My dad fought for South Vietnam in the Vietnam War. After the Fall of Saigon, my parents married right away. My dad was worried that the new government would take away some of his rights as punishment for fighting on the opposing side. Soon after, he was issued papers instructing him to report to them with 10 days worth of clothing. He was to be reeducated on new policies. This happened in May and my mom’s birthday was in July. He promised her that he would be home by her birthday. My mom didn’t even hear from him til 6 months when they finally allowed him to write letters. My mom told me that on her birthday a couple of months after his detainment, she made his favorite meal and waited. That still makes me choke up.
He was finally released almost three years later. My mom, my half siblings, and my dad soon attempted their first escape out of Vietnam. Escaping Vietnam was pretty difficult. Not only is there a government not wanting you to leave and will punish you severely for it, but Thai pirates often preyed on refugee boats. Still, my parents wanted a better life and Vietnam was no longer the country they knew. So my dad along with a few other men planned an escape. They were to play the part of fishermen while underneath their wooden boat there were friends and family sardined silently. Mothers with their hands over their babies’ mouths.
With good fortune, my parents’ boat made it to Indonesia where there were refugee camps. They stayed there for a few weeks and bartered with soda and cigarettes. My parents carried nothing except for the clothes on their backs and one gold necklace. The necklace was given to my dad by a Chinese friend who wanted to give him jade and gold for good luck. The Chinese believed jade to keep away evil spirits and bring them good luck. It was the only thing of value my dad kept.
I can’t remember when he gave it to me but I never took it off for years. I showered and slept in. I took it off once at twelve years old because I was having major surgery for scoliosis. It wasn’t until college and when I started accessorizing that sometimes I took it off. Very rarely though. You can often see them in my photos and in my vlogs. I still showered and slept in it.
I received a lot of inquiries and compliments about the necklace through the years. I usually gave the short story. “This is the only thing my dad didn’t sell before coming to the states. I’d die if I ever lost it.”
I lost it. I haven’t worn it in about a week or a little over a week. I looked for it the last two days. I still haven’t stopped looking for it but I know I will utterly be heartbroken if I don’t find it.
Update: Necklace found! You guys are awesome for the concern and sweet notes.