February 14, 2014

One picture, three stories

This post is inspired by the B+W photograph submissions from Jane Heinrich's One Picture Three Stories series. I'm joining in on the fun this month. After all, February is the love month. What better way than to showcase my parents' love story. It is the beginning of my own love story after all.

Story #1: This picture was taken when my parents were newlyweds. It is a treasured photo. I mean, it's in black and white. How dated is that? It was a few days after their wedding day at a photographer's studio. This was in 1974. My mom was wearing a traditional Vietnamese dress (áo dài) and headdress (khăn đống). I had to do a Wiki search on how to spell those words. One year after they were married, my dad had to go to reeducation camp (he called it prison) because he was on the losing team of the Vietnam War. He was away on an island (a tropical island, mind you) for 8 years. He cut down trees on the island and killed whatever he could catch to have enough to eat to supplement his meager rations. My mom visited him a few times to bring food and medicine (which wasn't a lot because she was poor). My mom was a seamstress and had her own shop. After he came back, my parents had three children. My parents were entrepreneurs. After closing my mom's sewing shop, my dad had a failed business with raising fish. A year before we were to leave Vietnam, they sold their farm and purchased a boat. They bought rice from farmers to sell at the market. Then in 1992, my family left Vietnam as refugees. Only my mom and sister had been back to Vietnam since.

Story #2: On the back of the photograph, my dad wrote my brother's, my sister's, and my birthdays. The dates are in the lunar calendar system.

Story #3: I drew on this old photo when I was little back in Vietnam. I used a blue ball point pen. (Goes to show, you just can't have anything nice when you have children.) Fast-forward more than a decade later, my sister was taking a photography class and she erased the scribble. A trace of the ink still remains. Also on another note, I should look into restoring this and other old photos that I have.


  1. Jane Heinrichs2/16/2014

    Stunning! And I love your stories! I'll be sure to feature it! Thanks so much for joining in! X Jane http://janeheinrichs.blogspot.com

  2. Rosie BirdHawkins2/17/2014

    What a wonderful photograph - and so much history concealed behind it. I love the small details that you tell us here - the lunar calendar and the fact that you scribbled on it as a child. I'm glad that your sister was able to erase most of it!

  3. Thanks Rosie for your thoughtful comment.