Ely Pugh – Vietnam

Ely was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam during the period of war in that country. She and her family learned how to cope with the chaos and fear that was always present. They built a shelter in their home, stockpiled sandbags, and obeyed the curfews when imposed.  Ely’s’ sister had worked for the American Embassy, and when the situation in Vietnam was becoming dangerously unstable, her sister received permission for herself and her family to leave the country.   As refugees, Ely’s mother and her 2 brothers and 4 sisters left for America in 1975, but her father who had faith that the situation in Vietnam would improve, stayed behind.  He died in 1978.

After spending some time in a refugee camp in California, Ely relocated to Washington D.C. where she met Jim, the man who is now her husband.  As a native of East Liverpool, Ely’s husband brought her to the Mahoning Valley where they now live.

As a young girl in Saigon, Ely attended a Catholic boarding school for several years.  When the communists came and took over the school, they did a lot of damage. At that point, Ely’s parents removed her from the school.  Education was very important to Ely’s parents. Ely became a teacher and taught at a Montessori school while teaching French to foreigners.  Both of Ely’s daughters went to Montessori in Ohio.

The most precious memories Ely’s has of life in Vietnam are those that include family. One of the most enduring gifts her parents gave to her and her siblings is the love her parents shared with each other. That love is revealed in the care and love shared by Ely and her siblings as they stay in touch every day, even though they are scattered all over the world.

Ely is a very spiritual person who believes in the power of meditation, truth, love, nature, and a reverence for all forms of life.  Her reverence for all life guided her into becoming a vegan chef. Ely and her husband had owned a traditional restaurant. She made a conscious decision to eliminate the meat items and to become vegetarian.  She then took one more step, and now she and her husband own a vegan restaurant.  Ely has not returned to Vietnam.  Through the travel channel, she has seen how it has changed since she was there.  Yet she has no wish to go back.  She is at home in this country. She does have a wish, however, and it is “for peace of mind and happiness and for love in my life and in everyone’s life.”

One Response to “Ely Pugh – Vietnam”

  1. Bobbie says:

    Ely and Jim’s restaurant is so awesome! Some of the most favorable food I have ever eaten. I would eat every meal there every day, if I had a choice.

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