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SAM SCHRAGER: Your experience going to the University.
MARIE LEE LEW: Oh, just the usual. I didn't have any trouble. You see, I startedhigh school here, when my father and mother bought the restaurantfin'26 the year I started high school, 1926. Ijust graduated from grade school in Spokane and then we move over here in '26. I started grade school in 1920. And finished in '26 and I started here in '26 and finish ed in '29 at Moscow High School.
SS: What were you interested in studying there?
MLL: In home economics. That's what I graduated- the department, of Home Economics. I've always wanted to teach home economics when Iwas agirl, in my young days. And so, I thought I would go into that and teach that when Ifinished school. So beginning in high school I was interested in going into that.
SS: There was alady who was in that department for along time.
MLL: Miss Jensen.
SS: Miss Jensen. What was she like?
MLL: Uh-huh, Catherine Jensen. Wonderful woman. She died must be about ten,fifteen years ago now. But she was the head of the Home Economics Depar tment at that time and then there was a Miss Lewis in foods and Miss Featherstone.
SS: She's still in Moscow.
She's still in Moscow, but she's not teaching any more. And those arethe ones that Iremember. And Miss Jensen, at that time, she was teach ing child development and counseling and family, and dietetics and so on and so forth. And each one of the teachers had.
SS: Did you find that you learned agreat deal in that program?
MLL: Oh, yes.
SS: That was useful?
MLL: Oh, yes. I learned a great deal -fh even though I didn't teach afterI graduated, but it still helped me in our business and in my home; in my raising of the family. It has all helped. At the time I figure if I never go into teaching, which I was hoping to go into anyway, but if I happerf'to get married I could still use that, you see, for myself.
SS: What happened that you didn't go into teaching?
MLL: Oh, I was married two years before I graduated. I was married in 1931when my future husband came back. He graduated in 1929 from Washington State. He went back to China to look over situations there and the jobs and so on and so forth. A far as he could see, there wasn't too much future in there at that time, so he came back here in '31.
SS: Did you know each other when he back then?
MLL: Oh, yes. Yes, we knew each other when he was going to school in Pullman.He was going to school in Pullman in- from 1925 to 1929.
SS: Did you go together at that time?
MLL: Oh, we knew each other. We saw each other- I mean we see each other atschool functions between Washington State and Idaho, you know. Football games and things. But we didn't actually go together until after he graduated from Washington State. And that was in June of 29. And then he stayed here for the summer. I think he was taking a little extra curri culum during summer school all that summer although he graduated, but he thought he'd like to spend the time here going to summer school and pro bably knowing me a little bit better, maybe at the time. But he had de cided that he would go back to China in the fall of '29 to look for a job and see what the situation was over there at that time. When he went back in the fall of '29 until the spring of '31 he\seen that there wasn't too much future in his engineering career there at the time, because he could almost foresee the Japanese-Chinese War coming on. You know, things were very disturbed there and the situation was bad as far as government jobs for Civil Service jobs. His field would be building roads and buil dings and he doesn't see very much future in that with things coming on.
SS: Would he have had trouble getting a job as an engineer here because he isChinese?
MLL: Yes. He would have a harder job to get a job here because he is a Chinese than the American people would- American boys graduating from the same class. Because he can see that during his time, like he had said before, the small races are discriminated against. And when he went on field trips with his school mates he was not allowed to sit in the same place in the movies, you know as they were and he was not allowed tothey wouldn't give him a haircut at certain places where his schoolmates were allowed to have haircuts, you know. And I don't think he ever tried to eat at the same places, but he didn't say very much about discrimination there. But he did felt very badly about that all the other school mates on these field trips they were able to buy a ticket and go to a show, but he could not sit with them. He bought the same ticket and paid the same price, but he could not sit with them. He has to be segre gated in a different section of the theatre. This was at college, some where around '28 and '29. That is not in Pullman, .. I'm not say ing that, but on field trips like when he went to Spokane. Especially when he went to Spokane. At that place he definitely remember the Pantages Theatre in Spokane at that time was opening, and he was not allowed to go in with them.
SS: Was it a section where anyone that was a minority group sat, like blackpeople, too?
MLL: Yes. Black people or Indian or Negroes. And Chinese have to be there, too.And only whites could sit where the rest of the people sit.
SS: What about for you? If you had wanted to become a teacher, would ithave been tough for you at that time?
ML: I think it would have been a little bit tough for me, too. It certainly wouldn't be as easy as it is for my daughters to be getting a teach ing job now. Nowdays, they look at your record and they give you a job according to your record in school, but in those days, well, if you're not a— at that time we were not American citizens because we were not allowed to become American citizens until 1943. So, when I graduated in 1933 I was not an American citizen yet. But, of course, I never tried to get a job as a teacher, because, like I say, I went into the restau rant business in '32. Well, when my husband and I were married we went into the restaurant business together, and he need me to help him there, and so, I never looked for a job. But of course, I didn't graduate un til two years afterwards.
SS: But you continued to go to school?
MLL: Yes, I continued and finished school in 1933.
SS: What kind of arrangement did you make with your father to take over thebusiness at that time? Did he sell it to you?
MLL: Yes. We bought it from him just like anybody else would buy it. Justlike he would sell to anybody else, with the stipulation, of course, that we couldn't pay him all at once, so we had to pay him in monthly instal lments. Because when we started we didn't have any money. I was still going to school at that time and although the tuition, you know, wasn't very high, but it still cost a little bit of money and during that time money was scarce. We were married in the summer of 1931 and the fall of '31 was not too bad, but beginning March of '32 when all the banks were closed, that was really bad then. In fact, y third year was beginning to be bad already. was not as good as it had been before and things were slowing down, and there wasn't too much business at the timee bought the restaurant over. But like everything else there wasn't very much business anyplace else either. So, at that time, for what money we d,d not have, that was the best situation we could get, was to buy from my folks because they wanted to sell the place because they wanted to take the other children, the younger children back to China to give them alittle bit of Chinese culture when they were still young.
SS: Did they do that?
MLL: Yes, they did that.
SS: So they went back and did they stay or come back here?Yes they stay. But in 1937 when the Japanese-Chinese War in Shanghai- Nanking Nanking in my folks settled in after they went back there, because they see that the future was better in Nankinthan down south in Canton; that is, for them. So they settled up in the north and then they stay there until the Japanese-Chinese Var started and then they sent my two younger brother and sister back here to the States. They being born here in the United States, being citizenS/ they were able to get passage back as soon as they could get room on the ships. But at that time the ships was all crowded, so they had to wait about a month or six weeks before they could- about amonth, anyway. And they had to go from Shanghaithey were hoping to get a ship from Shanghai to come over to the United States, but not being able to, they went south and went down to Canton and to Hong Kong, and they were finally able to getassage there. Be cause everybody who (waS) U. S. citizens, you know, they were coming back over here to the States then, and the ships werall crowded. But they did finally get back here and Mi and I, beifng thenly.ones over here, you know, that we could look after them, why naturally they sent my brother and sister over here in 1937 for us to take care of them. Was it hard for you to keep going to school during the Depression? Well, it wasn't too hard, no, since I have my board at the restaurant and my husband I have an apartment in town, we were able to have enough tuition, you know,for me to go school. Of course, I kept working at the restaurant and helping Mi, and we didn't have to hire too many help 0 at that time. Well, during the Depression 7just don't have too much business, but we still had one extra cook that we hired and one or two waitresses. We want to keep them although we weren't able to pay them every month, you know, all their wages, they were willing to stay on, because there wasn't any other jobs any place else for them either. So as long as they stay on with us, if and when condition gets better and we can afford to pay therefor their backwages, why we would, they know that we would, and so they stayed with us.
Did that happen finally? That you could pay them?
Oh, yes. Yes, we pay up allhat we owed, you know. Well, when you'venever had too much money to spend, you know, we just don't have the habit of spending any money. As agirl, well, we were not exactly very poor, but we were not rich, either, you know. Just aaverage family. My father have a business- as agirl, my father just have abusiness and Iwas always- us children always have to help in the restaurant business.
So what would you spend on? What would it be? Just clothing?
Just very little on clothing. What have to be spent, like books andthings we had to have, well, we have to buy those. And whatever there's alittle bit left over, then, it goes into clothing. And at that time Iknow we didn't even get to go to a show very often. Not even once a week at that time. Well in the first place, you know, when there isn't too much business and not too much money, you have to work a little bit harder, you get pretty tired, you know. By the end of the working day in the restaurant you want to go home and get some rest and sleep.
SS: And you were going to school.
MLL: And I was going to school, too, in the meantime.
SS: Was there much social life when you were going to school?
MLL: At that time the Chinese girls and boys doesn't have too much social lifewith the American people. But we do have what we call International Club you know. What was it Mi?
MLL: Yeah, Cosmopolitan Club. At that time there were quite afewilip ino boys and some Chinese boys, but mostly boys sent over here from their own country. Now the Chinese people have some scholarships from the, Ithink it's from the Boxer Rebellion, quite afew years back, that they would still allow some Chinese boys to come over here to st udy. Although these boys wouldn't be from apoor family, they from about average families that have a certain amount of money to buy their clothes. You know the scholarship is only for board and room- maybe for part of the room and all tuition fees, like out of state and'all that. But from their own family, they have to support them otherwise. So as far as we're concerned, that's about the only social we have and we do have ministers from Moscow and Pullman that work with us, you know, in our group that are interested in us. And one was Reverend Drury from the Presbyterian Church. He's the one that married us in 1931, because we know them pretty well and he was with our group in the Cosmopolitan, and he was interested in the foreign students, you know, and there was quite afew of the professors, too, that are interested, and they sponsor us.
SS: What kind of activities would you have? Social ones. Would they bedances and things like that?
MLL: Not too much dancing because we don't do too much dancing. But we getinto a group and we would have coffee or tea and a little ice cream or cake or something. And then we would talk, you know, and we would dis cussions, mostly our own school work ,and our concerns with our everyday activity, and with the church, maybe. Very little in politics, because we have no vote, anyway. But we do, and we are interested in what's going on. At least, we know what's happening anyway, especially around our two— quite often we have the joint Cosmopolitan Clubs between Washington State and Idaho, and we would go out on picnics and we would go out on hikes, you know, up to Moscow Mountain, or some place like that and we would make a whole day of it either on a Sunday or on a Saturday when the weather's good.
SS: But few girls; mostly boys.
MLL: Yes. There are just a few girls.
SS: Is that because there were few that had come with scholarships?
MLL: Yes, most of the families would send their boys out to get educated, because usually they figured that the boys are the ones to make the living for the family, and they should get educated first.
SS: And it was mostly ino people and Chinese? And were there Japanesetoo?
MLL: Not too many Japanese. At that time the ilip inos, as far as I know,when they come here they have a different status, because, you see, they were under U.S. control, and I think they could come and go without too much red tape. The Chinese, and I don't know about the Japanese, I think they come a little bit easier even, but the Chinese have a very hard time getting over; red tape and all that. And they can only come over as a student and they can only go as a student and they cannot work over here. And as soon as they are through school, they get their diploma and then they have to go back.
SS: That's Japanese?
SS: Chinese, too?
MLL: Uh-huh. Idon't know too much about the Japanese. The Japanese peopleIknow they can come over here alittle bit easier than Chinese. They have a better quota. And I heard, if the Japanese Government would allow them to come over, they could almost get 100 sure that they would allow them to come over here to go to school.
SS: This is now, or back then?
MLL: Then. Even then, so now it should be more liberal.
SS: So that means really, that the people were not- were expectednot to go to the dances and those things that were on campus?
MLL: Yes. Idon't know, Idon't think there are too many of the dances wherethey would mix. As far as Iknow, Iwas the only Chinese girl going to the University at the time. And as far as Iknow, there were only two at the most three, Chinese girls at Washington State at that time. So there aren't too many giis, as far as Chinese girls are concerned. And Japanese were about the same. And I'm not saying anything very much about the Vietnamese or any, because at that time Idon't think we had too many of those people. comiJ over,
SS: Pretty strict.
MLL: Pretty strict segregation, yes. I think so, as far as school was concerned.Well, how did that make you feel at the time? Because it seems to me, besides being unfair, it seems kind of difficult to expect people to- Well, it didn't to me because- for one thing, it makes our race of students study a little bit harder because they have more time to study. They have less time to go out socially then. That's one good thing out of it. For another thing, now, well, I myself, I am more or less an in trovert and I don't go out and well, barge myself into other things. I don't care too much for dancing, because I never had it. Well, I never went out, you know. I was pretty well kept at home during my grade school and high school years and in college I was still staying home, under the supervision of my mother and father. And, being Chinese, you know, I just go to school to go to school; to learn. And besides I have to spend some time in work, too, you know, to help the folks out.
SS: Well do you think the kids in the Cosmopolitan Club that they- I canimagine if it was me, I imagine tttfV I would react by feeling that I was better than all those other kids anyway. And I'm just wondering if that was the way that some of the kids, maybe would feel.
MLL: You think that theyare a little bit better than the American people?
SS: No. I was thinking that that's the natural way that it would be to react.
SS: To think that, because that's how I imagine I would feel. That's theway I have felt when I have been excluded from a group and that sort of thing.
MLL: They think they're so much better. Well, as far as I am concerned, theycan think they're that much better, it's alright with me, you know, be cause it doesn't matter to me. What I want, at that time, is mostly an education, anyway. The faster I get it, the better I am off. Maybe the sooner I can get out there and get into a better job maybe, bring in more money for myself and for my family. So I don't miss it.
SS: How much friendship was extended to you from the— like the other girlsthat were in home Were they very outgoing and friendly to you, or did they sort of leave you alone?
MLL: Oh, no. Home economics is all girls, anyway at that time. So, as faras I'm a girl, I am just one of the girls with them; with my own home ec girls. I don't think I was excluded from any of their things. I go to all of their— whatever is going on, I go to it. And I was invited to all of them. So as far as home economics, the department, is concer ned, all the teachers treat me just as well as anybody else. There is no distinction; I don't feel any distinction between their attitude other students and their attitude toward me. So, as far as I am concerned- maybe it's because I took that course particular field, because I like it and that's why I took it, and it just happened to be one of the things that's mostly all girls. So, I was very satisfied with my life in school. And I do have a few very close friends that I have made and I have continued with, you know from the Home Economics Department and also a few that were not in the Home Economics, But the few girls that live in town here in Moscow, because they went to high school with me. And I think everybody in Moscow has treated my fa mily and me and now my husband and I— afterwards my husband and I- well, that is, the people that know us, we were never discriminated against, as far as I know. And they were friendly to us, at least to our faces, anyway. And, like I say, we're the kind of people that doesn't go out too much. We don't associate too much. We don't go for dancing or drin king or smoking, so that excludes a lot of stuff from us, you see. We just have a few friends that we like to entertain in our own home and we go to our friends' homes and we just enjoy ourself that way. And businesswise, I think we have been treated very well in Moscow. Well, there's always one or two exceptions, you know. Maybe they don't like our race in the first place and so they! got that against us, too. And so maybe they don't want to deal with us. Well, those people, we just don't deal with them. You know, if they don't want to deal with us, we're not going to bust in and deal with them because there are other people who would deal with us, that we could associate with in business, as far as that's concerned. Whenever we need anything— whenever we need any thing, we need to buy anything, we need to buy any services, we are all well treated. In doctoring, you know the doctors, why we're well treated. And department stores, we're well treated and all the supermarkets, gro cery stores and the car dealers or the travel angencies, all. You know.
SS: Thinking about your kin and other people you know that were Chinese;there must be some cases that you know of where really the people didn't get treated well, when they should have been. At least I imagine there must have been because of—
MLL: Because of the race?
MLL: Well particularly in my family, I don't know of anybody that wasn't treated.— You know the Chinese people as a whole, we don't want to butt in to other people's things if we're not wanted. Because, if they don't want our business, we just don't go to their business. If they don't want us to go to their church— I wouldn't say that, because all churches welcome us, as far as I know of. All the churches in Moscow, members, you know— although we go to the Methodist Church, but the members of the other churches have been very friendly with us. The Historical women have been good to me, and the Senior Citizens, we get along very well with them, you know. So, as far as I know, none of my family around'here, I don't think we have ever been illtreated by anybody.
SS: Well, do you think that it changed in time?
SS: Because the record from the early days, like with the gold mines in theearly days, it was terrible.
MLL: Oh, yes.
ML: Yes, there is no doubt about it. You know it has changed.
SS: How far ago was that?
ML: It wasn't too long ago, when May Anderson went down to Pasco, she wentdown to the restaurant there, In Pasco, when she was supposed to sing at a place. I imagine it has been about thirty years ago. The last twenty-five years it has been different. Before that, when I went to school in '25 and '26, there was a separation at that time. Of course she went to school later than I did.
MLL: Yes, I went in '29.
ML: Therefore, they gradually change a little bit then.
Well how did you experience it at that time, Mi? What kind of thingswhere there was separation of the people?
Well, when Iwent to school there in Pullman, you know, the first yearIwent there, the teachers, the instructors and everybody, you know, want us to go to church, you know, to meet the young people and stuff that way. So I did. 'Course, I didn't have much to do, so I went to the church. But at that time the separation was quite clear at that time, and therefore I and my friend, another Chinese boy, we went to the church with the young people, BYPU, Baptist young people, and we went there. It just happened after the meeting, it just happened that they have alittle refreshment served, you know, after the young people's meeting. Okay, after the refreshment was served, then we formed two lines, the boys on one line and the girls on one line, and then we go and get our cake and alittle coffee, then we're supposed to pair off, boy and girl pair off, see. Iknow the Chinese boy and Iwere both there and we didn't actually pair off at that time, we just come that way, and I noticed distinctly that the two girls didn't want to- she feel shame probably that they happened to have got us, and the two girls in stead of trying to sit at the church with us- trying to what do you call it? They didn t, they just face each other. The two girls sit , and the two boys, and I sit on the outside of one girl and the other boy sit on the outside of the two girls, and I sit on the other. And the two girls was eating by theirselves, and we just sit out there. And of course, we didn't say anything. And, of course, that made us feel, you know. It isn't right, you know, when they asked us to go to the church, and the church says, all men are created equal, and here you feel towards that way.h Distinctly that way. So that time, from then on more or less, we don't go so much. We just don't go. We go to church and then that ends it. Because we don't have to deal with anybody, 'cause we just sit in church, and then after the church that's all, then go home. I know distinctly that was really-
SS: It hurts.
ML: Yeah, it hurts. Especially when you tell somebody, a Christian, youlove and then you turn around and do that. In the Church of God, - in the House of God. That create kind of a feeling. In other words it's kind of a hypocrite, way of doing things. Lots of Chinese, they did the missionaries in China that way. The missionaries in China, the company sending over there to check up on the Chinese what they was, and then when the time to come defend themselves, they run off first.
SS: To defend themselves?
ML: revolution or anything like that, you're supposed to give yourlife- and here you are, and you run first and when they come to your leaders- the leader runs first!
SS: Mrs. Lew said that when you were in Spokane that you had the same thing.
ML: Yeah, the same thing. I went to a basketball game with my friend, see,"rand after the basketball game we went to the Pantages Th eatre, a whole group of us, a whole group of boys, then they divided me out and every body else go sit down stairs, and they put me upstairs, see. I had the WSC hat on and all the rest of them had the same thing and we all went together.
SS: Who did that? The man that ran the theatre?
ML: Yeah. Pantages himself, the old man, what do you call it?
MLL: Are you sure it was Pantages, himself?
ML: Yeah. Yeah, he did that all the time that way. They're all that way.In the barbershop it be that way, too.
SS: Then you couldn't go in a barbershop to get a haircut?
ML: You can't get a haircut, only the crummy ones. Certain, what you callit? first class barbershops- you can go to the hole-in-the corner.
SS: Was that true in Pullman and Moscow, too?
ML: No, Pullman and Moscow are not that way, no. I can say that; they'renot that way. Walla Walla was that way. Yeah.
MLL: Walla Walla was?
ML: Yes, Walla Walla was that way, yes.
SS: Did they ever tell you when you were at college, say, like did they letyou know that you shouldn't go to the social events with the other kids? Did they tell you?
ML: No, they don't say anything, anyway. As far as that concerned, the Chinese people are not very- what you call it? You have to kind of drag them if you want them to go, especially the first time.pU'MA to dr ag them the first time, because they hate to go there and feel like I went to that church that time. They asked us many times to go to that church. That's why you went. And then I finally went, then when you got to that point, then you don't feel good and then you don't go any more. That's how it is. Chinese people are very, very, what you call itit isn't like the colored people now days. Colored people nowdays, oh, boy, they fight for their right, in a way I don't blame them for fighting for their rights. But never the less sometimes they go to the other extreme, too. Go to the other extreme.
So what they did in a way, they lumped all people that weren't whitein one class. One group.
Yes, that right, They call it colored people. Strictly not black, butall the Asiatics and all the other people outside of the whites. The Caucasians. Indians would be the same thing. If the Indian boy go to school, the same thing, land up in the same place where I would be. Did you like the Cosmopolitans? Was it enjoyable? Would you take part in it?
No I didn't take too much part in it, because I had to work most of thetime. No, there are certain Cosmopolitans that only goes with agroup themselves. And there's a few teachers that are very much interested in foreign students. There are very few of those.
And then there's one or two American, white people that the Cosmopolitans-(both talking together- can't separate this)
Like the group. Yeah, there's a few, there's a few.
The Cosmopolitan doesn't mean all color you know. You know, it meaneverybody. So there's usually one or two students that probably already befriended some of the other- some of the older students, you know, and they like the Chinese and so they want to join that group, too, you see.
SS: Were there any blacks in that group at that time?
MLL: At that time, there wasn't any blacks, at all, in the schools.
SS: Were most of these people going to beingAback to Asia?
Yeah, most of 'em, most of 'em, are, yeah. At that was only one black student whenIwas there. 'Course, at that time, Pullman only had thirty-five hundred people, at that time. Thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-five hundred people, at that time. And, as far as Unconcerned, Ithink they only had eleven Chinese people there. And there was quite afew Filipino boys there. The Filipino boys because they came in through the- what you call it? The Philippines. There was afew there, Iimagine fifteen or twenty of those. But out side that there isn't very many. The Indians, there was practically no Indians over there at that time.
Did you develop many close friendships with the white Americans when youwere at Pullman?
Oh, Ihad some friends, yeah. Ihad the friends that went to school withme in high school. Alot of my friends went to high school with me, and when they graduated from Walla Walla, so they went up to Pullman.
You went the same time they did?
Yeah, yeah. We were all graduated the same class, only some of 'em moveup there. Yeah, Ihad some friends. Of course, when they go to the Uni versity, the, they diversed again, see. You take your course, and they take their course, see. Then therefore they're at the age when the boys date with the girls over there, see. We don't have any because we an,Asiatic girls there at all. We ju8t don.t do anything. dld work, that's all. That's why most of the Chinese- Asiatic students are better students, because they got no place to go. They are better as a student, because that's all they got to do is just to study, see. Al though some of 'em are hard for them because they have to learn the language and learn the ways and learn- what you call it? As far as that i concerned, I had a kind of hard time, too, because there are lots of things Idon't know what they're talking about. And there are many things in which American people have in their tome thatwe donVtave in our home, so when they're talking sometimes, Idon't know it- what they're talking about. And then you have to look and all that and there is a hindrance in all that way. In that respect.
In fact, when Mi came over here as achild his mother didn't come overyou know. His mother was one of those Chinese women, you know, that his father didn't bring her over here, so his father just brought him over here when he was six years old- six, seven years old.
At that time you couldn't bring 'em over, anyway. The woman.
No, they don't allow them over.
ML: No, they won't allow a woman to come over.
MLL: Let's see, in 1921-In 1921 or '22 before they let-
MLL: Yeah, and when we came over; that's about one of the first )ears. Pretty first, when they allowed businessmerfjwife to come. If they are citinot zens over here, they canning their wives over here. At that time that's the law, Idon't know why, either. Now, you know, if you're a citizen, no matter where your wife is, the wife get to come over here. But at thatime, as .far as Iknow, if you are acitizen you cannot bring your wifeA . I think that's the law.
ML: Yeah, something like that.
SS: But he couldn't become a citizen
MLL: He have to be born here. He cannot become acitizen until 1943. Nobodycan become a citizen. When you were growing up in Walla Walla was there ever any times when you had to stand up for your rights? Say you fought over it?
Oh, yes, there are certain times, especially when Iwas growing up atthat time. There was abunch of Russians in Walla Walla. What they call Russians kids— Italian in Klds- There are quite a lot of Italian farmers and Russians. They got both of 'em.
MLL: Italians and Russians.Russian town, they call the Russian town, and they got Italians, too, people the Italian farmers. The Italian.sometimes, you kaov how kids'they don't know any better and they'll make fun of the Chinese people. And the Russian poeple, too. The Russian kids, you know they think they're white, and you know, they pick on the Chinese people. The Chinese people there's only eight or ten of 'em, but the Chinese people they stick to gether. When you get only justfc of 'em, they can lick the Russians, they'll lick anybody that comes along, see. The kids can do that.
SS: You mean you kids traveled in agang?
ML: no, you know, if they start picking then, you know, you don't need +cNa gang in the playground. In the playground especially in the playground. That's where ttey start the what you call it- in the playground. And because the Chinese standing around, and because they Play anything like that, so most of those, when they come over about ten, eleven year old, then they come over, see. And they stand around and they wait for the bell to ring and they go up there, see. So they do- the Russian kids they pick on 'em trying to do something, but the Chinese people, when one of 'em picks on the other one, then the other ones will jump in on it.
Help 'em out.
Help 'em out. So after they help 'em out, the one thing about it, theteacher is always on the Chinese side. Always on the Chinese boys side.
MLL: The Chinese boys are not the ones that start the things.
The teacher knows that-
Yeah, always on the Chinese boys side.
How would they start afight with you? Would they call the kids names?
First thing they call the kids names.hey you throw things at 'em, youknow, they throw little rocks and they pick on you. Throw rocks at you. Then if you throw back then they'll fight with you. Them b'g bullies, just like abig bull come along, they try to what you call it, you see That's how they do it. The Russianson the little kids; the smal ler ones, you see. But the big ones will help the little ones out.
the Italians to come in?
The Italians farmers-
Did the Italians get after the Chinese boys?
Oh, yeah. They do. They'll call 'em aChink andll the other name,what you call it- some names. And of course, it didn't take long before we learned to call 'em Dagos, too, see. (ChucklesSo they would get irritatedon their mind, see] (Chuckles
What about in high school? Were there kids, you think, didn't have anything to do with you? Didn't want to have anything to do with you, be cause they were prejudiced or their parents were prejudiced.ln the schools? No, no, high school was alittle bit better. High school, you know, the high school, they get into agroup, you know. The wealthfamilies, their kids, they get into alittle class amongst themselves, you know. They run the thing, they do anything and then the people are poor,' you don't change clothes only once aweek, then you don't get up there with them so you go down in alower class of wer class, of people.k And, of course, the upper class people got nothing to do with the lower class, especially the Chinese people. Iwas the only Chinese boy there, but at that time I take ROTC, of course, at that time, I took ROTC and it was very good that I took ROTC, because I had ROTC clothes to wear. Then I got clothes just the same as they have. Everybody the same in uniform, in other words, see.
You wore a uniform to school?
Oh, yeah. Yeah, you can wear your uniform to school. You have fourat Walla Walla,
years of ROTC. Very good.
You wear it every day?
Yeah, you wore it everyday. Nobody say anything to you. So it's realgood that way, and I wore it every day.
You were the only Chinese boy in the high school at that time?
What happened to your friends there? Didn't they go on to high school?
Most of 'em finish the eighth grade, they quit, they go work. Theirparents don't believe in it.
How come you went?
My parents believe in it, that's all. My parent, he believed in education.
His father believed in it.
Yeah, my father believed in it- education- that's how come. My father,as far as that's concerned- my father was the only Chinese man that edu cate their daughter. My sister was a doctor, a M.D.. Everybody say he was crazy to do that.
She's an M.D.? Over here?
No, no. She's in China. But everybody say he's crazy to do that, youknow.
Because, after all little girls marry somebody else. In other wordsyou're educating somebody's else's wife, see. Well, that's the way they are. Lots of American people feel the same way. Lot of them do that. How did your father feel about it? What was his answer to that? He just believedin education for everybody, that's all. Yeah, he just believedin education. He think itbe better off if everybody had an education, you know, he believe that way.
That's the way my father felt, too.
Maybe he had a little more respect for his daughter then than some.There are some, too. But we had another couple here; we had a Chinese girl that graduated from Whitman College, she is aPhi Beta Kappa. She vasjreal smart girl; she was the only Chinese girl that was graduated from Whitman College at that time. What did she do? She couldn't get a job.
She was younger than you.
No, she was above me. She was older than Iam. She couldn't get ajob.The only job she ever got was selling noodles for her brother. She just Just two years ago.
She was a very brilliant girl.
Was that because she was Chinese or because she was a woman that shecouldn't —
More than likely both.
In the first place awoman and in the second place—
Yeah, that aright. She's a brilliant girl. She can go teach or something- right now, she can teach any place, but she didn't, she couldn't get ajob. Oh, the world is different, it's changing, Iagree with you. You, yourself- you figured- would you have been able to get engineering jobs someplace if you had wanted to, or because you are Chinese, you couldn't then?
Icouldn't then anyway, because at that time engineers only seventyfivedollars amonth, you can hire at that time. But first you had to become a citizen, before you-
You had to be a citizen to be an engineer?
Yeah, and work in the United States with aproject, you do.Oh, to work for the government?
For anybody, unless you got enough money to be acontractor yourself.And I didn't got that kind of money.
Then citizenship was required to be hired by acompany?
Even go atransit for aroad. Even such simple thing for to hold alineor hold arod or something. You have to become acitizen for any pro ject. Even to go get agun to shoot asquirrel, you have to become a citizen before you can have agun to shoot a squirrel.
You know you have to be acitizen before you can have agun? Even today.Today.
Even to shoot asquirrel; a.22 or something like that. Maybe aBB gunyou can get along alright.
You couldn't have been hired business or anythingto be an engineer?
So is that the reason why you were looking and going back to China?Yeah, at that time Iwas looking to go back to China because of that. Go back and get ajob there, you know. But things are changing back there. It don't look good, Ican see war coming, see. Ican see war coming. Ican feel it in the air,r coming. And every so often they put propaganda, and they say, you guys do this. And every so of ten there is propaganda; you do that. It wasn't too long until- I started— Japan was came back '31-'32- the way in Manchuria".
You came back in '32, when they started.
Yeah, in Manchuria.
When you went over there, did you feel, yourself, more like an American than like you belonged in China? You didn't know China very good at the time.
No, you don't know China, but nevertheless, you do feel pretty goodbecause, you are amongst your own people, and your own people res pect you. They'll say, "Mr. so-and-so." And always invite you when anything special comes on; they invite you. Over here, no matter what you are, you're not one of them, see.
They accepted you and they didn't feel like you were a foreigner?No. No. When you're over there, in other words, you're more like a aristocrat. You're like a doctor.
He's aUnited States graduate, you see. So he's better than alot ofthe other people; the average people, even. Over there only the very wealthy can go to college and go through college.
So, really that meant that you kind of moved up in the social class?No doubt about that. No doubt about that.
Yes, only more wealthy people would invite him to their weddings.The cultured people would do it, see. It's just the same thing here. Only the wealthy people would do the same thing hfre. you know. Cer- k tain people would do it, and certain peopleot, You feel better because they respect you. Where ever you go they respect-you. You're one of them.
You're one of them, see. Where here you come into a-Alowed type of people, right from the start when they come here. You go into even
ML: Well, colored people, that's why colored people feel that way.
MLL: Well, even today when we register at the Hilton or at any of the bet-fejf class of hotels, you know, they look at you, you know, wonder how could they afford a place like this. What is this - the one that let the children go in free? What is it? The Holiday Inns. Well, we were there in San Francisco and we stayed at the Holiday Inn, like forty-nine, fifty dollars a room, you know for just two people, and I see Negro people there, you know. Of course, this one is right in Chinatown, you see. And that's where we want to stop because we don't want to have to take a bus or take a taxi every time we go into Chinatown, so we just stop right there, you see. And we see— of course, most of 'em are Chinese anyway, and least fifty percent, and fifty percent American people and very few percentage Negro. Well, you just wonder, how could those people- Negro people can afford, or Chinese people can afford. Of course, only the wealthier people can travel, you know, and can afford a fifty dollar a day hotel, you know. You can't do that 352 days a year. And neither can we, but when we go, because of the convenience - and that's besides we got on a deal anyway, you know; package deal, which didn't amount very much to us, you know, because we buy the whole package.
SS: Do you think that most of the people that were over here would havewanted to go back home if they could? I mean, they would have preferred to be back there because they would have felt more at home there? If they could?
MLL: Yes, in the old days. In the old days they would because they dofeel better. They are among their own people and they can go just as far as anybody. Where over here-
SS: You don't.
MLL: You don't go to the top 100. You get 75.As far as that concerned, even not too long ago, you try to get into the Elks Lodge, you try to go into any of the lodges, they won't let you in.
You can't go in there- no what you call 'em.
MLL: We told our friends, your club you know TheMoose is nothing, you know, as far as the club's concerned. Maybe the Elks- Well, as far as I'm concerned, you know, we don't join the clubs anyway, because, you know, it's a social function- clubs. And, well, if you don't drink and you don't smoke, you're kind of out of it anyway. And we don't play golf. We don't bowl, you know. So, we're not with that class of people.
SS: To do arestaurant business, though, that pretty much protected youfrom that kind of stuff. You didn't have to depend on anybody else for a job.
That's right. That's the reason we went into the restaurant at thattime.
That's the reason why there so many foreign people go into the restaurant business. Have a little business of your own.
Yeah. Then you want your family in there together, see. That's theprobablythat's the only kind of business.
ML: The laundry-
The laundry and grocery store. Of course, in the bigger towns theyhave other- through the department stores and you know, the Japanese
ML: The Japanese better off than we are, you know.
MLL: I know the Japanese better off than we are. They have a
ML: The government come,
MLL: As long as the Japanese authorities let them out of Japan, they cancome in.
ML: Yeah, and then if you do something- what you call it?- the JapaneseAmbassador will jump right on your tail bone. The Chineseare not that way. Thfr.
MLL: Well, I think in the first place, we're not the kind that would jumpon anybody's tailbone, anyway, you know, unless we're pushed so hard that we have to fight back. We're more of a mild temper people any way. And we just kind of let things take its course, you know, in a way. We try to do the best we can under the circumstances, but we don't try to fight too much with the circumstances.
SS: Your friends, like the ones that were in Baker, for instances. Bakeris a town that had a pretty bad reputation in the early days in some of the stuff that happened with Chinese miners. I know, it was really rough. I was just wondering, do you think that they were as well ac cepted in a place like Baker?
MLL: Oh, yes. This is in the late years, you see. This is in our time.I would say she's about eight years older than Mi is, you see; five to eight years, so you see she just passed away a couple of years ago. And she never did very much with her education. That is, she didn't get a chance to do it.
ML: She had to run a restaurant, too. She was selling noodles for a Saleslady- sellingnoodles to the Chinese places all through the Northwest.
SS: Did she live in Baker at that time?
ML: No, she was here afterwards. Yes, she was in Walla Walla. She wasreally a Portland girl. She was in Portland.
I thought she was a Walla Walla girl.
No. She graduated from Whitman College.
I know, but I thought that was because she lived there.
Because at that time Whitman College was considered one of the betterschools. And she graduated from there.
Well, of course, you know, I mean, a few things didn't just come rightwith her either, you know. Oh, circumstances and maybe she didn't take opportunity when opportunity was there, and it was too late, or whatever. You know.
Oh, I think partly because- she was so well educated, so much abovethe other people that the average Chinese people was afraid of her. Because she's so much more free-
Oh, yeah, that's right, Icok/Aia for a wife.
Who could marry- Marriageable . Was afraid of her.
Afraid to court her.
She was too smart?
She was the first Chinese girl that was graduated from Whitman. AndI think I'm about the first one graduated from here, as far as I know. There might have been some before, but as far as I know, I think I was the first one here.
That didn't scare you off, because she was well educated.
No, but that was earlier than that, you see. There wasn't too manyChinese—
SS: She didn't marry?
ML: No, no. She never married and she just went to work for- well- let'ssee you graduated in '29- she graduated in 1920. I would say '20 or '21, '22. Well, and another thing, too, maybe she was not-
You say she was born in Portland?
Yeah. She was born in Portland.
They like that. Like Marjorie- brothers and sisters they did realwell in Seattle, because they citizens- they'adraf tsman W/A? Th- She could have, but she didn't.
Oh, I don't know. A girl a little bit different.
In '22 or '23-
A girl a little different, see.
Yeah they do. If they don it find anybody over here that they like tomarry they would go back to marry. Especially the students that have ascholarship. They would be- you know- they must go back, you see and find work over there, and home and family. If you went back and married then, would you be able to bring your wife back over here?
No, you stay there.
That is rough.
Yeah, that is rough. Oh, every so often they change- well, course,A'43, they have changed- I mean, we can become citizens.
That s when Mifirst become citizen. Although he's been here eversince 1907, and I've been here ever since 1920. We were not able to until then.
SS: I was going to ask you about that- a little bit about the restaurantand running it: And I was wondering, was the Chinese food very popu lar at that time?
MLL: No, it was not popular. Chinese food not become popular until afterthe Second World War. Until after our boys come back from overseas, especially from Korea and the other countries, you know. And naybe some of 'em marryAsiatic woman, and so they learned to like Chinese food over there, and naturally when they come back here, they do like the Chinese food more .
SS: So you didn't serve Chinese food then?
MLL: Very little.
SS: Was it American food?
MLL: Mostly American food. Yes. And, you see, so in order to compete withthe other restaurants, we had to either serve better prepared meals, a little bigger portions or cost a little bit less. And, the only way we survived was because we work a little bit harder and a little bit longer hours; quite a bit longer hours, in order to survive with the rest of the restaurants.
SS: Did you give bigger portions for less money? Or what did you do?
MLL: We did.
ML: You do, you do, thatxpart of it.
MLL: You can still always go into a Chinese restaurant and get a betterportion, and well, I would say, not all the cooks, that is the hired help, but most of the smaller restaurants, the owners do their own cooking and serving. And where you have that you have better quality food and better seasoned food, you know. Well, naturally, you would be more interested in your own living. While hired help doesn't have to be interested, you see. All they're interested in is putting in so many hours for their wages. Whether you have business or not you have to take care of that part of it.
How many hours did you work usually in a day?
In day? We usually work sixteen hours.
Twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours is nothing. Sixteen hours on Saturdays sometimes, because by the time you get the drunks out of there, then we have to clean up, and then wash the dishes and do like that. Saturday was a rough old day.
Well, twelve hours is our normal hours. So, if the other restaurantowners only work eight hours, you see, well, we got the four hours in there, so we should make a living just as good as they do. And we do have to. And so, for fourteen hours, hours is not rare.
Was that hard for you to work so much? To adjust to?
No. Because I been used to it. I'd been used to it ever since Iwas sixteen years old.
You started when you were sixteen?
I was helping my father and mother.
You get used to it, just like anything else, you get used to it.
After all, sixteen hours in those days weren't busy like you rushed,you know, you always have in the afternoon a quiet time. In the two, three hours afternoon you have a quiet time so you can sit down and have coffee, rest your legs or anything you want to. Then you have And get your lunch, you know.
That way. Course, if you open up and it'just like an assembly linefor sixteen hours, you couldn't do it.
No. But we spent sixteen hours- fourteen, fifteen, sixteen hoursin the restaurant.
Six days a week?
Seven days a week.All Seven?
Seven. You don't have any day off in those days; those were quitea while ago.
Seven days a week. Well, you know, even our children, as close asthey know us and as close as we are to them, you know, they still couldn't believe some of the hard times that we had when we first start. I mean, our children, they know— well, of course later in the later years, we didn't have to work that long, you know. We take it a little bit easier, you see. Well, in the first place you have to, as you get older, past thirty-five, you have to take it a little bit easier. You cannot be in a place sixteen hours without a little bit of rest. So, Mi takes a split shift, you know, he would go home and rest for about a half an hour iTo forty-five minutes where he could really have quiet and maybe at least rest your muscles you know. When you first do it, you know, your leg muscles achethat is in the restaurant business, in the waitress job, especially, where you run back and forth like that. And of course, the cook's job, you have to stand in one spot, and we have cement kitchen and with rubber mats on top, but it still hard. If you just stand any place, even on a rug for, you know, fourteen, fifteen hours a day, it still hard.
Did you have your doubts when you were first in the business, doubtsabout being able to make a go of the restaurant?
No. We didn't have any doubts at all. Because my father had a restaurant there when he was in Walla Walla, and he learned quite a few things, you know, from it. We used to make our own tamales and our own chili and anybody knows how to make those, knows it's tedious work- job. And Chinese food is a tedious job, because everything is cut fine, you know, celery, onion and mushrooms and all and bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, they're all cut fine. And that takes time. In the old days we could not afford to have slicers, you know, and like mushrooms and stuff, you can't do it anyway with a slicer.
Did you serve any Chinese food on the menu?
Oh, yes, we had Chinese food and American food both. But very little Chinese food, because right along, oh, from years back there always have been noodles and fried rice and chop suey. You see, and those have always been favorites, but now they have so many different kinds. They have the pressed ducks, and soya chicken and almond chic ken and all of that, you see, and shrimps and so on and so forth. Was that a real Chinese style of cooking, that you did at that time? Well, they say chop suey is not a Chinese dish. It is aChinese dish. only've We PUt ln afew things now like bboo shoot; there are manytypes of bamboo shoot- Imean, in different sauces. There is a bamboo shoot that is very pungent. You could smell it all over the restaurant. There is a Chinese bamboo shoot that is not so pungent, Imean. The Chinese people like to put something like that in it, because they are accustomed to eating it, and so they know that the American people are not used to eating that, so they don't put that in there, but they know what onion is, they know what celery is, and they know what bean sprouts are- well, bean sprouts have to be brought to the attention of the American people. That's another new thing. And all these variations and squid and abalone and all this stuff you know. Well, in the old days probably, some of the American people- "Abalone, -oh, yuk." You know like that see. Well, Chinese people have that for years, and so they know what abaloneis. And many of the younger people who don't know what squid is'.'fwho want, to eat ameal with squid?" You know, ohhhh, they think about the claw, you know, and the fed . Well they.
it is. You have to know those things. So, chop suey- it is: aChinese dish, it's just that we leave out some of the things and we add some of the things that the American people are used to. And then noodles, you have spaghetti and you have macaroni- well, noodles is the Chinese- it's asmaller ,you know of spaghettl.
But you knew that you wouldn't have any trouble- or that you'd beable to make a decent living there?
We knew that if we work hard we can make adecent living.
Make aliving, not adecent living, for along time.
Aliving, yes. During the Depression just- well, in fact, likeIsay, we owe money to, you know- well, I'm sure other restaurants do to, because if we do it, Iknow other people will do it just as well. We owe some money to the cooks and we owe some money to some of the waitresses. So, Imean for three months- wait until the bet- During the winter months come, you know. Summertime is our better months and du ring the wintertime when the snow is on the ground, less people go out to eat, you know because they have to keep their home warm any way, so they might just as well cook alittle food at home. So they don't go out to eat. Well, during the wintertimefhave to tell the People that we have to owe them the money, and they have to wait-un til summer come until we can make it before we pay them back their wages, see. We have no trouble of our workers trusting that we would pay them.
Did you employ many people then to help you when you first started?
Not too many. We always have employees, yes. And Ialways tried tohave university students who needj ajob. Oh, we used to have some of the best boys to help us, you know, scrub the floors and wash windows and help with the dishes and peel potatoes and things. We don't have potato paste and all that stuff then, we used real potatoes, you know, Imean they have to do all that. And they were glad to have a job. And we still have contact with some of those workers that we used to have ears ago. Just the other day- last year -we saw some down there at Rexburg. And he's apharmacist now and we remember him because he was one of the fellows we like very much. Did you try to employ Chinese people when you could, who needed work? No. No. Not too many Chinese people would like to come to asmall town like this. The Chinese men don't like to come to atown where there is nothing socially for them. In the bigger towns like Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, you know, they have other members, you know, that they can go to the clubs to play cards, whatever- when their work is done, but here in Moscow, they don't have that, you see, so not too many single men would come over. And family people- we couldn't afford to pay enough for aman to- for afamiaf that time. But we usually tried to- of course, having Chinese food and American food, we always tried to- you know, we do have to have somebody who knowsto cook Chinese food there all the time, too. But we have Am erican cooks who have been with us many, many years.
Who cook Chinese food, too?
No. No.just American food. And now, like noodles and things- well,we have the noodles ready, we have the pork all ready for him to slice, you know, and all he have to do is very little. He can do that, see, you know. Yeah, the final stages. He can do that. Just to dish it up, like you say.
SS: Did your kids help in the business with you, when they were growingup?
MLL: Yes. They all help.
SS: When did they start helping?
MLL: Oh, they start as soon as they can do anything. Like about six yearsold. They can peel onions, and strip the celery, and peel potato, and evensummtr time they can peel fruit. Because in the old days we used to do a lot of stewing the fresh fruit, when the fruit was cheaper, you see, than the canned fruit. And as soon as they can do any work they help. And, of course, the younger ones help with less hours, you know, and less work and what ever they can do. That's why the girls usually work out in the dining room and the boys work in the kitchen. But the boys have worked in the dining room, too. And the girls have worked in the kitchen, too. So they know, oh, the ups and downs of both the kitchen and the dining room. So now, even when the girls are teachers they still, you know, can work in the restaurant,
SS: Iwas thinking too, when you raised your kids, do you feel that youraised them more in the old country traditional way, or in the Ameri can way?
MLL: No. More modem; more modern than traditional, because I had beenover here since I was ten years old and had contacts, you know, with the American ways. And most of my friends in town here or around me are American people, so I see what they're doing. And our child ren go play with other children, too, you know, and they have contact with more American people than Chinese people, so I think they're raised more in the American tradition than the Chinese.
But it sounds like still the working and the helping the family issomething that a lot of the youngsters don't do.
Don tas much as your kids probably did.
Yes. That; yes. I agree with you. But then, you know, some of theolder people, like in my age, you know, they're children worked pret ty hard, too. Like farm people.
Well, we're just like people that work on a farm; first they gopick eggs up, you know, when they're four, five years old, and then gradually work up to doing more and more and more things.
What about the values of the kids, like, honesty and those thingsthat are really important things. Did you feel that was the parent's place to teach the kids those?
I think it's the parents' place to teach the children and not leaveit all to the teachers, because the teachers do not have time to teash thefts the basics in school. They have twenty-seven childreneach class- why you only have one child at a time- like I say, and we teach them a little bit more and I do believe that women should stay home if they possibly can. And I don't like to see a woman out side of the home because I think that is one of the faults that we have in the United States today. Where the children are as they are, the teenagers do things because they have too much time to waste, be cause when they go home there's no mother there. There's nobody"to answer to, so why should they go home? Sometimes the children are home and even the parents are not home.
But you yourself had to work when your kids were growing up.
But we don't expect our children to work as hard as we did.
SS: But I mean, you had to work, just don't expect your kids to, yeah.
MLL: Well, I expect them to work, but actually, we give them more time.I think that's one thing that Mi and I feel, that should have a little more time for their studies than we did at the time. And maybe just a little bit more time to have a little bit more social contact with other people, too. Well, I don't regret it, becausewell, we did work pretty hard, you know, but it did not injure our health in any way. You have to give up something in order to get something else.
SS: So your daughters are teaching now, they're not going to be stayingat home that much when they teach, do they? I mean, they have to be out there in the classroom all the time.
MLL: Yes. But the only daughter that has a home now is my oldest daughter.And every chance she get why, she trj to stay home. And, of course, since she has three children now, I ve been uring her to not teach anymore and stay home more. But she says; she feels that teachingshe enjoys teaching so much that she has to give up some of her en joyment with the children. But she does have good help with her child ren. She has good babysitters for them when they're young, and they go to nursery school and .they go to kindergarten, and now one is in kindergarten, one's in nursery school, one's with a babysitter. So with all that and my son-in-law has his own business so part of the chores of raising the children falls on his hands, too, and he has some time to do that. 'Course, when goes so early in the morning and'bn't come back until in the evening, see, she's teaching at Deary; so all day long there's no contact with her at all, except Saturday and Sunday. But she feJJLs that she enjoy teaching, though, she won't give up teaching.
I had read that in the early days when the Chinese women were overhere, they very seldom went out in public at all. That's the way I read it. Is that true?
Yes. That's in the very old days. Those are the real old days.That was the custom.
Gradually they are becoming more modernized. When they cut off theirhair, you know. When they're allowed to have bobbed hair, well, then things beginning to gradually change.
When do you think the discrimination started to end, or to reallychange, so that you could see that it wasn't as bad.
After the Second World War, would you say?
The one that really did it, is the colored people.
That started it.
That really started pushing it, see. The American public wouldacceptthe Chinese more than they would accept the colored people. So that would be back in the '50's when they started this Civil Rights thing-
After the Second World War.
That when it really started. We could see achange.It is achangefor the better, really it is. In away, I don't- the colored people did have it wrong; so did the Indians. The Indians did, too, they had the bad end of it.
They still have— some of the Indians are really bad off.
Yeah, the Chinese, we got the bad end, but we're avery patient people.We can adapt ourselves to either way. We can adapt ourselves. We can - the Chinese people go into Africa to make a living just as well as they can go out here and the Lapwai out here- I'll bet the Chi nese can go down in the Indian village and make a living, where a white man couldn't.
Yeah, yeah, off the Indians. We're a lot more flexible in lots ofways that way.
Well you know, in looking at the very early days when things werereally rough, and maybe even up to when you were alittle kid, I would think that a lot of people worked up a lot of resentment and then they'd come back from China, let's say, they must have had some pretty awful stories about the United States. What kind of place it was, for Chinese people.
ML: The Chinese people say the United States, it's agood/to makealiving. Because your money- in old days, it was your money, your exchange- The American money exchange for Chinese money, it was five or six to one. So if you take a dollar here, you got six dollars over there. Course, where it was six dollars it only cost you two dollars to live over there, you save four, see. So you have that exchange, see. But if the guy comes over here and spendsadollar, likelot of 'em do, no advantage at all, because you can live in China just as well as you can live here.
Sounds like a good place to make aliving, but not agreat place tolive.
ML: In the old days- in the old times, they had ahard time, you know.The laboring people get after the Chinese people- Mi and Marie are talking loudly at the same time-
MLL: In the books, you know, they say the least little injustice they-feltwhy, they'd go and shoot 'em. Mi and Marie again talk at the same time.
SS: In that reading that I was doing- how much the American labor movement was against the Chinese.
ML: Well, they still are. Aren't they?
No, they're not so bad.
No, not against the Chinese. But the labor movement- some of themovementA not very good.
Oh, yeah, they're bound to be that way. It will be along, long timebefore all men are created equal. It will be a long, long time. Talking about what it was like in Walla Walla- there was one thing Ididn'task you about before, but Iwas thinking about it. All those men there, and virtually no women at all, were there some pro stitutes in Walla Walla?
Oh, yeah. In Walla Walla at that time they had a whole street ofprostitutes. One block was full of saloons and one block was- Hey, wait a minute; Chinese prostitutes? No Chinese.
No, no, no.
I think there was one, maybe.
Maybe just one once in awhile that comes in. But the American prostitutes, there was lots of 'em. Right in back of Chinatown there used to be two blocks full of saloons and prostitutes.
Well, would they take Chinese money?
Oh, yeah. Oh, yes, sure they take Chinese money. In fact Iwouldsay, they preferred Chinese money because the Chineseare more gentle. They don't get half drunk and then try to slug agirl or something like that, you know.them.
You mentioned that with really poor families in China, aman coul'dwind up selling his daughter.
Yeah, they do, they do, sell the daughters, yeah.
That went on?
MLL: Oh, yes. Well, some of them sell their daughters just for servants.Evn average family can buy a servant. And they raise them, you know, and they treat them pretty nice. But, she had no wages to save for herself and when she get to be marriageable age-
Marry 'em off.
Of course, they don't get the best of things, you know, but then theyare treated pretty nice.
Of course, that dependson the person. Just like anybody else?1'Likethe colored people. You know the slaves down there - the person owner treat you good the same as the little girls here. As far as that;6concerned,most of the average Chinese people in China, lots of them got a little money, they do raise a little girl. Then she does the cleaning up and help.
Raise her in the family?
Yes, right with the family. She eats with the family.
Yeah, same time; same place, you know.
She works in the house?
Yes, go to school, too.
Allow her to go to school.
Except they don't adopt the name.
They don't get any of the money of the-
She still might have parents-
Oh, yeah. Yeah.
You see you buy the child from her parents. And she still keeps herown name.
She keeps her own name.
If the master wants to give the name, which is very unusual, theydon't usually give them their name, you know. But they raise 'em, and as soon as they ready to be able to work maybe about ten years old; eight or nine, ten year old, you know, and then maybethey like the girl, nice family, and the family maybe is poor, you know, and they want to help them out, maybe this family has about six or eig;;ht children, you know- but they never sell their boys, no matter how hard up they are, they don't sell their boys. They sell the girls. And they just sell them and have nothing else to do with them. The other family can do whatever they want to do with agirl. And they sell some of them, the beautiful girls, they sell them into prostitution, too.
Well, these girls that are sold to a family, would they have a chanceto make a marriage?
Oh, yes, they have a chance to make a good marriage. As good astheir master's family can get ahold of—
The master would like, if the girl has been very nice ..
Yes, the master would try to get the best. But, of course, she couldn'tget a well-to-do son, you know, because the master's own daughters more would be marrying into a better home and more wealth, andvou know. Do you think that continued like, say in the big towns, like in San Francisco?
MLL: well, you know what Communists is- everybody equal. You haveto work. If you're able to work, you have to work for your meals. Did your mother say- did she live pretty well in China because of the money that your father was making over here? That he could send back some. Did that men she could live pretty good?
Well, she,Just average. Yes, she lived pretty good. Yeah. Iwouldsay she lived about sixty, seventy percent above the fifty percent mark. Because the trouble with China it used to be that only about eight or ten percent rich and then all the ninety percent was prac tically-more and more poor. There is no middle in there. Then your father, he could definitely do alot better here than he could there?
MLL: Yeah. Thatfwhy he had to give up his wife and the companionship ofhis wife in China to come over here and make aliving.
SS: You told me that he went back once to live for awhile, then cameback here again. Did he get to go back there often to see her?
ML: No- Heonly been twice, that's all
MLL: Nhe can go back as often as he wants to, if he has the money to,and if he's willing to spend the money. If his father had more money, you know, he would have gone oftener. But because it costs for the fare and then wK,i. hc't, over there, he would be losing his wages over here, you see and beheading over there for his part, you know. And he being over here from the United States and going back there, he will have to help some of the poor, maybe ve them fifty cents or a dollar, because he was able to do alittle bit better than his neigh bor... So he have to help out his neighbor and give him adollar or so, you see?
SS: That cost some money, too.
That cost money. And you know, when anybody coming back from overseas ., you don't know how many relatives you have really, because everybody', related. Maybe some are closer, maybe some are farther, see. They're all your relatives.
Fixed, as far as how well off they were when they went back aspared to the other. uWoerroe t-huey m pretty good shape?
Oh, they were better than-than well, they were better than average ChinesePeople over there. Yes. But they were Just average over here. They didn't have tomuch, but witfe the money exchange, what money they did have, « exchangedinto Chinese money, they did pretty well They were able to build some apartment houses in Nankinwhich was a very thriving city at that time, in 1933. And they did very well un til the Japanese come in, and then everything's gone now. They have nothing whatsoever left, because took i and took over after that.
They went back, after the Japanese War, they went back for ashorttime and they were okay until 1949, until Communists come in. And then whatever rent they have, have to be given away to the government. And they were able to live in their own home for nothing, and Just enough from their rent to survive a survive. And whatever Jewelry they have — ever had- has been taken over.
Do you think that they were opposed to Communism?
Oh, no. Everybody had to give up that.
Imean, do you think, your parents, accepted Communism?
as long as they're there. And they did until my mother came outI960 and my dad came out in 1962. So now they're in Honolulu. Do you think they were very glad to get out of China?
Oh, yes! They were they were so glad that theythey have to be separated. So in 1960 us four children who were over here, one in Sydney, Australia; three children over here in the United States and one over a over there m Australia, we all worked for their getting out of Communist CChhiinnaa. for both of them to them to come out. And also my mother-in-law too, my husband's mother to come out. They were three. They were all old; in their seventies and nineties. And only my mother was allowed out in I960 to see us in Hong Kong, just for a week then. So she stayed out and she waited in Hong Kong until 1962. Finally when the people figured that my mother snotcoming back anyway, they say, well, my father's getting older now, maybe they'll just let him come out, too. So they allow him out in 1962. And so, because- us three childrenover here and my folks had been over here for years, my father had been over here since 1910- since 1910 and they had never done anything wrong. Had always been good citizens, they were allowed to come back over here. 'Course, there was alot of red tapejand we had to have many affidavits and many people help out, you knowfor us to get them over here. Why did they really want to get out? What was their objection? They were not free. That's reason enough. They were not free to do anything. And everything you have- anything you have-,ever have will have to be given to the government and share with everybody else. Where you work your lifetime, you know, and have been thrifty and work hard in your younger years, and then you get alittle bit saved up in your old age, in your seventies, and then have everything taken away from you, except for just existence, you know, that isn't very free, you know. All your jewelry's gone- well, whatever- they didn't have too much, you know, but whatever they had, it was all gone. My mother came out with fifty cents, and my father without anything. She just had enough- my mother had just enough money to come to see me in a rickshaw. Fifty cents.
The way that you and Mi described the conditions in China, thoughbefore, like the old days, it sounds like you could have hardly called the people free at that time either. Most everyone was poor.
MLL: At that time, if you are willing to work hard you can make a living,but not a good living. You can make a living, but I would say the majority have a subliving condition. Over fifty percent. I would say, even seventy percent. And the rest, well, sixty-five or so and maybe twenty percent in the medium class,wdcre. you can have a busin ess of your own or work in the higher wages bracket, you know. In the lower wage bracket, you just barely make enough. Not enough to send your children to school, maybe, but the poor ones, many of 'em starve to death. But you have a choice. You can talk as you want tOi you can go to church if you want to, you can go visit your family if you want to you have the money to go. You are free to do as you want. But when Communists come in you're not free to go anyplace. You have rice rationing. And your relative cannot take you in because they cannot afford to feed you on their own rice ration, see. And when you leave your home, you have to tell the authorities where you are going and how many days you're going to be there and when you are going to come back. And you cannot go to church. They don't have a church. They don't allow you to have a church. They do not allow you to have any meeting with more than three people. You can't even have a meeting in your own home with your own relatives. There is nothing. But, for everybody, 100 of the people, they have enough to eat, and they dopjif have to die of starvation. Nobody have to die of starvation. The poor and . the sick, they are given food. The able, they have to work for their food and so much cloth ing, you know. They get so many yards of goods. You make so many, maybe one or two outfits a year, whatever. And very dull colors. You can only wear, I think, four colors; black, white, grey and brown, I think. We as a tourist go in there, we can go in if they let us in, and we're allowed to bring so much cloth in for our relatives. And one new bicycle and one new wrist watch and one old wrist watch and give it to your relatives. And then that's all checked, because when your relatives wear a new wrist watch, authorities want to know where they come from. Because if your relatives didn't give it to you, you must have stole it from somebody. And if you stole anything you are punished. But everybody!equal. There is nothing to steal. And if you lost something, you forget something, you drop something, they pick it up and give it back to you, or put it in the lost and found so that you can go back there and get it.
SS: Well, so you figure then that for most people it's good? What'shappened?
You think it's maybe harder on your parents because the life they hadand because they'd been in America and other places and they had had a chance to taste more luxury?
Yes, that right. More luxury. And for the rich people that had beenin China, they are pretty badly off. All the real rich and the real wealthy and real important figures; theyall killed.
MLL: Killed. Yes. The headmen of everything js killed. Most intelligentpeople; better educated, unless you hurry up and tell them that you believe in that. But many, many millions have been killed. Even my mother-in-law, she didn't do anything wrong, but she sold a piece of pottery of ten years before that, you know, and they wanted to know where that money is. They want that money. She say, "Well, I been living for ten years, how could I have any monev?" So they knock her out and she lost ' front teeth in her eighties.
SS: Red army?
MLL: Authorities. Uh-huh.
SS: I wanted to ask you too about the contact that you kept with theChinese friends around here. And I was wondering- do you feel that through the years you've kept a fairly close contact with the other Chinese people in the area?
MLL: Uh-huh. Oh, yes. With the friends that we have very close to ushere. We go visiting; all the restaurant people, you know, in Lewiston, Pullman and Colfax and Othello and Moses Lake. And 'course, we do more than other people do, you know, because we're retired now and we can go and come as we please. But every so often if some body get married- I mean their children get married, you know, we all gather someplace. Just last month we were all in Spokane at— Tommy's second boy got married; we were all invited for a Chinese dinner there. We were invited to their wedding down in Los Angeles too, but it too far so Mi and I didn't go, but some of the people went. And then , but for this part of the country where the friends couldn't go to Los Angeles, and they have a feast down there, too after the wedding reception and then they have a dinner, nice dinner, for the couple, you know. And the friends all, you know, down there invited down there, and then so, the friends up here didn't get a chance, then he invite us over here. And last year we were invited to Othello when their oldest daughter was married. And so, you know, all our friends when their daughters or sons marry, if there is a b wedding and a big dinner, all the people around here are invited. But the thing is, most of these around Moscow are all Engs and we're the only Lews, but we were very glad that we were invited to all the Engs affairs, anyway. And our Lews are a small family, and so we don't have too many. Most of our relatives now- Idon't have any relatives in Spokane, what we had are gone already. My cousins at Washington Noddle Cafe in Spokane, they all died.
Washington Noddle Cafe. That was there for years. And now theirchildren are all- they went to Washington State and some went to University of Seattle and then they all scattered. Some went to New York to do their thing and some went to San Francisco; some went to Los Angeles, you know, all different places. They are my cousins, see. My uncles are all dead. Of course, my father outlived them all, you see. They die in their sixties and my father is eighty-six now. My mother is eighty-seven. So he is one of the few that out lived most of our relatives. And then Mi's relatives are over in Seattle or on the Coast. Whenever we go to the Coast, we go to Seattle and stop there and we stop at Pasco; we have friends there at Pasco and Walla Walla, where Mi's from, you know. And we go there, we still have a very_ good friend down there; just one left now. And now his son and children are running the farm down there now. Course, he's still there, but, he just look around, you know, not doing- doing very little work. Whatever he can do, he'll do. Are the Engs that are around here and your friends, have they been here for many years?
MLL: The ones in Lewiston have been there for a long time.Yes. These people, you know Tommy Eng been over there Iknow about since 192- I think he went to high school in '24, '25, somewhere around there. Mi was working for his father, Tommy Eng's father when he was a freshman fc Washington State in '25.
SS: In Pullman?
MLL: In Pullman.
SS: At the-?
MLL: At the Oriental, uh-huh. And then Freddie, who was with him therewent to Colfax for a while and now he's move over there to Othello. So, we go in contact with them quite a bit whenever we go to Seattle we always stop there.
SS: Where does Tommy Eng live now?Tommy Eng is still in Pullman. Now, he has three sons; two of his sons are over there in Pullman with him. One son wanted to stay down there in Los Angeles. They all graduated from universities I think Kenny, the oldest one, too, but I'm not sure. But he has been with his father a long time and now the second boy is with his father now.
MLL: Are these the people those that you consider the closest friends,the Engs and the others.
Well, they are the friends, yes, very close. And, of course, we arevery close to -and Susie, down here at the new Hong Kong. They bought our place, of course, you know, and practically every day we went down there you know, and we'd have coffee. And when they are busy, we beat it, and then when they're not busy we stop and and sometimes she make something extra special and she send one of the kids up with it, you know. Sometime when Imake agood banana nut bread or something, I bring one down to her, you know.
SS: How long have they lived here?
SS: Yes.They been around- they're from Walla Walla originally, and then over to Colfax and work for Pete Eng. That's acousin of Tommy Eng in the Oriental. And then he is the uncle of Yik over here at the Chinese Village. Poy is the uncle there.
SS: is the one that owns the Hong Kong.
MLL: The new Hong Kong. Yeah, Poi and Susie.
SS: Yeah, and he is the uncle of-
MLL: Yiks at the Chinese Village. You see that way they are related. Andthen Tommy and PQy and the people down in Lewiston, some of them, are from the same village in Canton. Engs,'
SS: Which village is this?
MLL: I don't know which village. I was just thinking, because you mentioned Ki eYipbefore. Ki eYip. No. Those are the three counties and four counties.
MLL: They are the counties. But, you know, Ihave forgotten so much already.That's another thing Iwas going to ask you again was why was it that everybody came from Canton? Why is that the place that people-? They are the people that are more business people. Some of the ohter people, more farming people. Farming and fisherman, they stay home. The business people, the commercial people, they go out. You always find the business people are the ones that go out to look for their fortune, you know. They're the ones that come overTthe Americas, you know. Of course, they are the people who were being kicked out for political reason or for church reason. But they also probably the more aggressive people who want to get out and make abetter li ving than they're had, you know. lY,
SS: You say religious reasons, too, people leftCanton?
MLL: No, not, not religious, no. Because they commercial people and business people.They are more inclined to travel. Isn't that right, M i? Cantonese go out more.
SS: Why so many people came from Canton, more than anyplace else?I thought
ML: I .told you once about that.
SS: Yes, I thought you did, too, but Ilm not sure that I got the right—
ML: Yes, I told you about that, because the early days when the peoplewant railroad, you know. The Railroad building want Chinese peoplelabor to work. Well, Well, the Manchu government- the Manchu govern ment and the Cantonese- are always the ones that are the naughty ones, you know. they and
SS: Oh, the Manchus couldn't get along.
ML: Yeah. They t black sheep of the Chinese people, and so the bestway to get rid of— But the Manchus still love the Chinese and Can tonese, but they're naughty, so they send the men out. They won't let the wife go so they come back. They're the naughty ones so they go. (Chuckles) (Interruption from a telephone call- conversation)
SS: So that's it. And the Manchus were they kind of running China atthat time?
ML: At that, Manchus'a dynasty.
SS: That's what I thought.
MLL: That's for the first Chinese immigrants over here, butlately, Imean after that, after the first group of laborers come over herebut after that, why, it still the Cantonese people come over here.
ML: Because the Manchu want to keep the northern people. They're themost people, so they keep them home. See?TM 0 ?n the Cantonese want out, you see. They know the ropes—
SS: So they're more likely to want to go.
MLL: have their children and
ML: They know what it's all about, where everyone that stay home, theycontent with what they got at home. See that's how it is.
SS: Do you talk of China a lot when you get together with your friends? j,,I just was wondering. Do you talk about the old country?
MLL: No we don't get together often enough to talk about the old country.Well, if somebody's going back, they say they going back and we talk a little bit. And then especially after we've made a trip to Hong Kong or someplace, you know, then we tell them what the changes f5 ot and all that, but we don't talk about too much about what's going on there, because they don't know any more than we do. So, we just don't talk too much about the main-
SS: The old times.
MLL: Yes, and we don't talk about the old-times. Because, you see, Ibeen over here since I was a child, so you see, there is no old-time over there for me, except during my childhood and those few years I was going to school. There is nothing old-time, you know. And, of course, Suzie down there, she'shad a rough time getting away from her home and getting out into Hong Kong, and this was during the hard time, you know when Communists come over- getting out. And it.hard for her to get around and scratch around for her brothers and sisters. She was reallyone thatA taking care of them, so she could tell you more about that than I can.
SS: I just was wondering what you talked about.
MLL: No, We just have enough time to talk about what's going on now, andonce in a while I ask them- some of them take the Chinese newspaper, and I don't, because I don't read Too much- I don't read hardly any Chinese, so I don't. And they tell me about the same thing that I get from the American newspapers, so there isn't too much difference. There wasn't too much news that I could get from them through the newspaper, that I could get from the American newspapers.
SS: When you and Mi were married, did you have a lot of fun? People comefor that ceremony?
MLL: We have a small American ceremony. We were married, like I say, byReverend Dru. ry. We are Christians, .you see. Not all the Chinese people over here are Christians. Well, even some of those people who are down there at the MAjestic, they're not.
SS: Are the Engs? Mostly Christian or not?
MLL: I don't think so. I don't think they are, maybe their children go toSunday School. But my age people, we are the only ones that are Chris tians, really, because my father and mother are Christians. We're Christians from back in China.
SS: What about Mi and his father? Was he?
MLL: No, he wasn't until Oh, yes, he was in Walla Walla. Because therewas some church ladies there, they want the Chinese boys to go to a church and Sunday School, and so he started when he was in Sunday School. So that's where he learned mostly his good habits, you know, and go along with whatever the church has to offer. And him not having a home, actually, just his father, have one room, you know, one bedroom for him and Mi. And then his father worked in the restaurant all the time, and he serai'Mi to go to school. See, so the only thing he has, socially would be the church- connected with the church. And the very few, few- I think he told me two or three,'boys that he knew, that their folks invite him to their home, and when they have a birthday or something, you know, andhe have cake and ice cream with them. But there was just a few, and he still keeps up with them, you know. And he went through high school, and in fact, just about three years ago he had his fiftieth high school re union.
SS: Do you think that made it any easier for the family, like your familyto get used to American ways? Because of being Christian?
MLL: It might be, because, you know, there is one more string leading to-Besides the school, you get the church, you know, and then weout in we're business, too, you see, that has a lot to do with— well, among the American people, you see, where a lot of the Chinese people that's in San Francisco, they're right in Chinatown. They cater to the Chinese people, you know, like a grocery store or the paintings and stuff like that, it's mostly with the Chinese people. Then they have lot less to do - contact. BEsides for years, we were the only Chinese family here in Moscow; the only one. And I was the only girl in high school; the only Chinese in high school. We are the only family, so have to be the only Chinese girl in high school, and my sisters were in grade school. And then I go on to college; the only one there. And I don't think there was any Filipino girls there either. I don't remember any Filipino
ML: There was a Filipino teacher, (something else was said)
MLL: But now, we have seven or eight Chinese professors up there at theUniversity.
ML: That was the only Filipino teacher.
SS: At the University of Idaho.
MLL: Uh-huh. And there's quite a few at Washington State.
SS: What do they mostly teach now?
MLL: One is the head of the English Department.
ML: English and Forestry.
MLL: — that we have. This is a Chinese Association and we're going tohave a potluck dinner this coming Saturday. You want to come along?
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Segment Synopsis: Her study of home economics at the University. Intention to teach; instead, training was useful in home and business. Acquaintance with husband during college. His return to China to look over opportunities. Discrimination against him at Pantagicus Theatre in Spokane. She would have had difficulty teaching then.
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Segment Synopsis: Buying restaurant from parents during depression. Her parents returned to China with younger children to see that they got culture. Her brother and sister returned to America in 1937, during trouble in China. Employees deferred some wages during depression until they had money to pay; hard work.
16:00 - Social activities for Asian students; Exclusion and inclusion from activities; Changes in minority treatment over time
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Segment Synopsis: Cosmopolitan Club was source of social life for Asian students,who were excluded from university activities. She didn't mind because it gave her more time to study. Her closeness to the other girls in home economics,and her inclusion in all their activities. Her social activity in Moscow, Their good treatment in Moscow; they have avoided the few who didn't care for them. Change in treatment of minorities in time.
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Segment Synopsis: His experience of rejection in Baptist youth group in Pullman - hypocrisy in carrying out Christian teachings. Chinese didn't try to mix because they didn't want rejection. Encountering prejudice in theatres and barbershops. All non-whites were "colored". Cosmopolitan college group.
39:00 - WSC friends were from Walla Walla; Difficulties for Chinese people to get citizenship; Educating children
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Segment Synopsis: His friends at WSC were friends from high school in Walla Walla; difference in his experience and theirs. Until 1943 Chinese had to be born in the U.S. to be citizens. Chinese boys stood up in fights against Russian and Italian boys' taunts. Class distinction in high school. He wore ROTC uniform and could therefore be as well dressed as other students. His father educated daughter to be a doctor, although others disapproved. A brilliant Chinese woman who couldn't get a good job. No good jobs for Chinese because they weren't citizens.
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61:00 - Operating a Chinese restaurant after WWII; Money during the Depression; Chinese people looking for work
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Segment Synopsis: Chinese food wasn't popular until after the Second World War. To make a living Chinese restaurants had to serve more food, better prepared, for less money; so they had to work up to sixteen hours daily. Restaurant work They knew they'd be able to make a living. Introducing Americans to Chinese food. Owing money in depression. Employees - they liked to help college students; few Chinese looked for work in Moscow.
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Segment Synopsis: His mother lived fairly well in China because of father s earnings. Father only went back twice to visit. Obligation to give money to many relatives when a person returns to China. Life of her parents after their return to Chinas loss under communism. How her parents got out of China they were not free. Before communism, there was great poverty but also personal freedom. Life under communism - good for the masses, but tragic for those who had some money.
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