Recently I have been enjoying reading posts by my friend Mr. Michael Turton about his parent’s visit to Taiwan. This has given me cause to reflect upon my own family, especially since due to circumstances, I have been separated from them and on my own since early times.
One of the questions that Taiwanese often ask me, and always amazes me is: “Don’t you miss your parents?” Its interesting to note that no foreigner has ever asked me that question. I’ve been asked “What do you miss about America” (to which I’ve replied “absolutely nothing”) but I’ve never been asked if I miss my family by a foreign person in Taiwan. I reply to my Taiwanese friends that I am 50 years old and I haven’t lived with my parents in 31 years. I go on to explain that its not like Taiwan where a man gets married and lives with his parents and has his own family together all in one big house (which explains the artificial affluence of young men in Taiwan). They usually reply “that’s strange.“
My parents were divorced when I was 10. I moved in with my father at 11. By age 14, Dad was working on a start-up business, which necessitated travel and thus for him to leave me on my own for several weeks at a time. I had my own bank account, did my own wash, cooking and went to school on my own. No one knew of this except a few friends who would come over after school let out to play guitar and hang out. I never skipped school or got in any kind of trouble during my entire school career. It all seemed very natural and normal for my father to expect me to act like an adult and to do the right thing without him having to be after me for it.
I moved out of my father’s home at 19. At age 22 I moved to Boston from North Carolina to work in the music business. Within 6 months I was producing sessions and also performing on many sessions and also live performances. Since that time I have seen my family on occasions spanning anywhere from 2 to 10 years apart.
Recently I saw my family again as we met in North Carolina to attend the wedding of Adam, Janet’s oldest son. The last time that we were all together was 10 years ago. I would like to share a few of my favorite family shots taken during the re-union. I’m not going to show everyone mind you, just my favorite shots.
This is my mother, now 78 and still singing. As a young child I watched my mother on television, heard her on the radio and accompanied her to various places to hear her perform. By age 8 I had begun to perform with her. The piano player is Rick Bankemper, whom I consider to be one of the best natural musicians in the world.
I took this shot of Hui-Chen and Mother in front of the famous Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
This is my father (83) and I at my nephew’s wedding. My father retired and sold his business at 80. Now he says he is looking to start a new business because he is bored! I tried to convince him to relax and enjoy life because he deserves it. I don’t know if I was successful.
I took this shot of my father with Hui-Chen, holding the flag given to him by Congress to honor his service during World War II in the Asian theater as part of a B-24 bomber group. He earned five medals during his service and he never applied for them until recently. My father is a very humble man and did not think much of his service record. Once he told me that he simply did his duty and that every other man did the same. Fortunately his wife convinced him to submit the proper forms and thanks to the help of their Congressman, my father was awarded his medals only a few years ago.
This is one of my favorite shots of my sister Janet and my brother John. They look a lot younger than they really are. I took this shot out by Janet’s pool in back of their beautiful Victorian style home in North Carolina.
Thanks to the engineers at Nikon and my 8x zoom, I can bring you this shot of Adam and Christin, during their wedding ceremony. The family gathered together for this wonderful occasion. The wedding itself was incredible.
Out of all the shots I took, I think that I like this one the best. Nancy’s son Joshua met this woman at the wedding reception and danced with her. Josh is now 16 and the last time I saw him was 10 years ago. So, I was very glad that I got an opportunity to see him again and get to know him, really for the first time. He is a very thoughtful young man, and more mature than his 16 years of age. This is why he was dancing with a 24 year old woman.
Josh, you are The Man.