During a stint in Lima, Peru the Major continued to gamble and the markers continued to accrue. When the marker tally was completed after a series of losses, the Major owed about $35,000 (which by today’s value would be near a half million dollars). Didi refused to pay the markers and the club threatened to arrest the Major if he was unwilling or unable to pay his gambling markers.
The Major pleaded with his wife to pay the markers for if he were arrested his career as an up-and-coming Army officer would be over. Didi did not want to give in but neither did she want to see her husband disgraced and have his career ruined so she turned to the only person she thought might be able to help. She phoned her friend, the Chinese Ambassador (Sandy’s grandfather) and asked if there was anything that could be done to minimize the debt. Even with her wealth she would be hard pressed to cover the vast amount of his losses. The Ambassador said he would do his best to try to negotiate a settlement. The Ambassador went directly to the President of Peru and pointed out that to arrest an American Military chargé d’affairs for a gambling debt was bad politics and would indeed be a sticky wicket that would cause a huge embarrassment not only to the Major, but to the U.S. Army and to the government of Peru. The president contacted the owners of the club and together they agreed to settle the debt for about 20 percent of what was owed.
Didi paid the negotiated amount—about $7,000 ($100,000 by today’s monetary standards) and thanked her friend the Ambassador profusely. Each time they met there- after Didi reminded him, “If there is ever anything I could do to return the favor, please let me know.”