It was April 25th, 1955. The weather was warm and mild. It was a perfect day for Soo-mi and Sung-su’s wedding day. They were both 20 years old and they have never met before until their wedding day. It was their parents’ decision to get them married. The parents prepared everything for their wedding and even found out their best date for the wedding. Soo-mi only had chance to see her husband through a picture before the wedding and had no choice but to accept her parents’ decision.

The day when Soo-mi got married and became part of her husband’s family, she became a servant of her mother-in-law. The tension between Soo-mi and her mother-in-law was always serious and cold. Not only her mother-in-law, but four sisters-in-law and one brother-in-law trapped Soo-mi from freedom. She did all the cooks, house chores, but no matter how hard she worked, Sung-su’s mother was never satisfied with Soo-mi’s work. Soo-mi was only 20 years old and her mother-in-law’s harsh complaints were too much on her.
Soo-mi wept every night.

“I miss my parents. There’s no one to rely on. I feel lonely and I can’t bear the hardships anymore. How did my mom and older sisters handle their own mother-in-law?”

The tension between Soo-mi and her mother-in-law grew higher and higher everyday. One day, the mother-in-law was being very picky on Soo-mi’s food.

“I think the rice is not done yet. Did you do this on purpose so that your mother-in-law can’t chew?”

“No, I thought the rice was done very well. Should I make the rice again?”

“Of course! You know that I have bad teeth and can’t eat this rice!”

Soo-mi had to make a new bowl of rice with a lot of water so that her mother-in-law can’t complain about it. When Soo-mi finally served the rice to her mother-in-law, she said,

“The soup is very salty. How much salt did you put into this soup? Go make a new bowl of soup!”

Soo-mi had to make a new bowl of soup to satisfy her mother-in-law’s taste. When Soo-mi served the soup to her mother-in-law, she said,

“The salad barely has the taste. Go make new dressing!”

Soo-mi’s mother-in-law’s complaints seemed endless. She cried while she was making new dressing for the salad. When Soo-mi finally served the new salad to her mother-in-law, she was done with her meal. Soo-mi sighed and was relieved from mother-in-law’s scolding. She cried every night, but no one was there to be on her side. No one rescued her from the harsh environment. Sung-su, her husband, couldn’t take either side and was never involved in these conflicts. Soo-mi wanted to go back to her house and see her family.

That night, Sung-su came home with good news. It was good news for Soo-mi for sure.

“I decided to start my own business in a city in Dae-gu. I am going to move with Soo-mi and make money there. I’ll miss my family, but I’m a grown-up now. I can’t rely on my parents forever.”

“Please don’t leave us. I can’t live without my adorable son!”

Sung-su’s mother was very upset and depressed about her son’s news. However, Soo-mi was glad that she could be free from her mother-in-law. Sung-su started coal business in the city and it was very successful. Soo-mi had two sons and two daughters and lived happily ever after.

***One of Soo-mi’s sons got married to my mom and got me.