EDITING : 2024.4.22 월 18:51
The Gachon Herald
The Moments of Life Expressed in Words and Pictures, The Book ‘We Didn't Know How to Write but We Know What the Life Is’: The life stories of twenty grandmothers
Ha Se-Young  |  ozllof@naver.com
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Updated : 2022.06.28  13:12:20
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  ‘We didn't know how to write but we know what the life is’ is a passion project created by grandmothers who never learned how to write because of poverty or the consequences of a male dominated society. Twenty grandmothers studied in an elementary-level Korean writing class at the Lifelong Learning Center in Suncheon. It is said that the sum of the years the grandmothers have lived is over 1,600. The book, which contains stories from their long years, has a wide variety of scenes, ranging from the story of an unwanted marriage to the story of marrying a first love. Let's look at the joys and sorrows of life through the stories of these grandmothers.

Happiness: The moment that grandmother leans on her husband
 During a time when everyone had to marry the person chosen by their family, Grandmother Jang Seon-ja also had an unwanted marriage because of her parents' insistence. When she lived in a repurposed chicken house, she felt deceived by the marriage and the poor circumstances. She regretted it and blamed her husband every day. One day she went on an errand for her aunt, but she lost some of the items by mistake. So, her husband gave her an emergency fund and helped her to finish the errand. Her husband kept it a secret from the aunt who would have been sorry if she knew about the incident. After that, she realized what true love is. The grandmother said she was so happy and that even a hole in her husband’s sock looked cute.

Anger: The husband who has an affair
 A grandmother named An An-sim returned home after a month away of helping her husband’s family to discover he was having an affair. What was worse, the woman with whom he was having the affair had nowhere to live and so had moved into the home along with An’s grandmother and children. The grandmother, who couldn't stand it anymore, complained to the husband but he reacted by becoming violent. Later, the husband became devoted to his family again, but the wounds from this event remain in her memory. This incident left not only physical scars but also a grandmother with a broken heart.
Sadness: The grandmother who wanted to be a singer
 Grandmother Kwon Jung-ja dreamed of becoming a singer during her childhood. However, she couldn't do anything about her dream, even over many years. As she got older, she got married. She watched her children grow up, achieve what they wanted, and go abroad, leaving her alone for many years. The grandmother's other dream was to be healthy and live for a long time with her husband, but her husband passed away first. So even this second dream could not be realized. Grandmother said, "it's lonely getting old alone," and she was bearing a hollow life. However, she found a new dream of graduating from elementary school at the Lifelong Learning Center. The process of making this book is very meaningful in that the grandmother finally has helped her to achieve her dream.
Pleasure: Drawing made grandmother healthy
 The grandmother Son Kyung-ae said that she did not study well when she was a student. Although there was nothing to show others in the way of studying, she was able to express her emotions through painting. The grandmother said that after learning drawing, she became brighter, and even her health recovered. The grandmother's painting, which reveals her emotions, features a combination of colorful colors. This is an example that proves the fact that finding strengths and showing off talents can bring great happiness.
 The book, which is composed of the stories of the grandmothers, also contains the modern and contemporary history of Korea. It documents the lives of women who lived in that era. The book is attractive that contains cheerful and unique paintings as well as the handwriting of the grandmothers. Paintings that reveal outstanding skills were displayed in a gallery at Seoul. Many people visited every day to see their paintings, and they were also displayed in the United States, including New York and Washington, DC by recognizing their value as artists. In addition, the publication of this book is very meaningful in that it brings out new changes to the lives of grandmothers. Before writing the book, the grandmothers were sad that they couldn't read the letters on the receipt. But after writing the book, they look so confident and says that they feel like living a new life. The grandmothers who became writers have learned writing and painting for only two years. They leave us a message that there is no end to learning by showing off their skillful works.
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