Friends of the Library: The Chinese Immigrant Experience Recap
October 7, 2008
After a freezing ” literally” Emigrant Experience event last year, the weather was of great concern for this year’s Truckee Library fundraiser, The Chinese Immigrant Experience. Fortunately the weather gods were listening, and a warm fall breeze blew on approximately 175 attendees and seven participants on Sunday, Sept. 27.
The festivities kicked off at 1:30 p.m. in a remote campsite at Donner Memorial State Park as Gayle Green, one of Donner State Park’s interpretive rangers, led a short walk to China Cove to discuss the role of the Chinese in local railroad history. Following the stroll, three authors, Philip Choy, Sylvia Sun Minnick and Wallace Hagaman, took center stage at the cozy amphitheater surrounded by towering pines, and recounted their individual stories of how they became interested in researching Chinese history and how their books evolved. At a nearby table, the Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks sold books about the history of the Chinese.
At five o’clock, Mike from Smokey’s Kitchen fired up his grills to put together an extraordinary meal of barbecued spareribs and chicken, Chinese salad with peanut dressing, fried rice, and stir-fried veggies with ginger, ginger and more ginger. Plates of pound cake with pears and ginger sauce topped with whipped cream concluded the sumptuous meal. A volunteer passed out fortune cookies with library-appropriate fortunes inside: A new library is in your future, Never stifle a generous impulse, He who contributes to the public library will live a long and prosperous life, Seek your fortune at the library, and many more. During dinner and before the final event, Tuck Wilson entertained the crowd with good old fashioned folk songs on guitar and banjo.
To end the evening, Jennifer Ly, an aspiring actress from Sacramento, performed Rick Foster’s “Gunpowder Man,” the remarkable story of a Chinese girl who fled China during the Taiping movement and moved to California disguised as a teenage boy to work for the Central Pacific Railroad. Ly delivered a stunning, top-notch performance and the crowd expressed their praise with a standing ovation.
After an educational and entertaining day and night, everyone grabbed flashlights to navigate the walk home on the road to the Donner Memorial State Park entrance. As the program stated, the event was dedicated to the Chinese who lived and worked in Truckee. We honor you.
The Library is extremely thankful for the generous support of the following people and agencies who helped make the event a reality: Acumen Engineering, Carmel Gallery, Truckee Sunrise Rotary, Truckee Noon Rotary, Inn at Truckee, Event Masters, Truckee Variety, Wild Cherries, Save Mart, The Sign Shop, TIP, and Truckee Donner Historical Society, and last but not least the participants: Mike Lathbury from Smokey’s Kitchen aka Smokey’s Flying Wok, Gayle Green, Sylvia Sun Minnick, Phil Choy, Wallace Hagaman, Tuck Wilson, and Jennifer Ly.