the war but had just had a catastrophic typhoon. I was left with a life long love of Laos, its people and its culture. Thanks for sharing

  4. Ousa Sananikone says

    Hi Andy Wallace,
    I just happened on this site and read your note about finding small prints (etchings?) by my mother, Bounsou Sananikone. Would love to know if you still have them. We have a lot of her paintings but of course I’m always curious to see what else she painted in those days. (Sadly our mom passed away in 2014).
    Thank you,
    Ousa

  5. ຫມີນັອຍ says

    Hello Andy. As a child of Lao parent who found refuge in Europe after 1975 I am very eager to read such personnal and precise descriptions of the 1960’s Vientiane my late father lived in as a child. Thank you for this lovely testimony!

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