Grandma's Little Stereo

Grandma's first year in the U.S.
Grandma's first year in the U.S.

“Who was the first U.S. president?” This question is repeated then in Chinese. This was played out of a Panasonic RX D55 boombox and was blasted at 8 in the morning; it was like my alarm. For me, this was difficult because it was a sign for me to wake up, but to my grandma, this boombox was a sign of hope. Around the early 1990s, my grandma decided to move her whole family to the U.S. for a better life. Back in China, her family was struggling financially and were looking for better opportunities. When they came to the U.S., my grandma was so excited to become a citizen because she would be given a lot more freedom and opportunity. She was passionate about taking this exam, hence she attempted to take it twice in English, a foreign language where she only knew the alphabet to. She attempted multiple times in English and there were times when she would ask me for help. This was a memory I can never forget, as my first language wasn’t English either, so I was learning English with my grandma. Not only did this boombox help her through her citizenship test but it also bought her comfort. The boombox brought back memories to her country especially when she played the Chinese opera. She loved how the stories sounded and wanted to share it with her grandchildren. Through these difficult times, our whole family is able to listen to these stories and enjoy it together. My grandma's greatest joy is seeing how we liked the stories just like she did when she was younger.

Place(s): China, New York City, Binghamton
Year: 1993

– Winnie K Luo

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant