It was the first summer after the War [note: 1946], the highway to Taipei was destroyed by a series of storms, and the only way to get out from Hualien was by the ship. #2 brother, #3 sister and I were the only passengers on board a lumber company owned ship since the captain was brother’s acquaintance. The ship was doing its routine run that transporting lumber from Hualien and Tamsui. We boarded the ship on the afternoon without any preparation, physical or mental. There were some actions when crews were preparing for the sailing. After leaving the harbor, only sound we could hear was the monotonous engines sound. We sat on the deck and just waited for the time to pass. At dusk, they caught 2 fish by the lines they towed when the ship run across a school of fish. They chop up the fish and made soup then started their dinner. It was not until the captain showed up he offered a bowl of rice with few pieces of the fish to #2 brother. #2 in turn ate half and offered the remainder to me. It was the most delicious meal I could remember. Lying on the coil of big rope I watched the stars in the sky and fell into sleep. Late next morning, we reached Tamsui. Anchored in the middle of river we waited for the inspection. Although we were from the other corner of the same island, we were treated as if the passengers on a foreign ship. Young doctors in white robe showed up by a small boat and started inspect us. It was the first time I encountered with Dr. Tsai, I was 14, and he was 10 years older than I was.
When mother was stricken by the stroke we called him for help. He suggested drawing the blood to low the pressure. He had tried but it was too late to draw the congealed blood from mother’s blood vessel.
After mother’s death, it was not easy to bear through the rainy winter nights suffering from repeated tonsillitis. The treatment for my disease was penicillin shot, and I went to see Dr. Tsai often since his private clinic was opened after hours. It was one evening after the shot and I returned few minutes later to ask a question that if there was a thing called penicillin shock. Instead of answering he got panic and kept me sitting in his office under observation. Then it was my turn to get panic, thinking I might had a shock and was afraid to leave his office. “Well,” he said finally “let us give the treatment shot even though it looks not a shock.” It was a funny experience we both had shared together in a cold winter night, now to think about it back.
Years later, he was the one to do my physical examination for the drafting. He screamed when he measured my blood pressure, “210 is only for a heavy drinker,” he said. Nevertheless, I had passed the test and officially drafted to the ROTC.
Married with a local girl he settled in Tamsui and worked for the Health Department all his life until his retirement on 1973 at age 51. I was surprised to discover him as an amateur photographer in the Internet one day while browsing the topics under Tamsui. His pictures were all in B/W and the subjects were limited to old Tamsui [click here for Dr Tsai's pictures]. Based on the fact that the oldest picture shown on the Internet was taken on 1968, there was no doubt that he started his hobby after I left Taiwan.
He was born in a small town named Jisui [二水] on September 26, 1922 and died April 1994 after a fire that destroyed his clinic and all his negatives. We might have shared our hobbies if I were to stay at Tamsui.