Sections 4-5 Summary
Henry discusses his father, who died a year and a half after Henry's son. A successful businessman, his father made money through a grocery store chain. Henry believes his father seemed much happier when he owned one store and lived in a small apartment in Queens. During those earlier, leaner times, his father often danced with his mother, exhibiting a joy he never seemed to experience later. His father also had many friends, all Korean.
This changed when they moved to the suburbs as his father grew prosperous, to a large home in Ardsley, a mostly white community that seemed barely to tolerate his family's presence. Henry's father hid from the public, standing in the background at Henry's games.
Henry did not get along with his father, often ridiculing his prices and wages. When his father wanted to show off his son's English, Henry insisted on speaking Korean.
As a child, Henry noticed his mother only made vague references to his father's business. Later Henry questioned her about this. In Korea, Henry's father had earned an engineering degree from a very good college. His mother did not want to shame him.
Henry did not understand many things about his father. One was Lelia. Henry was surprised his father genuinely seemed to like Lelia, offering her special treats. Henry suspected his father secretly liked and was proud that Henry had married a white woman.
For a man who rarely expressed emotion, Henry's father often hugged Lelia, laughed and teased her. This astonished Henry. His father never displayed emotion, not even when Henry's mother died. Henry used his father as a model, mimicking his lack of emotional response.
After his mother died, Henry's father brought a Korean woman home. Henry believed she was a recent immigrant, very old fashioned and probably from the countryside. She had little to say. When Henry married and brought Lelia to visit, she was still working as housekeeper. When Lelia asked the woman's name, Henry was unable to answer, which Lelia found inexcusable since she had practically raised Henry. However, when Lelia tried to communicate with her, she was completely unsuccessful. She acted insulted when Lelia attempted to help with the wash. Henry suspected she and his father were having a sexual relationship, but he could not prove it. Only once did he notice them smile at one another. She stayed until she died shortly before his father passed away.