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00:00:00 - Introduction to mother’s family in Toisan [Taishan], China and Portland, Oregon

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Partial Transcript: -and I said, “You don’t need a PhD to do that [redacted],” she goes, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” -coming to this oral history interview.

Segment Synopsis: Frank Yan introduces his mother's family background in Portland, Oregon, where her father worked as a merchant before bringing the rest of the family in 1924. He describes her family's return to Toisan [Taishan] in China when she was a teenager.

Keywords: China; Chinese American; Portland, Oregon; Taishan; Toisan; immigration

00:07:30 - Grandparents’ relationships and businesses in China

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Partial Transcript: Mm-hm. So you said that one of the reasons, one of the biggest reasons was because your grandmother wanted help with the children.

Segment Synopsis: Yan elaborates upon his maternal grandparents' businesses including an import/export store, a gold and currency exchange, and a ferry service. He also mentions his paternal grandparents' academic and government careers.

Keywords: Chinese American; Taishan; Toisan; business enterprises

00:13:45 - Parents’ marriage and experience during Chinese Communist Revolution

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Partial Transcript: So now we’re a little bit up to speed with your grandparents. How did your mother and your father meet?

Segment Synopsis: Yan describes his parents' arranged marriage and life in Toisan before the Chinese Communist Revolution. He shares some of his mother's memories of abuse in laogai re-education or labor camps.

Keywords: China; Chinese Communist Revolution; Chinese labor camps; Taishan; Toisan; laogai; laogai camps; re-education camps

00:21:33 - Family escapes Toisan to Hong Kong

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Partial Transcript: Mm-hm. And how did your mom escape that, then? Did she escape with your grandmother?

Segment Synopsis: Yan describes how his mother escaped the laogai camp to Hong Kong and petitioned for visas to bring her family to the United States. He recalls the moments he and his wife discovered the letter that allowed her to escape, as well as the photographs and documents that supported her visa application.

Keywords: Hong Kong; Taishan; Toisan; escape; immigration; laogai; visa

00:33:42 - Boat journey from Hong Kong to San Francisco

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Partial Transcript: Mm-hm. So do you remember then, Frank, what year or what date that you came to the United States then? Because you were one at that time.

Segment Synopsis: Yan expresses appreciation for his father's meticulous documentation habit, which provided a timeline of his family's boat journey from Hong Kong to San Francisco. He shares his mother's stories of getting seasick, and of his older brother accidentally pressing the panic button.

Keywords: Chinese migration; boat journeys; emigration; family; immigration

00:38:41 - Family grocery store in Tucson, Arizona

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Partial Transcript: Uh-huh. And by the time you came to San Francisco, why did you decide- or why did your family decide not to stay in San Francisco, but to come down to Los Angeles?

Segment Synopsis: Yan shares some early childhood memories at the Chinese market his father opened in Tuscon, Arizona.

Keywords: Arizona; Chinese American; Chinese grocers; Chinese immigrant; Chinese market; Tuscon; childhood; grocery stores; immigrant

00:43:33 - Chinese communities in Tuscon

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember there were any other Chinese kids around? Or what kind of folks were there around the grocery store?

Segment Synopsis: Yan recalls the Chinese association in Tuscon, including fellow villagers from Toisan, and shares a humorous anecdote about their family pig. He mentions the now-growing Chinese community and meeting other Chinese Americans from Tuscon.

Keywords: Arizona; Chinese American; Chinese grocery; Tuscon

00:49:16 - Family gift shop in Chinatown, Los Angeles

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Partial Transcript: So- and then after a couple of years, your father made enough money for you to move to Los Angeles.

Segment Synopsis: Yan describes moving to Chinatown, Los Angeles, and living inside the gift shop his father opened.

Keywords: Chinatown; Chinese American; Chinese grocers; Chinese markets; Hong Sang Lung; Los Angeles; gift shops

00:54:23 - Hong Sang Lung, Leo Politi’s “Moy Moy,” and childhood on Chung King Road

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Partial Transcript: Tell me then, what it was like to grow up on Chung King Road then, Frank?

Segment Synopsis: Yan recalls a playful childhood on Chung King Road in Chinatown, Los Angeles. He describes working at Hong Sang Lung market, being one of the subjects in Leo Politi's 1960 children's book "Moy Moy," and performing hula hoop tricks for tourists.

Keywords: Chinatown; Chinese American; Chung King Road; Hong Sang Lung; Leo Politi; Los Angeles; Moy Moy; childhood

01:09:49 - Chinese school and the Golden Lion Dancers

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Partial Transcript: That sounds like a jolly good time with your chums on Chung King Road. Did they also go to school with you?

Segment Synopsis: Yan describes the demographics of his Chinatown neighborhood and some of his memories from Chinese school behind Castelar Elementary School. He explains his involvement with Jeff Chan's Golden Lion Dancers troupe.

Keywords: Castelar Elementary School; Chinatown; Chinese American; Chinese school; Chung King Road; Jeff Chan; Los Angeles

01:18:40 - Playing and photography at Castelar Elementary School

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Partial Transcript: So you seem to have a lot of memorable experiences from Chinese school. Did you not have any memorable, like, things that were memorable from Castelar, though?

Segment Synopsis: Yan mentions learning about the Kennedy assassination while at Castelar Elementary School, but primarily recalls fun memories of playing games, buying ice cream and comic books, and taking pictures with his parents' camera.

Keywords: Castelar Elementary School; Chinatown; Chinese American; Los Angeles; childhood

01:23:21 - Food and cooking at Florence Nightingale Middle School

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Partial Transcript: Uh, middle school, yeah, I do. I went to [Florence] Nightingale Middle School.

Segment Synopsis: Yan shares his fondest memories from Florence Nightingale Middle School including his favorite neighborhood foods, learning to dance and cook, and working at a family friend's drive-in hamburger stand in Inglewood.

Keywords: Chinatown; Florence Nightingale Middle School; Inglewood; Los Angeles; childhood; cooking; food

01:30:14 - Mother's cooking and home life

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Partial Transcript: Wow. Now you mentioned that food was really important, especially since you took cooking classes and you helped your uncle in the restaurants.

Segment Synopsis: Yan discusses his mother's home cooking using left-overs from Hong Sang Lung market, and describes how his mother prepared food around the home to sell in Chinatown.

Keywords: Chinatown; Chinese American; Chinese food; Hong Sang Lung; family; home cooking

01:39:07 - Closing reflections

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Partial Transcript: Frank, you know, we’ve been talking for two hours now, I don’t know if you realize.

Segment Synopsis: Yan concludes his interview emphasizing that he had a very enjoyable childhood in Chinatown.