During my first year in Taiwan, which began mid-1976, I spent lots of time writing letters to almost anyone whose address was in my little book. One was a college student whose father had been a chaplain at Ft. McClellan, Alabama, where I spent my final year in the Army. I got to know her through the chapel choir. In a response letter, she enclosed a studio photo of her family taken in front of an impressive bookshelf. I showed it to Allen Hsu, my roommate, who remarked on the father’s scholarship. That might be the first time I ever noticed a backdrop.
I got my Master of Arts degree in 1980. Up until we got locked down for the current plague, I’d planned to be in New Jersey for this year’s graduation ceremony as a member of an honored alumni class. Alas, the ceremony was moved online, and the alumni events scheduled for the prior evening were cancelled. The director of alumni services laid on a Zoom meeting for us. Had I attended in person I’d have donned my robe and hood (which I wore in Taiwan for such occasions). That’s too much for sitting in front of a webcam 800, so instead, I worked on a backdrop. I couldn’t find my Taiwan Independence flag, so I settled for a map.
I also made sure to wear pants.
David Alexander now resides, and wears pants, in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.