If you've ever had one of her famous egg rolls or if you've ever longed to be at a Nguyensday night dinner, you're lucky enough to know about Mai.
Mai's story has three acts to it. The first starts in Vietnam. She never received more than an elementary education, instead prioritizing helping her mother raise Mai's eight siblings. She was always a responsible person, but even as a teenager, she displayed a strong, independence. She'll tell tales of antagonizing traffic police and threatening boys who tried to flirt with her. She met and married her husband, Phuong Ngoc Nguyen, during the war, when they also had their first son, Thy.Because Phuong fought for South Vietnam, after the war, they were forced to flee, on a boat, to a refugee camp in Malaysia. After six months, they came to America.
In the second act, Mai and her - for the moment - small family adjusted to life with so much unfamiliarity. The food, the customs, the weather, the clothing, the language -- everything was foreign. But in increments she and her husband learned and adapted. Mai began working as a seamstress, a trade she would continue in for nearly 40 years. She continued working while her family grew to include five more children: (in order) Vince, Joseph, Mary, David and Marian. She and her husband dedicated their lives to ensuring the best opportunities for them, putting each of them through private schooling in Kansas City until college, which required a lot of work, budgeting and sacrifice. Fortunately Mai was able to share in the joy of seeing them all graduate from college with her husband before he passed away in July 2012.
The third act brings us to the present. Mai's work as a seamstress continues, but she also makes time to volunteer her culinary skills at her church where she helps prepare meals for services and events. She tends to her collection of orchids and gardens. But nothing means more to her still than gathering her kids, and now also her grandkids, together regularly for shared meals and being able to provide a sense of home for all of them.
We know that there are many people that love and care for our mother. We created this site to keep our loved ones up to date on Mai's journey. Thank you for visiting.