Sunday, June 15, 2008

The new world

My grandmother came to the United States in 1970. She didn't speak a word of english and as i mentioned earlier, despite her best efforts she never did get the hang of it.

She lived with my aunt in NYC and went to work at a factory in the garment district. I know that these factories were incredibly exploitive and treated its workers horribly, but at the same time my grandmother took incredible pride at her work and her salary. In Hong Kong she would make money, but it wasn't on a salary basis, it was always the sort of work that you can get paid immediately at the time. In the United States she got to feel the joy of the paycheck.

Around the same time period grandchildren were being born, and she took her role as a grandmother very seriously. As near as i could tell she lived with all her grandchildren for a short period of time as they were being born. However it was Jon that she ended up staying with and living with.

The picture above is of her with Jon as a baby. My grandmother would earn money from here on out by taking care of children, neighborhood kids once in a while, and always Jon. She lived with my aunt and uncle and during her time there, she would help around the house, cooking, cleaning and laundry. Whenever i would stay over for a period of time i always remember her walking to the A&P (which was like 8 blocks away) to do the grocery shopping. There weren't many chinese in that part of New Jersey, so her tried and true shopping method was to point and ask "how much?" or just simply point and say "please".

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