By Suzanne Rice, wife of COL Bill Rice, 1-15 Field Artillery, Camp Stanley, Korea
After we moved into the new place, Bill decided that we could use an American refrigerator. So, off we went shopping at the Post Exchange in Yongsan (Seoul) about an hour ride on the bus away. (No American soldiers had cars there.) We found a mid-sized refrigerator there that fit our purposes and arranged to have it delivered. No Korean in the neighborhood had such an appliance and they were fascinated when it arrived one afternoon. The whole Kyong family (our landlords) came in the apartment to see what it was. Grandma Kyong happened to be there on
that day and we tried to explain to her what it was (no English for her and only a little Korean for me). It was not clear to her, until we opened the door. It was a blazing hot day and she could not believe it when the cold air rushed out of the refrigerator door. In fact, she would not close the door, but wanted to just stand in it the rest of the afternoon! Without the refrigerator, I would have had to shop daily at the Korea market that was a block or two away, but there was not much I would have liked to eat there. Instead, once a month or so, I would get on the Korean bus in Ui Jong Bu, take it for an hour to the Commissary, shop and, then, take a taxi back to Ui Jong Bu with my purchases. It was an all-day process.
One evening, after I got back from my work day at St. Louis High School at Camp Stanley, I started to cook the meal for that evening. I was in the midst of using all of our appliances (the electric skillet and the hot plate) when the transformer on the refrigerator kicked on. All of the lights went out! I had overloaded the circuit and was left in the dark. Not knowing what to do and not speaking enough Korean to explain to anyone what had happened, I went out on the front steps to try to figure out what to do. The stars were out and the sky was black, even though it was only 6 p.m. After sitting there a moment, I realized why it was so dark. I had shut down the electrical circuit for the entire town! There was not a single light on in the city of Ui Jong Bu. Nothing to do but wait until it could be put back in order. Nothing to eat that night!