to listen to an audio file of this interview (93 minutes)
This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Esther Salzman (CN 52, T1) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was attempting to say. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English. Placenames in non-Western alphabets are spelled in the transcript in the old or new transliteration form according to how the speaker pronounced them. Thus, Peking is used instead of Beijing, because that is how the interviewee pronounced it. Chinese terms and phrases which could be understood were spelled as they were pronounced with some attempt made to identify the accepted transliterated form which corresponds to it. Foreign terms which are not commonly understood appear in italics.
... Three dots indicated an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
() Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
 Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcription was made by Mimi Larson and Jennifer Archer and was completed in July 1994.
Collection 52, T1. Interview of Esther Salzman by Fred Baker, October 28, 1978.
[Baker tested microphone and tape at beginning of the audio tape; transcript begins as the interview officially starts]
BAKER: This is an interview with Esther Salzman for the Missionary Sources Collection of Wheaton College. This interview took place at her home in Kankakee on October 28, 1978, at approximately 12:30 A.M. [tape stops and restarts] I noticed when I was doing some research that...I was interested in the fact that you're...you were born in Kankakee and your parents were born here in Kankakee.
SALZMAN: That's right.
BAKER: Have...has your whole family for generations lived in this area?
SALZMAN: No, actually my grandfather came from Germany, and see...and settled just...just about a half a mile from here, and therefore, then his sons grew up and gradually acquired a little bit more land until, really, this particular spot right around in here is quite the Salzman group.
SALZMAN: And so it was Grandfather that came and started the.... He...we have documents that the [pauses] land that he farmed [pauses] was given by the government, signed by the President of the United States...
SALZMAN: ...before we took over....
BAKER: Who was President back then?
SALZMAN: Oh, which one was it?
BAKER: I could tell you. What year was it?
SALZMAN: Well, that was way back. I've forgotten how far back that was, you see.
SALZMAN: Yes, but it is...I mean, they...they...he came from Germany and settled here.
BAKER: And you have nephews living around here now?
SALZMAN: Yes, we have nephews, and I'm have...a brother living just a half a mile there, and a brother living half a mile there, and a brother living a half a mile here. So, you see, it's definitely.... And this is my sister's place, that I am staying with.
BAKER: I take it you must like it around here a lot?
SALZMAN: Well, it's not a matter of you liking it, but you come to what you got. That's what it is, you see, so that it's...it's back home as far as that's concerned.
BAKER: What made you decide to come to Wheaton College?
SALZMAN: Well, actually, it was quite an unusual situation around in here. In this particular area, you see, being in the country, we went to a small country school and most of the young people felt that by the time they graduate from the eighth grade from there that that was as far as they would go.
SALZMAN: So, I think I rather broke precedent and...
BAKER: You went to high school?
SALZMAN: ...went to high school. And, as far as I know, I guess maybe I was about the only one in my generation who ever finished high school.
SALZMAN: Well, I had always wanted to go into nurses' training...
BAKER: How big was your high school, back then?
SALZMAN: Well, we had...we had to go into Kankakee to go to high school. And so there was only about four hundred students in the high school at that time; see. But it did mean my having to stay into town during the week and coming home weekends and so on and so forth. I did not like high school, by any means, but I managed to get through.
SALZMAN: And then, because I'd always wanted to go into nurses' training, and...but I was too young to go into nurses' training while I finished high school, and in the process of kind of waiting out that year or so on we had...several of my friends had already gone to Wheaton (Eunice Blatt, Caroline Krueger, some of those), and they got me interested in going, and so I asked my father if I could go to college. Well, it all was agreed that perhaps I would go two years. But after going two years, of course, I wanted to finish.
BAKER: Uh-huh. You liked it a lot better than you liked high school?
SALZMAN: I think I liked...I mean, it was...it was interesting and I was able to take the sort of subjects that I perhaps was very much interested in, sciences and so on.
BAKER: And you seem to like baseball and literature?
SALZMAN: Well, somewhat. I wasn't too active as far as that, because I really helped, almost worked my way through school and you don't have too much time left.
BAKER: Where did you work?
SALZMAN: Well, at a very lovely family. Just at the foot of the college, there used to be a little house at the end of the...of the College Avenue, and there was a family living there. And I worked four hours a day for room and board down there [unclear]. And the last two....
BAKER: They didn't have a dining hall back then?
SALZMAN: No...they may have had, but I didn't have to eat because I stayed there in the home. Yes, we did have a dining hall, because the last two years I went into the dormitory in the old castle.
BAKER: Uh-huh. It's still there being used, by the way.
SALZMAN: It's still there and being used? And I became the nightwatchman, having to shut up the place by 12:00 and, which involved sending away the young men about 10:00 at night and being sure that no girl crawled out of the window and....
BAKER: Did they try to do that?
SALZMAN: They did that. We had one who did that sort of a thing and so on and so forth.
BAKER: What did you do when you caught her?
SALZMAN: Oh, all that I did, of course, was to report her to the Dean and so on, but it wasn't too long until the parents were asked to come and take her home because they did [Baker gasps] not quite agree to things of that sort happening. You have to remember that I started college way back in nineteen hundred and twenty four  when Dr. [Charles] Blanchard was still the president at that time. We had our chapel over in the old building, which....
BAKER: Blanchard Hall?
SALZMAN: Blanchard Hall. And so on and so forth...
SALZMAN: ...and way up there on the second...on that floor you see and so on.
SALZMAN: So you can well imagine when I go back to Wheaton now, I'm absolutely lost simply because of the number of buildings that you've got and [unclear].
BAKER: Couldn't you make it to Homecoming? We had Homecoming weekend just this past weekend, I think.
SALZMAN: Did we? Yes, that's right.
BAKER: I wondered if you might have been out there, and I checked the records and I didn't see your name.
SALZMAN: No, no, because...actually I am...I'm teaching full time, and by the time you keep going all week long [pauses], why I don't have too many weekends off, you see, and so on and so forth. So that, no I didn't. Next year we're going. We'll have to be there for... for graduation and so on because it's going to be our fiftieth anniversary.
BAKER: Really? Yeah, that's right, 1979.
SALZMAN: That's right, you see and so on. So that's the reason I got to college, because it just seemed to fit in. But I....
BAKER: What did you major in?
SALZMAN: I majored in [pauses] chemistry, really, and sciences.
SALZMAN: Took a pre-medded [?] course, and so on. But as you begin to look back over to why you did certain things, there's no doubt in my mind but the Lord has this thing all planned out. Why I ever went to college, I still don't know, except that I...it probably was a matter of preparation for the later time of the fight ["fight" probably refers to the battle that Christians are constantly engaging in against the evil forces of this world].
BAKER: Was it really hard academically?
SALZMAN: We worked, but of course, I happened to be taking subjects that I was very much interested in: comparative anatomy and things of that sort, you see, so it didn't really seem like a lot of work. I'll admit I had very little social life, by the time you work and got your studies done, and so on.
SALZMAN: But that wasn't really the reason why I went to college, and so it didn't bother me in the least bit, being the sort of a person, I think, that can get along without as much social life as some people think that they have to have, so it didn't bother me in the least bit.
BAKER: Well, that's good. Were there a lot...were there a lot of rules back then as far as standards of conduct?
SALZMAN: Yes, yes I think we had those. I mean, we were...some of the same things that I think that Wheaton has at the present time....
BAKER: Was there a dress code back then?
SALZMAN: There was not a dress code imposed in the sense that it...it...I was not aware of a dress code simply because I don't think that there was an attempt to made...to various types of dresses such as you may find now, so that.... No, I was never aware of it. It was just expected that we were looking very nicely each time, every day, and so on. So... but as far as some of the activities were concerned, I guess it was much the same as it is today.
BAKER: Uh-huh. Um...how did Prohibition affect Wheaton College? Did Wheaton College have any stand on, on that?
SALZMAN: Oh, very definitely as far as....
BAKER: I knew they're not allowed to drink alcohol, but...?
SALZMAN: Uh-huh. Well, you see, I think we were in a younger generation than the generation that was really disturbed by that, as far as I was concerned. And then, of course, growing up in an area such as this, where most of the...well, the entire neighborhood was...had the same sort of standards all...and the...therefore, there was not the type of activity even around home situations that would even be contrary to Prohibition. So, it didn't bother us. As far as right here in our own home area, we had very little social life outside of the church. And, therefore, you see, [pauses] our family's the sort of family that made the church the center, and Prohibition didn't even bother us, didn't think about it. So....
BAKER: That's good. Do you remember anyone from Wheaton College that might still be there today? Was Chaplain Welsh there?
SALZMAN: Yes. In fact, Chaplain Welsh (What year did he finish? '28...
BAKER: I'm not sure.
SALZMAN: ...is it?) He was in school when I was there.
SALZMAN: So that....
BAKER: And he's still there now?
SALZMAN: And he's still there now. Rustell...Russell Mixter....
BAKER: Did you know him very well?
SALZMAN: Not...no. I knew his brother better, the doctor...who became a doctor. He's no longer living. But you see, after I had finished nurses' training, I was back at Wheaton in '38 and '39 as one of the nurses in the infirmary. And that's, of course, when we were working with Dr. Welsh at that time.
BAKER: Do you remember...I think his name's Edward Coray?
SALZMAN: Yeah, Edward Coray...very...I remember him very well, yes. Russell Mixter, I remember him very well. In fact, we were in the Comparative Anatomy class together, and so on and so forth, you see. So I'm afraid I'm of that age level. [laughs]
BAKER: I see. They asked us to ask about people...
BAKER: ...that you might remember...classmates remembered.
SALZMAN: I don't...well, the Hornets...Horness sisters are no longer there, but they were very good friends of ours, and so on. So that [pauses]...I don't know...I was back, you see...I went back last summer in the Alumni College, Summer College. I was there, and so I don't think that there are any of the other...no one there as far as a teacher is concerned that was there when I was there.
BAKER: I see. What made you decide to go to the mission field?
SALZMAN: I think there are a lot of things that came into the picture. Again, as I said, when you look back, then you see how the Lord has been preparing you, how the Lord has opened the way and caused you to think of those. We had our [pauses] times, our chapels, where there was, of course, messages given that would cause one to realize that it's [pauses]... that one should really give everything to the Lord. And I can remember doing that while I was in college. But then, you see, when I finished...then from after finishing college in '29, I taught a year to a little school right...right about a half a mile from here. And then I went into nurses' training, and by the time I got through with nurses' training, with the depth of the Depression (1933, around in there) and...I did apply to a mission board at that time. But of course, the answer was, "We have no funds to send you out, to an...to send out you...."
BAKER: Did that discourage you at all?
SALZMAN: No, I don't think so, because there were so many opportunities at that time in our nursing field, and especially in the nursing education, that I got, more or less, pushed into that. It was rather unusual for anybody to go into nurses' training who had already had a bachelor's degree (which I had). And therefore, when I finished, while I worked about a year in general duty, it was [pauses] then that I was asked to come back on the nur...on the teaching staff. And so, I was teaching anatomy, physiology, surgical nursing and various other things like that and stayed at Presbyterian for three years teaching there and so on.
BAKER: Did you feel that the Lord was definitely calling you to the mission field during this time?
SALZMAN: The way was...I was open. But again, as you say, when you recognize that they can't send you out at that particular time, then I will admit, you get...you get started in a professional field like that and begin working your way up...then the interest wanes just a little bit. I mean, it was...it was interesting being in the educational work and actually having a job and being able to take care of yourself, and so on and so forth. But, then at the end of those three years, you see, I was asked if I would come back to Wheaton as one of the nurses. And I think the Lord led me back there, if just in order to revive this desire to go to the mission field and to be ready to go if there was an opportunity.
BAKER: Uh-huh. Did you notice any change in the students as a result of the Depression?
SALZMAN: Well, actually, I was not there in the...in the college, as a resu...I mean, during the Depression years, I think it was pretty well... was.... When I went back was what, '38? And so you see, they were beginning to work their way out. But even then, most of the students worked their way through, helped work their way through college at least. It...it was one of the nice things about Wheaton. You did not need to feel that you were underprivileged because you had to work. Most of us worked. At least, if not all, at least part-time. Even when I went back there, many of the students were working, you see. Well, then to get back to the call to the field, it...being back on the campus and messages being.... I can still remember the morning when a very strong appeal was made, you know, for individuals to go to the mission field and I couldn't sit there and say, "No," especially when just a short time before it, I had had a letter from one of the secretaries of a...one of the boards, asking if I would be at all interested. Well, I don't know, I still to this day do not know how they got my name, except that I think Dr. [V. Raymond] Edman was involved in this. It...the....
BAKER: You knew Dr. Edman?
SALZMAN: Dr. Edman was the president then, you see. He became the president...Dr. [Oliver] Buswell...Dr. Edman became the president. Oh yes, I knew Dr. Edman very well. He was...he came in as our patient in the infirmary several times and so on....
BAKER: Really? Did he get sick often?
SALZMAN: No, he didn't get sick often, but often enough so we got well acquainted with him and so on.
BAKER: I see.
SALZMAN: Oh, he was a very delightful man. A man of real interest in people and so on and so forth. Well...the...the reason for this letter coming from the board...from one of the boards was because there was a...a family of husband and wife, who were very much interested in a hospital in China. And this person, Dr. Evans, is the man that Dr. Edman used to, more or less, consider one of his spiritual fathers. They were very close friends. And I wouldn't be too surprised if Dr. Edman said a...said something or at least made a mention of the possibility of my being interested in it and in that way, the whole thing worked out, you see.
BAKER: I see. So your call to the mission field came about the same time as you felt called to China?
SALZMAN: Well, the call to the mission field...it was...it was a call to China as a mission field. I mean that is....
BAKER: I see. Sorta the same thing?
SALZMAN: It was...it was...I...I had never put down a preference as far as a place was concerned. And so when this came...opportunity came along, well then it just seemed to be the opening.
BAKER: What were your first impressions of China when you got there?
SALZMAN: Well, course, you have to realize...and as you study a little bit of the times and the history, you realize that nineteen...this was in 1940, 1939, and the opportunity came first. And I sailed in nineteen...February the 2nd of 1940. And you have to remember that the Japanese were already in charge of the northern portion of China.
BAKER: And where did you land?
SALZMAN: Well, I actually went into...walked right into the Japanese territory. That is, that was not where the station was, but our board has the policy of, if at all possible...of giving us about two years of language study before we start in. And the language school was up in Peking [now called Beijing], China. And so, that's the place where I was sent first of all.
BAKER: Did you have any trouble learning the language?
SALZMAN: Chinese is very difficult to learn.
BAKER: I've heard that.
SALZMAN: And [pauses] under conditions where you're not too sure what's going to happen, and so on and so forth, it adds to the difficulty.
BAKER: Are you able to read and write Chinese, to this day?
SALZMAN: I can still...if I would take a little time to review, I can still work out the meaning of words. And as far as speaking it is concerned, naturally you forget it, especially if you've gone to another field where you try to forget it in order to learn another language, which is, of course, what happened in the Philippines (although, we use English in the Philippines almost entirely, but they do have dialects and so on). So, you see, I deliberately wanted to try to forget the Chinese in order to...to get some familiarity with the local dialect in the Philippines, so that.... But we didn't. We were sent up to, to Peking [Beijing]. I can still remember that trip, because, of course, going out for the first time whenever [pauses]...I'd never been on a big liner before, and all the other sort of the things.
BAKER: Were you scared?
SALZMAN: Luckily, there happened to be...another one of the couples of our mission was going out at the same time. And so they took me under their wings, until we got to Kbe, Japan. We had to...to...as you go along you stop at these ports. When we got to Kbe, there was a cablegram from our office in Shanghai saying I should go directly to Peking rather than going down to Shanghai and then trying to get up to Peking. Well, here I was, not one word of Japanese, not one word of Chinese, never having traveled that way before, taken off of the liner in Kbe and supposed to get my way...myself over to Peking...to Peking. It was quite a trip because we got on a little Japanese boat.
BAKER: How did you get your transportation there if you couldn't speak any of the language?
SALZMAN: You just go. Supposedly an American Express person was supposed to take care of me, but he knew no more English than I [laughs] knew any of the other languages. Again, [pounds table] don't you see though, when the Lord [pounds table] sends you, it's possible to do [pounds table] it! And I even had to change ship in Diaren, Korea...in...in Korea, and how I ever did it, I still do not know except that it...we managed to do it. And I got to the coast of China, and had some, of course...had trunks with you, and had to try to get those all along with you. And I got to Taku, China, where the ship docked, and then had to get myself onto a train to get on to Peking. Well, somehow you get...you do it.
BAKER: Uh-huh. Did you suffer any kind of culture shocks as soon as you got there?
SALZMAN: Well, for one thing, you have to remember I was perhaps a little older than most people that go out 'cause I'd had experience here at home. And this was one of the reasons why I was asked to go to this particular [taps fingers] place in [pauses]...in Kinhwa, China. Our work, our mission had had work there for a number of years, and they had not had an American nurse for over fifteen years. And when the request came from them...from them for somebody, they said that they would like to have an older person with some experience and so on and so forth. And so this was one of the reasons why it just seemed all right. How can you say no to the Lord when you're older, you've had experience, you're ready for this sort of a thing? And so, this was the reason, and as I said, you get into situations, but somehow He helps you out of them, too.
BAKER: Uh-huh. So this wasn't a hard decision for you to make, to go to China?
SALZMAN: It wasn't an especially hard decision, no, because it was something that I was ready to do even earlier in my life, and the opportunity came, and so it wasn't...it wasn't too difficult.
BAKER: Did nursing in China differ that much from nursing here in the States?
SALZMAN: Oh, much, much, much, because you have to realize, for one thing, they do not have the sort of equipment that you are working with here. You have to realize that their whole [pauses] (well, I say) cultural background is different. There would be no thinking of the family not being around a sick person. The sicker [pounds hands] they are, the more family [pounds hands] there is, and all the other things. Well, you run into situations where there's no...many of the conveniences that we think we have to have. The hospital...when I finally got down there and started working, we had no running water. As we said, the only time we had running water was when the Coolies [unskilled laborer or porter] ran up the hill carrying two pails of water on their shoulder. And all the water had to be carried, and so on, you see. Well, no heating in the whole hospital, with the exception of one wood stove in the operating room and one bathroom that had a stove so we could heat it. No giving the patients a bath every day when it was so cold that you couldn't expose them. And during the winter time, we had great big, padded coats that the people wore in bed. These are things that you would never think of finding here, as far as that's concerned.
BAKER: Did you feel at all guilty about working in a hospital with conditions like this?
SALZMAN: Guilty? No! It was...it was a...it was a challenge. I mean, you...you have to...you think of "How can I get some of the things that we believe are good from a health angle?" How can you get the people to accept it? You can't walk in and say, "This is what you shall do!" You have to remember their background and then try to gradually work them, or help them to see that, perhaps, you do have some suggestions. You don't go step in there and try to change everything. And so it was constant challenges to what...how you could....
BAKER: How did you...how did you go about doing that?
SALZMAN: Well, this is one of the problems, because you see, I'd not had two years of language school. Therefore, my Chinese was very, very limited. But, the reason the...the board finally decided that we shouldn't stay in Peking any longer because the Japanese really were getting rather disturbed by the Americans being around, and so on and so forth. So we finally had to leave Peking and try to get into our station, which was a journey in itself. We got finally...we came down from Peking down to Shanghai on a coal cargo ship (that was the only shipping that we had). We got down to Shanghai and nobody would take us down into the area because the place that I wanted to get to was on the other side of the Japanese line. And so we had to go by water from Shanghai down to Wenchau in order to try to get up into our particular area. But no ship would take us because they were running the blockade all the time, and the Japanese were patrolling that whole area around Shanghai, and so it was really quite an experience getting into there.
BAKER: So how did you finally do it?
SALZMAN: Well, we finally...we finally found a captain who...he had a ship. He was an Italian man. He was going to run the blockade out of Shanghai, and he said if we wanted to go along, all right. He wouldn't...he wouldn't put any of our things down into the hold. We could have a little corner up on the deck if we wanted it. He was not going to take any responsibility for us and so on and so forth. So one of the other missionaries, Miss Mather and I, decided we would try it.
BAKER: All right. Now this was a military move?
SALZMAN: No, it wasn't. It was...he was...he had a ship that he was attempting to get embargoed material out of the Japanese area down into the free territory.
BAKER: I see.
SALZMAN: And so, we got on board, thought we were going to go, and the next morning woke up at the same spot because much of this, you see, in maneuvering business can go on if a large enough sum of money is exchanged and so on. Well, we finally got out in the ocean all right and tried getting along through the little islands that are all along there to get down into the...the port that we wanted to get into. He had to...we did very little sailing in the daytime simply because he tried to get in the shadow of the islands so that the Japanese patrol ships wouldn't find him. And finally, one night when it was very, very dark, he decided he was going to take the chance of running into the port at Wenchau.
BAKER: And if he did, would they have sunk his ship?
SALZMAN: If they had caught him, we'd all have been prisoners, you see. And so...but we made it up the river all right into...close to the port. But then the problem came, he didn't have the proper permit nor did he pay the...enough money to...for the individuals and the free territory to allow him to bring his ship in and unload. They made enormous profits, you see, when they could fund...once bring goods from Shanghai area into the free territory. And so, of course, the people on land, I guess, wanted a share of this profit. So we sat on the boat for seven days going around the anchor until arrangements were made there, you see. Well, we finally got up to...to Kinhwa area and started the work there. But you have to remember, that this time...you see, bombing was already going on even in that part. And [pauses] one of the reasons why they [pauses] felt it was better for my trying to get into the place.... There was an older couple there, a missionary couple. He was the man...the administrator of the hospital. And when the bombings would...the planes would come along, why all the nurses would run and leave the patients and so on and so forth and run to the caves and so on. So, I guess he thought that if I came along, maybe I'd have enough courage to kind of hold things together, and that's the reason why they asked if I would come on down. So you see, it was a situation of getting into a [pauses]...not a normal (if you can ever call anything normal in China).... I can remember one of the older Chinese women one time saying, (they had already been out on the mission field something like thirty years)...and she says, "Nothing is ever normal in China" because you're having things...difficulties between the warlords or somebody else, and all the time, you see, and so on. So, that's sort of the situation that we walked into. Then we were allowed to stay there for just about...well, it was less than...just about two years that we were allowed to stay there because constantly the Japanese were coming closer and closer and closer to us, you see.
BAKER: I read that you were evacuated twice...
SALZMAN: Yes, well...
BAKER: ...in [unclear] seven years?
SALZMAN: ...that was at the end. At this particular time then, when [pauses] in '42... when the Japanese started coming closer and closer, that [pauses] they (the...the town officials) had sent out a statement that everybody had to evacuate the city because they thought the Japanese were coming. Well, there were still walls around some of those cities, Chinese cities, so if you ever came, went out through the gate, you were not supposed to come back in again, you see. But they came to us (there were just the four Americans there, and we had a very good Chinese staff) and they came to us at the hospital and said, "You don't need to go. They're not going to come. We're just doing this in order to be very safe. But you stay." But, you see, what was happening. The Japanese planes would come over during the day, and there was no opposition. The Chinese had no airforce to oppose them. And they would swoop down and scrape all along and hit people and so about 4:00 in the afternoon, the Japanese planes would go on back home, and that's when they'd start bringing their wounded into us. We would work all night trying to save these people. Well, they didn't want us to leave, naturally, because we were the ones taking care of their people. But then the time came when we realized that...that we really were going to be caught if we didn't get out. And...but they would not allow even carts or rickshaws or trucks of any sort to come back into the city. So when we were ready to go out, there was no transportation, so that we didn't know what we were going to do except we decided that...finally decided that the next morning we would have to walk out. And....
BAKER: Is that what you did?
SALZMAN: No, we didn't because late that afternoon, a boatman came (there was... there's a little river that goes to the west of where we were). One boatman came, and he said, "If you want to, I'll try to get you out." But he says, "I do not have a second boatman." (Most of the little boats had two boatmen at least, one in the front and one in the back.) He said, "I do not have a second person to help me, but I'll do what I can." So at midnight we got just the few things we could carry. By that time there was wire barricades all around the city and so on. We cut the wire and got into his boat and started out the next morning. And so, then we started up...or down the river (up the river, I guess it would be)....
BAKER: Which river was this?
SALZMAN: It's a little river that doesn't even have a name on the maps and so on and so forth, but it goes inland for maybe about, oh, I would say twenty-five, thirty miles, you see. And we thought...and the further west you could get, the farther away from the Japanese you would be, you see. So we thought that if we could get down to that station it might be...at least be not quite as tense. So during the daytime, many times we had to get along the bank and hide underneath the willows along the way because the planes were overhead, and so on.
BAKER: All this while you were just trusting the Lord to supply every need?
SALZMAN: And it's marvelous the amount of sense of inner peace that you can have [laughs] when you're trusting the Lord!
BAKER: And you had this inner peace the whole time?
SALZMAN: I don't think I have ever had a more beautiful experiences, and some [pauses]...especially the one time when we'd had to go a couple of miles and find some place to stay over night, maybe in a...in a barn with some straw or something of that sort, you see. Well, we finally got to a place, and we were in the middle of the night. They started waking us up and saying, "Get out, because the Japanese are going to blow up the bridge!" (We'd come...had come to another river, you see.) It's...they said the Japanese were going to blow up the bridge and there'd be no way of our getting out. So we got out early, early the next morning, and that...it happened to be Sunday morning. By the time we got across that river (it was a pontoon sort of a bridge)... and as soon as most of the people got across, of course, they simply took the boats and [pauses]...which meant that there was no bridge any longer. And so, we got across and sat on that bank. And I can still remember saying, "How faithful Thou art!" You see...and it was just...I don't...I don't think that anyone in that group really had a fear as far as safety was concerned. Of course, you see, you would see...you see death on every side of you when you're in situations like that, and in some instances it almost seemed the mercy of the Lord to take some of these poor women who were trying to get away. You have to remember, at that time the older women were women that had been born at the time when they were still binding feet [Chinese custom thought to enhance attractiveness and was a sign of status]. And when you'd see them hobbling along with their crutches on their little broken feet trying to get away, it almost seemed like it was the mercy of the Lord that He took some of them home.
BAKER: Uh-huh. So, you were going west. And where did you live?
SALZMAN: South and west. Then we finally went...well, we kept running around for quite a little while. We got to one place in the next province southwest of us. And there happened to be British missionaries there. Two women were there (they'd been there a number of years). They had a great big house with a porch all the way around and, of course, they'd been accumulating things for years. It almost seemed...well, it was a...just prepared for us for...to rest there because as we went along [pounds table] we'd go to one city, and there probably was another missionary couple that would join us. So we gradually increased in number, you see, until when we got down to, to Wenchau [?]...when we got there to Mrs. Wade...to Miss Wade's place I think we had something like sixteen Americans (or British or Australian) and something like twenty Chinese. This was our group, you see.
BAKER: And were these people from [pauses]... these were all from different mission boards?
SALZMAN: Yeah. All. You just....
BAKER: Now, you were with what mission board?
SALZMAN: You don't think of mission boards when you're in situations [pounds table] like that! [laughs] I went out under what is now the American Baptist Mission, and so on.
BAKER: What was it then?
SALZMAN: It was the...well, they've changed the [pauses]...actually, I went under what we called the Women's [taps table] American [taps table] Baptist [taps table] Foreign [taps table] Mission [taps table] Society [taps table]. That was a woman's work [laughs], and so on. So that... [pauses] but, as I say, you just don't think of groups, missions. And it's marvelous how you help each other all the way along. As I say, when we got here to this place, here were these two women, and when we walked up toward them, they said, "You know, we've just been wondering how we could get away to a summer conference this summer. And it looks to me like the conference has come to us!" And so, they took us in.
BAKER: That's nice.
SALZMAN: They had all the bedding we needed. They had been...they were the type of people that would, you know, gather together food as much as preserve it. They had things canned, dried, all sorts of food, hams that they had fixed up, you see, and so on, so that we had...food was there for us. And they...we set up boards on...on blocks and so on, so each one of us had a place to sleep. We stayed there about....
BAKER: And they took in thirty-six people?
SALZMAN: Well, that's my...my [unclear].... Course, it was true then, that we organized ourselves and certain groups of people would go out into the various areas of the country getting chickens and eggs and rice, you know, trying to get food together for the whole group, like that. So we stayed there for about six weeks. At the time most of us caught malaria.
BAKER: Did you catch malaria?
SALZMAN: Oh, yes. I caught malaria, too. But then...then I...again, the Japanese were getting too close. And so, we finally decided we'd have to leave there, and we got onto boats and went down another river to Nanping.
BAKER: Now this was your second evacuation?
SALZMAN: No, this is all the first.
BAKER: This is all the first one?
SALZMAN: All the first one. And so we...we got down to Nanping, where the mission...the Methodists have a large mission there. They took us in. Well, we stayed... we began to kind of...to disband then. This older couple, missionary couple that were with us, they went on to Fuzhou, and he became the manager of one of...the minister in one of the hospitals there. The other woman that was with me, she went up to Shaoching where some of our boys' school had moved to. So we began to disband a little bit. I went back into Kienow and helped in a hospital that had been bombed for a while. And then the opportunity came to come back in to the western part of our province (Zhejiang Province). So another China Inland Mission missionary women and myself, we loaded our bicycles and started back. And I stayed there for [pauses] only nine months, set up a clinic and [pauses] it was possible there to help because the Japanese had been there, but they had retreated from that part, and, of course, had taken along all of the implements, and everything that they could carry away.
BAKER: Now, by this year, was this when the Japanese were being driven out of China? Is that right?
SALZMAN: Well, they weren't driven out, by any means, yet, you see. This was only in '42 when we did this.
BAKER: Why...why had they retreated?
SALZMAN: Well, they had gotten everything they wanted from these [?]. See, what they do is simply run over an area and get the rice that they can get, and get whatever they can. And so why hold it then? As far as their line. They were now trying to get down, cut the line from the north to the south in China instead of working further west again, you see. So, finally I went back on down to Nanping. And then, that's the time when we realized that they were trying to cut the line from the north to the south (which meant that we were on the eastern part of it), and if that happened then there would be no way of escape. So, then our next step was to try to get to the west, to the middle China. And by various ways we got there. Sometimes we...sometimes we were able to get a truck in order to ride a distance and so on. And I remember we finally got to a place where there were some American soldiers. And [pauses] two of those soldiers went along with us, working our way to Kunming, which is in the middle part of China. And so, when we got to Kunming, then the problem was to try to fly over into India and get ourselves out that way.
BAKER: At this point you were...you had decided you had to get out of China?
SALZMAN: Oh, yes. There was...there was no [pauses].... The one reason why we didn't come home earlier than that was always the hope that they would retreat from our area and we'd be able to get back and start our work again. But there...it was [pauses]... we recognized that this would not happen soon, and so it was a matter then of trying to keep out of the hands of the Japanese, you see. So we flew over the Hump [high mountain range separating Western China from India] in British planes that were so dilapidated that they probably couldn't use them in any other part of the war, and so on. And finally got into Burma...into Calcutta, into India, and so.... I had to wait there for over a month because this was in the middle of the war then, you see [pauses], in '44. We were trying to get out and none of the...none of the ships would take our...would take the women and children. They'd always take the men because most of these were troop ships, you see? They would be willing to take the men home, but they wouldn't take the women. So we had to wait over a month in India before transportation. But finally one captain took pity on the whole group of us and said he would take us. So, the message came around, "Now don't tell anybody, but tomorrow morning be down at the pier by 6:30." Well, you can imagine what it was like when we brought 250 people who had been waiting for maybe six...anyway from four to six weeks trying to get home. And going down to one pier and not telling anybody about it, and it was quite an exodus, you see. Well, we got on the ship, and then we had to go [pauses]... we went down the southern part of Australia, because, as I say, this was during the war time. We started out with two destroyers with us. 'Course blackout [without lights to avoid detection] all the way. And we went the southern part of Australia and kept going zig-zag across the Pacific all the way. We were on the water forty-four days 'til we finally landed in San Diego. So you can really imagine what San Diego ground seemed like when we finally got onto it again, you see!
BAKER: Now I wanted to...just ask one question. When did you get rid of your malaria?
SALZMAN: Well, I didn't get rid of that until I came home. I was home...in fact, I had several bouts of it here. When I got back then, in '44 [pauses], I went back up to Presbyterian hospital and helped out there for just a little while, not knowing what was going...you know, how soon we would ever...if we would ever be sent back to China or if I'd be sent out to another field. And so while I was working there, helping out there, I got a bout of malaria. It would come on and off every once in a while, you see? I can still remember the time when I had it up there. I knew, once you've had it for a while, you know what it feels like and you know what it's...when an attack is coming. And so I went to Dr. Greenwood who happened to be the student's doctor up there at that time. And I said, "May I have some quinine." I says because "I'm going to have an attack of malaria?" Oh, this was [unclear], he says, "I'm not going to give you anything. I want you to have one [bout of malaria]," because he had all of these students, [laughs] he wanted them to see what it was like for anybody to have malaria! He wouldn't give me any medicine! [laughs]
BAKER: Oh, isn't that nice of him?
SALZMAN: Wasn't that nice of him? [laughs]
BAKER: Did they all see you have your malaria attack?
SALZMAN: Oh, I had it all right for them. So he finally was convinced that it was malaria, and so then he would give me medication and so on, you see.
BAKER: Did he apologize or...?
SALZMAN: No! Nothing doing. He wanted his students to see somebody have a case of it. [laughs]
SALZMAN: And so on, you see. Well, then I...then again, you see, how it seems as if the Lord works things out for you. I didn't know what was going to happen then, and things weren't getting any better in China, and whether I'd be sent to another field or not. And so I decided I would enroll at University of Chicago. And at that time they had a course for nurses for master's degree. And so I enrolled in that and went to school then in '45, see, and got my degree in that. And then the opportunity came to go out to the Philippines. The board wanted to know if I would go there. (No, no, I must say!) We went back to China, excuse me! Yeah, because this was in...in '46 then, you see. Then, the beginning of '46 things opened up, and we were able to get back into China. I was among one...some of the very first missionaries to get back simply because I was in medical work. And so we were allowed to come back. We had evacuated from Kinhwa in May the 22nd, 1942, and May the 22nd, 1946, we drove back into that city, see. It was a very difficult trip, again, because the Japanese had torn up all the railroads and all of the bridges and things like that. And so, we had to...had to go the last portion of that trip into...into Kinhwa. We happened to get a...a truck that would take us up there with our few things. So we got back to Kinhwa, and, as I said, the Japanese had pulled out everything that they possibly could take along. They'd taken out all of the water pipes, the faucets and things like that in the hospital, anything that had the metal in it they needed, you see. They just tore out...tore the doors down and everything. So, it was in a rather bad situation. But, luckily, again, we...we were able to get a hold of the surplus material of the Navy. You see, it was after the war now, and apparently the policy was that they wouldn't ship back to the United States anything that they had shipped out to a country like this. So, the Navy had a number of complete hospital units, and our mission was able to buy one at a very reasonable price, which meant then, if we could get it up to our little hospital inland (we were about 225 miles from Shanghai) that there we would have at least enough to start up with. And so we had a seventy-five bed hospital with the sterilizers, the beds, the linen, everything that we needed to start up again. And our problem was getting it up there because, as I said, the bridges had been torn down, the railroads had been torn up, and everything like that. And this is the time when the unit of the Friends service organization, the Quakers, they had young boys driving trucks delivering things in all parts of China. You see, they didn't believe in going to war, but they did help out in various ways. And they were the young boys that brought those things up to us, and you can imagine how happy we were to see them coming along with supplies. We got the hospital set up pretty well again. And then, toward the end of '48.... Of course, at all, during all of this time the Communist movement had started and was getting stronger and stronger in our area. They seemed to start, first of all, with the...in the schools, trying to get the children to report what had happened in their home the night before (Who had come? What had they talked about? and so on), attempting to break down this family loyalty, which, of course, is something very strong in China. And so, this is where they started. And then I can still remember one time when...our Pastor said (actually just one other woman missionary and myself were alone up there in Kinhwa)...and Pastor once said to us, "I think you and Miss Nelson [Linnea Nelson] had better be...just listen." We were both on the...on the church board and so on and so forth, and he says, "Maybe it's better if you don't say anything. You just listen." Because you see, they were afraid that we would perhaps say something in our poor Chinese which could be taken in such a way as not to be helpful to them, you see. And we knew that our...for example, we told our helpers in the house to be sure to burn anything that we had in the waste baskets and so on because this was what they were trying to do. And we had much evident [sic] that one of the young people, outwardly a very strong Christian leader...we were quite sure that he was sending messages back to the Chinese all the time as to what was happening. Well, it got worse and worse and worse.
BAKER: You mean the Chinese Communists?
SALZMAN: Yeah. And so it got so that we began to realize that perhaps our being there was causing a lot of responsibility for our Chinese workers. In fact, Linnea [Nelson] and...both Linnea and I had said to them one time that when the time came that they felt that our being there was adding to their difficulties, their responsibilities, that we wanted to know it and that we would be...we recognized that we might have to go home.
BAKER: You mean because of your being western?
SALZMAN: American. Yeah, because you see, any...anything...any Chinese that had anything at all to do with the Americans, of course, were the targets for the Communist activities. And they would always be trying to find something on these people in order to drag them into jail and this horrible thing, you see. So, I can remember it was just before Thanksgiving that we...(the pastor of the church and the dear old doctor we had in the hospital and our hospital manager and all) they came walking up to our house. And they...you know...very politely (as Chinese can be very polite) just simply said, "Wouldn't it be nice if you took a vacation?" And so, we knew what they meant, you see. Well, now, that time, we were able to...well we packed one trunk, and we had an invitation to go to Hangzhou, which was up the railroad from our place toward Shanghai. We'd had an invitation to go there for Thanksgiving. So we simply told our people we were going to go to Thanksgiving vacation. So that's the way we left that time. It wasn't nearly as difficult, although two of our Chinese men went...took us, because they knew we'd have a hard time going alone. And I can still remember trying to get on that train. Everybody was trying to get away (they...they...it was so...getting so difficult to live under the Communists)...that they were trying to get to the west and all the other places, wherever they could go. And the trains were just packed. So, we finally got to Hangzhou. We stayed there for just a few days, went into Shanghai, made arrangements, and that's the time that we came home on the...one of the American ships. They took us.
BAKER: Then you came back to the United States?
SALZMAN: Then we came back to the United States. And that was an interesting trip because it was the end of winter...I mean, the end of the year, December. I think it was actually December the 29th that we left Shanghai, which was...meant that we were living in...in winter time. And out there you, of course, have fur coats, and long underwear, and all the other things you see. They took us from Shanghai, they took us up to Tientsin [now known as Tianjin] to pick up some more refugees. Americans that they wanted to get out. That was up toward the north. Well then, from there they went directly down to Guam. And you know how hot it is in Guam! Well, here we were with our...all of our winter things on, bundled up like everything! Had nothing else to wear, you see? Well, the ship (we were to stay in Guam for a day or so)...and so the ship officers decided to take us out on a picnic! [laughs] Well, you can imagine what we felt like at a picnic, all bundled up in our fur coats! [laughs]
SALZMAN: But then, that time, you see, we came across. It wasn't nearly as hard to get out.
BAKER: That was your second evacuation?
SALZMAN: That was the second time we got out.
BAKER: I see. So how many years together...all together, were you in China?
SALZMAN: Well, you see, I went out there in 1940 (I got out there in February of 1940), then we had to come home...we were home for those four years (no two years; I think we were home two years) and then we were able to get back again. It was the end of 1948 when we had to come out.
BAKER: And, as you look back on it now, do you think it was all worth it...the whole thing?
SALZMAN: When I think of perhaps, hoping that [pauses] just the support that we could give those people, was certainly...as far as I was concerned, was worth it. The support of the work, I mean, our going out there and being willing to do this sort of a thing, I think, helped many of the Chinese to recognize that the Lord does help for one thing, and that Christian people are concerned about other people. This was one of the things that I feel...the contribution that we could make in a hospital. Again, going back to culture, you just have to understand their background. And you know that, as we mentioned, in China the family is so important. And therefore, they're willing to do anything for their family, any relative of theirs. But anybody outside of the relationship, they're not concerned about. For example, one thing we were told: that if you ever see an accident like rickshaw being topsy-turvy and so on and so forth, don't immediately jump on to try to help that person, because if you once touch that person, then you're more or less responsible for all of the expenses of getting that person well, you see. Or there were many times when I walk....
BAKER: Did you do that? Did you avoid helping somebody who had...?
SALZMAN: We would usually see to it that somebody else brought them in to our hospital and so on, you see. Or there were times when...when walking to the hospital, you'd hear a little cry and go over to the dumpheap, and find a little baby thrown on there, and so on and so forth, you see. Well, it was very hard not to pick that child up. But what usually happened was that there was somebody watching pretty close, and if you didn't pick it up, why they'd come and take it, you see, and so on. But there were times when...if you realize that nobody was taking that child, we'd send somebody from the hospital to take it and bring it in, and we'd take care of the child, you see. But what I'm trying to help you to see is the...is the relationship that they had with other people outside of their family. I can still remember one day we had a man brought in who had rabies. And you know when rabies gets to a certain stage, and there's practically no help at all for them, and I mean there's just no way of curing it you see. Which literally means that they...they die because they can not swallow water, and so on and so forth. And I can still remember the day that we were housing the hospital. We had this man in the room, and I saw one of the girls walk out, just slam the door, and I said, "Well, what's the matter?" and she says, "Well, what's the use? [unclear] He's going to die." They were ready just to shut him into that room and let him die, you see. Why should they care? They weren't...that man was not related to anybody there. And I think one of the things that we were able to help them to see was the value of every person. And this certainly was true in the Philippines. It's a lot the same sort of story in the Philippines. The value of individuals, which I think that we with our Christian message as we come, make it seem worthwhile.
BAKER: What was evangelism like in China?
SALZMAN: Well, of course, in the East China, (that's the section where I was), and because of being so unsettled, and the fact that the...that [pauses], you know, was at war, or the Communists were around, it meant that we didn't travel very much. And so, I did not get around into some parts of China, where other people did. I think I saw more of China than many people because of this evacuation business that we have. But you see, our work had been started almost a hundred years before, and therefore, in our particular section, it was pretty well organized. And one of the things that the American Baptists group felt was important was starting schools and having theological schools, with the result, you see, that they were developing their own native people to be the leaders, so that even when we left at the end of when the Communists came in, I don't think that work was destroyed. It's true that the churches were soon closed and so on, but I'm sure that there were many strong, Christian people that carried on the work. And I wouldn't be surprised if things open up now and we go back and find that there's a group of Christians there.
BAKER: Do you have hopes for China being open to the gospel someday?
SALZMAN: I wonder how soon it'll be open to the gospel. I don't know as far as that is concerned. But it...but it probably will come from inside even before it needs to come from the outside because of the leaders that we have there.
BAKER: Did you feel...did you find that there was a lot of anti-western or anti-American feeling out there while...even before the Japanese or the Communists came in?
SALZMAN: As far as our own people were concerned, no. I...no and yes. I think one thing that missionaries have had to learn is the fact that you...you do not go out there and become the wonder...num...the number one man. You have to learn how to work with them. In our particular section we were working, I don't think that there was...was too much "anti" because by the time I got out there much of the work was right in the hands of the Chinese, so that they were the ones making decisions and so on. Now it was true that oftentimes funds come, and this, of course, is one of the big problems that we sometimes had. We recognize that when funds are sent out, we have a responsibility for those funds. But on the other hand, you see, they would like to be able to decide how they're used and not always did we feel that we were using too wisely. And perhaps in that area, there was more difficulty than perhaps some of the others.
BAKER: I see. Were there mission schools out there?
SALZMAN: We had our own, in Kinhwa (where we were), we had a boys school, we had a girls school. In Hangzhou they had a higher level school and so on. Yes, they were Christian schools.
BAKER: What was the attitude of the students?
SALZMAN: The attitude of the students?
BAKER: Uh-huh. Were they that much different from...?
SALZMAN: 'Course, I think that perhaps they were...for one thing, of course, there was this opportunity of including a study of the Bible, and the spread of the gospel message within the schools. But the Chinese students are...are so anxious for an education that [pauses].... No they, they [pauses]...I don't think that [pauses] they were glad to be able to have a place to go to school. The government had some schools around, but I think those...those earlier days, much of the education was in the hands of mission groups.
BAKER: And [pauses]...oh yeah, what was the official government position toward the Christian work?
SALZMAN: It was the time, of course, when you talk about official that does not involve the time when the Communists were coming in there?
SALZMAN: There was no...no opposition at all. 'Course, many of...many of the Chinese people were very strong in their own religion, Buddhism and so on. One of the things that I think we had...we have to recognize: there were times when the Chinese would accept the Christian religion, but they tried to do with it...like it...the same as they tried with many of these other religions, except...except that in addition to what they had, I mean, sometimes they didn't seem to make a diff...a distinction between a Christian religion. And yet on the other hand, in many instances they were ready to...to give up their shrines, their little altars in the home. This was one of the things that...that was more or less a requirement as...as far as becoming a member of the Christian community, as of course, if they had their little altars in their homes, in their kitchens, their kitchen gods and so on, that they would get rid of them. We've had some beautiful services where we would go out, and they would be burning their kitchen gods, you see.
BAKER: Was there a typical Chinese reaction to the gospel?
SALZMAN: I don't know. That I...that I don't know. I...I wouldn't know how to answer that.
BAKER: Each individual sort of reacted...
BAKER: ...in a different way? I see. Were there any Catholic missionary...missionary groups?
SALZMAN: Yes, there were. In fact, when I was saying that there was one other woman and myself in Kinhwa in that the last time we went back (before the Communists came in), there was also a Catholic priest in Kinhwa. But, of course, he was on the other side of town. The only reason I know he was there was one day a call came and some man came over and wanted to know if I would possibly go over to see Father (I forgot his name). I said, "What can I do?" "Well, he's so sick, and he will not see anybody, but I think maybe he will let you come in." Now remember, this was a Catholic priest, and I was a Protestant woman, and yet he did allow me to go in, and there wasn't much we could do. I think he had a very, very severe case of flu, and so on and so forth. The only thing we could do was to send some medicine over for him, and suggest how to take care of.... Now what ever happened to him, I don't know, because that was only a short time before we had to leave. There were Catholic...there were Catholic groups.
BAKER: What was your relationship to them on the whole? Did you work at all with the Catholic missionaries?
SALZMAN: Not...'cause as I said, here we were in this little town, Kinhwa, and because of the conditions in the country, we seldom got outside of that area. As far as we were concerned, we had no relationship with them. They were over on one side of the town, we were on the other side of the town. And as far as I know, we just...there was just no occasion when we seemed to come together.
BAKER: I see. [pauses] What were the prevalent diseases that were there?
SALZMAN: Tuberculosis [pauses] and...well, we had practically everything, I guess. A lot of...of surgery of various sorts, we did. We had...I said tuberculosis as one of the...that they...because of the way that they lived and so on and so forth. And their rather poor nutrition. Let's see, what else? We had diphtheria, ulcers, practically anything you want.
BAKER: Was malaria one of them?
SALZMAN: Not in our particular section, not in our...in Kinhwa where we lived, there was not. It so happened that apparently there was either a pocket, or some reason or other, that the type of mosquito that carries malaria was not present in our part. And so the only reason most of us got malaria was when we were evacuating that particular time and had to go into the province to the west of us, where they had...definitely had malaria.
BAKER: And what classes of people did you typically come in contact with at this hospital?
SALZMAN: Just the ordinary, working class of people. We had a few of the...because we were really the only hospital in the city that...this was one of the reasons why we got a variation as far as the people. But Kinhwa itself was a...a inland town, and therefore we had, of course, the government people there. But most of them were just the ordinary, working class of people that we had. [Pauses] Teachers, we had quite a lot of teachers.
BAKER: I see. Was there any Chinese attitude toward extraterritorial rights?
SALZMAN: You know, when you were in Shanghai, then you felt it, because, you see, there they had the French Concession, where they had...where there was special privileges and so on. In our particular little town I don't know that they were even aware of that because there weren't enough people [laughs] outside of the Chinese there to make them aware of it for one thing, you see. So I couldn't say that the area that we were working in that we ever had any feeling. Shanghai was different. That's the port town. That's where you have people from all the countries and so on and so forth. There, it was different.
BAKER: Did you ever feel very lonely or...?
SALZMAN: Well, actually, I mean, you, you...lonely in the sense that...of course, you do not have people of...from your own background and so on and so forth. But you get so involved in the work that there isn't the...there isn't time to be lonely.
BAKER: It didn't bother you that you were...like...one of the few westerners?
SALZMAN: No. I can remember the time that we went out, we had a little...a little sub-station out in the country a little ways, and I went out there one time just to see it and so on and so forth. I'm sure that I was the first white woman that most of those children had ever seen. But, what of it? I mean [laughs], they wanted to see, and so all right. There was nothing...I mean all they wanted was to go up and touch you, you know, and see if your skin would rub off, and so on and so forth. But, no, it didn't bother me in the least bit [unclear].
BAKER: Was there any movement to nationalize the churches?
SALZMAN: Well, actually our church was...I mean...this was again a policy as far as our denomination was concerned. And while Dr....Mr. Davies was there as a...as an older missionary.... He was not the pastor. We had pastors, Chinese pastors in our convention. Baptist Convention had been organized for a number of years under a Chinese secretary, Dr. Bow, so that, as far as our particular work was concerned, it was in their hands. Many, in most instances...of course, if they had boards of any sort, they had the Americans sitting on it, but you had no more power than any of the Chinese did.
BAKER: I see.
SALZMAN: So you see...our...I think that in Kinhwa, where we were located (now this may...it's not true in all parts)...but where we were located, it was...it had been going on long enough and was successful enough, so that they were the ones who were really taking the work.
BAKER: I see.
SALZMAN: In our schools, there were Chinese principals. And so on.
BAKER: What was the influence of Marxism during this time?
SALZMAN: Well, of course, I think that was back over the Communist movement, as far as that's concerned.
BAKER: Were the common people aware of this atrocity [Baker apparently alludes to communism as an atrocity]?
SALZMAN: I don't think that they...they...I don't think that they were aware of really what was happening. For one thing, again you have to remember that this was at the time when Chiang Kai-Shek was in charge, and there was many...many of the people were dissatisfied with the government then at that time. And I'm sure that our people did not realize what Communism was. Of course, as is true most of the time when they come into an area with promises of a great deal of improvement and so on and so forth...promise of religious freedom, this is the thing that they will promise the people. And our people believed them. I mean, they felt that...you see...by this...by this time the...the whole structure of the government was...was [pauses] shaky, and so on and so forth. And so our people...I can still remember the manager of our hospital saying, "Well, I guess the Communists are coming, but it can't be much worse than it is right now." He says, "Let them come. We'll take care of them. This is what Chinese do. If we...if we get in under a situation, it's a matter of years, a couple years and we'll take care of them." But look at how long it's taking them to take care of them.
BAKER: Nothing's normal in China...
SALZMAN: Nothing's normal in China.
BAKER: That's what it reminds me of.
BAKER: What was the attitude of your mission board toward China?
SALZMAN: Toward China?
SALZMAN: 'Course, they didn't have any work out there for so long. We had...the mission board had work in various parts. We call that area...and we had work in Shanghai...we had work in what we call the "East China". That's where Kinhwa and my station was located. We had work in West China, we had work in South China. So we really had four different subfields in China. It was one of our particular (the board's) strong places, so that, and even when the time came when we had to evacuate, our board never insisted that we follow their advice. They strongly suggested that we might be coming home, but they never...they never sent a message saying, "We will no longer support you if you don't follow what we want you to do." The same thing was true with the American government. Now, the American government...they tried to keep close tab of us, and they did. The embassy would send messages, but the American government never...they would send messages suggesting we get out, and so on and so forth, and saying it would be very difficult for them to protect, and so.... But they never really insisted [pounds table] that we get out. It was...it was something that was left up to each individual person. And there were members of our...our mission board who...in South China...in West China, who were then actually under house arrest by the Japanese, you see, because they hadn't gotten out in time. So that [pauses]...but, it was...it was a choice of individual missionaries as to what they were to do.
BAKER: Okay. Now, after you got back to the United States, how soon was it before you left for the Philippines?
SALZMAN: Well, we got back then in...in nineteen...the beginning of 1949. And then I was...I got out to the Philippines at the beginning of 1950. So I was home...I was home...no, it was 1950, must have been 1951. When I got back here, it was in January, and I stayed in town with my grandmother. And then I remember that...that [pauses]...'course, one of the things that happens when you get home, as you know, mission boards usually send you around on deputation until they've got you so tired out that you can't keep on going. [laughs] I mean, you go around and travel a great deal, and I traveled a great deal that summer. And at the beginning of the...of the school term, I had gone to the local hospital here, and had asked if I could come in and do some specialing [term used for private duty nursing]. Well, again... again, I think you can see, as I said before, how step [taps table] by [taps table] step [taps table] the Lord leads. This happened to be a very strong Catholic hospital, but was the only hospital in Kankakee. So, I went in there and asked the sister if I could come in to special. And, why she ever asked it...it was simply, I think the Lord put thought in her mind, and she says, "Do you have your degree?" And I said, "Yes, I have my master's degree in nursing education." And she says, "You not coming in to special, you're coming in to help me in my school!" And here it was a couple of days before time to start school, and she had no one to teach several of the subjects. So I had a year of teaching here in the...at the school here in Kankakee. Well, then before the end of the school term they had already written from the board and asked if I'd go back to the Philippines. So, you see, I had only one year of teaching here. But, it meant that I had gotten an introduction into a Catholic community. So, insofar as...one of the things I wanted to do was to sit in on their religious classes taught by a priest. I thought it'd be kind of interesting, and yet I didn't want to ask the sister, because I was afraid that she might think that I was trying to undercut them or something. But she came along one day and wanted to know if I had time enough to audit that class or take the roll and things like that. So I had the opportunity of, you know, sitting under his preaching. But...going then...when I was asked to go out to the Philippines (which was...is a very definite Catholic country), and at that time, 1950, it was definitely the type of Catholicism there...was, of course, this kind of closed sort of church authority and absolutely no connection at all with Protestants, you see. And so, I think that the Lord led me over there for a year for an introduction, a background in order to be able to be ready to go out to the Philippines. And then...then it was by time...the end of that year, right after the close of the school, I got ready, and I went out there. I went out at the beginning of the year again.
BAKER: And what was the nature of your work?
SALZMAN: In the Philippines? Well there, it was quite different in the sense that the educational standard was higher, and I went to Iloilo City [on the central island of Panay], where we have a college that's now a university, Central Philippine University, one of the strong universities outside of the city of Manila. Since my work was nursing education, we had a school of nursing at Iloilo Mission Hospital, one of the first schools of nursing to ever have been started in the Philippines. And there was also...we also had another hospital up to the northern part of the...of the island that had a school of nursing. And the trend seemed to be toward developing baccalaureate level of nursing. That's...that was my main job.
BAKER: And I understand that in cooperation with another college, you got a degree program?
SALZMAN: We got the two...we took the two schools of nursing and combined it with the college, and we had a degree program started, a degree program which...which became very, very popular, because at that time, when I first started, and up until just a few years ago, it was...if at all possible, girls wanted to get a education in nursing simply because they knew they could probably get to the United States pretty fast, you see. It would allow them to come over. Things have changed now since [Ferdinand] Marcos has taken over and martial law. Girls can no longer get out at the present time. They can't get out as readily. They have to serve at least two years for their government after they graduate from the college from nursing before they can even apply for their visa. And, now of course, the United States is beginning to question a little bit more as to the preparation of these girls to come on over here. So it's not nearly as easy for them to make that transition from their country to ours. What advantage that our Filipino nurses have is that their education is in English. So the language is not as difficult. It's not as much a barrier as...as you will find from other countries. I'll admit that their language...their language sounds a little different. There's still a lot of Spanish background influence there. And one of their...their methods of course, of pronouncing words is the accent on the second syllable, so that it's a little bit different. You have to learn how to...but the girls soon can understand people here in English. That's one of their advantages.
BAKER: And what was the evangelism like then there?
SALZMAN: In...in the Philippines?
SALZMAN: As I said, when we first went out there, there was a very strong opposition from the Catholics.
SALZMAN: It was...it was quite the expected thing that just before school would start (course, school there starts in June)...school term would open, and the bishop would preach a strong sermon about Catholic parents allowing their children to come to our school. And it was...and they...and many of...many times the people would not be allowed to come into our hospitals simply because we were Protestant, you see, and wanted nothing to do with it. And this was our big opportunity, because girls wanted nursing education, and they would come in spite of the fact they had to come into a Protestant school. And one of our requirements, our course, was that they had to take Bible. This...this was a hard thing for some of those girls to do because, you see, they had been taught, their grandmother's had been taught, their mother's had been taught, "You must never open the Bible. You can't understand it." You see? And the very fact that they would have to do that made it a little bit difficult for them. And when I first went out there, we had girls who were actually disowned by their parents when they once decided to accept the Lord as their Savior.
BAKER: So you did see some conversions?
SALZMAN: Oh yes, oh yes! You see, these girls...these people coming into colleges, and then having these Bible courses and so on and so forth, they began to question. I mean, "Why? Why?" And they began to see. And the Spirit works among them, and oh yes, that was one of the things that we had happening, one of the joys of that work is. We had our Christian Emphasis Week every semester like they do in many colleges. And many, many times we would have two, three hundred people of our students respond, you see. So that this...this was...I felt one of the ways of spreading the gospel message. It was...it was developing the educational pattern for them, but here we had this opportunity, you see, of giving the gospel message to them. But this has changed now. Even before I came home in 1972 there was already a big change. The Catholics were no longer opposing (no sermons were preached and so on and so forth). Formally, the sister would never think of coming onto our campus. We couldn't have much relationship with them, you see. There was always this barrier as far as the religious background was concerned. Well, then gradually, as you know, the [Catholic] Church had changed as far as their attitude is concerned. One of the things that I thought brought great joy to many hearts was the fact that they finally had decided to revise the New Testament in the local dialect. English is used. Most people speak English. But they still have dialects, and there are a number of dialects on each island, you see. But they decided that they were going to translate the New Testament into the local dialect. And here we had the Catholic priest, a member of the Philippine Bible Society, some of our own pastors working on our campus, with the priests coming there in order to do it, you see. It's now been printed just about a year ago. I guess it's been printed, and so on.
BAKER: Have you seen it?
SALZMAN: Oh yes. I have a copy of it. The other thing that has happened: one of our own missionaries was asked to go to (there was a small seminary for Catholic priests in our town in Iloilo)...he was asked to go there and to...to carry on a course on one of the Bible, the Gospels.
SALZMAN: Into [pounds table] their [pounds table] school [pounds table]!
BAKER: Uh-huh. That is really amazing.
SALZMAN: And even more amazing there's a pretty strong movement as far as family planning is concerned because that's been one of their problems, large families and not sufficient to take care of them, you see. So family planning has gone over pretty big in the Philippines. One of our outstanding church women, who is very much interested in the movement (in fact I think she was the president of the local place), she was asked to come into the home of the priest connected with one of the churches, into their [pounds table] rooms and [pounds table] give [pounds table] a [pounds table] lecture on family planning! So you see what's happened?
BAKER: So changes have really have come around?
SALZMAN: Changes have came along...all the way along, you see. Many of them.
BAKER: Why did you decide to give the directorship over to the nationals?
SALZMAN: In the Philippines?
SALZMAN: Because, again, the same policy has been "work your way out of a job." That's why we were out there as missionaries, it's true. But this is the thing, and as soon...I felt as soon as there was somebody that was ready to take it over it should be turned over to them, to the nationals.
BAKER: What do you mean, "Work your way out of a job?"
SALZMAN: You see...our job...my job was teaching. All right, teaching somebody to get to the place of being able to do what I was doing, and so on. So as soon as this one person had her advanced degree, she was ready to do it. They can handle things better than we can handle things.
BAKER: Then, after you gave up the directorship, what was your job then?
SALZMAN: Actually, the official title, I guess, was Coordinator, in the sense that we had these two hospitals plus the college, so my job was to place the whole thing together. And I continued to...well...for a while...to help out as (all of this time, I really was helping out in the hospital, too, you see: superintendent of the nurses and so on )...but I was able to turn that over to somebody else a couple of years before I left. So it was a matter of coordination of the whole thing. And they were very, very kind insofar that they never made you feel as if you were, you know, not needed, and so on and so forth. So no, this...this was the thing that we wanted to do as soon as possible: let them carry the work on. And it's going forward. They...they still want missionaries, they're asking for them, but I think that...as missionaries we have to recognize, again, that we're working with them, and sometimes working under them. So that, let them carry it on as long as that is possible.
BAKER: And why did you come back in 1972?
SALZMAN: Because our board has a ruling that when you get to be that certain age you retire! [laughs]
BAKER: I see.
SALZMAN: And I've gotten to that age! In fact, I've passed that age.
BAKER: How long were you here before you started teaching over here at Olivet Nazarene?
SALZMAN: Not very long. As I said, as soon as you get home, usually the board sends you on deputation, you see. So I was on deputation until about the end of that year of '72. Well then again, as I've said so many times before, the Lord opens a way before you. I happened to be over at...you see...this Olivet Nazarene College. The Red Cross was taking blood that day, and I had gone into the Red Cross, simply because I wanted something to do to keep me occupied and so on. I was helping out there. Why? Again, why the dean of the College of Nursing ever came over and started talking to me (apparently somebody had said something, that I had been teaching and so on). She wanted to know if I had my degree and, "Yes", I told her. And so from that time on, I had work.
BAKER: Okay. How did you feel when you were elected to the Wheaton National Honor Society?
SALZMAN: I wondered why they ever thought of it.
BAKER: When was this? Was this when you were in China?
SALZMAN: Yeah. Yeah, it was back quite a long time ago. And I felt it was a great honor, I really do. But as they say, I never expected it. It was their...it was their decision to make it and so on.
BAKER: Uh-huh. Did you get back to the ceremony?
SALZMAN: No. No, I was not there.
BAKER: And I...I found somewhere that you had gone on a six-week trip to the Middle East and Europe?
SALZMAN: Well, that was on our way home. You see, in '68 when we came home for one [furlough] ('cause we get furloughs every five years or so)...so one of the times, instead of coming across the Pacific, we went through Europe, and around that way...went home that way, you see. The Board gives us that privilege every...once a lifetime of doing it, and so we had a lovely trip through the area. And we stopped, of course, in the Middle East. We stopped in Europe and various places, and so on and so forth so we had that luxury. Now I've been back to the Philippines once since I retired. I got back in 1975, which was the seventy-fifth anniversary of the beginning of our Baptist work in the Philippines. One of the older missionaries wanted to go, and her family wouldn't let her go because of her health situation, and she asked if I would take her out there. And so I was out there for forty-nine days, you see [unclear].
BAKER: And finally, what are your hopes for the church in the Philippines? Do you see it growing?
SALZMAN: I think the...from what we gather (and the news that comes out), I think there has been a resurgent of...of interest in our church. You see, this martial law has bothered individuals in so far as that they really don't know what's going to happen out there. And I think maybe, as so many, many times happens, when there is time and difficulty, people begin to recognize the need of their relationship with the Lord. And it seems as though our churches are almost having revival out there. Many of the young people are taking the leadership now. And it's...it...from the word that we get, I think it's encouraging. So that we've had, from what I understand...is more baptisms in the last year or so, so that I think it's really coming out strong. And they'll keep on. The church that I belong to out there is certainly coming forward. They're beginning to recognize the need of supporting their own work. It was so easy, you see, for them to say, "Well, now, maybe the Board [pounds table] will help us out. The Board [pounds table] will send us money to do this." I think they're beginning to realize the need of their...of supporting their own work. And there have been a couple of those churches that have put up their buildings with their own funds. I mean, not...not asking for support from other places, which is...to me is an encouraging sign because I think they're realizing the...their need of planning. The church that I belong [pauses]...went to out there, they put up an educational center now. They've increased their budget almost three times since I...over and above what was true when I was there. But they're meeting it! Their people are supporting it. Now, it's not easy because life is not easy out there for the Philippines now. And yet, you see, it's gaining in value, for them, I think.
BAKER: Thank you very much.
SALZMAN: Well, I hope you got what you want.
END OF TAPE