Margaret Arnette Lerke Woody

Name

Margaret Arnette Lerke Woody

Age

52

Location

Richmond, VA

Occupation

A Caregiver and Best Friend and Sister and Daughter

Own Words

BLOODLINES

My bloodlines disappeared in post-war South Korea.
There, I lost my origin,
my heritage,
my identity.
There, I was left to die,
to starve…
a baby…
alone.
My bloodlines came from somewhere to here.
My bellybutton reveals an unsophisticated birth.
I was consoled over the loss of a mother and father
with tales of women who
believed, or thought,
their babies would be better off
without them.
My father may have been
a GI Soldier,
a rapist…
Bloodlines in Korea should not to be mixed or tampered with.
I was told ‘abandoned girls’
have no useful reason
to be alive at all.
I felt this at a very young age…
So, I was grateful to be given life in
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
I have scars all over my body,
But don’t know where they came from.
I have squinty eyes and yellow skin,
But don’t know where they came from.
I have a wide, flat face.
I am short and stocky.
I don’t know where I came from…
There was always so much that was different about me
I needed to explain away to others in
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
“What are you?
Chinese?
Japanese?”
AMERICANS knew who they were…
“I cannot distinguish
Nor did I care to…
Korea is unknown and foreign to me, too.”
People always felt compelled
to ask me
to justify myself
to explain away
my far eastern looks
to help them not be threatened by me.
No! Those people I call “Mom and Dad”
are my ‘real’ parents!”
“No! I do not know Karate or Judo.”
“No! I do not know Kung Fu.”
“No, I do not practice Tai Chi.”
“No! Bruce Lee is not related to me.”
“No! I do not walk on men’s backs.”
“Yes, I suppose I am better off
with an AMERICAN mother
who was not a GI Whore!”
“Yes! I do love AMERICA!”
“Yes, I am grateful for my life here, in
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
“No! I do not know ‘ancient Chinese secrets’.”
“No! I had to learn to eat with chopsticks.”
“No! I am not a ‘Commie-Spy”!”
“No, I don’t play with dolls.
Because they do not look like me.”
“Yes, I wish I, too, had creases in my eyelids, just like you do in
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!”
“No! I cannot read Asian characters.
No! I do not understand Asian languages,
“No! I only speak English.
I learned here in United States of America!”
(Where did YOU learn to speak English?)
“No, I am not in the laundry or restaurant business.”
“No, I do NOT like being called
NIP
CHINK
GOOK
JAP
COMMIE SPY
GI WHORE!
BANANA or TWINKIE
I am an AMERICAN, just like you!”
“Sorry…
I am not a great violin prodigy!”
“Sorry…
I do not practice and cannot excel in music.”
“Sorry…
I can not excel in Science and Math.”
“Sorry…
I am not a natural born genius,
compared to all the other Asian kids.”
“I prefer ‘ASIAN’…
Not ‘Far-Easterner’
Not ‘Oriental’
Not ‘Mongolian’.”
“No, I am not the enemy!
I am an AMERICAN CITIZEN,
just like you!”
“No, I am not as
sweet
submissive
passive
and obedient
as other Asian girls on TV.”
“No, I don’t know what my Asian parents did…
but I am sure they didn’t
yank out the fingernails of AMERICANS
and torture them, like in those movies.”
I wish Godzilla was real and in
THE UNITED STATES AMERICA,
So I could be saved from you and your annoying questions!
I learned at an early age,
“Do not care about having Asian bloodlines.”
“Besides, AMERICANS are better!”
“Besides, Orientals smile in your face
and when you turn around, they stab you in the back!”
Well, I hope I am not like that!
“AMERICA is a huge melting pot.”
I wanted to be a part of the mix.
I wanted people to truly like me, accept me, approve of me…
I wanted people to STOP asking questions about me
I couldn’t answer about myself.
I wanted to fit in right here in
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
I survived six months of malnutrition, as a baby in South Korea.
I had survived alone on the streets, as baby in South Korea.
Could I survive being adopted in
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?
Please GOD…
Help me.
I promise to be godly,
I promise to be grateful,
I promise to be good.
GOD gave me missionary parents…
(Thanks Be to GOD!)
GOD gave me food and clothes and shelter…
(Thanks Be to GOD!)
GOD gave me LIFE!
(Thanks Be to GOD!)
JESUS wants me for a sunbeam, to shine for HIM each day!
(Thanks Be to GOD!)
My Mother’s DAR bloodlines
go way back to 1632 in
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
“Way before Miles Standish!”
My bloodlines disappeared somewhere
in post-war South Korea.
Don’t trace them back…
Don’t look back…
Don’t even try to find them…
…I am in the United States of America now!

By Margaret Lerke
1999

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