From very young, I never had a reason to want to know more about my birth parents. But every day, my own children astonish me. And of course, I wonder, did my birth parents pass on some love-of-design gene to me?
As I’ve said, I love design. I’m drawn to well-designed packages, typography, compellingly composed photography and paper. While granted, my children have noticed, I wonder back to the crumpler/folder theory of how Asians are drawn to a compulsive neatness and the order of things.
My son collects all kinds of things: Pokemon cards [of course!], rocks, sticks, marbles and wine corks. The latter were brought to me early one morning. He had sorted them. “The ones in the bag are really nice. See the words on them? This one has a leopard print on it. I like the way this one has wavy lines,” he told me as he showed me his most treasured corks. And yes, they were the most well-designed of the bunch. Then, he went on, “These in this container are just plain or boring. I think I’ll make a bulletin board out of them.” That’s my boy, I thought. His father doesn’t sort nearly as precisely.
My daughter also makes me proud. Her favorite thing is paper. When we open a new book or magazine, she smells the paper and rubs it against her velvety face. I recall my days of sniffing mimeograph paper. The love of that purple-hued courier type on white with its intoxicating scent.
My adoptive parents did not have such habits. So somewhere in Korea there is a paper-sniffing, cork-sorting person with my face in the back of her mind.