Meet the Humans of the Keys

Meet the Humans of the Keys

Monday, September 26, 2016

Joyce Hough, Key Largo



“I was born in Seoul South Korea and my family came to the states in March of 1977. My dad was in the U.S. Army and got stationed in Homestead so we came to the States.

When we first arrived in the U.S. I was diagnosed with multiple learning disabilities. I spoke Korean and was put into English speaking and Spanish speaking classes. They couldn’t figure out why I was quiet and stayed to myself in a corner. I couldn’t understand anyone. Finally they figured it out and got me help.

In the 80’s my mom came down to the Keys and opened a laundry matt in Tavernier Town, and we have been here ever since.

I have been in the Keys so long, and it has changed so much.

When I was in high school I was the vice-president of Students against Drunk Driving. I have seen so many people die from it. We live in paradise but we have problems.

When I graduated from high school I wanted to be a vet.

I’ve had a hard life.

My parents got divorced when I was 5 and my dad left. He was physically abusive; that’s how we got to the Keys and my mom opened the laundry mat; she had that for almost 20 years. Now she works at Mariners in housekeeping; for 17 years! She’s doing great.

Me, when I was in high school, I got into drugs and ended up in rehab. I’ve stayed clean. It’s still a struggle, but I go to meetings and I’m making it.

When my biological dad died I received a trust fund. I paid my mom’s house off, bought her a car, traveled, and acquired friends who were around just for the money.

I have lived through sexual abuse.

I was in a car accident in 2004; my truck went through a chain link fence, flipped 5 times and when I stopped I was about 10” from a concrete barrier. I had another car accident in 2013 that I walked away from. I was driving on Card Sound when I had a blowout and hit the guard rail. My car ping ponged and spun around. Luckily, I was the only car involved. I was rushed to Homestead Hospital and they told me I almost broke my neck.

I suffer from bi-polar and paranoid schizophrenia.

I lost my best friend suddenly a couple of years ago. That hit me like a ton of bricks; she was only 31.

As I am getting older, I am learning things and realizing who my true friends are. I am pushing the bad people away.

I have learned to take my meds. I have studied my illnesses and have learned about them so I can deal with them better and do what I really need to do. I am finally able to be comfortable in my own skin. I feel like the pieces of my puzzle are finally falling into place.

I am now 41 years old and I want to pay myself on the back. I have been through so much, but I am here and I am healthy, and I get to watch my kid grow up. I have a great 19-year-old daughter, who is beautiful, independent and driven.

God has a plan for me because there are too many times He had the opportunity to take me; I have to be here for a reason. I could have died so many times. I count my blessings. Life is great now. I am drug free. I feel like, after all the trauma I have been through, that I am a Phoenix rising from the ashes. I have come out stronger.”



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