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A Grandmother Who Lived By The Rules — Her Own

Even at 87, Kay Wang had a reputation for being strong-willed, something that began when she was a child.

"I wasn't very nice [as a little girl]," Wang told her son, Cheng, and her granddaughter, Chen.

Wang recalled how she was once expected to bring her mother a cup of tea to show her remorse for her behavior.

But the hot tea wound up in her mother's lap instead.

And at school, Wang said, she would lie and skip classes so she could see the boys who chased after her.

"I was still young; I was not bad-looking then," Wang said.

Wang was a detective at a Bloomingdale's department store for 18 years. Her stubborn streak made her follow a famous designer out of the store one day and ask her to pay for the $3,000 dress she had neglected to buy.

"Do you know who I am?" the woman asked.

"Yeah," Wang said, "you're a thief!"

On April 10, just weeks after recording her conversation with her son and granddaughter, Wang died of liver cancer. In her interview, she declared that she had no regrets.

"I think I'm old enough to do what I like," Wang said.

Produced for Morning Edition by Katie Simon. The senior producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo. With special thanks to KALW in San Francisco.

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