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Collection 288 - Vincent Crossett. T3 Transcript

This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the second oral history interview of Vincent Leroy Crossett (CN 288, T3) 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. Foreign terms which are not commonly understood appear in italics. 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 expressing. Chinese place names 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," if that is how the interviewee pronounced it. Chinese terms and phrases which would be understood were spelled as they were pronounced with some attempt made to identify the accepted transliteration form to which it corresponds. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.

. . . Three dots indicate 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 transcript was made by Jeffrey Dennison and Paul Ericksen was completed in May 2002.


Collection 288, T3. Interview of Vincent Leroy Crossett by Paul Ericksen, on November 16, 1984.

ERICKSEN: This is an interview with Vincent Leroy Crossett by Paul Ericksen for the Missionary Sources Collection at Wheaton College. This interview took place at the office of the Archives at the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton, Illinois, on Friday, February 15, 1985, at 12:30 p.m. [recorder stopped and restarted] Well, Reverend Crossett, when we finished talking last time, we were talking your about completing your studies at Westminster, and I think you...we talked about your...your finishing your program and graduating. What did you do immediately after your graduation?

CROSSETT: I graduated one day, I was ordained the next day, and I went into the mission home as the candidate on the third day in May 1933. And then I was...they had made arrangements to send me out right away [clears throat]...not right away but in the fall that...with that party in...in October. And I...the mission will never send out a person who's got any debt at all. And they never...they never borrow and they never go in debt. I had borrowed some money to go through Wheaton, and I had three hundred and seventy-five dollars yet to pay back. And...so they canceled my trip out, and [laughs]...and wait till that comes in. And so I was just substituting or supplying in churches and so forth. The home church had no pastor, so they asked me to supply for three months, which I did. At the end of three months, they gave me twenty-five dollars. That didn't knock off my debt very much. But about that time [clears throat] a man came into the headquarters and talked to Dr. [Robert] Glover, our home director, and said, "Is there anybody held up for financial reasons?" And he mentioned my name, said "It takes three hundred and seventy-five dollars." So the man wrote out a check, and they sent it to me. I sent it immediately to the one who loaned me the money, and that was it. They rescheduled me and I left on the thirtieth of December, going out with Norman Amos who was going back from furlough. I didn't go with the party, but I was in language school with the party. I only had three months of language school. But that same donor, at that time, took on my full support for the first term, plus the support of four or five others in the mission [laughs]: Mr. [Maxey] Jarman of the Jarman Shoe Company. He's gone now. But that was a sort of a seal to my calling, and...and so I got out and I arrived in Shanghai on the seventeenth of January, 1934...1934. [clears throat]

ERICKSEN: Is it...was it customary for missionaries to move through the process so quickly and be on their way immediately like that?

CROSSETT: No, because I had been in the process for...for a year or more. So they had gotten through all of my papers, everything, and...and they were waiting for me. I had been invited into the home for that period (it was supposed to be six weeks). I was only there about four. But all of the preliminary had been done. I had been accepted...no, I wasn't accepted until after this time in the home. But all of the papers were done. No, it takes a year, from one to two years, to actually get in, at least in those days when it averaged around eighteen months, something like that.

ERICKSEN: So you were going through the whole process while you were at Westminster?

CROSSETT: Yes. Yes, I was going through the process. The last year everything sort of...for...for the last year that was really when it concentrated. No, no, you don't get into the mission as fast as that, except everything had been prepared. So I had been invited into a home, and then they...they put me so I was the only one in the home. The main party had been through...or...or they came at other times, some through Toronto. Dr. Glover was the director for the whole of the...of North America. At that time, Canada wasn't separated from the U.S. And so the Canadian candidates and.... There were one or two that came while I was in the home for a short time, but they...it didn't materialize for them to go out. So that...but there were a party all together from all countries with about twenty or more in the language school. But that's...I have forgotten how many there were from the United States.

ERICKSEN: Now you talk about the home. Where was that?

CROSSETT: That's Philadelphia. 237 School Lane in Philadelphia. That was from the beg...almost from the beginning when Mr...Mr. [Henry] Frost, who was the first home director, accepted...appointed by Hudson Taylor as that [unclear]. They got...at that...as far as I know, that was the...their first home. I could be wrong. But it was a big, big sort of a duplex, three-story building. Oh, it was big. It had a lot of room in there. And they...they had their offices, all their offices were in there, and the transients, rooms for transients. And that was...that was the [unclear] on West School Lane in...in Philadelphia...Germantown was where it was, but with a Philadelphia address.

ERICKSEN: How was it decided whether someone would go to the Philadelphia home or up to Toronto?

CROSSETT: Well, there were different...different criteria. Most from the United States, I think, went to the Philadelphia home, and Canadians went to Canada. However, when Margaret, my wife, went out, nobody was here, and so they sent her up to Toronto, and she was up there for a few weeks. But it...just for convenience mainly, but mostly United...United States candidates, I think, went to Philadelphia. You're supposed to be there from six to eight weeks, just getting acquainted with the mission and the mission getting acquainted...getting acquainted with us.

ERICKSEN: You talked about the procedure that you went through prior to your graduation. What is the process of getting into the mission, being accepted by it?

CROSSETT: Well, first you show an interest. And then they'll send you information and sort of...to get a little better acquainted with you, and with the...with the...for you to get acquainted a little better with the mission. And of course, I used to go up to the mission for their Friday night prayer meetings. From...from the seminary I'd go up there and fellowshipped with them. I got fairly well acquainted with them. But they send out questionnaires, and you have to have a.... Well, they check you very thoroughly on your theology, on what you believe. And they're very strict on personal health and various habits, and your relationship to the...to the church. They like to have a church...have a home church that you can...that sort of feels responsibility for you for prayer at least. When I was still in Wheaton (this is three...three odd...three, four years before), this is when it first started, way back there [laughs]. I talked to Dr. Glover (he was the home director then, too), and I told him I was interested in missions and thinking possibly of China. I wanted to go to Tibet, and I wanted to go through the...through the mission to go to Tibet. And one of the questions he asked me, "Have you ever led a soul to Christ?" And at that time I said, "No." That was before I finished my sophomore year in Wheaton. And he...that was...that ended the conversation. He said, "Well, you go back, and [laughs] when you've won people to the Lord then we'll talk again." Well, that summer I was asked to go as a...as a student pastor for a church in southern Illinois. And at the end of that summer (I wasn't authorized to baptize and take them in), thirty-five young people came into the church there. And when I reported that to Dr. Glover we continued our [laughs]...our conversation. But they...there are various [pauses] examination papers. Your health, what you believe, and...well, I've forgotten the others now...and...and what you...what your experience is. They want you to...to have some experience in the church before you...before they go out, so you they don't go out just...and get your experience out there. And [pauses] you get your physical examination with your own doctor, but once you get a little closer then you are examined by the mission doctor again to verify all the...the situations. Of course you have to have references, and these references are very detailed [laughs]. I...I put in one with one of the professors at Westminster. And he called me in and he said, "We've got to have an interview. In order to answer all these questions I'd have to have lived with you for three or four years." [laughs] So he called me in about...and we talked it over and then.... But it...they're...they're very thorough. Then each...from each referee (reference) they asked for three more. And then they followed those up. So it seems that it...that they...they get a pretty good idea of what people think of you.

ERICKSEN: So they had a total of twelve?

CROSSETT: Well, I wouldn't limit it to twelve. It all depends on whether they're satisfied with the...with the first.... I'm not sure whether it was just three at the beginning or not. But it...I think it is now. Three in the beginning, and then they asked for each of these to give three more. So that would be at least twelve. And if there are any questions then...then they will follow it a little bit farther. For instance, just last year (see, I'm a rec...the local representative) [laughs] there was a couple in Peoria that were thinking of going out. And there were various questions primarily because they had three children. And they hesitate to send out anybody more...with more than two children unless they have very exceptional qualifications in some way or other. And so there was a question came and they asked me to go and see personally these referees, and decided [laughs] which...they follow up a little more than just getting a letter back. Not on everybody, but on some people. Of course, I talked to him and to them...them and told him...told them what I was doing and so forth. It was perfectly open and above board, but it was...it wasn't sort of spying out. They want a follow-through. They want to know quite thoroughly just your [clears throat]...not only your physical health but your emotional health, too. That's very important going to the field.

ERICKSEN: [unclear]

CROSSETT: [unclear] Well, through the doctor first, and then they...they ask. And if...if it seems wise.... I think now that most are asked to (this I'm not sure)...to see a...a psychiatrist or something. I mean have a report from them, not...not for treatment or anything, but...but so that they know you're emotionally not going to fall apart when you come to the tests on the field. You have to get used to a new culture, a new language, a new...new [pauses] set of values all around. Because we're an international mission, and when you go out to the...to the orientation course in Singapore you've got Germans and South Africans and Australians and Britishers (of course, I mean from the British Isles), from Canada and...and...and Asians, too. And they're all in the same place. It's a...it's a real test. That's one reason why they don't want to have people with too big families (two children is about the maximum) going out. Of course, they can have more and they don't put the limit there. But...but to adjust to family life and culture and language and...and everything, hits...hits you all at once. It's just...pretty much.... And they like to guard against putting a person in where he's possibly will break down or...or not...not be able to...to take it. It's a...it's a pretty thorough screening process, but they're very encouraging, too, while you're [laughs] going through it. They're very...very sympathetic.

ERICKSEN: So you had the...the different exams, the...the written reports that you had to submit...

CROSSETT: Yes.

ERICKSEN: ...there were the references submitted, the physical exam and the health exam, or the psychological exam. Were there any other aspects to the...the preliminary procedure of...?

CROSSETT: Of course, the first thing they want is your personal testimony: your relation to the Lord, the [clears throat]...how you were saved or when you were saved, and your experience and so forth, and...and, like I mentioned, your church experience if you had experience, and all of that. I don't think of other things. They [laughs]...they think of [laughs]...think of things.

ERICKSEN: So once you had passed your physical and psychological exams, and your...your submitted reports on your theology were acceptable, and all of your references were in order, what happened next?

CROSSETT: They invited you to spend a time at the home, what now is called the "candidates course." We have a candidates school. I think it's twice a year now. Back in those days I think it was just once. They were supposed to go in for from eight to twelve weeks. And there they give you an introduction to the mission, the financial policies, the...the...the...the whole background of the...of the mission and their...their (what do you call it?)...the principles and practice. In other words, you're not supposed to ask for money. Never never make an appeal. Never borrow money. And on the whole financial setup and the whole everything, it's all explained during that time. And they have a chance to watch you. Of course, now it's sort of a little [laughs]...little school as it were because the treasurer comes in and explains things, the...the...from the financial standpoint, and the different ones. And sometimes they have a...a seasoned missionary from the field who's home to...to give them a talk. They...and then, of course, they get acquainted with each other. Two years ago we were out and visited that...yeah, they went out to a...to a campground that's not too far. Now the headquarters is in Robesonia. I guess you know that, Robesonia, Pennsylvania. And not too far from there, there's quite a famous camp. And they...they were invited by the camp owners to go out there for this orientation [pauses] for the candidates' course. Orientation course is...is held in Singapore. But they were invited to go there and so it was in sort of posh circumstances there. But it was quite...quite a test for some of them. We visited there for just two, three...three, four hours. They had lunch with some one day (we were just going through), and some of them talked to us and being older missionaries, and [laughs] they...they wanted to find out some of the...just...just how it is, and how they would fit in and so forth. It's...there it's a pretty thorough getting-acquainted. And then at that time after this is over, then the council meets and they decide those who are accepted, those who...who have to have a little more training or something, get...or need to get a little closer to a church. And [clears throat], generally, most of them are accepted and go out as soon as they're ready, but some of them are accepted to go out a year or so later because they need.... We've got one here now, Donna Wassen, who is working with Moody Church, finishing up the Moody school there. They advised that she get more...more training at Moody, and...and get experience with a church. Well, she's doing both [laughs] at the same time. She wasn't supposed to go out until next year. But now they've set that up and she's going out in September/ October this year. And...but she's...she's able, apparently, to get her church relationship and her...finish her year of training all at the same time.

ERICKSEN: Did you have to appear before the council during the time you were at the home?

CROSSETT: Yes.

ERICKSEN: And what is that...?

CROSSETT: Well, the council comes and they put any kind of question to you they [laughs] want. They've got a whole background, I mean all the information there. Put any...if there is any question at all, they'll bring it up at that time. If there is any doubt in their minds, they'll bring up the questions. And then [clears throat]...then you are dismissed, and they discuss it and pray about it and make their decision, and then they report.

ERICKSEN: Do you remember what they asked you?

CROSSETT: No, I don't remember what they asked me now. No, I don't. Sort of verifying some of the things that came out in the...in the questionnaires, I think. [clears throat] And, of course, my...they want to make clear my...my debt was understandable...I mean, was...was wiped out. And then they let me go, and they made the decision. Dr. Glover was in [laughs] England at the time, and he wired back or called back and said, "Accept him." [laughs] Of course, I knew the Glovers. I had been in their home much time, and Marjorie and...and Florence both were students here at the same time. Marge was...Florence was in my class. Margorie, of course, was in charge of the student placement department, the practical work department here at Moody for some time, but...I mean, here at...at Wheaton for some time. But...so I knew Dr. Glover very well. I knew his wife. I knew the family. Their son was a cardiologist, a...an outstanding one, and his.... So that Dr. Glover was not acting blindly when he said, "[unclear] accept him."

ERICKSEN: Who was on the council that you met with?

CROSSETT: Well, Isaac Page was taking over.... If...do you know Isaac Page, assistant...?

ERICKSEN: I've heard the name [unclear] influenced by him in this area.

CROSSETT: ...Canadian. Boy, he was a wonderful camp worker, boys worker. He's...he's spent his time in Guizhou in...on the mission. And he was acting head in...in Philadelphia when Dr. Glover was away. And Mr. [Herbert M.] Griffin [pauses]...I think he was the treasurer at that time in...in Philadelphia. Well, I'm not...I'm not so sure. Who were some of the others? I've forgotten. I've forgotten their names. I'm just [laughs] too old to remember, I guess. [laughs]

ERICKSEN: Well, it's a long time ago.

CROSSETT: Even though I know them very well [laughs].

ERICKSEN: What do you remember about Mr. Page?

CROSSETT: Oh, he was quite a joker, and he was very good...very good conference speaker, especially for young people, especially for boys. All kinds of jokes, you know [laughs]. Like in Guizhou, they have square wheel...wheelbarrows, and you have to go up the steps [laughs] and then on over the mountain [laughs]. And...oh, a lot of things. He...he's just coming out with jokes all of the time. Just...just like boys would...would love. He was an excellent boys worker. But he was a very very good conference speaker, in...in demand quite a bit.

ERICKSEN: Well, it seems from what I've heard other people say, he's...he had quite a bit of influence on their considerations of joining the CIM [China Inland Mission] and...and going to China, too.

CROSSETT: Uh-huh. I knew him mainly in the home out there. [clears throat] Others have known him apart from that, but I knew him mainly there. Very much impressed, very favorably impressed with him. [clears throat]

ERICKSEN: We were talking about the fact that most people are accepted when they meet before the council. (There may be some [unclear] things that they need to take care of before they're dispatched). Were there any people who had come all the way through the process, and still when they got to the council they were rejected?

CROSSETT: Yes. Yes, it may have been on health grounds. Something in their medical report showed up and they...the mission felt they weren't a good risk to send out - probably have to send them home again right away. And different ones as to their commitment. Of course, one went out and he came home within the first year. I don't know whether they had questions about him or not, but he certainly had questions. He was...he knew finance, and he...he knew how to handle and counsel finan...finance. And when he got out there, well, then that was completely out of his...out of his experience there. And he admitted.... (He's still a very good friend of the mission. He...he's had prayer meetings in his home out in Philadel...out in eastern Pennsylvania.) But he still admits that he wasn't called to the field. He had misread the call back there. But they did accept him and sent him out. But [clears throat] if there's a question medic...medically, then they will turn them down even though they have come through. And they have pretty close contact with the doctor. They've got a doctor which is very much in sympathy. They...they had then and, of course, they...they always do. It's a [unclear] as doctors. Yes, some come right up through, and...but they have done a lot of screening before it ever gets...

ERICKSEN: Sure.

CROSSETT: ...to their being called before the council. [clears throat]

ERICKSEN: Can you think of other instances where folks were approved by the mission and, for one reason or another, things just didn't work out once they got to the field? Not thinking of names. I....

CROSSETT: Well, one woman was accepted and went out and she broke down emotionally. Her experience (I think she was the daughter of missionaries)...and her experience.... Of course, going to China, you had traumatic experiences all of the time with the bandits and [clears throat] later on in the 30s and 40s with the...with the Japanese and with the Communists all through there. We were running from Communists all the time, from the time I went out there until...well, we ran [laughs]...they took over our station after the Second World War. Of course, we were supposed to be at peace with them during the war, but they just took over, and we had...they took our station a week after we left it. And so [clears throat] there [are] always disturbances, a tremendous emotional experience unless you're pretty stable, and that can't upset you. [pauses] Our superintendent came in and visited us once [clears throat]. While we were there the Japanese started a battle right out...right out our...outside of the city walls. See, we were just twenty miles from the front [the most forward line of the Japanese combat force] anyway, and they'd make forays over there. Boy, I never saw a person shake so much as he did in his [?] life. He was superintendent of the province, and whether he [laughs]... "That if any time you want to go, you don't ask permission. You just go!" [laughs] But we'd been used to it there. We'd been there for...

ERICKSEN: Sure.

CROSSETT: ...some time, and it was a...not a daily affair, but we could hear the big guns every day. So that it was...but the rifle fire, that's when you knew they were getting close. [laughs] But he...he was...he was really [laughs]...really scared [laughs]. But we were...we were there, and of course, that does have an emotional affect on you. But we were having wonderful meetings and wonderful results of people coming to the Lord, turning against their idols, taking them down to the river and throwing them in. And it was quite an experience. But you have to be fairly well stable emotionally in order to take some of these things. Some people can take it better than others, and some people have a [clears throat] different background which would work more on them. But we have had people that have broken down emotionally. Some have a nervous breakdown, and some...had one come home [clears throat]. He had a very troubled background [clears throat] because of the family, and he became schizophrenic. They had to bring him home, and it was just...just too much of a strain. That was from Taiwan, though. That wasn't from mainland China [clears throat], so it wasn't the war that got him down. It was other things. But you do have casualties. It's too bad we have so many. There are quite a few. I was just reading a report sent out by the [Overseas Missionary Fellowship] general director. And we had 491 missionaries in seven...eighty, I think it was, seventy-nine, eighty...have...no, 891. Now we have 954. And that overbalances the casualties, the retirements, and so forth, so that there's quite a...quite a good number of new ones that have come in. Because being an old mission, we have a lot of retirees...

ERICKSEN: Yeah.

CROSSETT: ...people that are retiring [laughs] every year. Have to keep renewing that in order just to keep even. But we picked up sixty-three, I think, that...in three years in addition to all the casualties. It's...it's thrilling to see what the Lord's done all these years. [clears throat]

ERICKSEN: Now when you accepted, and then you...you went to the small church for the summer. Then your debt was paid, and you left, you said, in January of '34.

CROSSETT: Yeah, I arrived in...out there in January.

ERICKSEN: Oh.

CROSSETT: I left the thirtieth of December...

ERICKSEN: Oh.

CROSSETT: ...from Vancouver on the Empress of Japan. [laughs] We all went in ships those days. Flying planes weren't...weren't flying.

ERICKSEN: And what was the route that the ship took?

CROSSETT: Well, it was straight from Vancouver.... No! Ours [pauses]...ours went by way of Honolulu. It went to Honolulu, five days at Honolulu, then nine days up to Tokyo, and then down. And it took seventeen, eighteen...eighteen days, something like that because you gain a day going over. Traveling time was about eighteen days, I think, eighteen. But it went through Honolulu. It's...it's a longer way, but through Honolulu and then to Tokyo, Tokyo down to...from Tokyo down to Nagasaki because she was a...a coal-bearing ship. She had to load up with coal down in Nagasaki. I left the ship in Yokohama, went across country, spent the night with missionary friends, the [unclear] Mission in central...central Japan, and then went on. They escorted me, miss...one of the missionaries went with me down...see if we could get the trip in...in [pauses] Nagasaki. I'm not sure if I picked up Nagasaki or Kobe. [clears throat] It was down that end anyway. And so I had a whole day on the island...on...which was a good...good break. Made me sort of homesick [laughs].

ERICKSEN: Yeah. Other than that...that break, do you remember anything else about the trip?

CROSSETT: Well, we had a very good time in Honolulu, of course. [laughs] It's...took sight-seeing trips, but.... No, it was just quite an experience, my first ocean-going trip. We saw a whale or two, and we saw some porpoises of course, and flying fish and so forth. It was interesting. [clears throat] We were down in...in closed third class, which was way down below the water level. And we had a porthole which was just above the water level. And the wa...and the sea got high in the night and then "Whoosh!" the wave came right in. [laughs] There...there...Norman Amos and I were the only two in the...in the cabin. There were six...six bunks in the cabin. We were the only two in there, and his bunk really got flooded. I was on the opposite side, and so [laughs]...and then with that we closed the porthole in a hurry [laughs]. But that's...and then we hit a typhoon. We sidestepped a typhoon about two days out from Tokyo. And we just went through the edge of the typhoon, and, boy, did that really.... I was the only one in the dining room for...for one day. I was the only one that weathered it out without really going down, even the crew. And...but that was an interesting [clears throat] trip. Then very calm from Tokyo...from Kobe on to...on to Shanghai. Experience seeing the...as we approached the mouth of the Yangtze River, every...and all the water and everything turned like cocoa. All brown, come bringing all this debris down from way out in China, you know. The whole...the whole ocean there is...is just brown, and then the river all the way up. [train passes in background] Of course, you go up a little bit, and then you turn off in the Huangpu [River], which.... See, Shanghai is on the Huangpu. And so you go several hours up that to get to the...to Shanghai. It was interesting fellowship, and of course, the whole ship life is entirely different from [laughs] anything else, so....

ERICKSEN: Who else was on the ship other than you and...

CROSSETT: Well, Norman Amos.

ERICKSEN: ...Norman Amos?

CROSSETT: He's from Australia. He was there, and then, I think, it was.... (What's her name? There's another missionary woman going back. I can't think of her name now. No, I don't remember her name. She and her sister both went out. Her sister was married, and....) But...but she...just the three of us because it wasn't a regular party going out. It was just...I was just being taken out by these older missionaries...

ERICKSEN: Right.

CROSSETT: ...that were going back from furlough.

ERICKSEN: So when you arrived in Shanghai, what did you do first when you got there?

CROSSETT: Well, you're taken right to the mission home. Then, of course, got acquainted with the leaders of the mission, and then sort of a little bit better acquainted with the way the mission [clears throat]...the mission works. And had interviews with the treasurer and with the...with Mr. [Dixon] Hoste [pauses], who was the general director. He's the one that followed Hudson Taylor. And he was the general director at that time, a very great man of prayer. Military man, so he's very...very straight [laughs] and orderly and...and oh, a very deep spiritual man, very great man of prayer. He spent many hours. He would invite the different ones in to have prayer with him. And so we went in. We're just more getting acquainted with the mission, and, of course, different missionaries invite you in a Chinese meal [laughs]. I got a little bit acquainted. Norman Amos took me out to a Chinese restaurant, and we got used to some of things. Some of it...I had so much all at once that I got where I almost turned against it [laughs].

ERICKSEN: Had you had Chinese food in this country?

CROSSETT: No [laughs]. No...well, maybe once or so, but no. Only had a couple of Chinese students in the seminary. And I was (being on the missions committee there in the...in the seminary)...I was delegated to meet one these: Jonathan Shiu [?] from Nanking from the Quaker mission [clears throat]. And so we'd go out and have meals once in a while, but it was usually American meals rather than [laughs] Chinese meals. No, I didn't know much about Chinese beforehand.

ERICKSEN: Did you get the hang of using chopsticks fairly quickly?

CROSSETT: Well, I think so. The Chinese still say I don't know how to use them, but [laughs] I can...I can fill up with them anyway. Yes, I know the principle. Whether it works in my hands or not [laughs] is another thing. But it's...it's fairly simple when you know the principle.

ERICKSEN: What...what were your impressions of Shanghai?

CROSSETT: Well, I wasn't much impressed with the...with the whole country when we were going up the Huangpu. It was just flat on the sides and...and muddied river and everything. But in Shanghai, that's quite a...was quite a...quite a city. Sort of a modern city with big buildings and everything and a lot of foreigners. Of course, we were in the foreign area, not...I mean, the mission...the mission was. But all Chinese. I couldn't talk, I couldn't [laughs]...I had to be with fellow missionaries in order to get...get around, of course. And we were taken very good care of.

ERICKSEN: What sort of transportation were you using in Shanghai?

CROSSETT: In Shanghai, well, they have buses, they have rickshaws (that was before the days of the pedicab)...but the rickshaws, and walk, and buses, taxis...mostly buses. The rickshaw...I didn't try rickshaws very much. That was too new [laughs].

ERICKSEN: What...what do you recall of the...the mission headquarters? What was that like?

CROSSETT: Very well run. It was a big multi-story building. They built it themselves on this property. It's not the original, but it's...they built it there and that's...that's the only one I knew. They had a...a hospital there...at least for re...I think one whole floor was. And then, of course, they had room for multitude of guests - all kinds of guest rooms for people coming through. They'd entertain people from other missions too. We had a lot of associate missions then. TEAM [the Evangelical Alliance Mission] was one associate mission, and...and the Leibenzeller Mission, the Vandsburger Mission, and several...several missions we had. And that was that they could use our facilities, we would help them out to do...to...they took their own responsibility financially and so forth, and.... But we...we would be willing to transfer the money for them and we would able...willing to sort of meet them and...and put them up and see them on their way. And they had not only...not only did they have a hospital there, they had a [pauses]...these...these guest rooms. They had the big dining room where everybody ate. It was there if you was...was staying there. And they had a go-down where they had all the...you could...you could buy supplies there, foreign supplies that you couldn't buy on the...on the streets. And, of course, they did big business. They...a lot of the missionaries inland would buy there and have them sent in. They...they...they had mail-order...what you'd call a mail-order style. But you could go down and look and buy right there. And just taking care of all needs of the missionaries was.... Of course, they had their chapel. They had their meetings everyday, and...and...especially Friday night - a big testimony meeting and so forth for missionaries who were coming in. Very...of course, some of the missionaries being very zealous, they had Bible classes and so forth, so that....

ERICKSEN: For each other?

CROSSETT: Yeah, for each other. Well, some. [clears throat] Of course, there were some working in Shanghai and they would be working out...out in the community. But most of the Bible classes that I remember were for...for each other.

ERICKSEN: And how long were you there before you began your language studies?

CROSSETT: I was only there about a week. Then I went right up. I don't remember the details, but I went right up to...to Anqing where the language school.... All of the rest of the party from that year were there. All but Dick Hillis. He came in about a week or so after I did. He was in my party, too. (You know Dick Hillis, of course.) And [pauses]...so when the language school was over, the last two or three days, Mr. [George W.] Gibb, who was the assistant or he may have been the China director then.... (After...after Mr. Hoste gave up, then Mr. Gibb was appointed general director.) But [clears throat] he is the one that came up, and he made the designations as to just where we would go. He met with each one individually and talked it over with them, what their...had prayer with them and...and would ask them where they felt called and so forth, and then tell the...the decision of the...of the China Council and so forth. They tried to get people where they want to go, but, of course, they know the field and they know the requirements, they know what the needs are. And so sometimes you don't get what you think you're going to get. Like I told him...he said, "Where do you think you want to go?" I said, "I want to go to Tibet." He said, "Well, you've cooked your goose." [tape stopped and restarted] I...after I...after I was accepted by the mission I became engaged to Margaret, and she was in Anhui and been there for...she had been there ('29 to '34) for five years. He said, "We're not going to uproot her." So they [laughs] appointed me to Anhui, flat as everything. So...so that's where we worked for all but one year of our time in China.

ERICKSEN: Did you have any sense that that was coming or did...at...to that point did you expect you would be assigned to Tibet?

CROSSETT: No, I didn't know the mission well enough to know what...what it would be. But I was hoping that I could be sent...sent up...up there, but they said, "No, we're not going to uproot her." And...and [clears throat] the doctor...I had exams here in Wheaton when I....physical exams here in Wheaton because I was on the track team. I tried out for the track team, and I was encouraged to go ahead. But the doctor said, "If you stay on the track...." You know, he...he advised to get off the track. Coach said, "Go to another doctor." [laughs] And I didn't want to. And so he said, "If you go to Tibet, I'll give you ten years to live. You can't take that high altitude." I had rheumatic fever when I was in eight...when I was eight years old, and it left a scar, not a...not a hole but a scar. And he said, "I'll give you ten years to live if you go above ten thousand feet." So I wasn't too disappointed when they told me that I'd go on the plain. And I'm still here so....[laughs]

ERICKSEN: Yeah. What was it about Tibet that...that attracted you?

CROSSETT: The inaccessibility mainly. I think that was the main thing that attracted me up there. And the difficulty of the work and the inaccessibility. Of course, all the work had to be done from outside, from over the borders. We were doing it in...in Kansu, way in the northwest...the northeast border of Tibet, and then around Sichuan and...and south we were get...getting.... These...these caravans would come out and we'd just reach them in these...these big (what do you call them?) inns, hostels. When they came out, we'd reach them there so that literature was going in and the testimony was being given. But that's the way that our work was done, it's around the border. But it was inaccessibility. I had two places: either that or Afghanistan, and both of them were inaccessible. And I was...it was rec...suggested that I go to...through India up to the northwest frontier province and work Afghanistan from over the border. That closed tight. And so Tibet was my next.... This was when I was first in Westminster. And, of course, I was talking to Dr. Glover all the time, so he knew [laughs] what I was...what I was thinking, and...and.... But when I was appointed to Anhui, that just fit in just fine.

ERICKSEN: Just to pick...pick up on Afghanistan. Had you gone to Afghanistan, that would have been with another mission or...?

CROSSETT: Yes, then it would have been with another mission. It wouldn't have been with the....

ERICKSEN: Okay.

CROSSETT: ...OMF [Overseas Missionary Fellowship, the name China Inland Mission adopted in 1952] at all. So I was still...when I was...when I was a junior, when I was in my first year in seminary, I was still not certain as to what mission I would go in. [Coughs]

ERICKSEN: Was it primarily Mr. Gibb who made the decision of where you were going to go or did he confer with other...

CROSSETT: Oh, he conferred...

ERICKSEN: ...mission leaders

CROSSETT: ...with the...with the China Council, yes. See, they had all the information about us, both from...from here right from the beginning. [brushes microphone] He had all the information, and he knew, too, my experience there in...in the language school and well, he knew the whole thing. And so that he was...he made it in consultation and with...with the China Council. So that it wasn't just a one man thing, it was a decision of a.... And we were given to understand that when we were members of the mission our leading often comes through the mission. The mission fields, if that's where we should go, that should be the leading of the Lord. And I was very happy to fit in with that.

ERICKSEN: Why was that?

CROSSETT: Well, I joined the mission and I was in sympathy with them and I felt that...that they knew the field, they knew the needs, they knew everything better than I did, and they could know where I would be most effective. And of course, they knew Margaret. She'd finished her language studies and she was [clears throat] deep into the work already. And they weren't gonna dis.... But she was the first one.... See, in 1929 they sent out a call for two hundred missionaries in two years. She was the first one of those two hundred. And they were to do pioneer work. Not...not institutional work and...but to go right out and do pioneer work. And since I married her, where she went I went [laughs], and so they sent us into Hoqiu in Anhui where there had...there were no Christians at all, just...it's really pioneer work. And that's where we spent much of our time, was right.... Well, we spent all of our time right around there in a radius of sixty...sixty odd miles, except the year we were out west at the end of the war and so forth, but.... [clears throat] That...we...we opened up the work in Hoqiu, and the work was very flourishing. It was very very good [laughs]. We say there are no Christians there and that we're doing pioneer work. There were churches in the counties around. See, Hoqiu County.... Hsien means "county" and the name of the city was the same name: Hoqiu. And then the county, it had three [clears throat] (what is it?)...three hundred thousand people in the county. And we were to work that. But in the counties around there were strong churches so that that influence had come in. So we can't claim the results ourselves [laughs]. It's through...it's through these others' influence. But we did open up the work there and founded the church, and they.... It wasn't too long until they had five branch churches, and it really...it was flourishing. Well, so were these around, too. Up in Fowyang. You know Bert Kane from...Dr. J. Herbert Kane?

ERICKSEN: From Trinity.

CROSSETT: Trinity. Well, we were working together there. He was up in Fowyang, and they had over two hundred out-stations and they were adding them at the rate of twelve a year. And we were all sort of in the...in the skirts...outskirts of that whole sort of mass movement there. So it was really the Lord's work right from the beginning. And then when Bert came home, I took over there for another year or so before I came out. And when we went back after...after that furlough, we were sent up there. We...we worked that area for a while. Then we went back to Zhengyangguang. [clears throat]

ERICKSEN: I'd like to go back, if we can, to language school and talk about that just a little.

CROSSETT: [laughs] We're getting you all off the track here.

ERICKSEN: Well, that's...there're lots of tracks. You...you went to Anqing...

CROSSETT: Yes. Yeah, yeah.

ERICKSEN: ...for your language training. And I think you said earlier you were there eight months?

CROSSETT: No, I was there.... The term is six to eight months, but I got out late. The end...it ended at the same time whenever you got there, and I only had three months there. I was designated in April. The...the...it closed in Ap...I mean, that term closed in April. So I only had three months. And I had to...I had to do the rest of my study on the station where I was working, hire a teacher, and sort of direct my own.... Well, first it was under the senior missionary. Elden Whipple was my senior missionary. (Don't know whether you know him or not. You...you will be if you get too many OMFers coming here, you'll know him. He's made quite a place for himself.) But anyway, he was my senior missionary, and he was the one who hired the...the worker...hired the...the teacher. And then I was.... When he went away for the summer to be with his wife who was under medical care down at the coast, I was sent to Lu'an where Mr. Costerus (a fellow from Holland [coughs], Netherlands) there, and I was studying under him. Not under him, but he was the one that saw I got a teacher and so forth. So most of my study was in the station with a private teacher.

ERICKSEN: How did you find that worked out for you?

CROSSETT: Well, the person I am, I think it would have been far better to have a definitely orchestrated course so I knew where I was going and not set the course myself. Now, of course, they do have a very...very well-planned course, and...and even when you're on your own, it's...it's pretty well lined up for you. But then, you...you used your own initiative, and you got what out of the teacher what you...what you thought you could. [coughs] Some people would get a lot more and others wouldn't because the teacher is just called off the street and not...not experienced with foreigners. Well, they were...they were, I wouldn't say scholars, but they were educated people, of course. But you have to know how to draw out from them what you want, and I didn't know too much just how to do that. So I feel that my...although I...I passed the.... See, you're supposed to take six examinations. The course was broken up in six examinations. The fastest you could take an examination was six months. Usually it took a year or more.

ERICKSEN: For each one? [train passes in background]

CROSSETT: For each one. And then if.... They...they feel that if you take an examination every six months, get through in three years, there's something lacking. You've got the sort of a theoretic knowledge, but you just haven't been able to get the whole thing together. So they encourage a little longer time. [Coughs] But after five years, at the end of my first term.... See, we had to stay out fifteen years between us, and Margaret had gone out five before...before I mean...she had nearly five years before I went out. So she'd take another five and I'd take five, that made fifteen altogether. So she had...her first term was almost...was nine, ten years. And...and at the end of the year, of the five years before I came on furlough, I had passed the six examinations. So I qualified to become a senior missionary. After two years and you pass two examinations, I think, they will consider your...you and...and pronounce you a junior missionary. And then it takes at least three more years to...to...to...before they really consider you as...for...for the senior missionary. But I passed the six examinations in five years and...and I became a senior missionary.

ERICKSEN: Now that you bring that up, what is...are there any other differences between a junior and a senior missionary other than just length of service?

CROSSETT: What usually (this is ideally)...usually a senior missionary is qualified to be in charge of a station. A junior missionary theoretically should be under the tutelage of a senior missionary and the guidance and so forth. And so that's theoretically, but often they don't have the senior missionaries or the senior missionaries are not qualified. I mean, some people can...can guide younger ones and some people are just out for the work and they...they...they're not for...not so good. So that many junior missionaries are actually sent in to stations, and...and take charge because...just because of necessity. And they get a lot of [laughs] experience... train...training by experience [laughs], but.... Now theoretically, it's nice to have a...to be stationed under a senior missionary so that you get his experience as...as you're learning not only the language but learning the work, getting.... See, after two years you pass two exams, they try to put you more and more into the work so that you're not one hundred percent studying the language, but you're also getting into the work. And when you get up four years or more then you're getting almost entirely in the work and...and less language study. Of course, language study never stops. You have to study that. You have to form...I mean if you're going to really keep up your good...be a good missionary you have to keep up your study...your language study right to the...as long as you're there. Even those that speak like Chinese they.... It...it's after all a second language [laughs], and Chinese is not one of the ea...easiest languages. Although Mandarin is probably the easiest of the Chinese dialects.

ERICKSEN: Is that what you learned?

CROSSETT: Yes. That's what...that was the official language of the whole country. But you had to learn the dialect in which you worked, and we were in north Anhui and that was considered to be Pekinese. The Pekinese was the standard Mandarin. [clears throat] However, Pekinese Mandarin differs in [laughs] different parts of the country and each part says this is pure Mandarin so....[laughs] Just like over here [in North America] we speak the true English.

ERICKSEN: Right. So did you need...did you need to learn the other Mandarin?

CROSSETT: Well, we were sent into...into north Anhui and I was to get the tones and the inflections and everything of the language of that area...the Mandarin of that particular area. It could be understood wherever Mandarin could be understood, but it did have its peculiarity. It was the Anhui...Anhui peculiarities. Of course you have a lot of tuha [?], the colloquial that sort of mixed it up. For instance, Margaret was in the station and they...they were all scholars, they were all educated. They had these poles out in front saying that they had passed this "forest of penchil...pencils examination." And, yet, you get into the country, there's one dialect outside the east gate, one outside the west, one outside the north, one outside the south and they couldn't understand each other. But Mandarin, of course, was the common language, so that that, I think, is an exception to have so close five dialects [laughs] right so close together. But it was...it differs. If you know Mandarin you can get around pretty well except in the south where...yeah, you can...you can even in the south.

ERICKSEN: Going back to the junior...or senior missionary-junior missionary arrangement: you were under Mr. Whipple at the start.

CROSSETT: Yeah.

ERICKSEN: Did the ideal work out in your situation? Were you under a...a senior missionary the whole time that you were a junior?

CROSSETT: No. I was.... Well, yes, I was. First, it was Mr. Whipple for about two, three months, then he had [to go] away. Then I was under Mr. Costerus, and then I...that was at the end of the first year. And I was in China one year and five days when I got married. Then I was under my wife, and she was a senior missionary [laughs]. And we were stationed at Zhengyangguang, the station just where the two of us were. We were there only as passing through. We were the ones who were supposed to go to Hoqiu, where we were... this pioneer work was. But it took us [brushes against microphone] over a year to get a place over there. So it....

ERICKSEN: So you stayed.

CROSSETT: ...we worked in Zhengyangguang for a year. And then finally we got rented premises from a...from a Mohammedan. It was originally a mosque, so it had the backdoor and everything, you know, where Jesus escaped when he [laughs].... The Muhammadans say that he didn't actually die, but he escaped out the backdoor and somebody else died [laughs]. Anyway, that's...this had the backdoor.

ERICKSEN: He escaped out...outside the backdoor of...?

CROSSETT: I don't know. Anyway, he escaped. No, I don't know the details of that, but there's [pauses]...it was.... Every mosque has a backdoor, and it is that door through which the...the...the Lord escaped instead of...instead of really being...really dying. No, I don't know Mohammedanism enough to....

ERICKSEN: No.

CROSSETT: But although there are a lot of Muhammadans out in that section. We didn't work with them much. Well, we did just as the...as the general public.

ERICKSEN: Now you...you said (it sounded rather joking) that you were the junior missionary under your wife. Was that really the arrangement?

CROSSETT: I don't...I think the missions sort of considered it that, but I don't think that they appointed that, no. I don't think they did the appointment of that, but they recognized that she was experienced and I wasn't and that took care of the need for an experienced worker. It wasn't an official appointment, I d...no. [Coughs] But it was under Eldon Whipple, and then a temporary thing which was...took up most of the year under [laughs] Mr. Costerus. But Eldon Whipple was my senior missionary in absentia [laughs]. And of course, it was too dangerous down there to leave a junior missionary by himself. Soon as I got to the station (Eldon took me in from Nanking)...soon as I got to the station, he said, "You get your attache case. Pack up the important things that you...that you want...will need. We may have to flee in the middle of the night sometime. The communists are only thirty miles away...thirty li...thirty...yeah, thirty miles. They can have a forced drive and be in here before daylight in the morning, and just take the city before we...before we know about it. But have your important things packed up so that you can take them." We had a ladder to get over the back wall of the compound. And then we get to the city wall, get over that, swim the moat, and...and get away from them so we won't be taken by the communists. We had people taken and we had people killed by the Communists those...those days. Well, the Stams {John and Betty, see Collection 449]. The Stams were killed that very year in December. That was thirty...they were killed in '34, December '34. (You know John and Betty Stam.) We were married in January in '30...in '35, so that they were very active around there, and...and we were.... Eldon just said, "You just be ready to flee at any time. We'll...we'll get out and go through the country and avoid them if possible." [laughs]

ERICKSEN: What sort of things did you put in your briefcase?

CROSSETT: Well, my passport and [pauses], oh, I think I put in a study book or so, but.... Then, of course, a minimum of...of...a change a clothes, I think. Something like that. I don't remember the...all that I put in [laughs]. That's over fifty years ago. I've sort of forgotten. [laughs] But anyway, we were...we were ready to go, and we never had to go. But every time we went out, we had to...we had to find out where the disturbance was. Where are the bandits? Where the Communists? Where are the Japanese? (This is after '37.) Where are the Communists? And then we'd pick a way in between [laughs] when we went to the country. [clears throat]

ERICKSEN: You mentioned before that Mr. Whipple had made quite a place for himself in the mission. What can you tell me about him?

CROSSETT: Well, his whole family were missionary-minded. His sister married Nathan Walton, who were very well appreciated and well liked missionaries in the mission. He was (I've forgotten what position he had)...he was in...he was a local secretary for the whole of the province when we were there. We were...we had conference down in...in Wuhu. That's the town we were going to be married in. We had to change to Nanking because of the Stams. But he was sort of...sort of under the superintendent. He was the one in charge. [clears throat] And...and that was Nathan Walton. No, that wasn't Eldon. But Eldon was known as a...well, he was a very good conference speaker. [train passes in background] And he became...he was in charge of the whole candidate program in Philadelphia for some time. He was home. His wife died, and he was...he was home for some time and he was in charge of the candidate program in Philadelphia for...for some time. And they have a campgrounds (What's the name of that out in...out in Oregon, Washington?)...where the mission has conferences every year up there, prayer conferences and so forth. And he and his family were in charge of that for...they still...I think they have still big interest in it yet. Although he is [clears throat] largely retired and...and not too active anymore, but he's...he's one who is known by the members of the mission and a good speaker and good [clears throat] people...just considered him as one of the leaders.

ERICKSEN: How did you find working under him?

CROSSETT: Fine. He was very understanding, very sympathetic. And I didn't try to test him to see how much of a disciplinarian he was. I wasn't willing...I wasn't ready to [laughs] kick the traces and go out. I wanted to do what he...he suggested. And I was very...it was very good. He was very...very fine.

ERICKSEN: Had you heard that he was a disciplinarian?

CROSSETT: No. No, I did not. No. No, no, he was just the opposite, I think.

ERICKSEN: What...what did you begin doing as soon as you arrived at the station there [unclear]?

CROSSETT: At the station it was just language study. I just had language study. Then he would go out in the country some time to have meetings [clears throat], evangelistic meetings. And I'd go with him. Of course, I couldn't talk or anything, but go with him. And then every week we covered the town with tracts. We went into every store and.... Of course, stores are just side-by-side all along the side of the main street. We went into every store and we tried to give a testimony there, and we'd.... It was sort of progressive series of tracts giving the very basics of Christianity. And we did that every week and, of course, periodically out in the country. We never could hold evening meetings because of the bandits and the...the disturbance there. Everything had to be in the daylight and everything had to be closed up by...by dark at least. So it was...and this was in the foothills of the [clears throat] mountains that.... Liuan was the town way up in the...way up in the mountains. Liuan. And this was down not too far from the base of Liuan. [clears throat] And the communists headquarters was in Liuan. So we were getting pretty close to.... Let me see. Was...was it there? No, it wasn't there at that time. It was a little bit farther away. But [pauses] I don't remember my geography that well because the communists were thirty miles away. [pauses, opens map, possibly from Collection 234, OS 20] Nanking. Yangtze. Lusian [Lujiang in current spelling?]. Shucheng, oh, Shucheng, Kwang...no, that's Chao Xian. Chao Xian is not Shucheng. Chao Xian. What is this? I can't read that...that name. But that is....

ERICKSEN: Hwoshanhsien [Huoshan current spelling].

CROSSETT: What?

ERICKSEN: Looks like Hwoshanhsien or....

CROSSETT: Hwoshanhsien. That's where Eldon and I were stationed. That's where I was stationed first when I went in there. Yeah, that's...that's it. It's...and...and then...yeah, Shucheng, this is straight west of...of Shuchenghsien. Then Shun...Lu'an. Well, that's where I was stationed with the...with the Costeruses. Luchow [perhaps currently Hefei]. Is that...what is that? Zhengyangguang?

ERICKSEN: Yeah, I'll take your...I.... That...that's what it...like...more or less looks like. Your Chinese pronunciation is....

CROSSETT: Zhengyangguang. That is where we were stationed when we were first married. And we were supposed to go over into Huoshan, which is twenty miles over here in the...by the border just...just over near twenty miles over from Zhengyangguang. And Kwangchow. Anyway, Zhengyangguang is where we stationed and it had all those riv...they say forty-two rivers came in here, that meant all the tributaries up here, and then it went right down to...to Fengyang to Huaiyuan...to Huaiyuan. That's where we cau...caught the train to take it down...down to...into...into...through Nanking into Shanghai. But that's...that's the station where we were and then...then we were apportioned over here to this...this pioneer station right over here. It's...this is...I think this is a river running here and we were just ten miles south of the river right in here. But Huoshan...Huoshan is...Hwoshanhsien, that's where Eldon [brushes against microphone, perhaps rolling or folding the map] and I were, where I was stationed [unclear, clears throat].

ERICKSEN: Okay. Then he went on...on his...?

CROSSETT: Well, he went to the coast to be with his wife who wasn't well, and then he stayed down there several months. So I was with the Costeruses then until...until...until I got married.

ERICKSEN: Now how were...when had you and Margaret become engaged?

CROSSETT: When I was accepted by the mission. We knew each other. We met the first day we came to Wheaton in the Baptist prayer meeting [laughs]. And there was an interest there, and...and when she went to China in '29 there were...were attractions but nothing that was really that serious by any means. But toward the end of seminary, it became a little more...a little more (should I say?) personal...a little more serious. But we held off making any...and I...I.... There was no definite agreement between us. We held off making any definite agreement until I was definitely accepted by the mission because if we were engaged and broke it off, well that is...a broken engagement in China is the same as a divorce. She would have had to come home from the mission from...from the field. And so we deliberately postponed, even though we were thinking more and more that probably it will [coughs] develop. And then when I was accepted, then we were officially engaged. And [pauses] we...I hadn't seen her for four years [laughs] or so, but she came down to Wuhu when I went out and we had a few days there before...before I went into the language school. So....

ERICKSEN: And then when...when you were stationed in Huoshan did you see much of each other during that time prior to the...to the wedding?

CROSSETT: No. That...her station, Shucheng, was on the way from Anqing, the language school, into the station, and we did pass through there and spend a night there in the out buildings. And [coughs] then there was only one time be...between that and the time we were married when...that I saw her. And that was.... [pauses] No, it wasn't either. I was going to say it was when her father died, but her father...I think we were married.... No we weren't. When her father died I went down to Anqing, I think, and she went through Anqing on down to Kuling where...where he was and where he was buried. We saw each other, I think, twice between the time I got there until the time we were married. Then, of course, we went down to Nanking together a few days before the wedding when we had to change our plans and not be married in Wu...[coughs] Wuhu because of the Stams' murder. The...our friends in the...in the Quakeridge...in the...in the Friends Mission invited us to have our wedding in their home. So we made plans, and then we went down a few days before the wedding and were in their home until...until the wedding. It was very good...very.... The...the Matty were very, very.... We knew them, but we weren't that close to them particularly. But Rachel Mostrum was a very close friend of ours and she was in the Friends Mission. [clears throat, intermittent squealing of tape recorder begins] She was in the Friends Mission. And...and they altogether invited us down there - Mr. and Mrs. Matty and then Rachel Mostrum, who later became Mrs...Mrs. Chapel, but they were married when they were sixty or so forth, so that....[laughs, recorder stopped and restarted]

ERICKSEN: I think when we in this country think about preparing for a wedding we think of all the arrangements that need to be made and I wonder how you made all the arrangements being in different places?

CROSSETT: Well, it was mostly by a correspondence with the Mattys, and most of the arrangements were made after we got to...to Nanking the...a few days beforehand. We were there a week or so beforehand, and...(maybe ten days, I'm not sure just when we went down) [clears throat], but most of the arrangements were made then: the arrangements for the flowers, have her dress made and so forth. Everything was done after we got there. Of course the Mattys and the...and Rachel Chapel, they helped out a lot, too. Everybody sort of pitched in and helped out. It was an interesting thing. Margaret will tell you about her floral arrangement when you...when she [laughs]...if you ask her about [laughs] that when she tells you about the wedding. It was...it was really hectic, but it was a lovely wedding. We had seventeen people. We went to Nanking because we wanted to get an official...official document that said we were married. We could've been married right in the...according to United States policy, United States law, we could be married just under the laws of the country we were living in, but we'd have had nothing official to show it. And so we contacted the consul, and a member from the consulate was at the wedding and signed the wedding certificate and so forth. So that's what we...why we went down there. All of the churches, two or three churches inland wanted us to be married there. They just wanted to [laughs] get in on the...on all the...all the fun. But we decided to go down, and it was a very quiet wedding [tape recorder squeals intermittently], seventeen people there. And then we.... Actually, we were [laughs]...smart as I am, instead of getting a taxi, we walked away from the wedding [laughs]and they threw rice at us while we were walking [laughs]. Then we went to Ea...to Westlake. That's one of the scenic spots of...of China. We went down to Westlake, stayed in a tiny hotel for...for a week. But it was...oh, it was...it was wonderful [laughs]. And lakes, you had....oh, it...it was really a historic place, a very beautiful place. And you could get your own boat, you know. We tried to get a boat by ourselves, but instead of...instead of doing that, the boatman thought we wanted two...two oarsmen. So he got somebody else to tie up his boat, and he got [laughs].... He wasn't going to let his boat go out. But it was really, really fun. We had some real experiences there. It was really lovely place to have a honeymoon. [laughs]

END OF TAPE


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© 2016 Wheaton College. All rights reserved. This transcript may be reused with the following publication credit: Used by permission of the Billy Graham Center Archives, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.2005