My story begins with my parents. In 1925 my father, a member of the merchant middle class, emigrated from China at the age of 14 to join his uncle in the Northwest.
During WWII he served in the US Army as a mess Sergeant. I can draw the conclusion that it was a meaningful time in his life just by the numerous photographs in his military garb with his proud stance and glint in his eyes. Many Chinese Americans willingly joined the military to prove they were true Americans. A few years after the end of the war, my father voyages back China to marry my mother. She came from a rural family who made a meager living growing mainly sweet potatoes and collecting and selling firewood. Ten days after marrying my mother, my father returned to America to continue working. The only connection they had were occasional letters and rare visits. Due to economics and The Chinese Exclusion Act, working Chinese men were kept from bringing their families over to the US which created a bachelor society.
Fast forward to 1950, my father returned to China and moved my mother and grandmother to Hong Kong before the Communists rose to complete power. As soon as they settled into a flat he purchased, he left for America again. My mother began living her new life in the bustling big city of Kowloon, eking out a living doing all kinds of manual labor and eventually found her niche as seamstress for a garment factory. Her daily orders can consist, for example, of a dozen tailor quality trousers–and this all done on a machine powered with a manual foot pedal! For 1.50 a day Read the rest of this entry »