Monday, November 10, 2014

Show me don't tell me

Never place your key to happiness in someone Else's pocket. Look at the dapper dudes in the fancy suits above. The young man on the far left, is my Grandfather Stanley, in the middle is his brother Andy and on the right is his other brother Alan. The all look so different and had such unique personalities. They each had a very adventurous life and even better stories.
Classic saying that my Grandpa Stanley always told us "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime". I am pretty certain my mom chopped her hair mega short not long after this summer photo. Look at my sister with her tiny sandals and knock-knees! I loved that boat, burnt orange faux leather seats.
This photo was taken May 22, 1943 at Fort Oglethorpe, GA. According to (yes, I am aware that information is not stellar on wikipedia but it is a place to start). My Great-Aunt Grace is in the third row, second from the right. I am still gathering her story. I know it is a good one and want to be sure I have it right before I share it.

"During World War I and World War II, the area served as a war-time induction and processing center, and also housed German prisoners of war. Fort Oglethorpe was a major training center for the Women's Army Corps during World War II. The post was declared surplus in 1947 and sold to civilians, forming the nucleus for a city that was incorporated in 1949."
Deep down you already know the truth. Before my sister was born, my parents went on one last trip to Jamaica. I guess this trip should have been a hint of the adventurous spirit within my mother. Pregnant and with a toddler she still wanted to fly and see things. I would have wanted a nap.
Yep, crazy curly hair and a dress... it's me. You don't want to know how many dresses I have as an adult.
Here is a family photo with my Great Grandparents, Sam and Stella Chong. They married on May 9th, 1904. They had five boys, only three lived into adulthood. Stanley (my grandfather) is on the far left, Andy is sitting on the steps with his wife Clara in the background with Alan behind her. They are all so fancy in their suits and coats.

In Chinese families, the eldest male has a strong voice. He may not even use it. In the case of my Grandfather Stanley, he rarely yelled but instead gave you a very serious blank look that was often more terrifying. I wasn't afraid of him but I knew that I should listen to him. As kids, my sister and I went to countless Chinese family dinners and banquets that would last for hours upon hours. We were treated to Shirley Temple drinks with maraschino cherries and tiny triangle shaped orange slices but we were also expected to sit nicely at the table without kicking off our shoes or fussing about having to eat chicken feet or fish cheeks (considered a delicacy).

In some ways, there is no way to truly please a Chinese elder. They always expect more from you. As children you are trained to constantly do better, so when you see a raised eyebrow, you fret. It's a tricky relationship of expectation.
Sister, sister why so serious? I find this photo funny. Typically I had the crazy hair and my sister the silly smile. Surprise, switch-a-roo! I spent most of my summers and long weekends at Lake Sarah in Minnesota. I loved those orange life-jackets because it meant we were going on the burnt-orange boat soon! 

Do you wonder where this all started from? click here

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