One of the earliest memories from my childhood was from when I was 7 years old. My father at the time worked in New York City as the CEO of a toy company that worked primarily on producing stuffed animals and from time to time my father would take me to work with him on the weekends. I got to play with all the toys his company made and he took me to toy conventions on the west side and I remember it being one of the happiest times of my life. He bought me a suction cup bow and arrow kit, which I used to terrorize my family, and he also bought me a slingshot. It was glorious. I distinctly remember one day waking up to go to work with my dad on a weekend because he was called into the office. We took the Long Island Railroad together into the city and we decided to ride the first car. I looked out the train window to see the Manhattan skyline and I remember feeling overwhelmed. As a young, short, pudgy kid from the suburbs of Long Island it was eclipsing and mesmerizing. It felt almost electric in its energy and I can feel that the city was alive, living and breathing while millions of people hustled and bustled around the city. I fell in love with the city that day and although I didn’t know it at the time…i wanted to be just like my dad.
Years down the road when I had to decide where I wanted to go to school in my heart I knew I wanted to go to a school in the city, but I was scared. Scared that I wouldn’t be good enough and scared that I would fail and disappoint my parents. My dad was a smart guy and figured out how I was feeling without me having to tell him a thing. He encouraged me to pursue what I wanted and never pressured me to to pursue something I didn’t want. He immigrated from South Korea and started working here as a taxi driver. My father saved up enough money to start his own business and provided for me and my mom. Like him he wanted me to forge my own path because he knew that he worked hard enough to provide for me opportunities that he never had. He was always patient, kind and compassionate and taught me to be the same way. He was my rock throughout my whole life and still was even when he got sick. Until the very end he stayed optimistic always insuring us that he would be there for the big moments. My father passed away in November of 2014 from cancer and there hasn’t been a day that goes by where I don’t think about him. I owe everything I am and everything I have to my father. He was the greatest man I ever knew and today would have turned 59 years old.
Happy Birthday Dad we all love you and we all miss you.