birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

17 to 22

My grandmother ran away and hid in the backwoods when her future aunt-in-law came for a visit. The Lees and the Kims had already agreed that their children would be a good match based on pedigree but the woman was curious to see if the girl was pretty, what her demeanor was like. She never did see the girl that day. My grandmother had hid really, really well.

She was 17 when she married my grandfather. Romantic love wasn’t a concern in those days but the husband and wife, with no prior history of knowing each other, quickly grew to love each other deeply. They soon had a son and a daughter. Both births were gravely difficult for my grandmother, who had always had a weak constitution. As the Korean War began to brew her husband became politically active as a Nationalist. He believed that Korea needed to resist the influence/interference of both Russia and the USA. This meant that he was hounded by militants from both sides and went into hiding. This then meant that my grandmother was constantly being harassed and shaken down for information on the whereabouts of her husband. Her husband was ultimately arrested and became a prisoner of war, never to be heard from again. My grandmother was 22, and a widow with two children.

Spunky and Strong

Grandmother Elizabeth