Note to readers from Kristina Gray: This is the fifth installment in a six-part series, with this chapter written by one of my students and encompassing the reminiscing of old timers in their own words or according to my University of Minnesota, Crookston students’ interviews and writing up what their grandparents told them. In addition to the six-part series which will continue once a week through April, join me on a look into the past in the Crookston Daily Times’ 2013 Community Connections special edition, which publishes on Friday, April 26.
(Hayden) MinKyun Kim
At present, the world is constantly changing and evolving. Now, I am living with learning something new and encountering with new culture every day. When changes occur too fast, we forget our old traditional values. In this harsh life, I think that it is important to remind us of traditional values once again because, old histories and the wisdom of our ancestors could be the driving force of pioneering a harsh life and they would help us realize the warm heart between people. I was able to recall some memories while thinking about these old things.
I got a chance to interview a couple that has lived a long time in Crookston. On February 13, 2013, two friends and I headed downtown to interview Mr. and Mrs. Hvidings. Their house was white, cozy and beautiful. When we went to open the door of the white house, the old couple was very welcoming to us. My friend and I interviewed Mrs. Hviding who was very kind and friendly.
Her full name was Laverne Hviding and she has been living in Crookston since 1957 after marriage. She grew up on a farm and graduated from the high school. When she was a student, she always stayed in the library to write her autobiography, and her favorite hobby was swimming at the old swimming pool nearby her house. After marriage, she had to move to Texas, Missouri and to Kentucky because of her husband’s military service. After her husband finished his military service, she and Mr. Hviding moved to Crookston in 1957. Ever since then, she has been living in Crookston as a housewife until now.
I asked her a few questions, the first question was, “I would like to know about your childhood memories.” The most impressive answer of her stories is, “My first date was my high school graduation night where my husband gave the locket to me to celebrate the graduation and I still have the locket.”
After hearing her story, I was surprised so much because, the locket seemed new and polished despite it was made before almost 60 years ago. Inside the locket, there was the couple’s photos when they were young were attached beautifully. For me, the locket was seen as a symbol of their eternal love. When I was in my first year of high school, my classmates and I buried a time capsule on the land, and we put some stuffs in the time capsule to symbolize ourselves. After a period of time, we had been promised to open the time capsule when we become adults. Now, almost 10 years later, I am wondering the condition of our time capsule. There is about six years left to open the time capsule that was promised to us. In the future, if I talk with my friends about memories infused with the stuff, I would feel the importance of the old and recall the memories of friends. I can have remembered my precious memories due to her locket.
Page 2 of 3 - Second question was, “How many children were in your family?” She said, “I was the third of seven children and my first sister died when she was 5 years old because of the pneumonia.” When I heard her, I was so sad because I have two younger brothers, one is a university student and the other one is high school. I have lots of memories with my brothers. I imagined that if I lose my brother, I would really scared.
Our third question was, “What do you think the most important parts for maintaining family well? She talked about her faith as a Christian and stated, “My favorite place in Crookston is the church, because there are a lot of good friends in the church.” Through her saying, I realized the importance of faith once again. Her home will always be reconciled together with God and her.
Lastly, I asked her, “What is the special tradition or culture of your family and Crookston?” She said, “All my family used to go to the motel with a pool every winter for a weekend retreat.” After hearing her answer, I missed my old days. When I was young, all my family members including grandparents and relatives used to travel together. Family trip was a good tradition; however, it became forgotten memories due to the busy lifestyle. As time went by, I was sad because my family’s good old tradition was disappearing. I vowed that I’m going to strive to revive the great tradition of the family when I go back to Korea.
Let me introduce my maternal grandfather briefly, his name is Inki Kim. He is living in Pyeongtaek, Kyeonggido, Korea. He is eighty one years old that almost same age as Mrs. Hviding’s. He has five daughters including my mom. His hobbies are harvesting some vegetables from the mountain and web surfing on the Internet.
There are some similarities exist between my grandfather and Mrs. Hviding. First, they have been living a long time in their hometown. My grandfather, Inki has lived for more than 60 years in Pyeongtaek like Mrs. Hviding. I think that the reason why they cannot leave their hometown is filled with memories of a lifetime. Second, their hometown, Pyeongtaek and Crookston were both rural areas. Inki was born as the son of a farmer, and has lived a lifetime contributing to the rural. He was a pioneer of rural development. So, he had appeared on TV programs before long time ago.
Moreover, they have hobbies to develop themselves. Mrs. Hviding likes to solve sudoku and put a jigsaw puzzle with her husband. In my opinion, her hobbies are fun and will help to prevent dementia. Surprisingly, Inki’s hobby is web surfing on the Internet. He gets information of what he wants much faster compared to other elderly people by virtue of the Internet.
Page 3 of 3 - On the other hand, their biggest difference is that they experienced war or not. In 1950, Korean War began because of sudden invasion of North Korea. And he had to see to his hometown brutally trampled by enemy. He said, “Thousands of people lost their lives to keep our hometown from invasion of enemy. So, I cannot move to another place leaving my hometown.” From his saying, I could feel how much he loved his hometown. Although Mrs. Hviding didn’t experience war, love for her in Crookston would be similar with Inki’s love for in Pyeongtaek.
Thorough this interview, I've learned that I can get many lessons from an elder, regardless of nationality. Always a new thing cannot exist. As time passes, new things tend to be older. We must accept a new civilization while adhere to the tradition to improve quality of our life. Still now, I think that I can learn something valuable from elder people. Their wisdom and annual ring are essential elements to carve out a harsh life. Mrs. Hviding’s smile and story exist in my head still now.