I found these old photos recently. You know how sometimes you pull out an old photo of you at the same age that your kid is, to see how much of a resemblance there is? I actually never did that till now. Obviously Mia is all Mark and there is little resemblance between us (she still is and will remain the whitest half-Asian kid I know, though she identifies herself as Korean specifically because she loves the food so much), but there might be a bit of Claudine in these photos of me.
Anyway, enough of that because I need to point your attention to that piece of furniture in the middle of the room. Yeah, the one with the red velvet speakers on either side of the fake faux marble fireplace (yup, it did have a plastic light up log, duh). SO awesome. Not that I’d ever be caught dead with something like that in my house, but I have fond memories of that thing. It’s an all entertainment/family center/bar in one. Yeah, you heard that right because one of those top doors opened down to reveal a record player and the other housed a bar on a lazy susan that swiveled around to store glasses on one side and liquor on the other. Didn’t I say it was awesome? I also like that black and white photograph of my mom on the wall on the left side. There is so much awesomeness and detail in this photo – a mishmash of Korean objects brought along from the “homeland”, mixed with vintage 70s furnishings and knick knacks.
Oh, but there’s more, come see:
Never mind the pink Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit, look at the New York City skyline!! Maybe this was 1974? There were no tall buildings back then!! The photo on the left is me and my dad at (I think) the Central Park Zoo.
I am so curious about those white boots I’m wearing. Oh, and there’s nothing that saids “family photo” than the thumb mistakenly photographed in the lower corner of the picture. I like my mom’s hair here, because soon after my brother was born…
…she conformed and got herself the KoFro hairdo that most Korean women exiting their 20s got back then. It meant serious business and told the world that you weren’t a kid no more, that you were a mom with a career and that you shouldn’t be messed with.
I look sort of pissed, don’t I? But that car, which I believe was a Lincoln Towncar, is a boat! That was one solid piece of metal – there’s no denting that thing.
These photos remind me of some of the family albums that are archived at the Smithsonian Museums. When I was working on the Smithsonian Photography Initiative website in the mid-2000s, we were taken on a 2 day guided tour by the curators to view some of the photography collections housed throughout the Smithsonian museums. But among some of the first cyanotypes, photos of scientific specimens, portraits of Native American Indians and so forth were albums of American families. These were of great interest to me. There was so much history and story telling in those photos – an anthropological look at how we lived, what we wore, what we drove, how we decorated our homes, how we related to each other. I look at these pictures above and feel the same way. They plot my own personal history growing up in NYC, but they are, in fact, a piece of the larger American story.