Today is a very special day for me, which I want to celebrate it with you, for the association community had a huge part in it. 40 years ago, on this very day, December 31, 1969, when my sister and I landed in US, on a rainy snowy cold day. It was start of lot of firsts, starting with our first time being on a plane and seeing snow. We came with $8, some cloths, an uncertain future. Yet filled with excitement at the thought of reconnecting with our parents whom we hadn't seen for months, and hope for a better future. I was 11 and my sister was 9.
As I had shared few years back, our immigrating to US was made possible by my dad's pen pal, Mr. Cooper, an association executive who ran LES (Life Extension Society) back in the 60's. His and Mrs. Cooper's support positively changed the course of our lives, and those of our generations to come. Ever since then, associations have continued to play a role in our lives, directly and indirectly. Also in our story, there is a valuable lesson for all, which I'll share at the end here.
Ours is a typical immigrant story. When we came, I barely knew English. The 4 of us lived in a studio apartment. It had a sofa purchased from Salvation Army. We had a bed that folded up into a wall--strange contraption which I had never seen. At the time, I was a vegetarian. In my first week into 6th grade, unknowingly at lunch, I took a bite into a sloppy joe. It was love at first bite. I can still taste it. Rabbit food was out. "Rabbits" were in. Yuuummm. A friend thought me a 4-letter word, starting with F. Not knowing what it means, thinking it sounds cool, I used it on a teacher, and as a result got to experience a meeting with the principal and then experience detention. :) Ah, what a fun journey it has been, and still more to go. All exciting stuff.
Ah, the lesson, how my dad and Mr. Cooper connected and what the lesson was. Mr. Cooper had published an articles on the work of LES. LES's members were the ones who froze people, in hopes of later bringing them back to life whenever it became possible. Somehow my dad came across that article and as he read it, he got really pissed off. From what I hear, he wrote a scathing letter to Mr. Cooper, saying why in the &%^&(% world would they be doing such work, when there are already so many people who are alive and don't have food to eat. Well, fate has it that that letter lead to a life long friendship and it changed the course of our lives forever. So the lesson. If not for any other reason, be kind and be thankful to others for being in our lives, even though they may hold different views. Who knows, someone you come across and even if you don't agree with them, they may just end up being your savior, your best friend.
Well, on this special day, I wanted to say THANKS to the association community for making such a huge difference in our lives. Associations and the people who work in them really do contribute to making the world a better place. Of the many, I am just one living proof. THANK YOU!!!!!