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Throughout my life I remember my parents telling me stories from their childhood. Sometimes my dad and I would make up stories together, usually involving Gladys, her older brother Tommy, and his friend JoJo. But even though these fictional stories were a lot of fun they never compared to the real ones, which could be just as terrifying or funny but were always more honest. I was amazed by how many different kinds of stories my parents could lay claim to, and I remember often thinking that my childhood was so much less interesting than theirs had been. To be fair, a lot of the material that made for good stories came out of a distinct lack of parental supervision and financial means. I didn’t envy this aspect of their lives but I didn’t want to grow up without any stories either. To me, having plenty of good personal stories is a symptom of a well-lived life. Similarly, having a wide variety of stories is the product of a diverse set of experiences. My goal is that the stories that make up my life be many and varied.

My hope is that this blog can be the vault where I record my favorite personal stories and the stories I grew up hearing from my parents, along with any other things I would want to remember and share. If you remember something that I’ve forgotten (or at least haven’t written yet) remind me and I’ll type it up.

 

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That One Time My Dad’s Peers Briefly Thought He Was Cool

Here’s another story told to me by my dad:

My brother Newton and I went to Chinese school when we were grammar school students. We’d go every night after American school and after dinner. It was customary in Chinese school to bring a gift for the teacher at the end of the school year. It was also customary for Chinese school teachers to hit students who didn’t learn their lessons. Sadly, Newton and I were among those students. We ranked last and next-to-last in our class every single year. I can’t imagine how bad we would have been if we hadn’t cheated on tests. I taught Newton to sit on his textbook and sneak peeks at it during tests.

Parents would buy presents for their kids to bring to the last class of the year. I told my mom we had to get something and she said she would go to Chinatown that afternoon and pick something up. When she returned, I asked her what she got. She opened the bag she was carrying and showed me two packs of nylons! I was flabbergasted and I think I turned red right on the spot. I told her I couldn’t give my teacher, a mean old hag if there ever was one, hosiery. My mom scolded me and told me to wrap them up. One was to be from my brother Newton and the other from me. I wrapped them up and Newton and I carried them with us to class that night. Kids asked us what we got for teacher. My brother and I had come up with a brilliant idea. We told them we got her comic books. Not DC but real Marvel comics. The kids thought we were cool. All they got was candy and books and regular stuff like that. We were cool right up to the point that our teacher decided to open the presents right there in front of the class. She whipped out those nylons and proclaimed how beautiful they were. Newton and I melted under our chairs. I don’t think we ever lived that down.

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