Yoon Myoung was born on September 25, 1954, a beautiful and healthy baby girl. The soft crease in her upper eyelids and the gentle waves of light brown hair set her apart from her relatives.
As time passed, it became more difficult to keep her from the suspicious gaze of others.
Neighbors and those in the village began to talk quietly among themselves.
“It’s a disgrace to her family,” they would say.
The greatest desire of the Korean people postwar was to rebuild their lives, reclaim their land, and forget their pain. The sight of mixed-blood children such as Yoon Myoung stirred up their anger, frustration, and hurt. Little Yoon Myoung had been born into a nation that was repelled by her and had no room for her.
Yoon Myoung knew she was different from the way the adults looked at her, the way they spoke to her. She tried to make sense of the behavior of the adults. “Mama,” she said, as her mother went about her duties. “Why are some of the mommies mean to me?”
Pulling Yoon Myoung close, her mama said, “Yoon Myoung, sometimes people can be cruel. They aren’t even aware of what they do. I love you, and I think you are special. That’s what matters,” smiled Sook Hee. This reassurance from her mama comforted Yoon Myoung.
Resting her head in her mama’s lap, Yoon Myoung looked up and saw tenderness in her mother’s eyes, as she always did. Cuddled in her nest on the floor, Yoon Myoung felt loved, nurtured, and protected. Lulled by the hushed voices of the preoccupied adults in the next room and the delicate stroking of her hair by her mother, Yoon Myoung drifted off to sleep.