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Cathy White

A Story from Cathy White

As an Army wife I have been afforded opportunities I could never dream of.

When Jerry received orders to Korea in the mid80s, my disappointment was evident until someone said “ Oh, you must work at the Chosun Gift Shop”. To whom I naturally replied “How do I apply and what do they pay?” Thus started the best VOLUNTEER job I ever had.

The Chosun  Gift Shop was the money making arm of the Seoul Area American Officers’ Wives’ Club for its charities. We imported items from Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, Japan and Taiwan. The gift shop board flew to these countries to see what was available and appropriate to order for sale in the shop.

The first year I served as the Secretary and spent my days typing (this was time before everyone had computers) letters to vendors, placing orders and damage reports after receiving shipments. The second year I was elected the Manager. The duties really expanded, but so did the perks. The Manager and Assistant Manager were only ones authorized to sign orders so we each took half the year’s trips. We loved our vendors and they loved us. We bought lots and they wined and dined us beautifully.

We were only open two days a week, but other days we were unpacking shipments, working on displays, filing repeat orders etc. On the first day after we received Chinese rugs the line to enter would wrap around the building. Shortly after Jerry moved North to the DMZ to be Chief of Staff of the 2nd Infantry Division, he asked if we could bring some merchandise up there as the Division’s troops seldom got to our shop in Yongsan (Seoul) forty miles away. So off we went to provide a shopping opportunity to those on the DMZ.

I don’t think any of us had a business background, but we were Military wives and accustomed to learning quickly, taking responsibility seriously, supporting our charities and caring for the troops.













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