My aunt, Joan Jue Yen, has recently created some wonderful new artwork that I would like to share. Please click on each picture to enlarge. Each artwork includes Chinese poetry. Auntie Joan has provided the translation of the poetry which I have included below each piece.
"Thinking of my Little Sons"
The first is called "Thinking of my Little Sons", and is a tribute to Jue Joe, San You and San Tong. After making his fortune in America , my great grandfather Jue Joe returns to China , marries Leong Shee and fathers his two sons, San You, and San Tong. His plan is to remain in China and farm and raise his family. Unfortunately, he must return to America to remake his fortune . He leaves China when his boys are just babies and does not see them or his wife again for 12 years. They are finally reunited in 1918.
Pony Boy, It's a Spring and we're still parted.
The orioles sing, as if to warm away our troubles.
Parted from you: suprised as your birthday passes.
Not a one to brag to of the clever things you do.
Water falls, there, by the empty mountain road.
By bramble gate, at Ancient trees, the village where
I think of you, and sleep's the only antidote for grief.
I toast my back, bent, bowed,
Beneath the smiling sunlight on the porch.
---Tu Fu (712-770) Tang Dynasty
"Gaze to the West"
Auntie Joan's second piece is a tribute to Leong Shee. Leong Shee marries Jue Joe, a returning "Gold Mountain Man" in an arranged marriage in China when she is only 17 and he is 42. She has two boys , San You and San Tong but soon after SanTong is born , her husband leaves once again for America. She is left a "Gold Mountain widow" and has to raise her sons herself for 12 years until she is finally reunited with her husband. America, however, is a very strange and lonely place for her at first and she dreams of China, her home.
A night of meditation,
streams and valleys,
frozen fish and dragons,
sweeping past the river bank,
all swell and billow,
though heaven has loaned me it's bright moon,
flying above the jade clouds,
still I cannot see my home,
broken hearted ,
turn my gaze to the west .
---Li Po (701-762) Tang Dynasty
Thursday, August 11, 2011
My grandfather San Tong loved home movies. He loved making them and starring in them . The movies he made have been preserved by our family . Many thanks to my Auntie Soo-Jan for converting many of these home movies into digital format . I have edited some of these clips into a video of our family during the Van Nuys Ranch years (late 1930's to 1950's). In this video family members of all our generations will recognize fathers, and mothers, brothers and sisters , grandfathers and grandmothers , and great grandfathers and great grand mothers , and some of you will see yourselves. It is a time when our clan was whole . There are shots of my grandfather with his sisters, Dorothy and Corrine on a trip to Catalina , to make a movie at USC with his sister in law , and playing badminton on the lawn with a family friend . There are shots of Mama and Papa Kurihara , the beloved housekeeper and gardener on the ranch . My great grandmother, Leong Shee , Jue Joe's wife, is at the dinner table . There are pictures of my grandfather San Tong and his children on the ranch and the family frolicking in the huge swimming pool . There is my Uncle Guy as a young boy playing peek a boo, Auntie Soo -Jan making big bubbles with her bubble gum and earlier in a high chair,Auntie Soo-Yin on a tricycle and Auntie Pingeleen with a ribbon in her hair and a pretty dress. There are my father and mother and my Auntie Joan looking like movie stars. Later there are the grandchildren of San Tong including my brother and sisters and cousins climbing in a fallen tree on the ranch . The video ends with San Tong and Ping embracing in front of the camera. Thank you grandfather for this gift across the years for the generations to come . Your family has prospered . The memories you have given to us are timeless. We will all remember , our children will remember, and our children's children will remember ......