Monroe author talks about her Vietnam homeland

Monroe postal clerk Julie Loan Ky Alexander, 49, will share her experiences of living in Vietnam during and after the Vietnam War as well as her journey to begin a new life in America in a free talk at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Monroe Library, 1070 Village Way, Monroe. Her autobiography, “A Rose on the Steel Ground,” was released last year.

Alexander has been a familiar face at the Monroe Post Office for the past 17 years, but many don’t realize that she grew up in war-torn Cu Chi outside Saigon. Her parents and seven siblings were forced to forage for food. By her senior year of high school she was the sole supporter for the family. She received a college scholarship in Vietnam, worked for the government and later immigrated to North Dakota where she lived with a sponsor family and worked to send money home to help her family survive.

In 1993, she moved to Seattle, where she changed her name to Julie to make it easier to live and work in the U.S. She now lives in Everett with her husband, Richard, their son, Michael, and her mother, Hoa Trang.

Her book is available at Main Street Book Store and Christian Armory in Monroe, online at Amazon and her website, www.aroseonthesteelground.com.

Alexander will speak at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Snohomish Historical Society, 118 Ave. B, Snohomish. She is going to New York City in December for a book signing and to meet some movie producers.

What are you wearing?

Postal uniform most of the time. Right now silk pajamas.

If you could get a letter from anyone in history who would it be?

Albert Einstein. Because I love physics and science. I was really smart on those subjects in high school.

Why did you pick Julie as your name?

Julie is my first American friend at Shoreline Community College. When I asked my English teacher to give me an American name for people to easily call me, she asked me what I like. I told her “Julie.” She said your name is Julie from now on.

What do you want people to know about Vietnam?

Its beauty and the pain of Vietnam War.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Almost three years in my spare time at night after work. I am writing my second book.

People would be shocked to know …

I had a book published in English.

Do you prefer email or snailmail?

Email.

Do postal workers dislike the term snailmail?

Does not bother us at all.

What’s your most proud moment?

Fulfilled my father’s last wishes: I found and reunited with my relatives in China.

One thing you (and others) wish you’d stop doing/saying?

I need help.

Biggest pet peeve?

Cranky and nasty customers.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Chinese history movies.

Andrea Brown, Herald Writer

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