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Mr Dave Stephan


We played with our Ping-Pong matches in an 18,000-person arena, and even though the Chinese players were the very best on earth, they allow us win several games. Table tennis bridged the gap between us. We and they gave them fountain pens from the American Embassy and red 16, respectively. When we met with Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, Glenn Cowan asked him exactly what he thought of hippies. "Youth wants to find the facts, and out of this search various forms of change will definitely come," the premier responded, his eyes sparkling.

As soon as I return home to Michigan, I felt relieved, gratified and dog-tired. It seemed everybody wanted to speak with me--each paper, each group. However, I didn't fully realize the effect of my team's trip until a couple of decades later, when my son found a photograph of me in his high-school history publication. I stood on China's Great Wall. When my group and I returned in 2006 I understood we had been more than simply another tour group from the West. We were the team that made such excursions possible.