Vu Tran's charm

Shalom charm
Shalom charm

My father’s best friend is a Jewish man named Stuart Jacobson. He remains one of my closest friends. We talk on the phone every now and then for a while, and I love him a lot. He really was the first person to not just recognize me as a writer and encourage me but to also encourage my writing about Vietnam and about where my family came from. He actually gave this charm to me way back in the first grade. It says “shalom,” and I didn’t know it back then or at least he told me and I forgot.  When I was young, I would do a lot of these nerdy competitive things—spelling bee, math contests, and everything—and I would get nervous. I would always wrap this, put it in my pocket, and put my hand in my pocket to calm me down. It’s always been that kind of emotional connection I’ve had to this and to him. The more I think about it, it’s because not only he showed me love as a friend, but he encouraged me as a writer. It’s something that I didn’t have much, direct and unvarnished encouragement when I was a kid, when it came to writing. 

Learn more at www.my-america.org

Place(s): Vietnam

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child