Oakland 24 January 1998.
Dear Mr Huong,
Today, I visited Mai and Binh in Oakland, and obtained your address, I hasten in writing you these lines from the bottom of my heart. I never forget those days - in 1950 - I struggled in applying visas for me and some other religious (men and women) to go to the United States and France from the French authorities without success. I went to Saigon, all offices (of Prime Minister Tam) were closed. I went to Hanoi, the French said they were about to revert the authority to Vietnam and therefore stopped issuing visas to anybody... Right at that time, luckily you came back from Hong Kong and I was introduced by Mr Phuc to you, and in only one morning, you stamped my bundle of passports!!
Afterwards, all of the groups went, some to the United States, some to Europe. This is the first group of Vietnamese liberated from the foreign control. Wasn't it a historical event ?!
Then, while awaiting for the airplane, I carried Tin behind my bicycle and rode all over Hanoi!
I still remember Air France's airplane was a fan blade propelled DC 4. I had to stop in Calcutta, Karachi, Bahreim, Cairo, Rome before reaching Paris after 2 days and 3 nights. I was exhausted when I arrived in Paris. Air France lodged me in a hotel. I visited the capital for 2, 3 days then boarded the airplane to go to Shanon (Ireland), Gander (New Foundland), Boston. Finally I landed down in Idlewild (now Kennedy Airport).
I recount in detail this story to demonstrate I always remember the opportunity I had Mr. "the Director of Security and Police" sign the passports for me and my friends.
Although I am younger than you in age, I am about to step into my 78 years. I still serve the congregation in a limited capacity: two masses on Sunday, one in English, one in Vietnamese in a remoted village in Texas along the Mexico gulf, in Seadrift. The natural resources are clams, fish, shrimps, and especially blue crabs. Will you ever come to Houston? I will take you to this part of the world and invite you to taste these sea products (approximately 3 hour drive from Houston).
The new year is approaching, I wish you and your loved ones a year blessed by Jesus Christ and Mother Mary.
An old friend: Anthony Tran Van Kiem, priest