Sunday, May 2, 2010

Elvis and I

It has now been more than 30 years since Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, died on the 16th of August, 1977. TV and radio stations were running his programs all day long. His death, at the age of 42, shocked all Americans and people throughout the world, and I witnessed it as a sixteen-year-old homestay student visiting my American “family” in Annapolis, Maryland.
My American “father” once told me they often talked about me and counted the passing years whenever watching one of Presley’s memorial-TV programs. To my sorrow, however, “Dad” passed away six years ago. My host-sister emailed me after his death and told me how much pleasure it had given him to know me. He enjoyed sharing news of my life and family, she said, and thought fondly of the days I had spent in Annapolis.
Indeed, a very long time has passed since then. My American brothers and sisters, teen-agers at the time, are now in their forties and fifties, and I have now grown older than Elvis at the time of his death. I am truly thankful to the Morrow family whom I consider my actual family. I was fortunate to meet them for they transformed my life. In fact, soon after my return from America, I decided to devote myself to learning English so that I could communicate with them fluently when I saw them again.
We began exchanging letters and I wrote them almost every week during my remaining high school days. I still write or email them on an irregular basis.
Though I managed to meet some of them again, the last reunion was twenty years ago. For many years now, I have longed to see them again and introduced them to my wife and children.
Had I not met them, I do not believe that I would have become a high school teacher or a college professor. Without their inspiration in my life, it is doubtful that I would still be engaged in promoting international understanding and volunteer activities.
Because of my experience with them, I have adhered to a belief that world peace could be established if more people had the opportunity to share their cultures.