Sharing Stories from Shanghai to Pacific Grove

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Allen (Yujian) Chen and his mother, Zhangya Yu, have recently arrived in Pacific Grove from Shanghai, China.

The magic of sharing our life stories is that it knows no limits when it comes to age or ethnicity. Participants in the children’s memoir workshop co-sponsored by Park Place Publications and the Pacific Grove Public Library this past Saturday had ample demonstration of that truth, as an eight-year-old boy and his mother, both recently arrived from Shanghai, China, traded stories with workshop presenters Patricia Hamilton and Heidi Feldman, both long-time Pagrovians in their senior years. The session ended with more than just the sharing of stories—there were hugs, and expressions from the newcomers saying they were honored to be part of this process. In this week’s “Keeper of our Culture,” we share highlights from their stories. This story was originally published in the “Keepers of Our Culture” weekly column in the Cedar Street Times.

Allen’s Trip to Southern California

Allen (Chinese name Yujian) Chen enjoys reading fables and fantasy, loves LEGOs, and is a big fan of Star Wars. He’s eager to continue to improve his English reading and writing skills so he can keep up with English classes when he returns to school in Shanghai in another year. His story:

“Last Christmas, I went to Los Angeles. At Hollywood, the sidewalks are carved with famous movie star’s names. Then my family went to San Diego. At San Diego Sea World, I saw a lot of sea animals. I saw killer whales, sharks, sea turtles and dolphins.”

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Co-presenter Heidi Feldman assists Allen with his writing.

From D.C. to a PhD, and Much More!

Allen and his mother, Zhangya Yu, arrived in the United States a year ago from Shanghai. In the story she wrote and shared, Zhangya told of the many trips they’ve taken to see as much of the United States as they can in the short time they’ll be in our country. Already, they’ve visited national parks (Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon), Hollywood, San Diego, Phoenix, Niagara Falls, Washington, D.C., New York, and Las Vegas. During spring break, they toured Texas, with stops in Dallas, the NASA facility in Houston, Fort Worth and Austin, plus a side trip to Louisiana (Baton Rouge and New Orleans). This coming winter, they hope to make it to both Florida and Hawaii! In addition to all that sight-seeing, Zhangya Yu finished and defended her dissertation and received her PhD in linguistics from CSUMB.

Heidi Feldman’s Tribute to Her “Flower Girls”

Our family has adopted three dogs during the past 20 years since our daughter was nine years old. By coincidence, they have all had flower names, and they have all been very sweet. First we had Lilly, who was a mix between an Australian shepherd and we think—maybe!—a fox! Then we had Holly, a beautiful Australian shepherd who, like all her breed, had no tail but would move her whole backside when she was happy or excited.

Now we have a golden retriever named Daisy—another flower name! Daisy loves all dogs and all people! When we go for a walk on the bike trail near the ocean, she says “hello” to all people and all other dogs.

I’m so glad that I have had these three wonderful animals in my life. My three flower girls have made me happy and thankful. Love you, Lilly, Holly and Daisy!

Patricia Hamilton Celebrates a Milestone Birthday

My friend Heidi and I made a date to meet at the Pacific Grove Community Garden, where we share eight small plots. Heidi said, “It’s your birthday. I’ll bring a cake we can enjoy while we work.” I thought that was a great idea and thanked her.

The garden party started at one. Heidi came early with a yellow flowered tablecloth, homemade chocolate/strawberry cake, wine, tea, water and she surprised me with lots of hors d’oeuvres.

Everyone came with gifts and gave me hugs. Mostly they brought plants for my garden: hydrangea, parsley, sunflower, chard and lettuce. We sat around the long wooden table and shared stories and food. What a joyous occasion!

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Allen Chen had such a good time at the kids’ memoir writing session he immediately went over to the Pacific Grove Public Library and found a book to read.

Patricia Hamilton and Heidi Feldman plan to offer more children’s memoir classes in partnership with the Pacific Grove Public Library this fall, so watch this column for details. To learn more about the writing and publishing services offered by Park Place Publications, and for a free consultation, contact Patricia Hamilton at 831/649-6640, publishingbiz@sbcglobal.net.

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