Another day at NARA (National Archives) and digging through more files, I hit pay dirt. The ratio of Chinese women to men in the early days of Chinese Sojourners to the Gold Mountain (U.S.) was very small. So, I cannot help wonder what motivated my grand-uncle to bring his young wife, Toy Shee, to San Francisco in 1928. I cannot help wondering what she must have felt as she birthed three children in this strange land. However, I have a feeling that my uncle Don (Louie Hung Don) would have cherished that young family as much as he loved spending time with me and my siblings in the 40’s and 50’s because he was one of the “bachelors” (the thousands of men alone).
What a difference it was reading Toy Shee’s interrogation versus her husband’s! And what a treasure trove of information painting a picture of her life in China. She must have come from a family of substance because ten servants accompanied her as she rode a sedan chair to her wedding. No doubt they were loaded down with gifts for the Louie family as well as all her worldly possessions. She proffered her husband (my paternal grand-uncle), a man she had never met, a cup of wine and paid respects to his ancestors at the family altar. Then, he went to the men’s celebration while she stayed at her new home with the women. A home she’d share with her in-laws and their servant, a young girl who fetched water from a river a few blocks from the house.
How did she feel when her husband returned to the Gold Mountain before their first child was born? How did she feel when he returned, decided to take her back with him but left their first-born with his parents?
A note to fellow genealogy researchers who are new to the Chinese traditions: Toy Shee means that she was from the Toy clan. I do not know what her birth name was. I do not know if a woman took a “married name” as her husband (Louie Kaow/Louie Qiao Wei) did. Her confident gaze speaks volumes to me even though she could not write or even sign her name.
I hope her spirit and/or the children’s will tell me more. Until then, I will enjoy MY grand-nieces and the memories of the day we shared exploring the Korean Market, snacked on fermented blue crabs, baby crabs, ramen, glass noodles and more. I’ll enjoy my extended family (new ‘cousins’ I met while doing research at NARA) as we dig through the documents, the Jiapu, and of course more food.
Do you ever talk to the Universe? I not only talk to it but I also listen to, you know, that still, small voice that whispers in your mind’s ear. The one that teases and coaxes, hints and downright pushes me towards those “pieces of the cosmic puzzle.” The one that reassures me that everything is in Divine Order no matter how crazy things look on the surface, that “this too shall pass,” and the sun will rise in the East tomorrow.
Today, I am especially thankful that I listened as the Universe guided me in the direction of dreams – to China last year and to the completion of my book this year.
I’m grateful to all the folks who have bought my book, read it, asked amazing questions, and even reviewed it. It has been so much more than the journey to China and the process of writing and publishing; it has been a spiritual journey that I will never forget.
I look forward to what lies ahead. Shhhh . . . I think I hear the Universe calling.
Thanks to Central VA IONS Community for inviting me to share my stories and some fun meditation exercises today. What a fantastic group! If you are not familiar with the Institute of Noetic Science, you should check it out: IONS
I am reluctant no more!
In celebration, I am offering a FREE e-book of Conversations with a Hungry Ghost:Memoir of a Reluctant Medium now through Monday. Click on the photo to go directly to Amazon and then, join the conversation.
It’s that time of the year again. As my father’s ghost would say, ” Ching Ming time.” I did not know what Ching Ming was until my father’s ghost visited me and wanted me to perform the ceremonies. Ugh! Ceremonies! As far as I knew Dad did not do these ceremonies when he was alive, so what was the big deal?
I am put off my many ceremonies, but like a dutiful daughter, I went through the motions and then something happened. I felt a more peaceful energy around Dad. I may have fumbled some of the rituals but what I discerned was that my intentions were pure. I began to understand the power of intentions.
So, for my Chinese friends who will be visiting their ancestors’ graves, sweeping them clean, and making food and gift offerings, remember to bring your good intentions with you in that basket along with the incense and paper money.
For more info about Ching Ming, here is a great article: http://www.chineseamericanfamily.com/how-to-plan-a-tomb-sweeping-ceremony/
This celebration of the deceased has caused me to celebrate life. So whatever your beliefs, I will share with you two of the biggest lessons I have learned from my ghosts/spirits: 1. leave nothing unresolved, and 2. treat others and yourself with compassion and love. I believe this world and the spirit world will be better for it.
Meditation? Ghosts? Genealogy? Co-Creation? What do these topics have in common? Although they might seem disconnected, I will share how all of these became my spiritual journey at the April meeting of the Central VA IONS Community.
IONS, Institute of Noetic Science, was founded by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, after a profound experience on his trip back home from his voyage to the moon. In that moment, he “knew that life in the universe was not just an accident based on random processes.”
I had the same kind of experience on my journey to China to my father’s ancestral villages and in writing my book, Conversations with a Hungry Ghost: Memoir of a Reluctant Medium.
You don’t have to go to the moon or to China to embrace your spiritual path. I will share some easy exercises to assist the journey to consciousness. I hope you can join us.
You can sign up at Meetup.
There is a Chinese proverb about a red thread of fate that connects us. I felt that red thread pull me to my ancestral villages in China, and through the veil that separates most folks from the spirit world. It played such a huge part in my life even before I knew anything about anything. So, naturally, it graces the cover of my book that I just released on Amazon. I hope you’ll check it out.
Conversations with a Hungry Ghost: Memoir of a Reluctant Medium.
Through the course of writing my story, I am no longer a reluctant medium.
For more information about my book launch, appearances and, of course, a Hungry Ghost Festival, go to my Events Page.