Nine years ago reporter Amy Lennard was a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in Chonju, South Korea. Last week she was able to draw on her experiences as she checked the facts in our story (page 60) on the country's preparations for the 1988 Summer Olympics.
Lennard first learned to adapt to a foreign culture at age six, when her family moved from her native Brooklyn to Newton, Mass., where she thought long and hard and switched her allegiance to the Red Sox.
After graduating from Colgate in 1974 she joined the Peace Corps. "It was '60s idealism, the Kennedys, that whole feeling," she says.
In her second autumn in Korea came the Red Sox' memorable World Series with the Reds. Lennard listened to the games on Armed Forces Radio. But on the day of the seventh game she had to take a bus to a town an hour away to judge an essay contest. She was listening to the game on her transistor as she boarded the bus. "I knew I'd lose reception in the mountains," Lennard says, "but I had to get on the bus." When she regained the signal, she heard only the final out and the score: Reds 4, Sox 3. "I was heartbroken, but I wrote them an aerogram, 'On behalf of all the Red Sox fans in Chonju, congratulations.' "
Lennard's tour ended in 1976, but after five months she returned to Korea and taught in a high school equivalency program at a U.S. Army base for four months. She spent another year teaching English in Barcelona, then returned to the U.S. in 1978 and worked as a reporter and ad copywriter in the New York office of The Korea Herald, an English-language 'daily based in Seoul. In 1981 she moved to a promotions and reporting job at Sports Phone, then joined our staff this past September.
As for Korea, "I've got nothing but kind memories. It's a rugged country. In a way it's like Brooklyn—it has its rough edges, but in the end the rough edges can be what you grow to love the most."