I have talked about my parents a great big deal on this blog, especially my mother whom I adore so much. But mother's only make up one half of a loving family. There is always the father, who is the primary household figure in the home. My mother and father at one point in their lives, loved each other dearly very much. It was by far one of the greatest love stories. They met each other at a time where there was no dating circle, and they were not able to date those they liked. People were set up with marriages and told whom to marry based on decisions of their parents. For my parents, this was no different.
My father, born in Hong Kong, never went to school, instead choosing trade over education. As customary for the sons of the family to eventually be successors and carry on the family tradition, it was mandatory that they help out the family business. My grandpa and grandma had owned a restaurant and a small clothing factory making bed sheets in Hong Kong. Naturally, it was expected of my father to help out the business of the family. And so, eventually at one point, he dropped out of school to devote his full time to the restaurant, since the factory was taken care of.
As a child, I often have fond memories of my parents. My mother, who usually came home before my father, took care of us, bathed us, and provided us dinner. My father, whom worked late past my bedtime, would come home, and make himself a cup of instant coffee, and watch the evening news.
When I was in fifth grade, I was given the opportunity to go visit the Statue of Liberty in Ellis Island. For me, this was a very exciting opportunity, it was a chance for me to see what my ancestral ancestors have saw before me when they bestowed upon this great land many years ago by boat. In addition, it was a chance for me to visit something iconic, something that epitomized what the United States of America truly symbolized; freedom, new opportunities, and a better life. Most importantly, a wonderful way to learn more about the Statue of Liberty, because coincidently at the same time, I was also writing an end of the year project based on the Statue of Liberty for my closing project of fifth grade. This was a project forced upon the seniors of the graduating class and was also one of the necessary ingredients and components needed to pass the class and move onto the graduation we so desired at the time.
I had chosen the project based on something I had never seen in real life before but only in pictures, movies, and books.
I remember feeling a mix of emotions as the teacher passed out the permission slips that day. I quickly placed my slip as gently as I could in my trusty plastic black folder, so as to not damage the paper. And as the day progressed, I could not stop thinking about how wonderful this experience would be!
I quickly ran back home, and dropped all of my stuff, to fill out my portion of the permission slip. I signed my name and dated it, placing an X where my parent or guardian would sign it. And I left it on my mother's desk for when she got home from work.
That night my mother whom usually signed all of my permission slips, had to stay late and do some work, so she was not going to be home till really late. Reluctantly, for the first time, I asked my father who was in the living room, sipping coffee and reading the newspaper after a long day of work, to sign my permission slip, next to the dotted line with the X I marked. I quickly raced back to my room, placed the slip in my bag and fell asleep early as I had a big day tomorrow. I was so excited. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
As I made my way to school the next morning, I noticed the school bus outside of the door, and all of the students lining up outside. Near the front of the bus door was the teacher whom had a stack of white papers. I quickly ran to the door of the bus and handed my teacher the permission slip with my father’s signature on it.
Because my father had dropped out of school to help the family business, his handwriting or penmanship as I might say is not exactly that of an adults. It was by par similar to that of an elementary student, as that was the highest grade he had completed. And so, when I was given back the permission slip, I noticed immediately that his handwriting looked like a child's. I had indeed had my father sign the permission slip, but my teacher was not aware that my father's handwriting was atrocious.
The permission slip was then handed back to me, and needless to say, I did not attend the trip I so long to desire. She thought I had forged my own parents signature. I couldn’t hardly believe what I was hearing.
My teacher didn't believe me when I told him that my dad truly did sign the form.
Still to this day, my father has terrible handwriting. But it has improved somewhat. I communicate regularly through mail with him. And every time I know it's from him, as the writing on the front of the envelope is signature that of a man who did not attend school, learning how to write script or have good penmanship.
Although my father may not have attended higher education, it only makes me want to strive to reach higher.
I should mention that my parents no longer live together, they lead separate lives. My father is divorced, which is why I spend a great big deal admiring how strong my mother is as a women. I am and always will be a mama's boy.
I haven't learned much about my dad, but some day, when I do have kids, I do know that I am going to be there for them.
One day, I am going to be better then my father. One day, someday!
And have good penmanship.