Monday, January 25, 2010

Sentimental Sunday----My Parent's Anniversary

I write my blog for my family. I am, to the best of my ability, trying to record my memories from my perspective, my resources, and cite any documents, photos, or published works that support my data. As I continue my recording and piecing together our family history, I have joined several genealogy groups, sites, societies etc. Besides being excellent resources for information, encouragement to continue what is turning out to be rather challenging work, there is also great ideas to inspire to "write" my families story. Sunday was my parent's wedding anniversary. Although a day late----I am having a Sentimental Sunday on Monday Morning.

Here is Thomas MacEntree's suggestion for blogging:
Don't forget that today is Sentimental Sunday. If you have your own genealogy or family history related blog, you can participate in Sentimental Sunday. What is it?

Sentimental Sunday is a daily blogging theme used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Sentimental Sunday, simply create a post in which you discuss a sentimental story or memory about an ancestor, or maybe even a family tradition that touches you. You can read more about Sentimental Sunday here at gene@pedia.

My parent's anniversary was usually a special time of year. What made it so special was as a child it worked as a meter to understanding the family dynamics on any given year. Like most marriages my parents had high points, low points, and just in the middle points. But if the planets aligned, finances were solid, and family dramatics were not sucking the blood out of their veins, my parents would celebrate their wedding anniversary. Although each year added more surprises there was always a cometary about the celebration. A little background first:

My mother liked everything Oriental :(I use that word today because it was the word used in our household) Mom's favorite color was red. When my parents remodeled their bedroom, they did it in black lacquered furniture and a light switch plate that spelt Love in Chinese. Mom would say Japanese was her favorite everything:: although over 80% of her decorations were Chinese inspired.
Suzie Wong
was one of mom's favorite movies.
We lived very close to San Fransisco.
At the end of January, Grant Ave, San Francisco displayed one of the largest Chinese New Year's Parade in America.

My parents anniversary was many times celebrated at the Chinese New Year's Parade in San Francisco. To accommodate the working class, the holiday was always celebrated on a Saturday. My parents would leave early in the day and spend the day wondering all the shops on Grant Ave. I know this because more than once (not on an anniversary) I would wonder those same shops with my parents. Mother would be looking for interior decoration inspiration. Also presents would be purchased for all of us kids. In particular my present often was dried coconut candy covered in crystallized sugar and clam shells when opened in a glass of water that would open and display small tissue flowers that would unfold and expand upwards and wave in the water. Always a big favorite! I think the boys received firecrackers but my parents were very strict. The girls must not know about the firecrackers and they were to be lit in the confines of our huge backyard only after the girls (that means my sister and myself) were fast asleep. Sometimes "the girls" would find evidence the next morning in the form of ashes and bits of red tissue paper.

My parents had a favorite restaurant in Chinatown that they frequented each year during the early years. But later Dad employed a man, Mao, a very sweet hard working man. Mao respected my dad a great deal so in about 1968, my parents anniversary took on an evolution in that they were invited to spend the new years with Mao and his family each Chinese celebrated New Year's Day. Mao's home faced Grant Ave and they would sit on a balcony and watch the parade below. Dad and Mom would enjoy a special home-prepared feast and great company. Although the elders and even Mao and his wife had difficulty with the language barrier, the younger generations, seeing mom and dad there each year, helped mom and dad learn the traditions and culture. Mom and Dad just became one of the family. The friendship grew, Mao and his family often went to the lake after Dad retired. When Mom's or dad's health did not allow them to make the festivities, Mao would pack up his car and bring the special feast to mom and dad to the lake.

One year Mom and Dad came home so excited!!! Dad had taken Mom to a dressmaker and they were making Mom a dress like "Suzie Wong's" Rich silk, form fitting, frog attached collar and all. But there was a month of excitement and joy until Mom and Dad returned the next month to pick up the dress. I think it cost the un-godly much of 100 dollars to be made!!! it was definitely a reason to celebrate and honor such a dress. Later, I think granddaughters wore the dress if nothing else than to model for my parents and bring tears to their eyes in remembrance of a special time.

On January 17, 2010 I noticed on the church bulletin that no one had volunteered for the flowers for January 24, 2010. I approached the minister after the service and requested to bring flowers in honor of my parents wedding anniversary. I prepared a huge bouquet of 3 dozen long stem roses of yellow (mom's favorite flower), pink, and white roses in a huge vase. It had to be large enough to be seen from the pulpit. Several of the women knew why I made the bouquet and ohhhhed and ahhhhed over the display of roses.

Dear Family, Did any of you meet Mao at Dad's shop or at the lake??? Does anyone remember the heirloom dress or it's whereabouts now??? Did any of you go on those all day shopping trips with Mom and Dad through every shop on Grant Ave and the back alley shops??? I would love to hear your experiences.

Love Aunt Ruth


  1. Those are great memories. Do many of your family members follow your blog?

  2. Yes nephews, I am trying to get more to follow. Some of my family follows other blogs of mine. Genealogy is Ruthless without Me and 5 Himan Brothers Thank you ---and yes those are great memories.

  3. This is a lovely story! It is of such importance that we keep our memories and write them down for future generations. You have done so splendidly. Keep up the great work!

  4. Hi, Boy, could I relate to your mother and her love of oriental things. While, I don't decorate things in that fashion, I love, "The World of Suzie Wong" and many Chinese movies (listed in my blog). While I can't answer any of your questions, I did buy a silk jacket in Chinatown, SF in 1978. Maybe I saw your mother there! Nice thought.