Mother and Father

“Amanda, you do like this, like this!” Good Man’s Mother cried out. She was hula hooping with one of those ajumma hula hoops. In the living room. In curlers.

A few days later…

“[Good Man]! Like this, you have to exercise.” Mother lifted her hands weights, “You’re a man, so you do two in one hand.” She demonstrated. Then she jumped on her mini stepper and stepped and lifted weights at the same time. In curlers.

I couldn’t stop laughing.

Mother also keeps showing me how to put meals together. “Amanda, we won’t be here, so here’s the chapjae, here’s are the plates. You put the chapjae on the plate and cook it in the microwave. Or you put the chapjae in this frying pan and…” She went on and on.

I started laughing. “Mother, I have lived alone since I was 18.” I haven’t actually lived alone since I was 18, but I have not lived with my parents since I was 18.

“Ohh! Wow, OK, so to use the microwave…”

I have to say, it’s a pleasure to have someone preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.

***

I found out some interesting things about Good Man’s family from Father.

Some of the stories were about growing up. He told me about finding clams and mussels in the sea using his feet. His would jump up in the water, flipping the mussels up into his waiting hands. When they would pick potatoes from their plot of land, they used the rice sacks to scrub them clean since water was a scarcity. When they bathed, they heated the water with a fire and scooped it over themselves (Good Man did this when we was very young, at his grandparents’ house, too). His family couldn’t afford tuition at school, so they could attend school but couldn’t test. As such, one of his elder brothers should’ve been ranked first or second in the class but was always ranked lower.

One thing I found very interesting was the history of his father. Until Father was ten, his family was very well off. His father (Grandfather, one of the relatives I met graveside) worked for the government for about twenty years, first under the Japanese, then during Korean independence. In fact, he was mayor of 사천 for approximately one year in the early 60s. Then the military took control in 1961 and kicked almost all of the mayors out of their jobs, across the nation. As such, Father’s family was basically penniless overnight.

Father tells stories in a style similar to my grandfather. When my grandfather told me about inventing the three-letter airport code system, helping to train the Tuskegee Airmen, and helping with the Korean Armistice, he was so matter-of-fact. As if his life wasn’t at all interesting. Father is the same way.

I find it fascinating though.