The Afternoon Carriage House Salon Continues!: Gum Moon, A Novel of San Francisco Chinatown
Sunday, January 26th, 2020 is the 2nd day of the Chinese New Year. At 4PM , the Pardee Carriage House salon welcomes Jeffrey Staley author of the novel, "Gum Moon, a novel of San Francisco Chinatown. We will celebrate the New Year with Mr. Staley, who will share his wife's family history, a very sad but inspiring tale of his wife's Grandmother. Gum Moon, Cantonese for Golden Gate indicates the setting for most of this illuminating novel about the slavery of Chinese girls in San Francisco from late in the 19th century to the early 20th century.
It follows Chun, later called Maud, from her sale at the age of three in 1898 to her early teens. Chuns mother is forced by poverty to sell her to a brothel owner where Chinese girls sold into slavery must serve men. Chun is too young for this but even at age three she must work, often beaten and always hungry, cleaning the house. But there are missionary societies funded by congregations in the eastern US, who struggle to save as many young Chinese girls as they can. In a dangerous maneuver Chun is liberated. She is re-named Maud and is raised and educated among a group of Chinese girls in an environment of white people where she learns English, becomes literate, Christian and a skilled pianist. However, when their large house is destroyed in the 1906 earthquake the girls face a terrifying trek to safety.
Soon afterwards they form a choir and head east to raise money to build a replacement house. Traveling by rail they tour the northern US with one teacher and Chun/Maud as accompanist. This tour, with all its ups and downs including a meeting with President Roosevelt, is told mostly in a young girls voice. This is fiction, but based on the experiences of a relative of the author and on missionary society records.
It's an engrossing read but not a comfortable one. The story from the filth and debauched cruelty of the brothel, to the Presidents office, to the boredom of a child on a long train ride is told with honesty and perception.
After the lecture we shall adjourn to the Pardee home to toast the New Year with a wonderful reception featuring hors d'oeuvres, some traditional dim sum and an array of sweets and savories, champagne and non-alcoholic beverages; a great way to begin 2020.
Reservations may be made here or by calling Richelle Lieberman @510.381.1973
Pardee Home Museum (View)
672 11th Street
Oakland, CA 94607
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|