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Pearl balls are shown.

There were unexpected coincidences that, like so many things that happen in China Alley, bordered on the mystical. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I suppose it began on May 12, 2021. Steve and I were being filmed with Hanford native Tyler Henry for his Netflix series, "Life After Death," in which he uses his gift of communicating with the other side to bring comfort to his clients. In this episode, Tyler returned to his home town, his roots, where it all began. Since he was 16, Tyler frequented our Tea Room and often conducted readings at his table. He wanted to film there, and at one point asked me if there had been a fire in China Alley. There had been fires — though none during my lifetime and none that seemed relevant, so I sort of shrugged it off.

But that very night, an alleged arsonist set the historic Taoist Temple Museum on fire. Although the building is structurally stable, the fire caused severe heat and smoke damage to the Temple room and its artifacts on the second floor, some artifacts are gone, lost forever. The following morning, we were contacted by Tyler Henry’s team who had heard about the fire on the news. Remembering Tyler’s question about a fire, they wanted to return to the Alley and film the damaged temple to include it in the show.

Arianne Wing is the co-author of “Noodles Through Escargots,” and co-operator of the L.T. Sue Tea Room and Emporium, benefiting the restoration and preservation of China Alley. She may be reached at ariannewing@gmail.com


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