I Have an old Korean story about twin boys born on May 3, in 1950. They were baptized Phillip and James two weeks later; then two weeks after that, on June 25th, their parents got word that the North Koreans has just crossed the 38th Parallel twenty miles north of them, and they were roaring down the road.
Their mother Martha, and their father, Peter, bundled the twins and they fought their way south on the crowded road. However, after they had scurried along for ten minutes, Martha recalled d money she had hid in a jar behind their house, so she sent Peter back to dig it up.
The Communist invaders caught Peter, and although he was a trained office clerk, for three years they turned him into a coulee, one of a line of thirty men who toted ammunition on their backs, down the wooded mountain paths from Manchuria. They packed loads through the night hours, while in the day they slept under scrub pines, hiding from American planes overhead.
I know about Peter’ life through those three years, because afterwards, when I took over a parish, I hired Peter as my office manager.
After the war, the South Korean soldiers penned up him and the other coolies; and one by one they interviewed them and then shot them as spies. Peter, on seeing some American soldiers nearby, shouted out “Me Peduoo, me Peduroo!” as he fiercely made the sign of the cross over and over.
One of the GI’s noticed him. “Hey, that gook is a Catholic, let him out of there.”
When Peter was reunited with Martha, Phillip and James were four years old. And they went on to grow up in and out of my priest’s house. I hope the real St. James and St. Phillip, didn’t mind, but in Korea the twins were known as Pillibo and Yacobo.
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