From my aunt’s e-mail thread.

I found a photo of great grandfather and grandmother Ree

Great Grandfather and Grandmother Ree

Aunt Tamaye:

FYI we used the picture of our grandfather for your Aunt Geeya’s high school VP campaign poster.  Underneath his picture appeared a message: ‘Confucius says: Vote for Joan Ree!’  


Lol, Mom used to tell us the story as: you passed out fortune cookies to entire class that had, as the fortune, “Confucius say: Vote for Joan!”

She also said you won. 😀

Aunt Gia:

It’s so good to hear from you. I thought I’d never get a message from my wonderful genius nephew. Did your mom tell you that my high school at that time wouldn’t let a girl run for the president of student body? It was boy for President, girl for VP, boy for Treasurer, girl for Secretary. Quite chauvinist Catholic high school.

Grandma saved a page from my high school newspaper, the Judegeonian. It is an article written about the winners of 1963-1964  student body officers. From the article, we girls running for officers had to go to the 2nd day to have clear majority, which I don’t recall. Ancient history for younger members of the family.

_The Judgeonian_, 1963

Cousin Alex:

I remember you and auntie talking about a runoff I think or winning by just a couple votes. And damn mom, if they didn’t vote for you based on talent, they definitely voted for you based on looks, which probably helped counter the anti-asian voting bloc a.k.a today’s Trump voters.

Cousin Tammy:

Wow look at you mom!

Cousin Alex:

What’s sodality, pep club, and grail club?


A pep club is a group responsible for pep rallies. Not sure the other two, but it’s probably related to Judge Memorial being a Catholic school.

I remember once in college, I met a classmate who said he was from Salt Lake City.

I said, “My mom’s from there.”

“Oh really? What high school did she go to.”

“Oh, you probably haven’t heard of it…something called ‘The Judge?!'”

“The Catholic school in Mormon country? Everyone has heard of Judge Memorial.”

Aunt Tamaya:

Hey, Terry.  I’ve caught you lurking there. 


Actually a very good friend of mine from college also went to Judge Memorial as did his brother.  His grandfather on his mother’s side was a professor at Utah in a science field (forget which one).  His father left the Mormon church since he didn’t believe in their teachings.  We used to joke that Judge Memorial was where all the misfits (non-Mormons) and troublemakers (excommunicated Mormons) went.

Cousin Tammy:

Yea I think I remember mom saying that it was the only Catholic High School in Mormon Territory.  So it stood out. 

Uncle Francis:

I knew that you would be elected before the election because of Confucius said so. Thanks for our late dad and ma, who spent hours helping to put the Confucius stickers in the fortune cookies. Lo, I wonder why the Catholic school allowed such Confucian fortune cookies. Moreover, why didn’t you convert to Confucianism?

(That side of the family is one of the oldest Korean Catholic families.)

Aunt Gia:

Wow this is thrilling, I got Terry to write us again. Hiya, Terry. it’s so good to hear from you. Ken also sent me an email yesterday but Ken responds more frequently. We miss seeing both of you very much. I still remember your mom, “Apchang”, when my high school graduation ceremony ended. She came running to me and gave a big excited hug because I saved the family from utter, excruciating disgrace. There were numerous awards handed out, even to beauty schools, and none was for Gia. Terrible, horrible embarrassment to the Ree name! And she was thinking how come Gia couldn’t even get one to be a beautician? Then finally they announced the last, most prestigious award for the most outstanding senior girl and it was for her little sister! So I retained Ree family membership.

Thank you, next generation, for taking me down memory lane.

Thank you, Auntie Gia, for sharing stories and photos of my family. 🙂

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