Henry Low Joe, 1922–1998 (aged 76 years)
- Henry Low /Joe/
- Given names
- Henry Low
- birth name
- Given names
- Hung Lee /Low/
- immigration name
- Given names
- Hung Lee
- Henry /Low/
- Given names
|Birth|| August 24, 1922|
|Marriage of a parent||Joe Hip — PANG YatNgan — View this family|
1923 (aged 0)
|Birth of a sister||Sin Hing Woo|
December 17, 1924 (aged 2 years)
|Birth of a brother||Fred JOE|
December 24, 1925 (aged 3 years)
|Death of a maternal grandfather||WONG Yin Hwa|
August 27, 1940 (aged 18 years)
|Death of a maternal grandmother||YEUN YuckLin|
February 6, 1962 (aged 39 years)
|Death of a father||Joe Hip|
about 1965 (aged 42 years)
|Birth of a grandson||Samuel Henry LOW|
August 23, 1991 (aged 68 years)
|Death of a mother||Mary Shaken Joe|
January 27, 1997 (aged 74 years)
|Death|| November 18, 1998 (aged 76 years)|
5000 Piedmont Ave, 94611, Oakland, CA, USA
Latitude: 37.77232 Longitude: -122.2148Google Maps™ Bing Maps™ OpenStreetMap™
13 monthselder sister
2 yearsyounger sister
12 monthsyounger brother
Marriage: 1923 —
Note: Only place where my grandfather's Zi name is displayed
This started from a dinner at Oakland restaurant SR 24 on November 6, 2010. We can always decide what topics or section will be hidden from public view, but the information will be archived on the Web site later for selective viewing. Please don’t edit what others have written, but add your opinions.
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Arlene reminded me Dad’s enjoyment to calculate age in cemetery
Yes, Dad enjoyed using his mathematical abilities. When we wandered through his mother’s cemetery, he would calculate the age of death as he glanced at headstones. To this day, one of my favorite pastimes is to walk through a cemetery and view headstones, because that was something Dad and I did together. Unfortunately, Richard is reluctant to stop when we drive by a cemetery and I yell out that we should stop to walk through.
I have a fondness for cemeteries too. I remember going as a family to the cemetery, paying honor, eating dim sum on site, picnic style. Those pictures of our maternal grandparents are emblazon in my memory. I like the Mountain View cemetery, those old headstones and that view from Dad’s site. I like walking around there,
HR block and proud of his award. I never know how much pride Dad had in HR block. I always thought it was just to occupy his time, yet I was amazed at how he would commit to it and spend each year attending the refresher course, and time and again return to the job.
I was aware of his pride in doing his HR Block work, especially his volunteer work in Chinatown, it was lovely to hear him talk about it.
Dad told me how much he enjoyed his volunteer HR Block commitment in LA Chinatown because he was helping Chinese people down the street. I was very proud of his community involvement. We had many conversations about tax returns and every year I would ask him for advice on mine. It was a good way to connect with him.
Dad was always eager to do my taxes when he got into the H&R Block gig. He made some mistakes, but he probably was doing a hella lot better than I was. In hindsight, I wish I had embraced his joy a whole lot more about doing my taxes. I spent too much time arguing with him and pointing out his mistakes. For god’s sake, the damn taxes were not nearly as important as sharing this thing with him and being honored that he wanted to do all the forms and math for me.
resent second fiddle to Uncle Fred and they got all the money. Law of primogeniture
Primogeniture certainly wasn’t practiced here. If I used the word extortion for what I felt Rose and Fred did to Dad, I meant something equally wrong: cheating. Guess what irks is that I always felt Dad was honorable but those in his family didn’t seem to abide by the same moral compass and, in fact, took advantage of Dad’s goodness.
Hmmmm, “extortion” is a strong word! Dad said he got some small pay back when he wasn’t asked to put any money out for PoPo’s funeral. He was very clear on the reason why: Uncle Fred took his (our dad’s) share when she (PoPo) died. Regardless, even though Dad accepted it. This continued where Uncle Fred sold rights to the family home site in Zhongshan and gave him some money. We had a conversation where I proclaimed that if he resented it and disagreed, he should not accept the check nor cash it. Cashing it meant he accepted the terms. It did gnaw at him. He probably felt his birthrights were violated.
Arlene and Doug also shared how Rose and Fred tried to commit suicide together, victims of ridiculous mores of the time. That was intense; I hadn't known about that.
Auntie Mary first told me the suicide attempt story some years ago, about the running parked car by Dodger Stadium. She also told me they were pregnant and unmarried. I asked Uncle Jim about this in September 2010. He explained that it wasn’t about the unmarried pregnant that led them to this action, but the disapproval they received for being in love when each had a sibling already in a relationship (were Mom and Dad married at the time?). I asked Uncle Jim if my parents made them feel bad for being in love and he said NO without hesitation. As we know, the suicide failed and it made front page news the next day - Herald Examiner or LA Times?
It was Mom that told me about the suicide and I agree, with Jim’s version, there was something incestuous about about being in love when Mom and Dad were married. Mores of the family really. Mom told me the newspaper talked about their suicide attempt as cultural issues.
Doug talked about the kindness of his father's second wife, much kinder than his own mother.
Yes, the second wife, a younger peasant woman who was married to our grandfather and served more as a servant, nursed Dad when he was beaten for acting out-of-line. Mom, Richard, and I visited her in her tiny apartment in Hong Kong in 1985. She was a very small person. Mom gave her money.
Dad’s parents beat him? Good grief. I didn’t realize how hard his childhood was.
corporal punishment is more common during those times. I don’t think there is the thought of child abuse. corporal punishment was the discipline method then.
Another point of view about the money going to Uncle Fred is that Uncle Fred lived with GM Shaken and took care of him almost exclusively. He probably paid for most of her expenses and contributed extra to her living well, and took care of her in a nursing home more than Mom and Dad. Therefore, is it wrong to assume that they should get the bulk of the inheritance? It was probably not much.
Speaking of money, I heard that GF Joe Hip lost his shirt in the stock crash. I was reading the interview of Joe Shoong’s daughter, the owner of the National Dolllar Store. She related that during the crash, Joe Shoong was traveling by train to NYC and would stop at every stop and beseeched via telegraph his stock broker to SELL SELL SELL. He was in a cash position when the stock crash and walked away with $1mil. Too bad Joe Hip did not have the access to technology or the acumen to sell at that time (or luck). I have to research where Joe Hip was located at the time. Was he in Ogden in the store, without access to a ticker tape. I read Joe Shoong had a ticker tape in his bedroom.
Dad told me GF Joe Hip lost $100,000 in that crash. That’s a lot of money at that time.
Dad was a nice guy, maybe too nice
We all talked about Dad's generosity and his susceptibility to manipulation by others. Arlene and Doug mentioned that his brothers-in-law would always hit him up for money which they seldom paid back. The sums must've been large, too, but I don’t think Dad really minded giving the money to them.
Jim received money from Dad for his gambling debts he was trying to hide from Frances,
Dad mentioned Uncle Henry did pay him back, frequently. Uncle Henry was a really good friend and is funny and gregarious and an in-law. Maybe towards the end he did not pay back dad.
I had no sense that his nephews and niece - Larry/Joey/Judy - took advantage of him. Their visits made him happy. I believe they showed kindnesses to him as an elder. They also knew he missed us, as he talked about us to them. You can just imagine.
I have to agree with Arlene. Sometime I think Mom was jealous of the relationship with Dad and I would hear this from her. Joey and Judy were very nice to him and Dad loved them.
I thought Judy went to the tracks with Dad. They shared the love of horse racing and placing bets. It was touching when Judy put the little plastic horse into Dad’s coffin the day of the funeral. Dad paid for some education Judy wanted too.
Melinda was not the one close to Dad. That personal experience Pinky had mentioned above would embitter anyone. Joey was the one who spent time with Dad. Irene remembers that when she was in LA after mother got discharged, all sorts of people would come by or call her and this would tire her out quickly. Aunt Alice came to visit and check on Mom every day. What Pinky said about Melinda was a surprise to Irene and myself.
Was it freaky how close to Dad’s anniversary Mom’s stroke was? The paramedics having that de-ja-vu feeling when they went to attend to Mom.
I kind of always felt there was a reason Mom had the stroke (besides being on the estrogen pills to “manage” her menopause), and that its timing made perfect sense. it actually had to do with her teeth, which had fallen out. Bad gingivitis causes strokes by causing the source of inflammation which causes plaque in blood vessels to become inflammed and burst. She was having teeth issues then. Same as my father in law.
When I spent time with mom during her healing, I, too, remember people coming and calling. She was not always receptive to them, however.
That “double” closeness to Fred and Rosie’s kids was something, wasn’t it? Dad was generous with them and they probably took advantage, but he didn’t give away the store so to speak. That issue was on ongoing conflict between our parents, especially in their younger years. Mom was always worried Dad would lose his shirt with his gambling and they argued about it. One time Mom even pulled out the gun, threateningly, I don’t remember what she thought of doing with it, just remember hearing them argue and seeing her with the gun. Dad was rational and calmed her down. I was scared at the time, I think I must of been 10-12?
Dang, the gun incident must’ve been real drama, real scary, in the eyes of a kid.
I remember asking Dad about Mimo, his bookie. When he called him to place a bet, where was he calling? The answer always tickled me, “oh some paid phone in some bar.”
Who was the “Uncle” Dad held a grudge against? Something to do with gambling. Aunt Mildred was the wife. I think.
Aunt Mildred....that name’s familiar but I can’t recall who she was.... There is a Mildred who is Uncle BukWui, Grandma Shaken Joe’s brother, and Mildred who was Gyp Chow’s wife, who is Dad’s second cousin and lived in Australia.
Do any of you remember those weekend get together with all the families on Mom’s side?
The majong and poker games late into the night and riding in the cold car home? That was usually a New Year’s party at Aunt Alice, staying up late while the adults played. I remember watching Gunsmoke on TV
Oh, yeah, the family parties--all those cousins and all those aunts and uncles and being in Alice’s lovely home. And being able to stay up late. How about the parties at the park? The ladies would set-up a mah jong table in the park and white folks would walk by and get a glimpse of a real Chinese cultural thing going on. And the cousins would be running around the park having a blast. I remembered playing all day in the wooded hills above the picnic area, running around and exhausted. This was a park in Pasadena
Business sense, honor and loyalty
Dad had an extraordinary business sense. When I forced him to quit his work at the store he worked so hard to build and was so comfortable (by not motorcycling) he was antsy to work. I feel so bad since that store was his pride and joy and I should not have foisted my feelings and anxiety about Los Angeles crime to make him quit. I wondered if Mom had a part of this subliminally since she wanted out of the business. I can never tell.
Doug, as I remember that situation, you didn’t “force” them. I remember it as a trade off. I was encouraging them as well. Mom certainly may have wanted the same. It was hard work, long hours and Dad certainly was vested in it, but then, at the time he didn’t know anything else, it was his identity.
It is a good thing Dad gave up the store; it was a robbery waiting to happen. You gave up a lot in the deal, Doug.
That is from our point of view. That store was built up by Dad and he honed it into a fine running store. In retrospect, I don’t think it was that dangerous, but in my delusional paranoia at the time, definitely with Mom’s urging, we made Dad give up something IMPORTANT in his life.
I think he did miss the store, it was his identity and his social network. I don’t believe you can make anyone do something they don’t want to do.
Remember how they brought that fish and chip place down by the beach someplace? That lasted only a year, nothing like going from the frying pan to the fire with that business, But I think it only lasted a year. I remember how Richard and Pauline would go down to help out, shelling the shrimp, they missed working too.
So, I always got the impression Dad didn’t like the store so much, that it was kind of like a ball and chain and that he’d find any excuse to get away. Or maybe it was just the gambling that pulled him away (like running over to the race tracks for a few hours). I’ll bet his relationship with the market was love-hate. Or maybe I’m just remembering it as more complicated than it really was. I thought he had always wanted to do something more brainy (like engineering), so when he got to do the tax stuff, he was really really loving that.
I think I would agree with Ar that it was a love-hate thing. (Pink is blue)
oops, Pink’s statement, sorry.
Uncle Bob told me that Dad took classes to develop a business model for the market. I’m not sure where he took the classes, but Uncle Bob was impressing upon me the intelligence and commitment to succeed that was in Dad.
I didn’t know this. Peter would always tell me how smart Dad was, reading lots of magazines, he was impressed and told me how he enjoyed talking with Dad.
He started this fish business in the industrial area. It was such a success BECAUSE of his attention to detail. People from far and wide would come to the store in order to buy his fresh fish. He perfected the cooking of the fish and had high quality items.
I thought it was an established business and the cremora was the “secret” ingredients they were taught to use. Howard remembers it being in a strip mall near the airport.
The seafood restaurant was a mind blower of a success, wasn’t it? They made clam chowder with that powdered non-diary creamer, and the customers loved it.
Atlantic Seafood. They worked too hard at that business. Created bad vibes with Auntie Marilyn, who also worked for them. Auntie Mary worked there, too. It gave Dad a severe arm pain, lifting the fish out of the oil bin over and over, ugh. Yes, Pinky, I remember how proud they were of adding clams to the non-dairy creamer-based clam chowder.
I didn’t know the source of Marilyn not wanting any ties with the sisters was from the seafood store. Mom would never talk about it.
Re: Auntie Marilyn--Mom made some unkind remarks about the lack of a gravestone for Auntie Marilyn’s husband and never thought to apologize to her, even when she realized how much it hurt her sister. Marilyn’s sisters treated her pretty badly, but then they all had a mean streak. It was always distressing and made me try not to gossip or be so unkind to people.
Yes, that mean and competitive streak between them was one reason I couldn’t live in LA. It was sad that they never talked about their oldest sister Eva Wong. She was such an outcast in their myopic eyes.
Yes, Jane Lim and I talk about it too,
You know, I think Dad had a really strong sense of honor. Like being loyal family to Di Sook Gung, who helped out at the store. Like helping people. Like not cheating anyone in his business, whether they were customers or vendors. If there was something underlying going on, I sure didn’t know it; instead, growing up, he gave me a really deep sense of how important it is to be honorable and fair.
I miss Di Sook Gung, we were buds. We sure spent a lot of time together in the afternoon when Dad went to the races. I was sorry I never really got to know him. I wasn’t old enough to know how to do that. I remembered that Pam and Di Sook Gung would compete on how many bowls of rice they would eat.
Yep, and I would walk with him back to the bus stop afterwards, we didn’t talk much, just to keep him company.
Oh, I think that’s really cool about Pam and Di Sook Gung being such buddies! He was always this very old man to me and I don’t know if I said more than two words in an evening to him. In the early years of the market, he was quite a force; it was almost a changing of the guard when he passed and Dad’s workforce changed to Hispanic.
It is a Chinese thing, the sense to family and maintaining honor in the family, and taking care of family. This is the reason for the cultural revolution, because Mao was upset his leap forward was thwarted by what he thought was old ideas and sense to the family rather than the state.
He was very good to his employees. Remember Sylvia who lost part of her finger when she was making ground beef? Her husband came to the market afterwards, in a drunken stupor, demanding money. Dad didn’t pay, but he covered her entire health bill (as he should).
He knew his other female employee (oh, I can’t remember her name, but she came to Dad’s funeral) stole groceries from him but he didn’t feel it was worth calling her on it because he needed her.
Joe was trusty. Mario was a young worker who eventually moved on. There is also Ricky
Remember Cal? He did a lot for Cal and Cal was loyal to Dad.
Cal had this old BBQ grill in the back and he would smoke or cook back there with his can of Brew 102 beer. That grill was never cleaned and I used the same saying he claimed, that the heat sterilized the grill.
RICKY and Employees
Ricky was a young man in his 20’s who worked for Dad in Henry’s Market. Dad and Ricky had a close relationship and Dad treated him like a son. Initially I was jealous, but Ricky was gregarious and generous and open and took me in like a little brother, letting me drive his souped up Volkswagen beetle with the loud exhaust pipes. He helped me learn about cars, and about life. It was a guy thing to work on your own car. I knew why Dad was fond of him. Dad encouraged him to become a radiology technician. Because of the success with Ricky, Dad hired another young Latino, whose name I forget. He stole from Dad, and took box cutters because it provided weapons for potential gang fights. However, Dad stayed with him, though not as long as with Ricky.
Dad hired a portly middle age Latino name Joe. We called him Mexican Joe early to distinguish him from Joe Man Sing or Di Suk Gung. He stayed with Dad for a long time.
I remember Ricky--he was really cool, and for my preadolescent self, very cute. He would sing while working, it was so cool. He ended up moving to Atwater and marrying the young woman who was pregnant with his kid. I hope his life turned out well.
I remember Joe, too. He was terrific. I hope he did not steal from Dad because I really liked him. A good employee, a good man.
Dad stood by Cal to the very end. When Cal would go into a drunken period, Dad was always so concerned. God, remembering how caring Dad was about other people is kind of moving. He’d also get really mad at folks (including us kids)--those contradictions in his personality were always bemusing to me.
Relationship to his grandchildren
Arlene had mentioned, with fondness, that Dad spoke with such love about Ryan and Eric (almost to the exclusion of the other grandkids?). I felt Dad really loved Genni and Sam. He was enamored with Genni's brightness. And he really really doted on Sam. When he was a brand new baby, Sam would go to only two people: Dad and me. One morning, during a stay in Los Angeles, Dad was up very early, in his usual way, and when Sam stirred, he went into the room and took care of him, changing his diaper and holding him. I don't think Dad ever changed a diaper on a baby before. He and Sam were like glue.
As Sam got older and we would visit, Dad would always have a toy for him, like a Batman action figure. Sam loved his grandfather.
This is sensitive but let me try this: In the past, there was (and continues) a cultural chauvinism for males (sons) in Chinese culture. I am able to accept that and unsure if it is because I am a beneficiary of such chauvinism. First sons are also important and Dad may have felt cheated because of the fondness for Uncle Fred by Grandma Shaken. Irene recalls that when our son’s were born, Mom called home to Dad and express delightful surprise that she was ‘allowed’ to bathe Ryan. I think this, in addition to Chinese chauvinism, allowed a different relationship with my sons.
Once you really get it about the whole Chinese cultural bias about sons, the whole personal experience takes a different hit. Living it as part of a Chinese family in America, it’s almost an ah-so moment when you’re able to broaden the experience to the larger cultural context.
So, did Dad tell you guys that he was glad there was a Women’s Movement because he has three girls and he wanted them to do everything they could to get ahead? He did transcend the preference for males.
Hummm, when I dropped out of Mount St Mary’s for that semester, Mom was angry with me and told me she cashed in all her savings bonds (which was her nest egg for my college education if Dad didn’t pay) for that trip to Hong Kong. I was just walking into Dad’s perceptions that girls shouldn’t get a college education.
He used to tell me how proud he was of all of us, which family had all their children with more than an undergraduate degree? Even the girls!
Dad was so influenced by the need to be equal that he would turn his back to Chinese culture. For example, Irene was not happy that he wanted our boys to call him Gung Gung, which was the same as her father. She thought it was disrespectful and therefore told our boys to call him Yeh Yeh. However, I called my paternal grandfather Ang Ang, and every Lung Doo family I know call their paternal grandfather that same name. Julian’s father is called that and Janet Tse’s kids call her father Ang Ang Of interest, Mom and Aunt Rose were vehement about that they call the paternal grandfather Gung Gung. I mention this because I had a discussion with Aunt Rose about this 5-10 years ago and we ran into a buzzsaw of Aunt Rose. It was not until just now that I just heard that Melinda thought also that was disrespectful to call Uncle Fred Gung Gung. So, there must have been some drama in that family before, and I fell into a trap.
Education was very important to Dad. Once, when I talked about my son’s being drafted for a Middle Eastern war, he said that was bad because it would interfere in their education. I told him that it would be bad because they might be killed. He was really upset that Pam did not finish college directly and transferred to different schools and took a leave of absence.
I believe Dad’s greatest of disappointments was when I didn’t continue law school in 1977. I had failed the first year by a mere 0.1-ish grade point, and was asked to write a letter explaining why I wanted to continue law school, despite the failure. Instead, I wrote a scathing (and probably poorly worded) letter of why I hated law but please take me back. Of course, I was not invited to continue. Dad had paid the private tuition for the first year, and when I told him I wasn’t going back, I was distant (probably ashamed) and cursory. I had no regard for his financial or emotional support. He was clearly and visibly disappointed. Here, he had a son in medical school and a daughter in law school. He was so proud! I’m glad Doug continued. He never quite understood my success in public health. I’m so sorry, Dad.
I think Dad had no expectations for me (at least I didn’t feel any) so when I got that first degree from Cal and then the second one from UCLA, he was just plain happy about those. Then when I started doing design, Dad seemed perfectly happy with that, too. Maybe he saw me as the creative one and he probably would’ve been shocked if I even mentioned the medical or legal profession.
Dad shared with Irene that he was upset with Arlene because he felt Arlene blamed him for not pushing her to continue law school because she was not a son. He could not understand that because he proclaimed he paid for the schooling. Financial support is his initial expression of mental support and proudness. I never realized that for all the money he paid for my schooling. Even though my sisters mentioned that dad was expressive of his emotions, again he is a child of the first half of the 20th century and verbal reinforcement and support was not the norm. See my opinion of his parents corporal punishment. For a man of the 1940’s, providing for the family was considered the norm and was the man’s expression of support for the family. It was only later in the 1980’s that verbal support was considered more important. I bet financial support was the way a man expressed his love to his family for centuries before.
Re: Doug’s entry above, I wish I had acknowledged Dad’s financial support more for the very reason that you explained it as being an expression of support. I was feeling rebellious and wanting to be independent, so I insisted on getting these lousy jobs while in school so that I could help pay for my tuition (which was pretty cheap back then). Dad didn’t want me to work and insisted he had enough money to pay for everything. So I think my proclamation of independence was a rejection of him, damn me. When I went to graduate school, Dad wanted to pay for the whole thing, but I accepted only a portion and then took out loans to pay for the rest. I should’ve just said thank you and accepted his gift of love.
Heck, after a year of private tuition for law school that failed without a word of thanks, Dad didn’t offer to pay for my graduate public health program!
Well, golly, I’m so sorry that my immaturity over dropping out of law school and not showing any compassion for Dad’s feelings and financial support was translated into a perception that I blamed Dad for failing. There is nothing further from the truth. That’s the curse of poor communication and self-centeredness. I’m sorry, Dad.
Hey guys, I paid for my own graduate school. They did give me the Buick after I totalled the civic. They were pretty expressive about their pride that I was going on for a graduate degree.
My undergraduate tuition was private. Maybe that’s the balance.
Mom and Dad worked hard to be sure we could go to college and get an education, unfettered. It was, like, the number one most important thing to them. Thank god we all had the academic smarts not to disappoint them there.
Dad was uncomfortable with special favors to siblings. This might have been because he felt his mother favored Fred Joe more. Dad was sent to boarding school in Guangzhou ostensibly to learn the city language.
Now, this piece of history has an interesting addendum...cousin Mei Mei said her Dad arranged for our father to go to the boarding school because he would get a better education than staying in the village. He did improve his language skills compared to Uncle Fred. There were three reasons for him to go to Guangzhou, being the eldest son, to learn, and to get out of PoPo’s hair.
I really felt their attempts to be fair, the male-first son thing notwithstanding. Dad wanted to give Julian and me money for the downpayment and would say that this was something they gave to each of their kids, just like saying they paid for each of our education. It was all fair and square. When we paid them back as soon as we could, Dad made it clear that it was a gift, but I’m thinking he was pleased that he was paid back (although not really sure). By then he knew my obsession with being financially independent.
So, our parent lent us $20,000 for our down payment, but it was an interest free loan which we were expected to payback. We did pay it back as quickly as possible. We did not want to take advantage of their generosity.
Dad was also sent to Hong Kong with Roger and the man from Chicago (Ben Joe). He was miserable. Every time Dad came to the Bay Area, we would go looking for Roger at his market. We met several of his wives through those years of visits!
Dad talked about the troubles he had gotten into like when he defied orders not to go swimming, which he did anyway, and was reprimanded severely for it.
Dad would always listen to Paul Harvey on the radio. Now, there was a conservative, but not in the vein of hate mongering like today’s talk radio.
Yep, Dad was the Republican and Mom the Democrat.
In his later years, Dad didn’t register to vote. I wondered about his lack of civic duty, but Mom said it was because he thought by not registering, he wouldn’t be called to jury duty.
Generally, dad had conservative point of view, consistent with the era of McCarthyism and the fear of the Soviet Union. He (or mom) felt that our Jewish neighbors next door were communist.
I think it was Mom most definitely. That McCarthyism had seeped into our household. I think there were some antic Semitic feelings too. I use to go with Judy to school and would be invited to eat at their house, but they would limit my relationship with her because of those communist and anti-semitic concerns.
Late one evening, Dad got a phone call that the store alarm had gone off. As he was preparing to go to the market, he commented something about it being a tough neighborhood. At that time, it was largely Black, not yet Mexican. That was the first time he told me not all Blacks are bad people, most are good. But sometimes, a bad person is Black. The distinction had a huge impact on me. Another time, much later in the evening, he was preparing to go to the jail to get a drunken Cal out of jail. He again talked about the distinction between one Black person and Blacks in general. Good man. Mom wasn’t the same. I recall many negative comments from Mom about Blacks, gays, Filipinos, and Japanese. Never from Dad.
I remember working in the store when the neighborhood was primarily black and gay and transvestite. I didn’t have those categories in my head then, but they were just customers.
It was during the time we sliced lunch meat with the machine, sold eggs by the piece; before all the packaging. Then the redevelopment of the neighborhood took place, it was very quiet, not much business and when it transitioned to Mexican, how they got into the check cashing business. That scared me, all that money. I think I was encouraged of them getting out of the store because of that high risk factor.
Wow, I didn’t have a clue that the area was a gay neighborhood. Not gay, but transvesite
As I study Chinese culture, I remember Mom’s dislike with the Hakka also. Of course the Hakka and other subcultures in the Guangdong province killed each other (by the millions) and enslaved each other (to replace the black slaves) in the last half of the 19th century, which was the reason for the Chinese diaspora and our ancestors coming to the USA.
Dad never had disparaging remarks about groups of people. It took a while before I learned he really disliked loaning his pick up truck.
Robbery suspect and could have shot him
During a robbery in the morning on Dad’s Estrella market, the robber took Dad’s money at gunpoint, and went out the front door to 21st street. Dad got his gun, and was about to run out the back door. He stopped, thinking that shooting the robber for the small amount of money he took was not worth taking a life. It was a good decision. This occurred before I was in High school.
Discrimination at Biltmore Hotel
During Larry’s wedding reception at the Biltmore in Los Angeles, Dad talked about how he did not like the hotel since this was where Joe Hip was not allowed to stay because he was Chinese, and it left a bad taste in his mouth. He also talked about the public pools and how Chinese were not allowed to go there. He did mention that the Chinese did not know how to act at the public pools because they would bring bathing implements to the pool and use them as baths.
Dad told me pool-goers resented the Chinese spitting in the pools. I can’t imagine why.
Mom and Dad talked about not being able to buy a house because they were Chinese, in the days before they bought the house on Manzanita Street. I don’t know how it came down, if it was overt (in the Crocker Highlands neighborhood of Oakland, it was written into the covenants that blacks and Asians couldn’t buy houses) or if it was just obviously discrimination. That’s gotta be a humiliating experience. This really affected me and shaped my early perspective of the racism in this society. Years later, when I was looking for an apartment in San Francisco, I’d experience that very same discrimination from property owners. I feel a lot of anti Asian discrimination in Manhattan. Actually the anti Asian stuff is getting worse, with the jealousy of the power of China now.