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Being alone

16 0 5
By Hyon O'Brien

I grew up with five brothers and three sisters. None of us had any private space. Each room was used for multiple purposes.

Our parents' bedroom was used as a living room and (with the addition of a tray) dining room, and contained a telephone and eventually a TV set. Later on, a refrigerator joined the furniture. Bedding was kept in a closet until needed at night.

I shared a small room with our live-in maid. I don't recall having my own desk or closet. What clothing I had was hung on hooks around the wall. It's a good thing I was required to wear a school uniform from the 7th grade till my graduation from high school ― that simplified my clothing. Even when I attended college in Seoul, I shared a room with a maid in my eldest brother's house.

All throughout my growing-up years and college days, I yearned for some space of my own. When I got married at age 21 in New York, I gained a beloved roommate with whom to share my life, and it was refreshing and rewarding to have just two people in our entire living space that was comparable to 12 people in the space of my growing up years. My husband fortunately figured out my need to be alone sometimes and generously has accommodated that need for the past nearly 50 years.

Now that I have lived decades more since those days of cramped........

© The Korea Times