Small Stool

My great grandparents came to this country relatively poor, so the only item they brought with them of any sentimental value was this tiny wooden stool that my great grandfather had crafted himself. In America, my great grandparents thrived because of their small family business, but mostly due to gambling in the Chinatown that once existed in Newark, New Jersey. When my grandfather and his five brothers asked to learn how to play games like cards and mahjong, my great grandfather would lay the cards or the tiles on the stool to teach them. This is the stool my grandfather taught my mother, aunt, and uncle to play classic Chinese games, and it is the stool my mother used to teach me and my brother.
For many Chinese Americans, gambling is a friendly tradition to start the New Year. The winner of a game of cards would be said to have a good fortune for the entire year. The Chinese are generally very superstitious, and playing cards on this tiny stool was always a way for my family to honor Chinese beliefs while creating new family memories each year. This family heirloom will one day be passed to my children, so that this aspect of our culture can also be passed down from generation to generation. 

Place(s): China

– Kaylin Camidge

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more