Blue Funnel Line Suitcase

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Parents' suitcase
Parents' suitcase

My parents are from a village in the Toishan region of China. In 1929, they journeyed to Hong Kong, boarded a steamer on May 11, 1929, and sailed to Seattle. 
My grandfather came to the US in 1892, landing at Port Townsend and eventually ending up in Seattle. He then went back to China and gave birth to my father in 1908. When my father was a teenager, my grandfather brought him to the US. My father then went back to China in the mid-1920s and married my mother in 1927. Because he had already been to the US, he was able to bring my mother to the US. 

The 1930 census shows that my parents lived at 520 Main Street in Seattle’s Chinatown. Sometime in the mid- to late 1930s, they opened a barber shop on Maynard Avenue, possibly where Purple Dot Café is currently located. They resided in the back of the business. 

The suitcase has the Blue Funnel Line mark as well as other stickers written in Chinese. It probably contained most, if not all, the belongings my parents brought to the US. The Blue Funnel Line is linked with the Yick Fung Company. I know my parents, especially my dad, were very close to Uncle Jimmy Mar, whose family ran the business. In fact, when my dad opened his restaurant in the Laurelhurst neighborhood in the 1950s, he did a lot of his purchasing from Yick Fung. The suitcase is my remaining tangible connection to my parents coming to the US and to the first two years of my life living in Chinatown. 

Place(s): China, Toishan, Hong Kong, Port Townsend, Seattle
Year: 1929

– Paul Mar

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant