Thursday, April 26, 2012

entrepreneurial spirit

This is my grandmother, my mother's mother.  Her name was Shin Ja Park and she was a tough lady.  She was born in the 1920's but I'm not sure of the exact year.  She was born in the north and came to the south to marry my grandfather.  I  don't know if she had any siblings or where exactly she came from the north.  She told me stories about her life during the Japanese occupation in Korea.  It was not a great time to be a young women in Korea.  She told me how she saw a lot of women her age being forced into women concentration "camps" only to be abused by the soldiers.  I don't know how she escaped but she married my grandfather and had my mother and my aunt.  Not long after my aunt was born my grandfather left my grandmother for another women.  I remember my mother telling me stories about how my grandfather was in the international trading business and that they were wealthy.  After my grandfather left, my grandmother was left to fend for my mother and my aunt.  She ran a money loaning business in the local market.  She use to have this little notebook with merchant names, debt amounts and interest rates.  She would go to the market every day with her little note book and collect the interest from the merchants.  My mother never had any interest in school so when she graduated high school she went straight into the work force where she met my dad.  My aunt on the other hand was very smart and got into college.  How my grandmother sent my aunt to college is beyond me.  She was a very resourceful women and she can somehow make $1 into $2.  Some people are just born with the entrepreneurial spirit and some are not.  I guess she was an entrepreneur.  She wasn't a drinker but she was a heavy smoker.  I remember being a child, hating the smell of smoke at her house.  She passed away of cancer when I was 17.  I was living in the states so I didn't get a chance to say goodbye or visit her.  I just wanted to remember her in some kind of way and what better way then through my blog.  I dug these pictures out while helping my mother move.

my mother is on the far right and my aunt is in the front.


  1. My grandma was born in the twenties, too, and I love hearing her stories of growing up.

    That is so sweet of you to dedicate a blog post to her.

  2. Thanks Donna! I wish I had learned more about her growing up in the north. There are so many questions I would ask her now, but these are things you don't think about until you get older and wiser.