I was the oldest child of his baby brother. Out of ten children he and his wife had, five survived, sad but common statistic at the time. His youngest son is close to my age thus we grew up playing together. My uncle loved and protected my father whom he helped to raise after my grandfather passed away when my father was just a baby.
At an early age, I learned what it is like to be very special to someone. He let me sing and dance in front of the entire family, often. It was in Busan, in their room and I was four, maybe five. Guess I was the wartime entertainer.
He travelled a lot... I "wrote" letters to him before I could read or write. The letter would be filled with numerous drawings of closed, free form, hairy circles, like potatoes. The potato letters were famously kept by him... My mother describes the letters in detail to this day! He gave me a nickname that everyone called me by till I went away to America. My mother still mentions it when we talk about him now and then. His whole face would crinkle up in pure joy whenever he saw me. Every girl should have an uncle like mine. To him, I was that adorable child he couldn't love enough. He passed away in his sixties when I was living in New York City in the seventies. A tragic phone call from faraway Seoul in the middle of the night... I cried and cried on my husband's shoulder. Long distance calls from Seoul were rare those days.
With his beloved wife in Korean traditional clothes, mother of his ten children. The most generous and regal aunt of mine.
They hosted many family gatherings at their beautiful home in Chung Un Dong, Seoul where my grandmother lived with them.
Great food, love and complete feeling of belonging for everyone. No one lived alone in those days...