I’ve been starting most days this year by writing letters to people. With a fountain pen and actual paper. (So old-fashioned that it feels refreshingly modern, right?!)
This morning’s letter was to say thank you to my friend for making and giving me this lovely ID-bracelet-inspired bracelet that contains one of my roller skating personas on it: #clarityclause. It sparked a beautiful memory of a 1975 evening when my family had been in America for just a year. It was hot Friday night. It was spelling test night.
My dad had made it a practice to give my brothers (Jim and Jinil) and I regular spelling tests with words that he picked ... to help enhance what we were learning in school ... just to help our mastery of English as new immigrants, to happen sooner than later. One of the words for that particular test on that particular night was B A K E R S F I E L D. Our new hometown. My dad had promised that if all three of us got 100% that we could all go to the movie theater and see the newest thrilling movie that had come out: JAWS.
My brothers and I were concerned about my ability to spell Bakersfield and potentially endanger the fun we all wanted to have at the movies. I realized before the test that if I needed reinforcement I could flip over my ID bracelet that had Bakersfield (and the rest of our address) engraved on it.
I'm not completely sure if I took that glance. But I am completely sure that my dad, brothers and I all excitedly went to see JAWS. We had so much fun. I can still smell that night. It smelled like sticky coke on the floor, greasy popcorn, and Bakersfield heat. It smelled like America.