One Day My Parents Will Tell Me Their Stories

Not my family, but a cool photo by  Jame and Jess
My parents spoke often about their life in Vietnam.  Yet they rarely talk about their journey to the United States.  They arrived to the States separately. My mom with her large family and my dad, alone. My mom sometimes talked about being on a boat and living in refugee camps. When pressed for details, my mom is tight lipped. It’s not for lack of trying. As children, my sister and I asked many questions. All we got were crumbs of information.
I guess I gave up as I grew older. I realized that perhaps they weren’t ready to relive their journey to the refugee camps or living in tents and shacks as they waited for a sponsor family. Recently I read a novel that gave me an idea what it must have been like for my parents. I understand why they don’t want to talk about it.
Now that Sophia is older, she wants to know how my parents came to America. I’ve taught her to be proud of her Vietnamese heritage. Understandably, she’s curious about where our family comes from. When she asks me about my parents’ immigration history, I don’t have any answers.
Instead, I suggest that she asks her Ông ngoại and Bà Bà. I hope that my parents’ memories are distant enough that they can share an important piece of family history with their grandchildren. In turn, I can learn as well. 
It’s too important to be forgotten.

This post is inspired by Sarah McCoy’s The Baker’s Daughter. In a small Texan town, Reba discovers Elsie’s German Bakery and falls in love with more than the pastries. Shes drawn to Elsie’s former life in Germany during the last year of WWII. Join From Left to Write on August 29 as we discuss The Baker’s Daughter. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes. Link to the book is an affiliate link.

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