By Savitre “Rapture” Schaefferkoetter, Contributing Writer

My dad stands out with his Mr. T-style Mohawk. He doesn’t mess with small talk and hardly smiles in pictures. Don’t talk to him about any other teams but Da Cubs, Da White Sox, Da Bears, or Da Bulls. Maybe “Da Blackhawks”, due to recent events. He loves black and because of his vast music collection, I now love the Doors and the Ramones.

He had a distant relationship to his own dad. Grandpa Suthep was a fallen man who was once a handsome army officer in Thailand. In the ’70s, my dad left his dad behind and moved to Chicago to live with his sister and my grandma – they were part of the great post-Vietnam War immigration.

My dad learned to be tough, maybe because of Suthep, maybe because of his absence. I had a hard time growing close to him in the beginning, but he was there for us physically. In due time, he would be there for my brother and me emotionally, too. Somehow, spending time away from the house I grew up in, and meeting him later, made me realize that I grew up to be like him on my very own. Strange little things like leaving the turn signal off at a red light so people don’t hassle you to turn faster.

I can’t pick out one particular memory – that’s like choosing a favorite song from your favorite band. But I’ll tell you this. He loves to do the Twist, and he did not hesitate to show off at my wedding reception.


I fondly remember an older picture of him with long flowing hair and a black leather jacket. But the picture I’ve included with this article has him smiling and dancing with me. I’ve also included a picture of him in action, looking like the tough guy he is, in case you had any doubts.



Images: Savitre Schaefferkoetter