Isabel Crook has lived in China for over 100 years from 1915 to this present day 26 July 2016. She has lived over 5 generations beginning with her parents meeting in Chengdu China 1915. Isabel’s mother began Montessori Kindergartens and schools for the deaf and dumb Chinese, while her father, Homer was among the few who helped begin The West China Union University in Chengdu.
From the age of 21 (1939), Isabel worked as an anthropologist in Sichuan and was interested in understanding people’s culture and living condition. Isabel pursued anthropological studies by living in the townships and going door-to-door meeting the local people and keeping detailed records of their daily life. Sichuan has many minority people living in it, particularly in the West which is dominated by the Yi Tibetan people. At this time, Sichuan was dangerous with bandits, the War Lord Era, attacks from Japan and the KMT and CPC civil war.
Isabel began as a Methodist Canadian Christian in China but became a communist in 1942. Isabel married David Crook in 1941 and then both went off to join the army. David was in the airforce intelligence in India and South East Asia, while Isabel joined the Canadian army in Britain. In 1947, both Isabel and David returned to China and were participant – observers of the first successful Land Reform for a communist liberated area. After the Ten Mile Inn Land reform was recorded, David and Isabel continued with CPC party in the civil war with the KMT by teaching diplomats English through the newly founded Foreign Affairs School. When the communist won Beijing, Isabel was invited to stand with key CPC party officials in the victory parade (Jan 1949). She stood with George Hatem, Bill Hinton and the Commander of the army, Ye Jianying.