Cultural Exposure

April 20, 2006 at 10:20 am 4 comments

When I was growing up my father's parents were still living in Flushing, NY in the summers. When I was school age — Asians (mostly Koreans) started moving into Flushing like Jews had in the previous wave of immies. Soon, Sonia and Herman moved to Palm Beach full-time and in moved Mr. and Mrs. Kim (not real names) nextdoor to Bubbe and Zaddie.

After Mr. & Mrs. Kim found out that I was the granddaughter to their neighbors they no longer liked my B & Z. My B is not one to let such a thing slide and immediatly accused the Korean couple of being anti-semitic. Word got around town of the anti-semitic Koreans and the slave-bearing Jews and B marched nextdoor to save her Flushing reputation.

B approached the situation from the anti-semitic stance. Mrs. Kim's reaction was, "how can you say that when your son has one of my peoples as a slave child!" My Bubbe clearly established herself as victim (her specialty!) and explained that she is a Holocaust survivor — a slave most her life — and that her son, while she disagreed with him, adopted me for humanitarian reasons.

Mrs. Kim and Bubbe became fairly good friends from then on out (they were an odd couple!) — finding a similar ground on the fact that Jews should NEVER adopt Koreans.

But since the crime was already committed — I do thank Mrs. Kim for shoving kimchee down my throat on our visits to Bubbe's house. She never did talk to my father and mother and she refused to speak to me in English — but I remember loving the smell of her house as if it was "home." I loved sitting on their shared porch with my Zaddie on one side of me and Mrs. Kim on the other side — peeling and eating lychees.

In any case — having uncomfortable experiences with "my race" had some positive outcomes for me. It's not always a negative in the long run.

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Entry filed under: Adoption, Korean.

I have no pride. Lunch with Julia.

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. toni  |  April 20, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    hi julia!
    loved this entry. fact is stranger than fiction!!! isn’t there a saying about politics making strange bedfellows?

    toni

    Reply
  • 2. Sue  |  April 20, 2006 at 8:41 pm

    I love this story. This is the kind of stuff I love about being American, not patriotic lala, but the honesty in the tension (do you listen to Matisyahu? I got “honesty in the tension” from his song WP)

    Reply
  • 3. Jeanine  |  April 21, 2006 at 5:52 am

    I love the way you write – you capture the incongruities of life with such gentleness and kindness!

    Reply
  • 4. Margie  |  May 15, 2008 at 10:28 am

    “I loved sitting on their shared porch with my Zaddie on one side of me and Mrs. Kim on the other side — peeling and eating lychees.”

    That memory is priceless 🙂

    Reply

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It’s just not that black & white. Not because I am taking a stand against. Just because, the issues I face are somewhere in the grey area and to weed through them, I blog. I blog. ~

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