Judging from the various and sundry comments expressed by a number of persons, the first issue of the Gum Saan Journal seems to have been well received. My staff and I are, of course, delighted, and hope to improve with age! As expected, there were numerous compliments on Gilbert Leong’s beautiful logo, and on the general lay-out of the Journal, thanks to Chuck Yee’s expertise in the printing field.
Commendations are hereby extended to President George Yee and his very capable staff for another year of great accomplishments for the Society. Under President Yee·s able and dedicated leadership, several goals were met-the initiation of the Gum Saan Journal; the Society’s second profitable participation in last summer’s Lotus Festival;
recognition of the Society by various groups and individuals from near and far-Northern California as well as Boston, New York. and Baltimore; the successful semiannual dinners held in May and November; the eagerly anticipated excursion to the Mother Lode on the October 8-10 weekend.
And speaking of the Mother Lode trip-it will be many a moon before I embark on a journey as thrilling, as touching. as exciting as this one. From beginning to end, it was a beautiful experience, with unforgettable incidents to be treasured and cherished. My favorite memories are these:
- the delicious gourmet lunch prepared for our two-car caravan by owner Darryl Yee of the New Bow Bow Restaurant in Stockton’s attractive Chinatown.
- the genuine friendship and warmth extended to the Society by members of the Fiddletown Preservation Society.
- the feeling of awe I felt on first entering the Chew Kee Store where Jimmy Chow, the last Chinese resident of Fiddletown, spent most of his 80-odd years. While going through the living quarters in the back of the store, I felt a great sadness that Jimmy lived under such primitive, even miserable, conditions; yet my emotions turned to feelings of admiration and pride in knowing that he, like so many thousands of his countrymen, was able to endure untold hardships, yet managed to survive.
- on visiting Jimmy Chow’s grave, a feeling of true brotherhood experienced when Fiddletown residents joined the Society in paying tribute to him. Further evidence of the town’s affection for Jimmy was disclosed in a chance conversation with a long-time resident, who informed me that during Jimmy’s last illness, she brought him, several times a week, his favorite food-tapioca pudding. That touched me deeply.
- standing across the street from Stone House in what remains of Placerville’s Chinatown, one could not help but admire the magnificent structure, built of hand-hewn stone. I wondered how many days of back-breaking labor were needed to construct this building, which today stands as a living memorial to those hardy pioneers.
- the town of Locke, with a charm all its own, is another favorite memory. Mr. Bob Jang, a most cordial host, welcomed the Society with a guided tour of the town and a reception in the community hall.
- last stop-San Francisco, full of memories for me, as this is my hometown. On this particular trip, I and other Society members received a very warm and special welcome from the Chinese Historical Society of America-President Him Mark Lai, Editor Thomas W. Chinn, Phil Choy and Ernest Chang, among others.
- not the least of the many favorable aspects of the trip was the warm and sunny weather. Seeing the California countryside resplendent in autumn colors was an added “plus” to a perfect weekend.
Driving homeward, many thoughts ran through my mind as I relived in memory the people we encountered and the places we visited. To me, the entire journey was one of great warmth, companionship, brotherhood-a touching of hearts. Travelling through the Mother Lode to stop at Fiddletown, Locke, Placerville, Coloma-places where thousands
of Chinese settlers lived. worked, and hoped for a better life-gave me a feeling of oneness with those early pioneers. a feeling that somehow, somewhere, at another time and place, all of us came over together on the same, slow boat from China. . . .