My dance with the boxes in my parents’ home that are stuffed with of papers, mementos, and vestiges of my clan, continues. Since this is also the house in which I grew up and where, as an adult, I lived there in between other chapters of my life, many of these boxes belong to me.
One thing that has become apparent as I sort through my personal keepsakes is that I’ve been writing about China Alley and my family’s histories for decades. I found a term paper for a high school English class titled, “The History of Hanford’s China Alley,” and another version in the form of a college essay. In 1993 I started recording interviews with my parents about their lives in China Alley. I know this precisely because I discovered a long-forgotten microcassette recorder and transcriptions of those interviews. I haven’t yet found the recorded tapes, but I surely hope I do. I would love to hear their voices speaking to me once again.
At the close of this year, which has been truly strange and extremely heartbreaking, it is my goal to spend these final weeks savoring the simple happiness in small everyday things. Snippets of Mom and Dad’s interviews gave me the opportunity for just that, and I’d like to share them with you. Maybe they’ll lighten the load in your heart as well.