Theodore Hard and Grace Hard in 1954 with Sterling, the oldest, Rodney, and baby Gwendolyn, who was born three weeks after we arrived in Korea.

Rodney, Rev. Theodore Hard, Sterling, Grace, and baby Gwendolyn during daily devotions, studying the Bible and praying.

Sterling             Grace                        Theodore             Rodney

    Gwendolyn                 Gregory                                Nelson

                                 The Hard family in 1959

Sterling                        Gwendolyn                              Rodney

            Nelson      Grace           Theodore      Greg

Sterling                           Gwendolyn                              Rodney
      Greg                  Grace               Theodore          Nelson

         Nelson                 Gwendolyn ("Wendy")            Gregory

​                          Nelson and Gregory Hard

ACID SPLASH - "We looked on in horror as the poor old man writhed in pain, rolling around in the water. "

ALASKAN GOLD - "I could sense the anticipation building as the picking and hammering increased into a frenzy with hushed voices not being able to hide their excitement."

ANGELIC PROTECTION - "The thousands of gallons of backed up sewage water was released in a torrential gushing wall of water that could have killed anyone who had remained below."

ARRIVAL IN KOREA - "It was in this kind of neighborhood that our children grew up, playing with Korean children in and out of our yard, in nearby streets and alleys, or on the upper slopes of our Heavenly Horse Mountain! "

AVRIL LEGG - "Three long seconds later, we heard a 'splush' as she slid into the bloated dog.  Then came the most blood curdling screams we had ever heard."

BEGGARS - "The older young men could get pretty aggressive if they thought they weren’t getting their fair share.  It got a little dicey a few times."

BOULDER OF DOOM - "Our hearts were pounding and our mischievous little brains did not want to deal with the fact that we had gone too far."

CORPSE'S ARM - "Sterling looked down at what was in his hand and up to where it came from, his face changed to an expression of sheer horror and disgust."

CRAB APPLE WARS - "My brain was racing with a string of lame apologies I would try, but I was more afraid of the whipping I would get from my parents when they found out."

DEAD BABY - "Then one of them kicked the baby back down into the ditch.  It landed in the sewer splashing Sterling all over with raw sewage."

FEEL YOUR PEPPER - "The Korean embassy was called, and ..... had to do a lot of explaining ...... before charges were dropped and the police let the tourist free."

FUEL PUMP MOM - "There is no problem.  It is just that my fuel pump is tired and she needs to rest a bit."

GOOD SPANKING - "Frustration mounted as my siblings were sent out to find me and returned empty handed."

HARDY WOMEN - "When breakfast was ready several hours later, the man of the house would eat first.  When he was finished and went off to work, the wife and kids would eat what was left over."

HIGH SCHOOL PRANK - "The girls woke up when they heard the mice splattering against their windows."

HIT AND RUN - "The verbal posturing had gone too far and it was time for us to leave.  Suddenly, the hoodlum let out an "OOF" sound as he doubled over and sunk to his knees."

HONEY BUCKETS - "Every several months, what we called the "Honey Bucket Brigade" showed up to dip out the human waste out of our outhouse.  The interesting thing was that they did not charge us for the service.  They would actually pay us for the night soil."

JAPAN VACATION - "I guess Dad relied on the Christian forgiveness thing and let bygones be bygones.  But, I figured that the Japanese Ninja retribution thing may trump the Christian forgiveness thing in this situation."

KITE BATTLES - "Within seconds, my pride turned to shock as our kite went flipping and flopping out of control down the mountain side."

KOREAN CUSTOMS - "It was polite to burp after a meal because this was telling the host that you enjoyed the food."

LANGUAGE CHALLENGES - "Now she was getting worried as she did not know this young man's intentions."

LATE TO CHURCH - "Sterling and I got out of the car and, with water up to our chests, tried to push the vehicle while Dad pushed and steered from the driver's side of the car."

LOST DOG - "Yes, as a "stray" dog, he was fair game for someone's dinner table.  This was post-war Korea and people were hungry."

MONKEY BUSINESS - "I caught him on the upper roof.  He bit me and we fell down to the lower roof, which startled him and made him bite me again. But that time, I was ready for it and held on."

MURDER ON MOUNTAIN - "The lights got closer and closer as we realized that the lights were torches .... being carried by people zig-zagging down the switch backs on the mountain path.  We did not know their intentions, who they were, or why they were out at night after that terrifying scream.

PICK POCKETS - "My father was once walking downtown in a crowded market place in Pusan when a wallet came flying through the air and landed at his feet.  He picked it up and discovered that it was his wallet."

PIG FEAST - "Steve and I discovered that the outhouse was built over a pig pen."

PIG"S REVENGE - "That is when I began to laugh so uncontrollably that I was rolling around on the ground.  I would swear to this day that the pig appeared to have a big self-satisfied grin on its face."

RUDE AWAKENING - " Sterling awoke suddenly out of a deep sleep and was startled by the  horribly disfigured face of a leper woman, amidst fervent prayer, rocking down to within inches of his face."

SLINGSHOT WARS - "Sterling took a fist sized rock and shot it into a large rock wall about fifty yards away, shattering the projectile into many pieces."

SPARROW SOUP - "To supplement our spare rations on our own, frogs sufficed during certain seasons of the year, but our favorite was sparrows."

STORK ISLAND - "The last two nights the monks let us sleep under the roof on the front porch of the temple.  So, we were at least out of the rain and able to get some rest."

STREET VENDORS - "We happily ate the candy paying no mind to the probably unsanitary conditions in which the candy was made, to the flies that had landed repeatedly on the candy, or to the dust that had settled on the exposed slab all day as he roamed the streets."

SWIM HOLE - "We spent hours dipping water out of the well to try to fill the hole."

TAG GAME - "As I looked over the wall, down at the roof tops below, I got nauseous and almost vomited."

TRIP TO KOREA - "Parsons got away from the guards and jumped overboard as they watched helplessly.  They turned the ship around and searched, but never found him.

TWO ROOSTERS - "He swung all the way around and pointed the gun at Sterling's face from just feet away.  Sterling froze and his face flushed red and hot with his heart pounding."

VAMPIRE SCARE - "One young lady just keeled over in a dead faint and the other girl screamed and took off running."

WATER LADY - "She started early every morning making repeated treks up the mountain to fill her tin vessel with water out of a community well and walk back down with the water on her head to deliver it to her clients."

WAYLAYED ON BUS - "Steve and I rose to get off the bus, but the guy sitting by the door drew a sword hidden in his cane and shook his head side to side as if to say, "No, you aren't getting off here."

WINTER FIRES - "Sterling then hunkered down in the pit, looked inside the firebox, and threw in a lit match.  KABOOM! "

WITCH DOCTOR - "The witch doctor stopped drumming and chanting; she took up a bamboo branch and shook it all around my friend. Then she stood him up against a wall and threw butcher knives at him."

Dr. Rodney Thomas Hard was born in Flushing Hospital in New York City on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1949.

The following stories by Dr. Rodney Hard tell of experiences his family had and living conditions he endured while he grew up in Korea as the son of a missionary with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.  Immediately after the Korean War was over in 1953, Reverend Theodore Hard, his wife Grace, and their two children, Sterling and Rodney, booked passage to South Korea on a steam ship freight liner.   

The Hard family went on furlough back to the United States for a year every five years so Dr. Rodney Hard went back to live in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania in 1959 to attend fifth grade and back again to the United States in 1964 to attend the tenth grade.

Dr. Rodney Hard finished his Junior and Senior years in high school in Taejon, Korea at the Korea Christian Academy.

He then returned to Korea in 1969 to spend two years in Seoul, Korea in the U.S. Army.

The stories from Dr. Hard’s formative years are sometimes humorous, somewhat foreign and incredible, and often inspiring.  

These stories are true.  No exaggerations are added. 

Some of the family history and stories are written by other members of the Hard family and are seen on the HARD FAMILY page.

Below are links to some of the stories.  The rest of the stories can be accessed by hovering over the headings at the top of this page.

Dr. Rodney T. Hard