Author's Note

"Tell me the stories about when you were a little girl, Mommy." my youngest daughter, Michelle, used to ask. So I told her about the day my father took me to an American restaurant and showed me how to use a knife And a fork. I told her about the time I ran away. I told her about the little girl who jumped rope in rubber shoes. "Tell me more," she used to say. She always knew there were more stories I was not telling her. Many more. Stories millions of little Michelles would like to hear so they can tell their little daughters and sons. The stories we hang on to because memories are becoming faint with each generation. The stories of all the Korean mothers because it is everyone's story, yet unique. The stories that would fill in and complete the identity of all the other Terrys, Kimmys and Michelles like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle. The stories that make us grow and love and ultimately learn the true value of life in a foreign land, which is now our home.

This is the true story of my life. Every event is portrayed the way it remains in my memory. I have chosen to write it in English because, while I speak Korean fluently, my skills in Korean writing declined in over the four decades I have lived in America. I would not be able to write it in Korean in a way that would impact readers as I intended. I am saddened by this fact, but it is an element of the natural process of becoming a Korean-American and of becoming a half-ripened American. It is a loss but also an advantage of living in both cultures, languages but most of all, the souls of each world.