Richard H Chiu Biography

Chapter 6 East Again

The house in Arlington had been rented out, and an apartment in Takoma Park, Maryland, not far from the building where Richard would be working seemed the best place to settle the family for a little while. With three children and another on the way, the two bedroom house in Arlington would be inadequate. Richard sold the house to the next door neighbor and purchased a house in Falls Church, Virginia where the family moved not long before Pat gave birth to Patricia Fei-yun Chiu (Tisha)
on June 30, 1970.

Richard had a very nice camera, a Canon that he loved.  He was fascinated with technology but did not like to spend money on film and developing. Pat bought a Polaroid camera and Richard took this picture in the spring
of 1971 during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Pat is holding
her baby Tisha in one arm and Nancy, Meg and David are with them.

Not long after moving to Virginia Richard moved to a job with the David Taylor Model Basin, a Naval research facility just outside the belt-way on the side of the western arm of the Potomac. In this overhead view you can see the long building where hulls were tested.

Although he traveled now and then, sometimes as a recruiter of engineers for the civilian support of the Navy, his career was relatively stable. Family vacations were usually associated with some project he had arranged to perform in the western part of the U.S.
One of Richard’s first acquisitions after he purchased the house in Falls Church was a radial arm saw that would allow him to make virtually any
cut he wanted in wood, as long as it was not some form of arc. He had a
vision of what the small house could become and over the next few years,
as two more children were born, he expanded the house to almost double its original size.

Here you can see various family members peeking from the windows of
the new addition. Tisha is next to Nancy on the left with David standing behind Richard on the right of them. Last is Meg with the baby, Maryjane.

Not long after the first part of the remodeling job was finished, Richard’s parents came from China. Richard hoped to build a family business with his father’s help, but Ho-yee was confused about the motives of his son, and worried about the level of his temper. Before long they returned to China.

The first time Richard decided to stay by Pat’s side while she gave birth was with the appearance of their fifth living child, a son, in September of 1972. Much to Richard’s delight and his wife’s surprise, the tiny infant smiled at his father, revealing a deep dimple in his cheek
when he was only minutes old. Richard decided that the child showed unusual aptness and decided that this, his second son, would be given
his own chosen name, Richard.

A stone eagle provides a perch for ‘little Richard’ while Nancy, Tisha, Meg and David look on.

Richard was doing well in his career and the family was generally healthy, but Richard seemed unhappy with his life and looked for another challenge. There were problems between him and his wife that they had tried to work on over the years. He was a scientist, she was an artist. When he became frustrated, he became overtly angry and sometimes abusive. When she
became frustrated she retreated into reading and overeating. She was a poor housekeeper, a situation exacerbated by many children and a construction project in the living space. In Chinese astrology, they were antagonistic signs.
Before he had finished working on the house on Johnson Road, Richard looked around to find another house in which he could invest his money and his labor. He found a little house on 3/4 of an acre on Arnold Lane near the border of Annandale and Falls Church only a couple of miles from Johnson Road and purchased it.
He was seldom home in the months that followed. He would
come home from work, change into his work clothes, and go over to
Arnold Lane where he was constructing an ambitious addition. Pat was
reluctant to root up the family and move, but the next child born to her
eventually changed her mind.

Maryjane was born in January of 1975. Although this new-born picture shows her with her eyes closed, from the beginning she was an active, curious little girl with her eyes wide open to the world. When she learned to walk she loved to find her way out of the house, an easy task with so many older brothers and sisters to leave doors ajar.
Once outside, she would hurry to the street and stand in front of one of the many passing cars. Johnson Road was a busy, narrow street with many cars parked along the sides. It was this that caused Pat to relent and agree to move to the unfinished house on Arnold Lane.

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