by Helen Yee
I was born in San Francisco at St. Luke Hospital on June 26, 1923. When I was 4 months old, my parents took me to Detroit, Michigan to enable themselves to open a laundry there. Due to the fast progression of the Ford and the General Motors Corp. business had expanded. Thus, the laundry business was a good thriving business. My parents heard of it through word of mouth. However mom had bad health problems. Medical bills used up the earnings. My dad’s mother, Grandma Yee, who lives in a remote village in China, sent word for my dad to return to China to remarry, after my mother died at age 32. I was the oldest at 12 years old. There were six of us. The youngest was one year old, not yet two. We arrived in China on January 1936. I became ill, then bedridden for two years, during the latter part of my four-year stay in China.
I left the village in China on a junk wooden boat by way of the Pearl River for Hong Kong when I was 16 years old to return to America. I was by myself with only a knap sack, which held a shirt, one pair of pants and six sheets of toilet paper. My stepmother’s brother, who met me in Hong Kong, assisted me in purchasing the ticket for the President Cleveland. Before I got on the ship, my uncle bought me a blanket and a pair of shoes. I left the village with only a slide in wooden sandal and no socks.
Place of Origin
Place of Settlement
San Francisco, U.S.