Sunday, March 8, 2015

Jue Joe Ranch Exhibition- Chinese American Museum 1999

In 1999 my Auntie Pingeleen curated an exhibit at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles that featured pictures and farm implements and household items from the Jue Joe Ranch as well as contributions from other Chinese American families that highlighted the Chinese American farming experience in the Los Angeles Area. Thanks to my Auntie Estelle for providing the following pictures.

Overview of the Museum Exhibit 

Here are some photos  of Chinese American farming life. The central  picture is an aerial view of the Jue Joe Ranch. Above that is a picture of the Pierce Arrow Touring Car that belonged to Jue Joe and has been discussed in a previous post.  In the foreground is an iron pitchfork that figured in a unfortunate incident that involved my father Jack and his sister Joan  and my grandfather San Tong (Ah Gung to me and BABA or Chinese for Dad to my father and his sister ) . Let me have my Auntie Soo-Yin tell the story :
Photo #1.  Iron Pitchfork (in foreground):  This is the pitchfork that Jack used as he tossed hay for the horses and as Joan jumped around on the haystack playing.  Suddenly, the prongs poked Joan in her foot by accident and left a gaping hole the size of a "quarter" by her toe.  Oh, boy, was Jack scared!  He begged Joan, "...DON'T TELL BABA!!!"  (Meaning Ah Gung.)  And according to Joan, "...Jack was REAL NICE to me the whole rest of the day...." 

Here are some pictures of various farm implements from the Jue Joe ranch . Notice the asparagus shoots coming up from soil ! One unusual farm implement is the custom asparagus machete  between the saw and the hammer on the wall that was designed by my grandfather, San Tong Jue .  Let me have my Auntie Soo-Yin tells us about it :

Photo #3.  Asparagus Machete (on wall between hammer and saw):  Ah Gung invented this tool because the "standard machete" (on wall between hand-hoe and saw), which field workers generally used to cut thick stalks like corn and sugar cane, often damaged the lower half of asparagus shoots as they were being harvested.  The asparagus shoots were delicate because they had to be harvested when young, and they had to be cut at just the right angle.  So Ah Gung designed this V-shaped, two-prong blade that proved to be a very precise cutting tool, it was more efficient than the standard, and this allowed his field workers to be more selective in cutting the right shoots.   

In the photo below my cousin Michael and his wife , Noelle, are studying various items from the Joe Joe Ranch . On the wall with the Chinese writing is the deed to Jue Joe's land in China that has been discussed in a previous post in this blog. Let me have my Auntie Soo-Yin tell us about some of the other items on display .  The lowest picture on the wall labeled "Produce"  is a picture of my Uncle Guy, Michael's father,  selling produce at "Spring Farm" as a teenager.  I have discussed "Spring Farm " in another post in this blog .

 I think Guy was about 15- to-16-years old in this photo.  I recall that Guy and Soo-Jan were still in high school.  Soo-Jan must have been about 16- to-17-years old because I remember her working at the check-out counter at Spring Farm sometimes.  She was learning how to pack groceries correctly in a bag...heavy stuff on bottom, delicate stuff like egg cartons on top...Richard Sr. was teaching her. 

I recognize Michael's "diaper table."  We had a utility table just like this one that sat next to a big wok in our kitchen.  Both the big wok and top of the utility table were nickel-plated metal.  Due to the table's age and condition in the photo I would guess that it is probably from the Ranch.  But I could be wrong, Estelle, if you had one too.  I recall that my Mom liked to prepare our baby food on that little table, which is why I remember it, and I guess this was the table's good "dress rehearsal" for Michael's diaper changing, LOL! 

Also, I see Ah Gung's bookcase and bookshelf that he'd made in "Woodshop" at Van Nuys High School.  Next to Michael's diaper table I see what looks like Ah Gung's bookcase that had glass window panes on its door.  But one or two of the glass window panes were broken when we found it in the barn, and so the door was removed and the bookcase sat in a corner of our family room on the Ranch.  The bookshelf to the right of the bookcase was made in the same semester, I believe.

In this last picture there is the Jue family photo that headlines this blog and various household items  and another photo that were contributed by other Chinese American families to give an idea of household items in a Chinese American ranch home .