Is it ever too late to apologize? (No, this is not an apology letter to anyone.)
Throughout Grapes of Wrath, Ma and the entourage learned one valuable lesson was to move on. Keep moving forward. Life goes on.
Something else I have also learned about Grapes of Wrath was to be open minded and to be accepting. These “Okies” were prejudiced in California. Even kids acted condescending to Okie adults, which is surprising.
I know. I always talk about my parents and my roots but I am in love with their story. In love as in proud. Proud that my parents are immigrants from my motherland and have decided to leave a country they’ve grew up in for freedom. Their schools had Ho Chi Minh’s pictures everywhere in an attempt to brainwash their classmates. They’ve left during a time of war. I love sharing my parents’ story because I feel as if it is my responsibility to tell others their story.
So my parents came to America around the late ’70s to the ’80s and of course, they were treated differently. Not discriminated like other races in the ’60s for example, but looked at. Gawked at. Looked at with pity. (Hmm. Seems familiar, huh.)
I’m going to tell you my dad’s story first. He came to America around 1980 with a few of his classmates via boat. I have a post about it here.
His mom stayed in Vietnam, sort of heartbroken that she could potentially lose a son. My grandma is one of the most strongest people I know. We don’t talk much, only the little phone calls here and there but it’s difficult to talk to her with the language boundary. I can understand Vietnamese but I can’t speak it as well, but one day I hope that I will be able to speak Vietnamese to finally reply to her questions without Vietlish (Vietnamese and English). My grandpa left my grandma and dad when my dad was only a few months old. My grandma raised three kids by herself and managed to make a living with a tiny supermarket in her house.
My Ba Noi (grandma) kept her head up the three months my dad was gone. Ba Noi was Mama Joad. Mama Joad and Ba Noi love their sons unconditionally, which is all you need along with hope.
He knew he had to go to college but didn’t know where. He registered at the nearest community college and lived in an apartment with his uncle who had sponsored him. Back in the ’70s, there was no Little Saigon. There were a few Vietnamese shops here and there, which was really uncommon at the time. My dad and his family opened up a noodle shop for my mom to come over to America.
Even though my Grandma left America a a few years later because she missed Vietnam, we visited to year after. I haven’t seen Ba Noi in 10 years, but I hope that I can visit soon.