I started having random flashbacks of my earliest memories while I was in the shower today. My parents and I were living with my maternal grandparents at the time so I was about 3 to 4 years old.
– I am in the kitchen and the sun is permeating a warm glow throughout the room. My grandmother has a large apple in her hand and she’s scraping it with a spoon. I feel myself longingly waiting for her to finish because as soon as she’s done, I know she’s going to spoon food me bits of the yummy apple. Perhaps that’s when my love of apples came into play? Apples are my first food memory. 🙂
– I’m shorter than the dresser in our room (My parents and I were living in a room together). I’m reaching over to the top because I know my dad left his gold shaver there. I want to be like my dad and shave too. I feel a prick of pain on my cheek and there is blood everywhere. I think I would have cried.
– We’re in our room and my dad is holding me as we watch TV together. It’s a VHS and it’s called Bio Men (바이오멘). It was a Japanese Power Rangers type of show (this preceded Power Rangers by the way – Circa 1988) that was dubbed over in Korean.
– I wake up and find out that I wet the bed. I am told that I am too old to be wetting the bed. My grandfather says as punishment I am to stay in my wet clothes, wear a traditional Korean straw hat and ask our neighbor upstairs for sugar. I say I don’t want to and I’m feeling embarrassed and upset. He is very stern and says you have to learn. I cry but I grudgingly go outside and walk up the stairs to her door and knock (It was a 2-unit house). She comes to the door, looks at me and laughs. She gives me a loving pat on the head and asks if I wet the bed. I nod and say, “설탕주세요” (Please give me sugar).
I’m guessing Koreans did this to their children back in the day in Korea. I love memories like these. 😉
– A memory that I’m not fond of: My grandmother’s friends are over and my grandmother is going into my parents walk-in closet for something. Later on that evening, my mom comes home and sees that her closet is in disarray. She thinks I made the mess. I try to explain but she hits my bottom and locks me in the closet. It’s dark and I’m too short to turn on the light. There are a lot of scary shapes and shadows in there with me.
– I’m in trouble again. My mom packs some of my stuff in a bag and tells me to leave. I cry as I leave with my stuff. I don’t know where to go. I sit on the cement steps outside our house. I watch the ants march back and forth through the cement crevices. Soon after, my grandmother comes out, hugs me and hands me a sweet Korean rice drink (식혜).
-Every night before bed, I go to the living room, bow to my grandparents and say, “할아버지 할머니, 안녕히 주무세요” (Grandfather grandmother, please sleep well). And every morning, I bow to them and say, “할아버지 할머니, 안녕히 주무셨어요?” (Grandfather grandmother, did you sleep well?)
I am grateful to my grandfather to instill these manners in me.
– My parents and I went out to a fancy dinner with my dad’s friends. My dad just parked in the street in front of our house. I am happy and skipping to and fro. All of a sudden, there is a commotion as 2 black men emerge from a car a couple of houses down. One man pulls out a gun and aims it at my dad. I don’t understand what’s going on but my mom handed them her purse. I’m just watching and unsure of what’s going on.
– We’re out at a Korean restaurant and I’m jealous of my dad. He has been drinking out of a small clear glass all night. I start fussing and say that I want what my dad’s having. He laughs and hands me his glass. I’m happy as I take a sip. Ahhhhhh it’s so nasty!!!
My dad was having a Korean alcoholic drink out of a shot glass. 😛
Wow. I didn’t think I would remember so many.
Memories. I’m blessed to have them but they are rimmed with grief, pain and nostalgia. My grandfather is no longer with us. My grandmother recently cut off all ties with my mom and in which turn, has jeopardized my relationship and most importantly, my son’s relationship with her. Nostalgia is a slippery slope. You never know how far down the rabbit hole you will go – or willingly go.