Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 at 8:14 am by LaLonde Jewelers
Living in Hawaii there were large communities of people from various Asian countries. They each had large numbers of restaurants, food stores, nightclubs, and churches. So, a lot of young girls from these various countries happened to marry an American serviceman while he was on deployment in their country. Countries like Korea, The Philippines and Vietnam. These gals would move back to the USA with their new husband to middle-town America where none of the familiar things would be available to them. This went back all the way back to the Korean war times.
Living in a farm town in Iowa and speaking broken English with no familiar places to visit, they were feeling very alienated A lot of these fragile situations didn’t work out. The problem is that in most situations the young woman was not welcomed back to her family and community. So they tended to gravitate to larger cities where they could find familiar surroundings, in places like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Honolulu.
A lot of these girls, because of their social skills and language barrier, worked in their respective restaurants and nightclubs of their communities. Most only dealt in cash business and didn’t understand taxes and social security. I remember asking if they ever paid taxes, “No, and I can’t get social security.” I said, “You’ve got a point there.”
Old School Korean Community
In these communities in Hawaii there would be a group of people called a Hui that had lots of cash and would loan it to various people within their community. It would be governed by the civic leaders of that community. This was done as a community banking service with no banking regulations. Huge amounts of money was loaned, all of which was gathered by that the group or Hui. This would always work because the people and families involved would be ostracized from the community for not following the rules.
Now at one time I dated a Korean gal that was right out of this very situation. She had married and lived somewhere in Colorado. Divorced, she came to Honolulu because she had a few friends there. I remember when we went looking for a Christmas tree, we looked and found one. She asked the tree salesman where it was from, he said “Oregon”, she said she wanted one from Colorado. We went to another tree lot and I went right to the salesman and said, “when she asks where it is from, say Colorado.”
We got our tree.
So, I would bring her with me on some of my business ventures when I had to collect or pay money for some diamonds or jewelry. When it came time to collect or pay for the business transaction, I would hand the cash to her.
Well, because of her cash dealings she could count 5 thousand dollars in like 3.2 seconds and never make a mistake. Now I have been to horse race tracks and watched the pay window count out cash and do it fast but, in my mind, I would think how slow they were compared to these girls.
The day came that I had to give her some money I owed her and I was out of cash, so I gave her a check. Boy, she looked at it and said:
“This no cash money.”
I assured her to put it in her bank and it was OK. Well someone had stiffed me, and my check bounced. You want to talk about being in deep Kim-chi.
I often wondered as the years went by how many more checks do you think that girl took in her life?
Written by Dan LaLonde, G.G., G.I.A.
Lalonde Jewelers & Gemologists
The Gem Expert