Going through our family photos this one here reminded me of how such little things made us both so happy. If you remember this day, it was the day you finally got to do what Mom and Emo would never let you do because they didn't what you to "get your hands dirty". You filled up the tank on our Audi and then we went to race go-karts at Square 1, and it was the first time you drove your own cart instead of sitting on my lap as mom always insisted. As usual, you had no fear, and put the gas pedal down all the way (even on the turns) and smoked me to the finish line by three cart lenghts. I will never forget how happy you were that day. You told every one that "I beat Appa by 15 feet at the track today!". You must have reminded me about that historic event at least ten times that day.
Your pure joy actually reminded me of how happy I was myself, the day I met your mom in Hong Kong and she agreed to have dinner with me at the Kimberly Hotel. I had always planned to tell you this story in person, but Uncle Sam had other plans for me. But this is the highly unusual way I met mom that convinced us both it was fate that we met. It was the second happiest day of my life and so important to me that I made it a chapter in my book, which I call "My Hong Kong Blessing"...
Hong Kong Blessing
January 19, 1998 turned out to be the luckiest day of my life, but I would not realize it until a few days later after consuming a half a bottle of Northern Lights white wine which has become my all time favorite, for more than one reason. On that glorious day I was walking down Kimberly Street in Kowloon, Hong Kong in search of Nathan Street and the Peninsula Hotel. I was hopelessly lost and would surely be late for a 1:30 pm meeting with some investors who wanted to distribute foreign wines in mainland China. I was hoping to cash in on their desires as their overseas supplier. They wanted some fruity white wines from America or Canada that would have universal appeal, at least 5% alcohol content, and could be retailed for less than $60 a bottle. At the other end of the spectrum, they wanted some great tasting Ontario ice wines that would appeal to the upscale market and retail in the range of $500 to $600 per bottle. I promised my old friend Jack Ransom that I would push his Northern Lights brand, a winery run by his son in Upstate New York. There was 20% commission in this deal for me and we were looking to land a $3 million contract. But now I could not find the most famous Hotel in Kowloon and my meeting was 15 minutes away. I didn’t speak a word of Chinese as that time and the cabbies don’t speak English. I flew in the day before with my associate Peter Kwan who had his own business meeting to attend to. I was growing both nervous and frustrated as I could not read the street signs in Chinese, and only a few were in English. Unfortunately none of them said “Nathan Street”. I finally decided that I would stop a well-dressed local on the street thinking that someone very well dressed would be a person who could afford a good education and would be able to at least understand English.
The girl I stopped was a short girl in her early to mid-20s that was impeccably dressed and strode with a unique confidence. I could not help but notice her beautiful long, shiny, and curly hair bounce with every step she took. “Excuse me” I blurted as I stepped up to her as she was about to walk by me, and she stopped in her tracks and looked directly at me with a rushed look on her face, yet feeling obligated to be helpful “Yes?” she asked. I was absolutely delighted that she not only understood English but apparently could speak it as well. “I am so glad you speak English, I replied as I then explained my embarrassing problem. She laughed and told me I was only three blocks away and then calmly gave me the best directions I ever received from a woman, a mighty compliment since I have never met many women who could actually point to any compass direction like “North, South, East, or West”. She was so kind and patient with me as I recited her directions to make sure I had gotten them right.
“That is correct” she said. “One other thing, I asked, “I have to get these documents to suite XXXX of the China Bank Building and I have no clue where that is either. Can you tell me where to find that location as well? She just laughed at me, probably thinking I had nothing but air between my ears and wondering how I could ever expect to do business in China. “Over there across the harbor… do you see that tallest building with the vertical Xs on it. Do you see it?” she asked. “Yes” I replied. That is The China bank building and it is in Central Hong Kong.” She explained like a tour guide. “How do I get there?” I asked. She looked at her watch, It’s too complicated to explain in 5 minutes and that is when your meeting is starting. If you like, I will deliver your documents for you since I have some extra time on my hands right now.” This girl saved my day, and I was so relieved to have solved all of my day’s problems with a single conversation with a stranger. I offered her $100 but she smiled and waved it off. “No need, I am happy to help you.” She said. “You’ll be late for your meeting” she reminded me and I dashed off after taking one last look at her smiling face. After about 20 yards I turned around watching her walk away, realizing I didn’t even introduce myself or even get her name.
After all the rushing, I arrived at the Peninsula perhaps 2 minutes late, but there was no sign of the fellow I planned to meet with. He was staying at the Hotel and he himself arrived 20 minutes late. No more than ever, I wish I had at least exchanged business cards with that young helpful lady I met on the street. As our meeting progressed, I realized my mind was not on wine nor the money it could make me, but rather on that beautiful angel God sent to rescue me on the streets of Kowloon. I could not forget her beautiful face and shapely curves and perfect hair. How stupid I was not to even ask for her name nor number. Mr. Li had to snap his fingers to get me refocused on our meeting and asked me if I was feeling okay. I replayed the event of meeting this young girl and now only when she was gone did I realize she was the most beautiful girl I ever met in my life. “Relax Anthony, you’ll meet one even more beautiful later today. Hong Kong is a city of 9 million people and it seems 7 million of them are beautiful women!” he chortled.
I forced myself to get back on topic of the wine and left him with some samples and a pricelist. He would share the samples with his wife and partner to get their opinions and told me to expect his feedback within a week. I was truly disappointed upon hearing this as I expected to go home with a contract in hand and my flight was leaving in two days. But he said he was new to wine and needed to speak with his partner and wife who were wine connoisseurs for years, and both were back in Shanghai. I had no choice but to agree.
It was a long walk back to my Hotel which was called “The Kimberly Hotel”. Perhaps the walk was about 1 kilometer but the entire way I was looking for that beautiful Angel her gray wool coat and red scarf. I must have searched over 300 faces on my journey back to the hotel but no luck. “What an idiot I was!” I thought to myself. Rarely have I ever met such a beautiful woman who was also that friendly and kind. I would force myself to forget her, or at least try.
Forgetting this beauty was more difficult for me than flying a kite in a tornado or writing Japanese Haiku in Arabic. I really blew it. She was gone, and I could not forgive myself. But after sharing my gloom and doom with the bartender, he offered me a solution after my second drink… “Look pal, if she means that much to you, why not just go back to the same spot where you met her tomorrow at the same time. People are creatures of habit and she may take that same route every day.” I had no clue where that girl worked or played, but his idea seemed like a good one. In fact it was the only one at the time. I even decided to play it safe and even start my sidewalk stake out 30 minutes early and stay there for 2 hours.
That night I could barely sleep. I could not forget the sexy allure of her smile, her shiny thick hair, nor the genuine twinkle of friendship in her eyes. I knew this girl was special, but could not explain why just yet. There was just something about her that made me want to meet her and know everything about her. I was never so captivated by any one person before, not even when I met Bill Clinton at the Bal Harbour Sheraton only a few months earlier. This mystery girl had a classy elegance about her with a heart I knew had to be both big and sincere. I never evn doubted that she delivered by documents as she offered, and indeed she did as was confirmed by a phone call from the recipient.
The next morning, I put on my best suit, just in case I would bump into her. I bought a bouquet of a dozen yellow roses and took my post about 2,000 meters down the street from my Hotel where I had met her. The sky was turning gray, and it after an hour it began to rain. I did not think to bring an umbrella yet I would rather get soaked than miss the chance to meet her and properly introduce myself. This was the one section of Kimberly street that had no shops with windows that I could take refuge from the rain. If I went inside any of the buildings where we had met, I would not be able to see who walked by. I would endure the rain and certainly all who saw me would surely think I did not have enough sense to come out of the rain. By 4:00 pm I was thoroughly chilled to the bone after I gave up my quest and returned to my hotel room to soak in the hot tub. I was truly dejected and was due to leave in two more days. Peter tried to cheer me up but to no avail. He even took me to the Bistro, a gentleman’s club full of beautiful babes, and I prayed I did not meet her there – and I didn’t.
The next morning broke and I went for a jog. Again I found myself scanning faces in the morning crowd of commuters. Today I had a 2:00pm meeting with someone wanting to learn about asset expatriation and the acquisition of a NASDAQ shell they needed for a reverse merger. I stood to earn about $300,000 commission on the first deal and $200,000 on the second. Yet, I decided to postpone the meeting to my last day, as I decided I would do another street stake out for the good Samaritan lady. That afternoon I took my position again, only this time I brought an umbrella and more optimism hoping that a positive attitude might help. But as the time passed and 5:00pm rolled around, I concluded that a second meeting was just not in the cards for me. It was a tough fate to accept but I simply had no choice. I tried to make myself feel better by convincing myself that she was probably married with kids anyway, or maybe even a lesbian. The ruse did not work.
When I arrived back at the hotel, I picked up a South China Morning Post from the concierge, dropped off my complimentary umbrella and went to the elevator that would take me back to my refuge in room 822. I watched as the elevator came down from the 17th floor without making a single stop, yet ever so slowly. As a former executive with United Technologies, I knew that elevator could not possibly be an Otis. I remember looking down at my shoes while the elevator doors opened thinking I should probably get them shined in the morning. As I looked up however, there was a beautiful pair of legs in high heels I could not ignore. They were the only pair of shoes in the elevator and as I looked up, it was as if a bolt of lighting surged through my body. There only four feet in front of me stood the beautiful mystery girl, I had hunted for two days. I could not contain my excitement “My God woman, I just spent two days looking for you!” She seemed a bit stunned but smiled anyway and merely asked “Why, did I lose something?” I was too excited to be anything more than sincerely truthful “You are the most beautiful girl I ever met in my life and I did not even ask your name. I feel like an ass.” She laughed “Don’t be silly. It’s Yum”. She said “What?” I asked since I never heard the word “Yum” before and I thought she might be speaking to me in Chinese. “Linda Yum is my name.
I was not going to blow it this time “Anthony DiMarco” I said as my eyes scanned her hands for a wedding band. There were none! Hopefully she would not be a lesbian neither. “What are doing here in the Kimberly Hotel” she asked, “Not many foreigners stay here.” I told her about my Chinese partner Peter and how he had made all the arrangements. “What are you doing here?” I asked. “I’m staying here also in room 1713” she explained. I asked her if she had time for coffee and she said “okay”, but it will have to be in an hour because I have to meet someone” she said. We agreed to meet in an hour and I was truly elated. She was even more beautiful than I remembered. I felt the glee of a 5 year-old who just woke up on Christmas day and saw a bounty of gifts under a sparkling Christmas tree full of lights and ornaments.
But later in the hotel restaurant my exuberance came crashing down after only a few sips of my coffee when I learned that her “fiancé” owned the hotel. Boy did that spill the air from my sails, but I tried with all my effort to hide my disappointment. Linda told me she was a singer and so was her boyfriend and that she was actually a Korean Canadian and not Chinese at all. As we talked more I was amazed to learn that she grew up in Toronto, only a six hour drive from my childhood home in Ohio. How funny it was to me that we would meet in Hong Kong like this. For some reason I overlooked the fact she was engaged to marry some singer and asked her if we could have dinner together and she agreed. Over dinner I told how grateful I was for her help two days ago when I was lost and she asked me if the wine was worth all that trouble. I invited her to be her own judge and taste the wine for herself. So after dinner we went up to my suite and I opened up one of the sample bottles and we took turns complimenting the grapes that made this unique wine which is so tasty.
We spent the next three hours talking as if we knew each other for years. I never felt this comfortable talking with anyone, let alone a women. “Well at least you’re not a lesbian!” I blurted and laughed. Of course she made me explain and we both laughed and ended up talking about destiny. At about 11pm her cell phone rang, and she suddenly announced that she had to go. Her boyfriend had called and they had made some plans I surmised. I hated to see her go, but she belonged to another man. Yet I wondered why she did not wear an engagement ring. I told her I was leaving the next day, and how I wished we had crossed paths earlier. She suggested that I stay an extra day or two and she would show me around Hong Kong. I thanked her and said I would think about it. And I did – all night after she left. In fact, I still couldn’t allow myself to forget this rare beauty that came from the inside out. Linda
Yum was the real deal – not a single fake nor selfish molecule in her body. That night I walked the streets of Hong Kong, unable to sleep and wondering what if anything I could do. As fate would have it I stopped to use a public toilet and when I came outside a street vendor on a 3 wheel bicycle was selling flowers. I took a dozen red roses and went back to the hotel. I had to write something special and meaningful on the card so Linda would know how special she was to me, even though we only met a few days ago. I wrote a short poem and had the flowers delivered to her room. It would be a looong flight back to Miami.
The next day my phone rang as I was packing my bag. It was Linda and she wanted to spend the day with me. There were hundreds of airplanes but only one Linda. My decision to stay that extra day was a no-brainer even though Peter was poking fun at me thinking I had met up with a local hooker and became smitten. It was on our third and final day together that I took a chance and kissed her. That was the kiss from heaven that I will never forget. But that kiss came with some horrible news that her boyfriend who owned the hotel was not just a singer, but a famous Chinese actor who made over $50 million a year and was the local Hong Kong heart throb – Andy Lau. I now felt both the high from the kiss yet the withdrawal to the agony of the reality I had to face. There was no way I could compete with Andy Lau in the material world for this girl’s affection and heart. Yet something inside me would not let me give up.
I gave Linda my business card and promised to take her to Disney world if she ever made it to Miami. She gave me her card and told me to drop her an email from time to time and “stay in touch”. We hugged and kissed goodbye as we realized we had drank four bottles of the sample wine over our three days together, which I have to admit, made for some of the best conversations in my life as we discussed everything from religion to sex and the best movies ever made. We both knew what was right and wrong with the world and decided that having a family was far more important than any amount of money. Leaving Linda in Hong Kong was truly painful for me as I felt I had left my heart and soul in Hong Kong when my plane lifted off that afternoon.
But by the time I arrived home in Miami 22 hours later, there was already an email from Linda waiting for me, and on my flight home I had composed a poem that expressed the magic of love she made me feel in such a short period of time. We both blamed our foolishness on the wine, but at least I felt the same for her even when I was sober. My frequent and random thoughts of her made me forget all my problems and past painful relationships. Eventually she admitted she shared the same feeling for me. Even though she was physically 5,000 miles away from me in Hong Kong, I always felt she was with me in Miami, and she was – every day in my heart and mind. Whenever I hear Nat King Cole’s “Unforgttable” I know beyond any shadow of a doubt he too had met a Linda Yum in his life as well or that song could never had been written.
Over the next 4 months we emailed, called, and faxed one another daily and I sent her a few surprise gifts from time to time. Nothing really extravagant, but little things to make her laugh, smile, and know how much she meant to me. A stuffed animal, a music box, some cosmetics, perfume, etc. In truth, from January 19, 1998 my life began revolving around this beautiful Korean/Chinese girl with the magic smile, perfect hair, and the purest heart in Hong Kong. Her mom was born in China and her father hailed from Korea and eventually flew helicopters for the U.S. Army.
But on April 1st, I had five players of the Detroit Lions football team in my office for a business meeting with Wayne Prowell and others when I received an unexpected and strange call from Linda. “Well are you coming to pick me up or do I have to take a bloody taxi Anthony?” What the hell was she talking about? She then explained that she was at Miami International Airport and was hoping I would be kind enough to come and fetch her. What a great April Fool’s trick I thought! I told her it was a great prank but I wasn’t going to fall for it. She insisted it wasn’t a joke. I was sure that it was. Yet I guess I wanted to believe so much that it was true, I agreed to make the 20 minute drive – just in case.
She claimed she was in the international terminal.
I was deeply disappointed that there was no Linda waiting for me at the International terminal when I arrived. “She got me good!” I thought as I started walking back to my car hoping I did not get a ticket for being parked in the passenger pick up zone. I was for the first time angry with my Hong Kong angel and boy was she going to know it in my daily email tonight!
As I walked back out of the airport I took a short cut and went downstairs through the baggage claim department. As I was about to exit the building I noticed a tiny figure off to my right about 30 feet away. My God – it was Linda… and 7 suitcases! She just looked at me, smiled and waved like a little five year old girl. I could not contain my pure joy and walked over to her and gave her the longest hug in the history of mankind. We didn’t speak for a full minute. We didn’t have to just yet as we just enjoyed holding one another, something I thought would never happen again. Finally I had to ask… “What are you doing in Miami?” She smiled devilishly and replied “Well Anthony, you did tell me to call you if I was ever in Miami, right? “I came here to visit a good friend.” She explained. “You never told me you had friends in Miami.” I said. “I do now” as she just smiled coyly. I looked at all seven of her bags and had to ask “Are you going to be in a fashion show or something?” as I pointed to all the luggage. “Well, I’m not sure how long I will be in America and where I might have to go, so I had to be prepared.” was her explanation. Since I was driving my little BMW convertible, I had to find a taxi just to take the luggage, only a third of which would fit in my car along with Linda.
“So where are you staying Linda?” as the taxi driver awaited instructions. “Didn’t you tell me you had a two bedroom condo? Do you sleep in both rooms or can I borrow one of them for a while-until I get settled and sort out my plans?” I tried to hide my excitement, so I disguised it with a laugh and said “Sure – no problem.” I still had no idea why she really came to America but that would become clear in about 5 more hours. Right now I had a meeting to get back to, and their lunch at the Brassiere Restaurant would be ending right about now. I sped back to the island and drove to the carport of my condo and let the bellman and concierge deal with the baggage. I handed Linda the key and gave her my condo number. “I will be back to get you for dinner about 6pm but I have these football players waiting for me.” I explained. She just smiled and said “Okay”.
I joined my friends at the Brassierre just in time to share a drink with them and then we went back to my Globus office to wrap up our business with the U.S. Army Research Lab and Bardwell Industries for a new battery for cell phones and laptops that if released for commercial use, would extend current recharge intervals by 30%. There were other exciting technologies being developed as well and they would be licensed to Bardwell. Globus would then raise the bridge capital to launch production of enough demonstrator prototypes to solicit orders and the take the company public. Eventually the deal would fall through due to misrepresentations of one of the principals but meeting George Lucey made the whole ordeal worthwhile anyway. The Detroit Lions would be leaving in the morning and they invited me to join them for some entertainment at a strip club I was trying to purchase at the time – Solid Gold. But I had something much more fun and exciting awaiting me – a romantic dinner with Linda. I decided I would take her to Stefanos on Key Biscayne for a seafood dinner.
But when I got home, Linda was in the bathroom, seemingly for an hour. I sat down to catch up on the evening news and wait for her. I peeked into her room which had almost no place to walk with all the bags taking up the space. I could not help but laugh. Just as Peter Jennings came on, I heard Linda clear her throat in an effort to get my attention. And boy did she ever… I turned around and she was standing there in the sexiest lingerie I have ever seen. “Do you like it?” she asked. What a dumb question I thought to myself as I was virtually speechless. “What about dinner?”, I protested mildly, “Aren’t you hungry.” “Of course, but the food can wait right?” Before I could say another word she was in my arms and we kissed passionately, eliminating the need for any more conversation. I forced myself to take a break, “What about Andy?” “What about him, - I left him yesterday when I got on the plane.”
I didn’t believe her. She said it so matter-of-factly, without hesitation, or even a bit of emotion or regret. I expected an explanation, but Linda said that would come later. We thoroughly enjoyed each other and for the first time in my life, nothing else in the world really mattered to me except my Princess Linda laying next to me in bed after we exhausted each other for over an hour. There was no doubt we shared the same feelings for each other. We were too tired to go out for dinner and just had Papa John’s deliver a pizza. We talked until 2:00 am but were interrupted by two phone calls one long and one short. The long one was her mother, and the short one was Andy.
“Is everything okay” I asked. “Well my mom is worried about me alone in America and wants to know when I am coming back?” “What did you tell her?” I replied. Linda gave her the same answer for the next seven months “Soon.” But I was more concerned about the call from Andy. Did she really break up with the multi-millionaire? As I would discover over the next seven months, Linda simply does not lie – for anyone or any reason. Andy laughed when Linda first said she came to Florida to visit Disneyland and then told him she would not be coming back. Apparently he did not believe her since every woman in Asia wanted to be his partner. As Linda explained it to me, her few days with me in Hong Kong was more fun than always waiting for short and secret dates with Andy and she had no doubts that I truly adored her. Despite a five carat engagement ring and plenty of unique events that would help her singing career, Danger Zone would be her first and last CD after she came to Florida. Andy was in disbelief and I was in heaven. It was my personal miracle – only one of two in my entire life. We joined my clients at Solid Gold for a few drinks and then called it a night. It was quite an eventful day.
I took Linda home to meet my mother three months after she arrived in Florida and on Halloween Day of 1998, we were married. She was dressed as an angel and me as the devil Uncle Sam always painted me to be. The judge had a great laugh and we had each other. Linda was the only girl in my life that my mother ever trusted and loved. In fact, Linda got along with my mom better than me and the two of them got along famously and often teamed up against me on every possible issue. My mom was totally ignorant about Asian culture but Linda spent so much time with her that they became great and close in only three months together. All my friends back in Parma were amazed by her beauty and I was quite proud of my prize as I showed her around my hometown of Parma, Ohio and took her to the schools I attended and my favorite places as a boy. I had to get back to my business in Miami to acquire a NASDAQ shell for my associate Peter to ensure he did not get ripped off.
Linda joined me in late November. Our future looked bright and promising, and I was beside myself that someone so beautiful and kind could walk into my life and be willing to stay at my side. After all that I experienced in my life and especially the 38 months in prison, I thought I could never be truly happy nor whole again. Before meeting Linda, I was truly a bitter man who felt betrayed and cheated by a government I tried to help so many times. My Asian Princess breathed new life into me and gave CPR to my battered heart. It is impossible to describe the emotional and mental drainage that occurs when you try to survive, much less fight back against a system so totally corrupt. It is like playing poker with players who always fabricate an ace, and just laugh when anyone points out that five or sixes are impossible. I have been chained to this card table for over twenty years with no desire to play another hand. I only want to clear my name and reclaim what was stolen from me by those so evil and foul. They may rule the world but I will never willingly submit to their demands. If I am to be yet another sheep in their flock, I will be the black one who rejects the blissful ignorance on which the others around me are fed by their controlled media, talking heads, and fear mongering.
From the day we met, Linda gave me the desire to be a better person, and whenever we are apart, it is as if I am walking naked in a Times Square devoid of a single person – the world around me is empty, meaningless, and simply not right. My world stopped spinning the day I was forced out of Canada and separated from my loved ones.
That incredible day when the elevator doors opened in the Kimberly Hotel, is the day that a new chapter opened in my life, and frankly, it has been the only chapter I enjoy reading over and over again in my mind. Holding Linda never fails to drain all my bad memories and pain from my soul. I guess she is like an emotional sponge for me, better than any pain-killing drug or shrink. Despite some really rough and dangerous times, she always remained my most loyal and trusted friend at my side in my world of excessive treachery, greed, and deceit. I know she does not belong in my world, but without her I would not stand a chance. She has given me two beautiful sons and my family is the only reason I bother to wake up every morning in China, and the primary reason I am writing this book. For the sake of my sons, they need to know why their father cannot be at their sides. Luckily, they have the best mother in the world to fill the void created when the U.S. Department of Justice pressured Canada to expel me in yet another effort to silence me and conceal their secrets. Linda I love you and thank you for all you endured over these 16 years together on my behalf. I want the world to know you are the very best part of my life, that favorite chapter of my personal book that I will never tire of reading. Fate brought us together in a way that cannot be denied. I hope that same fate allows us to be reunited again soon. Your love cures all that ails me.
Please forgive me for all the pain, anxiety, and suffering my problems and exploits brought to your doorstep. You brought the miracle of love to me, and I hope I can somehow repay this huge favor. Nothing is more important to me than being a husband and father to the family I cherish.
Btw Vince, I mailed you a book I thought you would like 2 weeks ago and put something special to read in page 129 for you. Please read this and then ask mom the 8 questions on the back. I sent the book to the house. Its called ROCKET SCIENCE FOR THE REST OF US. This is also for you to read because mom never wanted to tell you WHY I had to leave https://www.reddit.com/r/Canadian_News/comments/eqplex/the_corruption_co... She probably wanted you to forget me and that is why she did not give me your real phone number (I think). It would be nice I I could have a call and new photos from, or even have lunch together, assuming you have not forgotten Appa? Call me when you get this buddy and tell grandma, Dylan, and Mom that I love and miss them dearly. I will still keep my promise to come home if mom let's me. Talk with her and see if she will agree to meet together with you me and Dylan. Uncle Tony and David have my number.
I love you super heavy duty industrial strength big much - Appa
“Indeed, Love is blind. Justice isn’t”