My Grandmother

My grandmother is a 100 years old.  My grandmother has an incredible story. (I hope to write a book about it one day.) Not only did she give birth to 7 kids, but she fled North Korea before the start of the Korean War while pregnant with my dad, and lost her husband not long after her last child was born. Many years later, with over 20 grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, she moved to New York for a very important reason. She came to help take care of her youngest grandchildren.

I remember seeing her in our dining room, sitting next to the window, with her glasses on and reading the Korean Bible. Even though she barely went to school beyond 6th grade, she reads and writes in Korean. She often says how she knows nothing because she didn’t get to finish her schooling. Yet, I think that she knows much more than me.

I remember seeing her out in the garden early in the morning to water her vegetables and flowers. Every day, she would go outside, watering the seeds and watching them sprout. In the summer evening, she would pick the fresh lettuce and peppers so we could eat them with our meal.

I remember when she would yell and run after the groundhogs that terrorized our garden. Sometimes she took a stick with her to try to scare them away. Yet, they kept coming back, fatter and sneakier. They must have had a bigger family to feed.

I remember when she would make us hot rice and then put soy sauce and butter on it. The hot rice with the mixture of the sweet and savory sauce was a treat. It sounds so simple, but at times I long for it. I know it wouldn’t be the same if I made it. It tastes best right after school, made with the hands of a loving grandmother.

I remember getting annoyed when she would give me the bigger piece of meat and take the smaller piece for herself. She always wanted to give my brothers and me more of her food. I wished at times she wouldn’t put us before her. She was the one that should be getting the best piece of meat, not us. We didn’t deserve it.

My grandmother is the only grandparent I ever got to know. I’m so blessed that she lived with my family growing up in New York. She came to New York to help take care of my brothers when they were born. They are twins and help was definitely needed. Without her help, I’m not sure how my mom would have survived! I can’t wait to see her again in New York this summer.

My grandmother was at the hospital in London when I was born!

My grandmother’s special birthday celebration a few years ago!

7 thoughts on “My Grandmother

  1. Deb says:

    Wow. 100 years old. That’s amazing. I had to laugh at the thought of her chasing the groundhogs with a stick and they just kept coming back.

    This is a wonderful tribute to her. How lucky you are to have her around for so long!

  2. hanloveyoon says:

    what a great blog post. I can’t believe she’s 100 years old. That’s pretty amazing. hehehe I LOVED rice with soy sauce and butter. so simple but it was always so satisfying!

  3. LInda Baie (@LBaie) says:

    A wonderful tribute to your grandmother & such a lovely twosome of photos. You were a cute baby! Your grandmother looks terrific, and sounds like such a wonderful person. Thank you for writing about her.

  4. newtreemom says:

    The story and pictures are so beautiful it has brought tears to my eyes…
    One of my grandmothers died long before I was born, and the other I only remember in her sickbed near the end of her life. Thankfully, I have a lot of aunts and uncles (My mom had 10 siblings, and my dad had 5 brothers.) They did not live nearby, so memories come from visits and stories. What a wonderful gift to have a grandmother who lived with you!

    I hope you do write that book, I would love to read it.

  5. writekimwrite says:

    I so enjoyed meeting your grandmother! The way you wrote this about her painted such an interesting portrait. I am so glad you included the photos, all of your faces are so expressive.

  6. Two years and finishing strong... says:

    Oh Jee, I loved the picture of her reading her Korean Bible and how she lovingly went after the ground hogs in her garden of food that she tended for your family. You have such a precious legacy …thanks for sharing her picture with you at the end. I hope you take and show another picture of her after your visit this summer. xo nanc

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