The True Gift of Katy - A story of how Katy, Texas brought happiness to an immigrant family

Essay by SolidusJunior High, 9th gradeA+, May 2007

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Qui Le lived in Saigon, the capital of Vietnam. He was part of a full-size family that ran a simple family business of crafting and selling wooden figurines. The Le Figurine Collection was comprised of toy soldiers, heroes of courage, and truculent villains. Everything was great in the early sixties; Qui was married and was planning on having children. But evil was lurking in the north; the communists began to rise in Vietnam.

Everyone’s life changed when the Vietnam War embarked on its path of destruction. Most of Qui’s relatives stayed in the country, with a few exceptions that planned to take refuge in the United States. Believing in hope, Qui and his close family decided to wait until the conflict ceased, to further evaluate his situation. The Communist Viet Cong soldiers were ruthless. They slaughtered any South Vietnamese civilian in sight. Communism was a terrible government; it was built on dictatorship and brainwashing propaganda; individuality and freedom were rejected and lives were often destroyed at the whim of a tyrant.

The buffeting, slaughtering, and fierce fighting between good and evil raged on for months. Qui’s wife suggested immigration. Qui glanced at his wife, and flipped the dining room table and tossed it towards the window. He grunted under his breath, “I will not abandon my country! I have lived here all my life!”Unfortunately, the smell of victory seeped into the noses of the evil Communists. Soon after South Vietnam’s bitter defeat, Qui considered his options. Callous Viet Cong soldiers roamed the streets of what was once Saigon. Legal papers were required to be filled out any time a person was to go anywhere. Qui knew that this was not the Vietnam he loved. His homeland was contaminated. He finally decided that it was time to come to America.

Although booking a flight to America was a difficult task, the Le family was granted permission in 1991. Qui, his wife, and his two children, Dung and Dat, boarded the jumbo plane for the long flight to the land of opportunity. Qui’s brother-in-law in New Jersey was happy to take them in until they found a place to live on their own.

Jobs were not great in New Jersey. Qui’s real brother, who had abandoned the family and was living in Katy, TX, scored an excellent job with the Goodman Manufacturing Company. Through greed and corruption, he compiled a huge amount of money in just a few years.

Tearfully saying goodbye to his wife, kids, and caretakers in New Jersey Qui continued his voyage for freedom by going to Big Texas to earn good money to support his family. Goodman Manufacturing valued immigrants, unlike many employers.

But difficulties arose from within the family. Qui’s brother did not become a financial success by wasting or spending money. They were parsimonious, lamentable and superficial beings. As a result, Qui was never loved like a true family member.

Qui dialed the phone for his wife. He explained to her that the job was good, and that the time was right to find a place to live in Katy, Texas. Qui’s wife broke the news to the New Jersey family, Qui’s family flew to Texas.

Qui’s brother drove him to the airport to reunite himself with his family. In the car, Qui’s brother told Qui, “It’s about time you moved out of my house.” The time was right indeed.

Qui’s family found a home in the Bon apartments in Bellaire. Although the place was destitute, Qui never complained. He worked long and hard hours to make life commodious. Sometimes, Dung felt like Dad lived at the Goodman Manufacturing Company and only returned home to visit. Dat was occupied with toys, clueless about the colossal change that was about to happen.

In 1997, the Le family moved to a small house in Katy at the Westgreen Subdivision. Life was on par with most middle-class Americans, and things were stable. Dat attended Katy ISD schools and Dung was sent to Art College in Maryland, where he stayed with the original loving family that helped them out in the first place.

Six years later, Dung visited his family in Katy and suggested looking at a new house. Although reluctant, they agreed and they approached KB Home where they saw a two-story house for less than $200,000. Qui bought the house, and the moment that purchase was made, his family has experienced the true gift of Katy, Texas: happiness.