Little Silk Book

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

This little silk book holds information about every single relative my mom has. During the Vietnam War in 1979, my mom escaped Vietnam in middle of the night on the back of her brother-in-law’s motor bike. Her only family members on the boat were her oldest sister, her sister’s husband, and her sister’s infant daughter and her oldest brother. She told me that she never got to say goodbye to parents or any of her other eight siblings. At the age of 12, she arrived at a refugee camp in Malaysia and lived there for two years. As one of the first in her family to arrive in the United States, it was her duty to work and make money to send back to her family in Vietnam while still going to school. At the age of 14, she was working early morning shifts at the swap meet every weekend. On a visit to Chinatown, Los Angeles she purchased a little silk book to record the addresses of phone numbers of her friends. One decade later the rest of her family were able to come to the United States by plane. Even though she was the seventh of ten children, my mom was the only person in her family to get a college degree and had the role of the oldest child in which she kept track of all the important information and documents for all of the family members. This book contains the contact and citizenship information for her entire family along with the contact information of old and new friends from Vietnam, the refugee camp, and the United States. 

Year: 1979

– Yvonne Nguyen

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