of June 28th
My family settled down in Carlisle, Pennsylvania when
I was 10 years old. Carlisle is known for Jim Thorpe and the largest
annual Auto Show in the country. I liked growing up in a small
town and in general everyone was pretty friendly. Living
in a small suburban town with an off the boat Korean mother was a challenge.
Even after living in the United States for over 30 years, my mother’s
Korean accent is still thicker than the fog coming in from the San Francisco
Bay. Understandably, it was somewhat frustrating for some locals
to speak with my mother. When my father, brother or I would be
with my mother, the locals would direct all their questions to us. This
made me realize that I would always be my mother's translator for the
rest of my life. My mother didn't mind because she liked to play the
docile Asian role to her advantage and not have to worry about speaking
to people she did not like. As I grew older, I realized that my
mother was smarter than most of the people I met in business. If
my mother was a business woman she would put Martha Stewart to shame.
I thought the reason my mother never taught my brother
and I Korean was so we wouldn’t have accents and assimilate better
than she did in America. I finally figured out the real reason
was so my brother and I wouldn’t understand her when she was speaking
to her Korean friends. But we did pick up some ‘key’ phrases. So
when I go into the local corner store and dry cleaners, I surprised them
when I can understand their conversations. I can understand Korean
and speak in phrases but I am not able to read and write in Korean. Basically,
I would be considered an illiterate in Korean society. I usually don’t
include that on my resume.
Having a realist for a mother grounds you but it also
limits your delusional fantasies about relationships. When my brother
and I would bring home friends or potential dates, we did give them warning
about our mother. At first, they always thought we were exaggerating
because all they saw was this petite smiling Asian lady who was feeding
them a great meal. After they were comfortable then my mother would attack
with her Korean inquisition of questions. A little tense, but her method
would scare away any ‘junky/bum’ people that she did not
want her children to hang around.
When I told my mother I was interested in comedy, she
was hesitant but she has surprisingly very supportive. She makes
sure to follow-up with me every Sunday afternoon about all my gigs. For
example, I told her I would be performing at an outdoor concert on the
Fourth of July (which is also my mother’s birthday). This
was her response:
“That’s good for you to perform
outside because you very LOUD girl. When you little girl you yelling
so loud that Mommy try to leave you in store but security guard made
Mommy take you home.”
Thank you for being my creator, editor and critic. Happy
Birthday, Mom! I love you dearly.
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