Double Boiler Pot

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Double Boiler Pot
Double Boiler Pot

My mother, York Gee Wong, married at the age of 16. She left her homeland during the government changeover in 1947. Life was hard for her, arriving in a new country without family. She endured the hardships of traveling by boat for a month to Angel Island and then to the LES in NY. She saw snow for the first time here and thought the sky was falling!  In the evenings, my family would sit around the table waiting for my father to come home since Mom didn’t know how to cut the chicken or know how to cook. The double boiler displayed here belonged to my mother. She learned how to make chicken soup with Chinese herbs in this pot. She claimed that the soup was good for our health. Whenever my sisters and I came home, she insisted we drink a bowl. Her Chinese New Year specialties included white simmered chicken, “ning go”, “faat go”, “lor baak go”, “tong yun”, and lotus leaf “jung”.  Visiting Toishan with my husband and daughters enlightened us to how my mom lived her life in a poor fishing village. She only had a second grade education in a school run by missionaries. She kept her cultural traditions but never went back to Toishan. She learned English and became an American citizen. She worked in a garment factory and was a proud member of the ILGWU. My mom had breast cancer and before her final journey, she wished to be baptized. This was achieved at her last breath of life. My mother was a simmering double pot, an immigrant slowly cooking into an independent, modern woman.  

Place(s): Toishan, New York City, Lower East Side
Year: 1947

– Lois Lee

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