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Korean Wash Day

Story ID:6895
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:retired
Story type:Poem
Location:Hemet USA USA
Year:1945
Person:Clean Chelsea Kansas Kid
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Korean Wash Day

Korean Wash Day

Korean Wash Day

Ho Sun Yon, the farmer
(Who Sung Young)
In eggs kept us supplied
Took care of our laundry
On him we relied.

For two-ten-yen
Ten eggs and clean shirts
Was a small price to pay
For food and removal of dirt.
(In 1945 15 Yen to a dollar)

We couldn’t figure out
Why our clothes wore out so quickly
Not from normal wear, it seems
Our socks were limp and sickly

Everything he returned
Was squeaky clean
The price was right
Not wanting to be mean

I visited Ho Sun Yon
While his wife was washing shirts and socks
She was at a running stream
Beating them with rocks.

I turned and back
To the Quonset Hut I went
Picked up a bar of GI soap
Headed for the running stream “Hell Bent”

This GI soap
Was 99 percent lye
Used it to clean motor parts
Or the concrete floor in Medical Supply

I walked back to that
Running stream
Handed Ho Sun’s wife the lye soap
How her face did beam

She thanked me in Korean
Bowed and bowed to me
You’d thought I’d given her
A million Yen, then it dawned on me

These poor farmers
Had no extra money for soap
This was something I took for granted
I felt like such a dope

From then on
I made it a point, you see
To keep Ho Sun’s wife in lye soap
And keep my clothes and my wash lady happy.
Monte L. Manka 02-27-11