Category Archives: Asia

Nancy Young’s story of Mary Feyuan

March 23rd, 2018

June 2, 1937 – Oct 9, 2017

Yesterday, three generations of our family burned incense and paper money to celebrate our Mom, Sister, Aunt and Grandma’s life, and help her on the journey to her next life. This is her story…

My mother, Mary Feyuan Lee Young was born in Guanmiao, a small village outside of Tainan, Taiwan, to a family of five brothers and three sisters. She was the youngest sister.  Her father was Headmaster of the top boys school in Tainan and her mother was one quarter Dutch.

When she married my father, Peter Teyuan Young, she was 19.  My father won a scholarship to get his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering at UC Berkeley.  In 1965, she and us four children immigrated to Pasadena, California, to join our father who had a job with the State of California.  A few years later, they got US citizenship, and over the next several years, sponsored the immigration of her mother, father, four brothers, two sisters and their children.

Mom loved to cook dinner for the whole family at our home in Pasadena, or go out on Friday nights for dinner and a movie in Chinatown, or host card games with the uncles and aunts.  She loved going back to Taiwan every year to visit friends and family.

In 1974, my father took a job in the Middle East with his company. The family spent a summer in Saudi Arabia and travelled through Europe, and made plans to live there, but unfortunately by fall, Father left for Saudi and the family stayed in California.

Mom’s life was never dull.  She was a fiery and highly capable woman, who was never afraid to speak her mind, or make her demands known to others to listen to her instructions.  She was very intelligent, mastering Mandarin and English to a level of proficiency not expected of someone who only attended school to the 6th grade.  She read the Taiwanese newspaper every day to improve her skills and keep up with current affairs in Taiwan.

When she became an unmarried woman, she immediately found work to support herself and even help her children when she could, and was always there for her five grandchildren.  She eventually found a second life back in Taiwan, working as a personal assistant for a successful developer and school owner, Mr. Wu, who had been a former colleague of her husband.  Mary returned to Alhambra permanently in 2008 at his passing.

In the sunset years of her life, she developed dementia, a mental disorder that unfortunately alienated her from many of the family members.  Our sister Jean, moved into the condo with Mom two years ago to look after her, and last year Mom took her final trip back to Taiwan with our other sister Susan.  Almost exactly one year later, Mom passed away from sudden heart failure at her breakfast table.

Our family grieves the loss of our mother, sister, aunt and grandmother, and remember her as fiery as a dragon and strong as an ox, but also a mother and grandmother who loved and protected her family as fiercely as a lioness. She is forever in our hearts.

Posted in 1930's, Asia

Helen Yeung’s story of Anna

April 19th, 2015

36 - Anna at Lynnmour HelenMy mother was born in 1934, in Nanjing, China. Her father was a secretary in the National Air Force. When she was three years old, the Sino-Japanese War started, and my mother and her family moved to the western part of China in the Szechuan province. Later three sisters and two brothers were born. My grandma had to work very hard. She was very diligent and talented. The whole family drank homemade soybean drink and home-prepared dishes. All six children wore warm clothes, hats, scarves and gloves that were hand-knit by my grandma.

When the Communists took over China, the family moved to Taiwan, where my mother finished high school and university. She was good at all types of sports — softball (catcher position), volleyball, basketball (even though she was the shortest in her family) and competitive swimming. At Taiwan Normal University she trained as a teacher. She left Taiwan in 1958 to teach Chinese and Math in modern Hong Kong. My father also studied at Taiwan University and then went to work in Hong Kong as a social worker. They met through their University alumni association and in 1965 got married. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Asia

Karis Cooper’s story of Marcia

June 4th, 2012

Marcia Penfold’s arrival into the world was recorded on a small piece of brown paper in curly whirly Burmese script on the 19th of November, 1935. I have omitted her middle name as she has never liked it! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Asia

Lucia Guteres Dearaujo’s story of Lorenca

June 4th, 2012

My mom’s name is Lorenca Gutteres da Conceicão. She was born in small village called Suai in 1948.

Lorenca’s father died a week before she was born. What a life for my grandma without a husband. She couldn’t do much to look after my mom and her sister, Aquilina. She was only a housewife without a job. When Lorenca’s mother’s mother heard the news, she went to Suai to bring my mother and her daughters to live with her in another village called Aitutu. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1940's, Asia

Brigida Silva’s story of Etelvina

June 4th, 2012

My mother’s name is Etelvina Lopes. She was born in Sub-district Quelicai, District Baucau, on June 8th, 1933.

My mother was the first baby of the family, born at the foot of Matebian Mountain, the second tallest mountain in Timor. Etelvina’s great grandfather was the Chief of Lacoliho Village in Quelicai. His eldest son replaced him after his death. The second, Etelvina’s grandfather, moved to Baguia to be the Chief of Ossuna Village, following the Rota, a traditional ruling tool.

Thus, Etelvina grew-up in Baguia. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Asia

Euihae Cecilia Chung’s story of Rosa

June 4th, 2012

My mother, Rosa Han, was born in the small town of Buyeo, in the Southern Choongchung Province of South Korea on June 15th, 1946.

Although the Korean war broke out when Rosa was four, and lasted for three bloody years, my mother’s life in the country side was largely unaffected by the fighting. That is not to say that her early years were free of conflict, or that she bears no scars from that time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1940's, Asia

Kimiko Suzuki’s story of Miyoko

November 26th, 2011

My mom, Miyoko, was born in Kishiwada city in Osaka, Japan on April 28th of 1934. Her mother was Mitsuko, 28 years old, and her father Jitaro, 44 years old. They also had a 7 year old daughter, Emiko, and a 3 year old son, Akira. Her father was an internist at Momoyamab Hospital in Osaka and her mother stayed at home to take care of their children. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Asia

Jhaleh K. Zaraweh’s story of Beaulah

May 22nd, 2011

My Mother was born to a Christian family on May 25, 1912 in Rangoon, Burma and was fifth in a family of six boys and six girls.  Her name was Beaulah, Muriel, Edna, May  Andrews.  Her Mother was from South India and  dark and her Father was from England and white with red hair. Even though he was the only child he was ostracized by his family for marrying an Indian whereupon he changed his last name, we think from Bean to Andrews which was his Mother’s maiden name.  We never knew anything about my grandfather’s family, except that his father was supposed to have been an Admiral in the Navy.  Her Dad worked as a rice mill Engineer and they lived in a house built over a graveyard. As we were growing up we heard many a ghost story from my Mum about that old graveyard! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1910's, Asia

Khaira Ledeyo’s story of Nhan

March 29th, 2006

My mom’s name is Nhan Thi Nguyen. She was born in North Vietnam in 1931. She grew up in a small village a few hours from Hanoi called Ha Dong. Her father’s last name was Nguyen and her mother’s was Dang. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Asia, Featured