© 2019 Tapestry, Annual TAMUK Women & Gender Studies Journal

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Billy Co

Henry Van Co

            Henry Van Co, my father, was born May 20th, 1965 in the old capital of Saigon, Vietnam close to the central districts. Off the main street, toward the middle of the road between a reddish brown and a grey house is where my father grew up in a two-story house. Henry was the youngest of three, an older brother and sister before him. School for Henry was not the most enjoyable, classrooms full of fifty plus students, the majority was standing room, and he would find himself staring off into the only window in the whole classroom not paying attention to class. Close to the summer of 1975, Henry moved to San Francisco, California where in the process, his mother and father became ill on the boat ride and passed shortly after arriving in America. While in America, my father worked instead of going to school.

            In the 12th of July 1997, I was born, "Bất cứ điều gì bạn đặt nỗ lực của bạn vào sẽ là bất cứ điều gì bạn thành công trong" (Co).  Simply translates to, “whatever you put your effort into will be anything you succeed in.” My father had always put emphases on hands-on learning. He would bring me to work when I little and sit me on top of his toolbox and I would sit for hours watching him work. Then as I got into high school, I developed a love for shop work like automotive or welding work I was also involved with the Future Farmers of America program for Agriculture and my father was proud when I received my awards for both programs. When I walked the stage for graduation, I had received my certification in automotive repair, but I had not decided on where to go for college.

            Then my father pulled me aside after the ceremony and told me "nếu bạn không chắc chắn con đường nào đi xuống tôi hiểu bạn vẫn còn thời gian," "if you are not sure what path to go down I understand you have time" (Co). When my father told me this it allowed me to understand why my father was not pushy for my growing up since he had obstacles to overcome and could not enjoy his childhood.  My father has helped me as much as he could even though I could not get help with school from him since he did not get to go or got to experience it like I was able to.