Gold Necklace

In Attire
Relationship: Child of im/migrant

There was once a fifteen-year-old boy who escaped the Korean War.  With his brother, he left his family and his friends in North Korea and escaped with South Korean soldiers. He ultimately fell in love with a woman (named Mi-Hwa)  in South Korea, and they married. When he was 40  years old, the man, his wife, and their daughters, aged five, seven, and nine, immigrated to the United States where Mi-Hwa’s brother lived. None of them spoke English.  The North Korean boy was my grandfather, Mi-Hwa is my grandmother, and their youngest child is my mother.   In America, my grandparents opened a wholesale jewelry store in Manhattan, which was popular. Their daughters practically grew up in that jewelry store. They went there every weekend to help with the family business. In 1996, my grandfather closed his store and retired. But he didn’t sell all of the jewelry, instead, he kept some pieces.  Recently, my grandfather showed me a cardboard box in his basement in New Jersey.  Inside were some gold chains.  He gave me one as a gift  This necklace represents bravery to me. My grandfather escaped a war, had the courage to come to a new country where he and his wife didn’t speak the language, created a prosperous business, and paid for my mother and aunts to go to college and graduate school. The fact that did all of this is impressive and must have taken a lot of grit and hard work.

Place(s): North Korea, South Korea, New York, New Jersey
Year: 1976

– EM

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant