Today, I’m sharing a story sent by Eugene Souder to the comments section of my Amish seagoing cowboy post of two weeks ago. It’s just too good to get buried there. I’m illustrating it with photos Souder has shared with me in the past. He writes:
I too had a great time with Harvey Schrock, an Amish youth of near Waynesboro, VA. We were on the S. S. Boulder Victory that went to Chinwangtao in North China and were there in April, 1947. I got better acquainted with him when most of our cowboys were at the train station waiting for the northbound train to take us to the Great Wall located only 10 miles north. But we were informed that the train would not arrive on schedule because the Communists had attacked the train track. Four of us cowboys stayed at the station and found out a southbound train would arrive in about an hour. We decided to take that train to Tientsin, about 100 miles south to see more of the China countryside from the view of the train. Harvey Schrock was one of the four.
We stayed at a YMCA overnight and decided in the morning we needed to get back to our ship since we did not know when it would return to America. But on the trip back we also knew we would never get closer to the Great Wall and decided to chance it. We stayed on the train to the Great Wall. Mission Accomplished!
We walked on the wall for about 15 minutes and again decided we better get back to the Boulder Victory. So we walked the 10 miles using the train tracks as our guide. We were warned not to walk on the tracks since we might be taken as enemy and potentially shot. We finally arrived to where our ship had been docked and a Swedish liner was in its place. We didn’t know what to do. That ship thought our ship headed back to America. We found a customs house and asked there. After a long telephone conversation he said, “You boys are lucky. The ship is in harbor and the coolies are unloading manure. You can get on the Fu Ping, a tug boat that will pick up the coolies at 5 a.m.”
It was now about 11 p.m. After a restless sleep on the benches of the tug boat we arrived back on the Boulder Victory and were soon resting in our cots. But that didn’t last long. The other cowboys who didn’t get to the Great Wall were ticked off that we got to do something they did not and soon had us up working, washing down the decks. Thankfully we were bound for America.
Harvey Schrock and I decided to hitchhike from San Francisco to Virginia, but decided not to travel together since we figured we would be picked up better if we were alone. We did, however, in Salt Lake City. I was about a half day ahead of him, and I said to be sure to pick me up if he got a good ride. That day in the desert it was hard traveling and sure enough he did spot me and stopped. The driver was heading to Detroit, and he took me to Goshen, Indiana, where I wanted to make a visit.
Amishman Harvey Schrock later became Mennonite and became business manager of Eastern Mennonite College. He later became a pastor in Pennsylvania and some years ago went to his heavenly home. What a great journey with a dear Amish young man.
~Eugene Souder, reporting on his 3rd cattle boat trip. First to Poland, next to Greece, and last to China.