I posted the link to yesterday’s post on my facebook page, along with a question asking if anybody could help us read the “crib sheets” from Donald Chan’s grandfather, and within 24 hours an answer came back from Rebecca Lem’s grandmother. Here’s what she said:
“Hi Becky: You are correct in saying it is a crib sheet for paper sons to come to the U.S. One is the description of the village and houses where he lived . The other are answers to events of interest to clarify that he is connected . Your grandfather has a booklet like this too. They call it the “How Gong” which means supplied information. I will translate these for you when I have time. I am expecting company this week , so will be busy. Grandma”
And then the following from Rebecca: “So that’s what she has so far. My grandmother at 90 still has a very active social life, so I guess we’ll have to wait for a lull in the party to get the rest ;-)
My grandmother, Rose Lem, is an amazing woman. She escaped across China at age 14, fleeing the Japanese, with her younger siblings in tow (no parents). She came to the US, and later married my grandfather who is a “paper son”. My grandmother’s younger sister is Betty Lee Sung, one of the leading scholars on the Chinese in the U.S. (Bio: http://www.committee100.org/aboutus/member_bio.php?member_id=76 ). My grandfather, Arthur Lem, actually spent a year in Federal prison in the 60’s for allegedly helping to bring over his relatives. (http://18.104.22.168/leagle/xmlResult.aspx?xmldoc=19611013193FSupp820_1853.xml&docbase=CSLWAR1-1950-1985) See also “The Investigation and Prosecution of Chinese Immigration Broker Arthur Lem:, Work-in-Progress Session, 13th Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty William Mitchell College of Law, Saint Paul, MN. Apr. 28, 2007. Anyway, it is interesting to be part of such a fascinating history.