1983:  Journal Français d’Amérique from San Francisco, California USA

Thirty-one (31) years ago, I began to write letters in French and English to a pen pal writer who wanted to correspond while he was stationed aboard the USS Platte, an oil-refueling ship based in Norfolk, Virginia.  Nathan Scott Wittler had placed an Advertising Notice for a Pen Pal in the Journal Français d’Amérique, for a correspondent who would write to him regularly in French and English while he was commissioned aboard the USS Platte travelling around the world for the U.S. Navy military.  In March 1983, I began to write to Nathan S. Wittler as a Pen Pal Correspondent in French and English who subscribed to the Journal Français d’Amérique published from San Francisco, California in the United States of America.

During Winter 1983, I was still subscribing weekly to the Journal Français d’Amérique from San Francisco, California, while I worked teaching French and Spanish at Holy Cross School, a Christian Brothers Catholic School For Boys in River Grove, now known as Guerin College Prep, a Catholic Institution in Illinois, USA.  I had already moved out to have my own studio apartment on the second floor at 4109 North Sacramento, where my Father, Mr. Roberto Hung J.D., lived upstairs as a tenant in the building complex owned by Mrs. A.C. Nylen, at the corner of Belle Plaine Avenue and North Sacramento, near Irving Park Road, on the northwest side of Chicago in Illinois.  My Grandmother Gertrudis, a senior retired citizen who moved to Miami, Calle Ocho in the Little Havana neighborhood, suggested that I keep her apartment near my Father, who lived upstairs, on the third floor, after I completed five (5) years of college education at Northeastern Illinois University.  I started my first teaching job at Holy Cross High School for Boys because Elaine, a Dominican Spanish teacher from Santo Domingo, was expecting her first baby and requested Maternity leave during her pregnancy.  So, I was substituting for Elaine as a full-time French and Spanish high school teacher at Holy Cross High School for Boys in River Grove, Illinois USA.

In December 1982, I had just graduated with High Honors from Northeastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education to teach French, Spanish, English, Communications, and Linguistics, with a minor in Performing Arts which included Dance, Music, Voice, and Classical Guitar.  I had been involved in the French Honor Society with Professor Dorette Klein, and the Spanish Honor Society with Dr. Angelina Pedroso, Ph.D. in the Foreign Languages Department with Dr. Bruno Galassi, Ph.D., Head of the Department where Flora Llacuna worked as a secretary during the 1980s.

Since reading in French was important to keep up with current events, cultural news, and world issues, I subscribed regularly to the Journal Français d’Amérique and other periodicals and newspapers.

In the Summer of 1982, I had been studying Canadian French at Laval University in the Ville de Québec, not far from Montréal in the province of Québec, Canada during June, July, and mid-August 1982.  Afterwards, I upgraded my round-trip return ticket on Air Canada, to travel to Calgary in Alberta, Canada upon invitation from a college schoolmate.

During the Fall of 1982, I began my Student Teaching at Lincoln Park High School and Grammar School with Mrs. Maureen Dolan and Mrs. Maureen Breen in French, and Dr. Manuel Verdugo, Ph.D. in Spanish.

Fortunately, I completed all my College Graduation requirements with High Honors at Northeastern Illinois University in December 1982.  Then I applied for a full-time job to teach French and Spanish at Holy Cross High School for Boys, managed by the Christian Brothers in River Grove, Illinois USA.

While I was reading the Journal Français d’Amérique, one day in the Spring of 1983, I found an Advertising Notice for a Pen Pal French Writer from Nathan Scott Wittler who was a military recruit, commissioned Postal Clerk aboard the USS Platte based in Norfolk, Virginia.  Nathan S. Wittler wanted to correspond in French and English while he was traveling aboard the USS Platte.  So, I replied with a letter in English and French to correspond in both languages in response to the Journal Français d’Amérique advertising notice.  I started pen pal letters to Nathan S. Wittler and mailing once a month, while he was aboard the USS Platte.  Then, Nathan S. Wittler asked to exchange telephone numbers to call once in a while, when he was on leave an off-duty from the USS Platte in Norfolk, Virginia.  During his vacation, Nathan requested to visit Chicago where he had travelled before with his parents, Reverend Melvin A. Wittler and Mrs. Nancy Wittler Patriquin, when the family was on furlough, as Christian missionaries for the World Council of Churches in Turkey and the Middle East.

In my letters to Nathan Scott Wittler, I had written about my work as a Multi-lingual Medical Travel Insurance Customer Service Representative for the Groupe Européen S.A. GESA Assistance based in Brussels, Belgium, Paris, France, London, England, Canada, Chicago, USA, North America, the Caribbean, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mexico, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

After Nathan S. Wittler was discharged from his military service and duties aboard the USS Platte based in Norfolk, Virginia in the Summer of 1986 during the U.S. Bicentennial Anniversary in New York, he invited me to visit his parents Reverend Melvin A. Wittler and Mrs. Nancy Wittler Patriquin who were Christian missionaries living in Istanbul, Turkey.

Upon returning from the Wittlers Family Reunion, Nathan S. Wittler returned to Chicago with me to settle down in the Midwest.  I helped Nathan S. Wittler to resume his civilian life in Chicago, Illinois where I recommended him for full-time work at GESA Assistance Premier Travel Insurance Company which was located at 150 S. Wacker Drive across from the Sears Tower.