Family History: Nana and Papa’s Wedding

I’ve been wanting to tell the story of us (the beginning of me and ultimately you, Soso) for a long time and I guess this is as good a time as any. It all started when Nana and Papa got married. (Grandma and the other Papa, too, but I’ll get to their story another day.)

I’m not sure how Nana and Papa met , traditionally through a marriage broker or through family and friend connections.  I’m not sure how long they courted, but I imagine it wasn’t more than a year.  (Just found out that they met through his work manager who was my mom’s college friend in 1968… I was wrong!  They dated for 2 years!)

Marriage in Korea back when my parents were young, but even now, is a serious business.  People are matched based on family background and education level.  Not that love and romance don’t have a role, but as long as the stuff on paper looked good and there was no personal aversion to each other, things moved pretty quickly and seriously towards a marriage.  If a marriage wasn’t going to happen, a new prospect was quickly found.  There was no dating just to date.

My parents both came from solid middle class background. They were both college educated.  They were both personable, in good health, with comparable looks, ’nuff said. I’m sure they got along, too.  Apparently, my dad was an amusing story-teller.  And well, my mom had a lot to offer.

By the time my mom got married at the age of 31, she had worked and paid for her college education and started a successful embroidery business and sold it for a profit. She was smart, but beyond that, she had incredibly strong work ethics. She’s the hardest working person I’ve ever known.


As you can see from the wedding photo, Nana was pretty, too. And stylish. Whatever style I can claim to have, I got it from her.


I don’t have too many photos of my parents while they were young, but I have these thanks to my uncle. This was taken on their honeymoon. Both of them so young, younger than I am now and the whole future ahead of them. Untroubled yet by the hard life of raising two kids in a foreign country.

My parents are two very different people. Personality, outlook, interests are so different that I have wondered how they ever came together. The one thing they did have in common was that both lost their dads at a relatively young age.


My maternal grandmother, my Dad, my Mom, my paternal grandmother. Can you see a little bit of you in them?

Nana and Papa got married… I should know this… sometime spring of May 28, 1970,  They celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary the year I got married. Two years later came my brother, Uncle A and 2 years after that came me. Two years after that, Papa would start on an inadvertent journey to here, the US that would last 6 years.

Another thing they had in common, great courage and faith.

To be continued…


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