There are no statues or plaques to commemorate them, just a few illusive names like China Cove, China Camp remain of their tenure in California. Few of my friends who live in the Monterey Bay Region know that Salinas would not be the agricultural hub (nor Castroville, Watsonville, Pajaro and Santa Cruz) had it not been for China Men grubbing out the willow and tule from the marshes. Here is my editorial piece with my illustration for the Sacramento Bee. It is my homecoming.
California Author Series: The stories of early Chinese arrivals took root in the rich soil of Salinas
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/10/16/3981127/a-love-for-the-landthe-stories.html#ixzz1azzNBOHr
In 1971 my family moved to the Monterey Bay region. We were drawn to the mist-swaddled crags at Point Lobos, which whispered of our ancestral homeland. Yet we felt ourselves alien people, one of the first Chinese to have found a nesting place.
When we attended the annual Feast of Lanterns Festival in Pacific Grove, I did not imagine that 65 years ago squid boats lit at night were used to attract the mollusks, a harvest no one desired until the Chinese created a market for them. After 1906, the year someone set fire to the Point Alones Chinatown, where the Monterey Bay Aquarium now stands, Pacific Grove residents grew nostalgic for the lights, like fairy lanterns on the water, and so a magic tale was born to glimmer.
In my teens, I moved away from Chinese culture and history – being Chinese in no way helped me fit in outside the home. It was on my return from the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 that I began to understand the importance of stories. I was 29. Stories, when burned, glow more brightly. On my homecoming, I was given a copy of "Chinese Gold," written by a man of passion, professor Sandy Lyon, and published by a man of philanthropy, George Ow Jr., from which I learned about the Chinese of Salinas.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/10/16/3981127/a-love-for-the-landthe-stories.html#ixzz1azzCkxn4
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