Jue, Bobby and Laura Tape 1 of 2 2/4/00
By: Kimberly Lancaster
This is an oral history of the Chinese in the Mississippi Delta. The interview is being recorded with Bobby and Laura Jue. The interviewer is Kimberly Lancaster.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: It is February 4, 2000. This is Kimberly Lancaster. I am talking with Bobby Jue and Laura Jue. Dr. Quon is also here facilitating. Let’s start by asking your parents’ names, Mr. Jue.
BOBBY JUE: My father’s name was Jue Na Jue. My mother’s name was Sit Ben Hoe.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Where were they from?
BOBBY JUE: MY father was from the Jue village from the Sunway China. My mother was from the Sigwee village in Sunway China. So they are generally from the same area. I think Laura’s parents were from the same area too.
LAURA JUE: Canton
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Canton
LAURA JUE: Canton same in China same village.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Same village.
BOBBY JUE: Well same area. She is from the Lam village. So it is right outside of Hong Kong the country. Hong Kong is a city. They are out there in the country. The reason that I know this is because I took my mother back there fourteen years ago. I think. My mother, my brother, my niece, and myself, we took my mother back to the village that she was born in. That is the reason that I know.
LAURA JUE: I think that was in 1985 or ‘4 something like that.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Have you also been back?
LAURA JUE: Well I make a trip back to Hong Kong a year after Bobby go back to China. I didn’t go back in China, the country I mean. I just went back to Hong Kong.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Is that where you grew up?
LAURA JUE: I grew up in Macau. I moved to Macau a year and a half before I married. I grew up in Macau. Macau is another city that is close to Hong Kong. They come from Portuguese. It has been there about four hundred years. They just returned back to China.
BOBBY JUE: Last year
LAURA JUE: Last year
BOBBY JUE: I think Hong Kong was given back to China two or three years ago. Then McCow was.
LAURA JUE: I think in 1997 they returned Hong Kong back to China.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: What were your parents’ names?
LAURA JUE: My father’s name was. You know Chinese people use the last name first second. The first name last. They did it like that. My last name is Lan. So my father’s name was Lan Chor.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Lan Chor
LAURA JUE: Chor. My last name is Lan.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Which is also the name of the village?
LAURA JUE: No his last name is Jue.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Oh
LAURA JUE: It is different. It is just like Hollandale and Arcola, but we both belong to Mississippi.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: I see it.
LAURA JUE: You see it.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Okay, why did your family leave China?
BOBBY JUE: Well what I heard was that my grandfather came over first. He worked out on a railroad in California. Somehow he came down here and wound up in Arkansas first. Then he ended up in Mayersville, Mississippi. He had a grocery store there. Then my father, I still have an old key chain that he had, that he dated back in 1937. I heard he came around the mid thirties about ’35. He came first. He had a store in Rolling Fork, which is about ten miles from Mayersville. Then from there he went to Greenville. He had a store on Lake St. in Greenville. From Greenville, he came to Hollandale. Before he came to Hollandale, they had some officials here. I don’t know if the school officials or the mayor if they would let us got to school her first. My brother was one year older than I am. Then I had a sister. My sister was born here in Hollandale. He had to make sure we could go to school here before he built a store. So got approved that we could go to school here. So bought a lot across. Well what we would call across the tracks. He built the store there in 1948. I think it was 1948 or ’49. That is how we got started here in Hollandale.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: In that building?
BOBBY JUE: In that building. Then my brother was the first Chinese to go to school here in Hollandale High. I was the second one.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: What was his name?
BOBBY JUE: Martin, well his name is really Martan. He spelled it Martin. They pronounced it Martan. He was named after a doctor that delivered him in Vicksburg. I heard my parents named him after that doctor. That doctor’s name was Dr. Martan. So they named him after him. When he went to school they spelled Martin instead of Martan. So that is how he wound up being Martin instead of Martan.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: He was the first to integrate?
BOBBY JUE: He was the first to integrate the school system in Hollandale.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: You were the second one?
BOBBY JUE: I was the second one. He started in 1950. I started in 1951. Before I even started, all we spoke was Chinese at home. I really didn’t know too much English until I got to school except what we learned around the store. It was kind of unusual you know you are going to school and you don’t know English. I think that had to happen to our oldest daughter. When she went to school, she knew a lot of Chinese. That was what we spoke at home. After the first and second grade, she never did use it anymore. Now she understands a fair amount of it. Especially in our dialects, we speak a different dialect from John Paul.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: It is different, which dialect is there?
BOBBY JUE: Ours is know as the Sun Wai dialect.
LAURA JUE: Sun Wai dialect. Mr. Quon is a little different.
BOBBY JUE: I think he is known as (Dialog in Chinese.)
JQ: Yeah (Dialog in Chinese.)
BOBBY JUE: (Dialog in Chinese) dialect. In fact his dialect is the same as my brother-in-laws. That is the reason I understand him because I hear my brother-in-law and sister talk all of the time. They spoke the same dialect. Our words are a little different. It is just like British and American. It is a different way they say things.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Where did your parents go to school? Did they go in China?
BOBBY JUE: Well I think my mother only had one year of schooling. I don’t know about my father. I remember him going to school from bits that people have told me that he went to school. He was a good friend with a guy out of Greenville named Sit. His wife was telling me one time, they used to be running around buddies. They got kidnapped while they were in China. They got kidnapped and held for ransom. I don’t know what kind of ransom. They were running around buddies. I have heard this one another. I don’t know John Paul remembers Mary Ann. Do you remember Mary Ann Sit?
BOBBY JUE: Used to be on Percy St.
JQ: That is right.
BOBBY JUE: Just Right, the guy that had Just Right, that was my father’s running around buddy in China.
LAURA JUE: You mean how the older generation of Chinese how they learn English?
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Well I wondered where they went to school?
JQ: In China?
LAURA JUE: In China, you know the Chinese a long time ago. His father, they let the boys go to school. Some of the old ways, they don’t let the girls go to school. They want let the girl take that much education as the boy do. So I think Bobby’s father had a good education, but his mother. You know the more you live together. You have time you always tell me the old story. She said her father let her go to school, but her grandfather would let her go to school. So went one year, and then her grandfather was fussing at her father. So that is the reason she didn’t have time to get her education too much. She is a hard working lady. She is a lot of things she just sat and learned. You see.
BOBBY JUE: She was the oldest too. She had to stay home and do all of the chores.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: She was the oldest in her family?
BOBBY JUE: The oldest in her family.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Did she have a large family?
BOBBY JUE: I know she had three sisters. I think she had a brother that ran away. They never did know what happened to him. She had another brother still living in China. He still lives in the house that she was born in. He still lives there. When we went back in 1984, we took her back to the house. The way she said, I think she was about eighty years old then. She was pretty close to eighty then. She said that everything still looked about the same. It was never changed. I think the only thing that had changed was it had two light bulbs. It was twenty-five watt bulbs. I remember that myself. They still cooked on the outside. They had a kitchen away from the house. So you could cook. The place was dark. It still had where they had pigpen. They had chickens. You know things like that.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Okay could you tell me about, you spoke about Martin. How many other brothers and sisters did you have?
BOBBY JUE: I have two older sisters and I have one brother that is Martin. Then there is myself, and I got a younger sister. The oldest is in Texas, Houston, TX. The second oldest is in San Francisco. Then my brother Martin is in Starksville. Then me, and I have my younger sister in Houston.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: So Martin was the middle?
BOBBY JUE: Yeah he was the middle. He was the oldest boy, but in the middle.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: The two girls didn’t go to school here? Or were they all ready out of the house?
BOBBY JUE: Well when my father came over. My mother was here. We were born here. My two oldest sisters were born in China. They are a lot older. They are probably twenty-four years older than I am. They were a lot older than I am. They were the two born in China. We are the three that were born here, which was pretty common then.
JQ: Probably the two sisters were under the care of the grandmother probably or somebody else.
BOBBY JUE: Aunt I think, they went from house to house because we went over here. My father and my mother being over here. I think they stayed with my aunt for a while. Then they stayed with my uncle for a while. We called him uncle. What we call uncle, I think it was my grandfather’s brother.
LAURA JUE: I think it was grandfather. His father’s cousin I think.
BOBBY JUE: Yeah my grandfather’s cousin.
LAURA JUE: Well his sister, they were old enough to take care of themselves really. She is. I think his mother left come to the states. I think his sister was maybe. I don’t know how old they were.
BOBBY JUE: Eighteen or seventeen.
LAURA JUE: Yeah they were old enough to take care of themselves. They not really have to live off some people.
BOBBY JUE: I think they went to a boarding school for a while. My father would send money back to them and take care of them every month. So they received help from my father when they were back there until they got married.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: So you grew up in Hollandale?
BOBBY JUE: Yes, I grew up in Hollandale, and I am still here.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Where did you live? What was your home life?
BOBBY JUE: Well when my father built this store, I believe in 1948 or 1949. That is where we lived. We had a store that was I think a thousand square foot. It might have been eight hundred or thousand square foot. We had a house behind there. He built it connecting. I guess you would call that a house. It had a living room. Two bedrooms, one bathroom, and one kitchen. The whole house was probably about this size here. It wasn’t a real big house. I think back then. That was just the thing you did. You lived behind the grocery store.
LAURA JUE: You still have four bedrooms?
BOBBY JUE: No that was before.
LAURA JUE: Oh that was before.
BOBBY JUE: When my sister came to live with us. We added on two more bedrooms. I think we had a porch too. I started. I remember going to kindergarten here back in 1950. I went to kindergarten for a year or for a few months. I don’t know if it was for a year and started grade school. I used to. My brother was one year older. He started first. He said I used to wait on him to come back to school. I would wait on him to see how he liked school. He was the first one that went. What else did you ask for?
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Oh we were talking about living in the store and also can move on to going to school. Did he have any good tips for you on how to survive in school?
BOBBY JUE: Well I think we just come home everyday. I would look at his books and stuff like that.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: You were eager to get there?
BOBBY JUE: I was eager to get [there]. I would keep on asking my mother and father when I was going to be able to school. So when I finally did, I started first grade in 1951.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: In 1951, so you and your brother were the first Chinese to go to Hollandale School. Were there any other Chinese families that you went to school with?
BOBBY JUE: I don’t think so. They never went to the school. We were the first ones. In fact he was the first one, and I was the second one. We weren’t the first one to graduate. Another girl came in, she started at a higher grade. I don’t know what grade she started at. Eighth or ninth or tenth named Evelyn Quon. She was the first one to graduate form Hollandale High. Then Warren Quon, I believe. He was the second one. Then I think it was my brother after that and then me. So he was really number three. I was number four to graduate from Hollandale High. It is a small town school.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Was it generally happy? Do you have good memories?
BOBBY JUE: Like I say I like to express this, It was time, listen being there. That is the way things were then. I would like to say that before I comment on the other. The experience wasn’t what you would call happy. It wasn’t what you would call sad. You just never felt like you belonged. You sort of became uncomfortable because you never fitted in. You always was always singled out because of race. Like I keep saying, I think it was a sign of the time. It was just a time then. It is not as bad now. I think it is still like that, but it is not as bad. You have incidents you remember, like when I was in the second grade you know they give our Valentines and all and everybody was getting a whole lot of them, I got I think I got four, five, or six. Everybody was getting one from each member of the class and I was the only one that didn’t. Stuff like that you remember. You never did have a true relationship with a lot of the kids there. A lot of them, not a lot of them, you know you have name calling because I guess being the first one there, second one really. They call you these names. Like I said it was a sign of the time. Overall, it was a learning experience it. I give you an inside on how to treat people of other races. Like Indians that are coming here now India, Indians are coming in. You can sympathize with them on how some of them have been treated too.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: When we spoke on the phone you mentioned that you felt like you could choose bitterness, or make it . . .
BOBBY JUE: That is right. I am glad you brought that up. Growing up, I guess you would be bitter. As you look over, it’s no use holding bitterness because it is timely. That is the way things were at that time. You look back upon it. You use it as a learning experience on how to deal with people of different cultures. I always tell my kids, I will tell them some stories like that, I will just tell them it was just the time. Now I don’t think it is like that as bad because our kids are mainly real well with them. They get along real well. When I was going to school, I don’t think I had ever been to a white person’s house until I think I was in the Cub Scouts. I went to this Den Mother’s house for meetings. I think it was once a week. That was a first experience. The second experience I had a classmate brought me to his house. I don’t think I went in, I just stayed on the outside looking at the patio. I just imagined that was real nice patio. It had cover and four tiles on it. It was real nice. I had another friend, in fact, he lived next door to this friend, he took me all through his house. I just imagined living in a nice house like this because we lived behind the grocery store. That is the only time I remember ever going to white’s person house. I don’t think I ever went to them even during high school. I never was invited. I don’t think I was ever invited to birthday parties. That was the way time was then.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Laura when did you come to the United States?
LAURA JUE: In 1968 the year I married.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: The year that you married.
LAURA JUE: Two months after I married.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Two months, how did you meet?
LAURA JUE: Bobby went back to Hong Kong in 1963 of January?
BOBBY JUE: 1968
LAURA JUE: 1968, excuse me, then somebody introduce you to match you. I think like a Chinese young man. If they don’t match somebody, they lie. The parents always send their children, the son, back to Hong Kong or China to find a girl that they would like to marry. That way, I think the reason they want the grandchildren to learn more, keep more Chinese traditions. That is the reason.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Chinese tradition.
BOBBY JUE: Tradition
LAURA JUE: Tradition, yeah, otherwise if they marry a girl from. . . the born in the states they will not know that much like a girl would from Hong Kong and China about the Chinese customs.
BOBBY JUE: Like our kids now, they like to eat dimsum. John Quon knows dimsum, Chinese delicacy. I think otherwise you would never think about eating stuff like that if the parents are both what they call A. B. C.s, American Born Chinese. Our kids like to eat stuff like what they call wonton soup. Stuff they call Jolk. They like to eat all that stuff.
JQ: That is Chinese pork.
LAURA JUE: See you can only owe me. I think there is more time to keep a Chinese custom or tradition if their son go back to Hong Kong and marry a Chinese girl. You see.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: What was it like coming? What were your impressions of Hollandale when you arrived?
LAURA JUE: You mean . . .
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: What did you think of it? How did you feel about it?
LAURA JUE: I am the oldest one. Let me tell you about it. You know a long time ago the Chinese could have part-time. My father was from China in 1948. He had business in China.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Communist take over?
LAURA JUE: I get so many brothers and sisters? I am the oldest one of eleven.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Eleven?
LAURA JUE: Yeah, so my father told me that if you have a chance to go to America. At that time. . . now a lot of things have changed. We had so many kids. The oldest one is always trying to think about how to help my father. So maybe they would have more chance to get education because Father is not able to support that many children to go to school to get high education.
BOBBY JUE: So, coming over here give her the opportunity?
LAURA JUE: Also sometimes you met someone you like and then you marry. Not me, not me just for that.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Laura, who of you family members most influenced you? Who taught you the most valuable lessons in life, your mother or father?
LAURA JUE: My mother because my father had to go off to work all of the time.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: When you came to Hollandale were you able to maintain the Chinese traditions in your house?
LAURA JUE: You mean I can keep doing the Chinese, oh yes. We all ready know that. I grew up in McCow. My mother-in-law is always telling me this and that.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Mother-in-law?
LAURA JUE: Yes
BOBBY JUE: One of the ways that we have tried to keep the Chinese traditions is Chinese New Year. . . is one of them.
LAURA JUE: Tomorrow is Chinese New Year.
BOBBY JUE: Yes, tomorrow is Chinese New Year. We cook that traditional Chinese dinner. Then we will go to the cemetery to visit every Easter or whenever we go. Sometimes we don’t make it on Easter. We still do that ritual. I don’t know if John Quon has ever done it. We cook Roast Pork. We take these incense. We take little cups and put whiskey in it.
LAURA JUE: (Dialog in Chinese)
JQ: (Dialog in Chinese)
LAURA JUE: It is just like a long time ago. It is like the great, great grandparents would do the same thing in China. We still do all of this.
BOBBY JUE: The kids now just take flowers and that is it. We still do the old traditional way. In fact we got the youngest daughter. Her name is Sylvia. She doesn’t want to go unless we do it that way. She still wants to do the traditional Chinese cemetery ritual. She doesn’t wasn’t to take the flowers and put it on there. In fact, we wouldn’t do it one year because we got busy. She got mad. She said that she would go cook it herself. We did it anyway. So we cooked it anyway. We tried to uphold our end of it.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Are they buried in the Chinese cemetery?
BOBBY JUE: My mother is. My father, he died. I don’t know, but he is buried in Memphis at Elmwood. It is probably one of the oldest cemetery in Memphis. I think the only reason that they took him there is because his father was buried there.
LAURA JUE: No, I think his mother told me that they didn’t have a Chinese cemetery over there for just the Chinese. Memphis they have an area just for Chinese. They always like to put everything together. Memphis has a Chinese (Dialog in Chinese)
BOBBY JUE: Yeah
JQ: Yeah (Dialog in Chinese)
LAURA JUE: You and us belong to.
BOBBY JUE: I think it is still actively.
JQ: No it is not. It used to be Bant St. You know a very bad neighborhood.
BOBBY JUE: Very bad.
LAURA JUE: Well now they have a party they always go to the restaurant.
JQ: They used to have it upstairs.
BOBBY JUE: You remember that place?
LAURA JUE: People are getting old. They don’t want to cook. They are not able to cook. Then the young generation they don’t know how to cook. That is why they have all the parties at the restaurant.
JQ: Well you know that is true here too. You know used to everybody would get together and do the cooking.
LAURA JUE: Oh yeah in Cleveland they have big parties.
JQ: Now they are all old or passed away.
BOBBY JUE: What we are talking about now Kimberly is there is a Chinese Association. What purpose of that was when you have new immigrants come in. They would go there, and have a place to stay and probably get a little help too. That’s right of fact John Quon
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: This was based in Cleveland?
BOBBY JUE: No, in Memphis
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: In Memphis
LAURA JUE: We should have found a place that has a Chinese party once a year or two. Let the Chinese people meet each other at least once year. Keep in touch, you know.
BOBBY JUE: When we were growing up we had the Lucky Eleven dances for Chinese from Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
JQ: They were Mississippi State students that sponsored that.
BOBBY JUE: Yeah, Mississippi State had a club called the Lucky Eleven. They were given a party during Christmas. Thanksgiving too, wasn’t it too John Quon?
JQ: No, Ole Miss did the Thanksgiving.
BOBBY JUE: Ole Miss gave the Thanksgiving, and Mississippi State gave the Christmas dance.
LAURA JUE: For Chinese
BOBBY JUE: It was for Chinese was all over.
LAURA JUE: For the children, not for the old age.
JQ: Yeah for the children
BOBBY JUE: Then we all get together down there. You meet a lot of your friends there.
LAURA JUE: Sometimes, we know we had one in Greenville. It is easier for the people that are close around here. It is too far over there.
JQ: They are working on that though.
BOBBY JUE: I don’t think they have the barn like they used to though. Used to you look forward to that Thanksgiving, that Christmas dance when everybody gets together.
LAURA JUE: Maybe we could have it in the convention center. First, if you want cook together again you have to have somebody go there and help. Some people prepare and some people cook. Work together and it will always work out.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: What was the most important thing you learned at home?
BOBBY JUE: I think I was taught hard work and achievement.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: I had asked what was the most important thing that you had learned at home. You told me about hard work and achievement.
BOBBY JUE: Hard work and achievement, and teach your kids right from wrong and being honest. My mother always taught me to save my money. So one of these days you won’t have to be depending on anybody. Mostly to just to be really maintain good reputation and have high standards. I think now the Chinese now has achieved quite a bit. Back in those days we had was a grocery store. You didn’t have that many professional people in this area. I don’t really think anywhere really. Main thing was you couldn’t get hired. I think that is one reason the Chinese had to go to the black neighborhoods because they were accepted more there with the blacks. The Chinese didn’t show that much discrimination. They didn’t look down upon the black as much as the Caucasian race did. I think that is why the Chinese folks did well in the black neighborhoods. The black neighborhoods created a lot of affection for the Chinese. Like John and like my brother. He is pretty popular. He is the biggest ham radio manufacturer in the nation now. He has two hundred and fifty associates there working under him. I think he is one of the biggest employers in Oktibbeha County. He has done really well. He was the businessman of the year in Mississippi. Did you know that John Paul?
JQ: I think it was three years ago.
BOBBY JUE: Yeah it was several years ago. He started from a humble background.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Do you think the hard work in the grocery store all of that helped?
BOBBY JUE: I think so. Another thing that helped was being segregated. I think it helped to. He wanted to achieve more and do better. I think we were segregated from both places. The Caucasian race had engage. You really didn’t want to associate with what you call back then color race. So we really kept together to ourselves. We just weren’t accepted. I think that was one of the reason that made you want to do better from segregation. I think it helps us both ways. I think there is a plus. I think that is one of our main things. Just want to be better, because you were looked down upon. You want to rise above.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: You talked a little bit about New Years. Could you talk more about the celebrations, weddings, births, and tell us a little bit about your children?
LAURA JUE: Well the Chinese New Year is a tradition, and we cook a vegetable. We call it (Dialog in Chinese). I will show you how okay.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: This is a question for both of you although you didn’t grow up in the Mississippi Delta. What has become of the people that you have known here? Have they chosen to stay in the Delta? Have many of your Chinese friends stayed in the Delta? Or they left?
BOBBY JUE: Well the people that I have grew up with. I don’t think anybody stayed except for. I think who have stayed here, John Paul and me. Everybody else . . .
LAURA JUE: Richard Chow
BOBBY JUE: Richard Chow he didn’t stay. There is another guy Richard Chow. He didn’t stay. He went to California. He just came back from. He was in California for twenty-five or thirty years and then he came back. He didn’t stay. The only one that I remember growing up around here. I had a good friend still a good friend, Wally Pang. He was one that stayed. We got a few in Clarksdale that stayed. Around here and the Greenville area. I don’t know anybody that stayed. There is one guy down there in Butch, Wong. His name was John Wong. He is still here. Everybody else is in Texas, California. People I grew up with and used to run around with in Cleveland they are all gone. A lot of them in Greenville are all gone. Just like in Hollandale a lot of them are gone. There is some friends down in Rolling Fork. They have gone.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: You think for mainly economic reasons or tired of discrimination?
BOBBY JUE: Yeah for economic reasons. I think more for economic reasons. I think the discrimination part came in probably in the fifties. The sixties were getting better. In fact, I think it was getting better when they signed the Civil Rights Law in 1968. Things got better then. I think most of it was that you couldn’t find jobs here. I know it was just that you couldn’t find jobs here. Just like my brother, he started his own company. He had to go to Illinois to find a job.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: To get started.
BOBBY JUE: He graduated from Mississippi State. He majored in engineer. He got his master’s degree at Georgia Tech. Then he came back. He worked on his doctrine at Mississippi State. Before he got his thesis out, he quit. He started his own business. He taught at the same time. He started his own business in an old hotel room. It was him and another guy. He started there and from then on he just grew. He is now around the nation. I think he got through. Haven’t seen him in six months. He is so busy. He call him up. He is always so busy. He bought a company out in California not too long ago.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Could you tell me a little bit how you took over the grocery store business? And Laura you also work there?
LAURA JUE: Yes
BOBBY JUE: See my father died when I was six years old. I just got in first grade. I think he died in November. I just got in the first grade. When he died, my mother, older brother, my little sister. She was three. My brother was seven. He was just in second grade. He died. My father died. We had the discussion on how were going to be able support us. Is my mama going to be able to support us? At first they wanted to bring my uncle down from Memphis. My mother didn’t want them to do that.
LAURA JUE: His great uncle.
BOBBY JUE: Great uncle, going to let him come down and help us out. My mother didn’t want that. So we had an older sister that was living in Vicksburg and her husband my brother-in-law was working for his father but in that business my brother-in-law older brother was working there. So it was two brothers working there. So my brother-in-law’s father suggested that he come down and help my mother out. So he came down in 1951 after my father died. He stayed there for.
LAURA JUE: Fourteen years
BOBBY JUE: Thirteen or fourteen years
LAURA JUE: Fourteen
BOBBY JUE: Fourteen years, he got us through high school. When I was growing up, my mother used tell me that I was the one that need to help her. She was telling us that we need to help her because we don’t have a father. She emphasized on me that I need to be the one that stays behind and help. So when graduated from high school, I stayed behind and helped her out and I was the one that sent my brother to school and my sister. I just stayed on there in the business. Oh it has been good. Over the years, it is kind a hard to start off it is kind of hard. There were couple of things you didn’t want to do. After a while you just get used to it. You just do what you have to do. Through the years I think God has blessed us. It has never been in vain. I am being proud of seeing your brother and sister to school and four kids.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: And seeing them succeed.
BOBBY JUE: Yeah, we still got two kids still going to college. I hope they succeed.
LAURA JUE: You see just like his mother, my mother-in-law. She loves her husband. She was from China to English. She was big enough to work in a store by herself. So her father’s big sister and his brother-in-law came and help the mother. The first fourteen years after their father passed. Then my mother-in-law said when his sister’s children was grown they have to go to college. The store is small. Not big enough to support two families. That is why his sister and brother-in-law had to move to Arcola and get another store. So Bobby can finish high school, and he can take over and help his mom.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: So they moved to Arcola?
LAURA JUE: Yeah, you know it is just a family store. You know like about a grocery store. It is just a small grocery store. You don’t make enough to support eight children. You see what I mean. That is why they have to find their own place. Bobby can help his mother run the store.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: As he grew up?
LAURA JUE: Yeah
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: The uncle moved?
LAURA JUE: No, when Bobby was growing up after he finished high school, he just helped his mother run the store. Before he grew up, his sister and brother helped his mother.
BOBBY JUE: Sister and brother-in-law, the oldest sister and her husband.
LAURA JUE: Mr. Tam in Arcola
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Mr. Tam, that is my brother-in-law.
LAURA JUE: (Tape was not able to understand.)
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: You have four children?
LAURA JUE: I have four children, yes.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: What are their names?
LAURA JUE: My oldest daughter named Christina Jue. The second son is Patrick Jue. The third one is Timothy Jue, and Sylvia Jue.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: And you in college?
LAURA JUE: The two young ones are still in college. Tim pays a lot. It is high.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Did they also grow up helping in the store?
LAURA JUE: Oh yeah they all helped. You know we started to teach the children. They learn how to sell the candy and coke when they were six years old or five years old.
BOBBY JUE: When they were five or six years old they were could make change for ten dollars bills.
LAURA JUE: They learn day by the day.
BOBBY JUE: I remember the youngest one matter fact the oldest one, Christina would help. She would sometimes stand on the chair to help. She didn’t mind helping.
LAURA JUE: I think most Chinese families, if the father and mother were to have a store. They grow up in the store. They children always help. That is why they can count to ten so easy. They learn it everyday.
BOBBY JUE: They learn to cut bologna. They learn how to chop neck bones with the cleaver.
LAURA JUE: Pack meat, we have a butcher. When you are busy, and sometimes you get so busy. When people get to stay in. I remember the butcher would always would put one of the boy. He would stand up in a chair. So he could get higher so he can weigh the meat. He could pack the meat for them. They would always helped.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: So they can wear many hats. They take on different roles.
LAURA JUE: Well I think like the Chinese people are like that. If their mom and dad have a grocery store. The children will learn how to selling, pack the grocery. Like some families they have restaurant, then the kid how to learn how to wash dishes, cut up, and pack the food take the order. That the way you raised a family.
BOBBY JUE: The two oldest ones kind of grew up behind the grocery store. Well the third one did too.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Behind the grocery store?
LAURA JUE: The third one did not. We still go back to the store during every day. We moved to a house when the third one was. I still remember he lived back there when he was here.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: When you moved here?
LAURA JUE: Yeah, the store only had two bedrooms when they children was growing. You don’t have enough room. That is the reason why we build a house.
BOBBY JUE: They still have fond memories of living behind the store.
LAURA JUE: Also you don’t have to be tied twenty-four hours and staying in the same place. We were working there, living there. So every Sunday, I couldn’t cope. We got to get out. Get out of the house.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: So you work seven days a week?
LAURA JUE: Seven days, you know like Friday and Saturdays. When I come here, I don’t understand why do people shop so late. Saturday night, one o’clock or two o’clock at night they come in and do their shopping. We don’t get to close until two or two thirty sometimes. After we close the store. Then we have to count all the money. We don’t go to three o’clock. The next morning, seven thirty or eight o’clock you get ready to open. So every Saturday night I never get enough sleep. That is how we work.
BOBBY JUE: We stay open till three o’clock in the morning on Saturday nights.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: You do?
BOBBY JUE: Yeah, three o’clock in the morning.
LAURA JUE: Every Saturday night.
BOBBY JUE: Even when I was growing up. I was doing that since I was in the second or third grade. I would stay up till two or three o’clock in the morning on Saturdays helping out in the grocery store. One fond memory that we had was late at night. This was late on Saturday night. Just before my father died. I remember my brother and I used to stay up on Saturday night after we got through helping out. We would wait for the Hot Tamale man. They used to have hot tamales. They have a little cart. They would push it up and down the streets and sell it to people. My brother and I used to get a quarter a piece. He would buy a dozen hot tamales for a quarter, and I would buy a dozen for a quarter. We would eat that on Saturday’s nights. That was about 1950 I guess. My father was still keep the ones so it must have been about ‘50. I used to be the guy that sold coca colas. It was nickel a bottle for a coke. It was a three-cent deposit. I was the one that sold coca colas.
LAURA JUE: Nickel bottles cola, and a nickel bag of potato chips. You can buy a lot of stuff for a dollar.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: What kind of extra curricular activities when you were growing up? Were you mainly in the store and at school? Were you able to go to church?
BOBBY JUE: Well we went to church on Sundays. That was one good thing that my brother-in-law did. He made us go to church on Sundays. You could in the store. We lived across the tracks. People made fun of you when you lived across the tracks. You weren’t living close by your friends. We were the only Chinese family over there. The other ones was on the better side of the track. We were on the poor side of the tracks. We didn’t do anything but work in the store. In high school I played at band, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: What instrument did you play?
BOBBY JUE: Trombone, I was in the Boy Scout.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Does he still play?
LAURA JUE: I have never heard him play again.
BOBBY JUE: I used to attend Boy Scout and Cub Scout and church on Sundays. We just never had any friends over because living across the tracks. People would be scared to come over. You know you live on this side of the tracks. We had very few friends that would come over. When they did come over they kind of sneaked over. They would visit for a little while and left. Back in those days nobody came across the tracks. When our kids were growing up, they had friends that wanted to go over to see what it was like. They usually would come over here. We would be at the store. Our kids would come home after school. They would stay at the house until six or seven o’clock. Come back on to the store.
LAURA JUE: No, not six or seven. They can’t come to the house until we close.
BOBBY JUE: I mean they came back after school. Then we would take them to the store. Then after we close they would come back till nine or ten o’clock at night.
LAURA JUE: In the summertime we close at ten o’clock. The children can come home after ten o’clock after we close. In the wintertime we close a little bit earlier. My oldest daughter, when she got her driving license. I let her come home earlier after then. They come home and do their lessons. So me and Bobby would stay at the store. Before she get her licenses. Sometimes I would take the children home earlier because my mother-in-law stayed there. We would have a hard time and long hours for the last thirty years.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: I know the store, you still have the store. Do you start any new business?
BOBBY JUE: We are renovating, where Bill’s Dollar Store is. In fact I worked in a grocery store for thirty-seven years, eighty hours a week. I don’t think I have any weeks that were less than seventy-five. We had the opportunity. Our competition, Sunflower wanted to buy us out. He called me up one day and said that he wanted to ask if we wanted to sell out to him. I said if the price is right we will. So we negotiated around for year or two years. I thought they were just playing around. Finally there was a price was five percent more than we expected to get. Not what we wanted. It is what we expected to get. So we took it. So after thirty-seven years, eighty hours a week. We are retired. I don’t call it retirement. I call it unemployment.
LAURA JUE: It is not. The reason you are not. You are not really old enough to retire. I think about Bobby and not working since he was eighteen. So he can run a store for thirty-six years. I think it is time for him to have a little fun. You don’t need to spend his whole life in the store. You know, money is not everything. You have to think about your health to.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: How long have you been here?
LAURA JUE: Thirty-one, since ’68.
BOBBY JUE: Yeah thirty-one years.
LAURA JUE: I have been working in the store for thirty years.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Thirty years.
LAURA JUE: So I tell myself, I have the chance to spend and different kind of life not all my life in a store. You might make a little money, but you don’t get nothing in your life. You don’t have time to. Take the time to eat a dinner. You don’t have the time to pick a time to cook a dinner. You always had to run to front. You know when we lived in the back of the store. Any time you weren’t busy. You know we have the new store. We have ten or twelve employees. At the old store, we do most ourselves. We don’t hire a cashier. You cook a dinner sometimes. You start cooking. You call you every fifteen and twenty minutes. You have to put everything down and come to the front and help sell some grocery. The go back and continue your cooking or continue dinner. I am tired of that.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Waiting on you have to work?
LAURA JUE: Oh yeah you know what I am doing when I cook a dinner. We don’t ever have a chance to eat together. Either I eat first, or Bobby watch the store. He eat first, and I watch the store. If they are eating, and I have to carry the baby in the front and selling groceries. Or you got the kid and the baby selling groceries. You have to fight for every minute to do something. It is not that easy. I am glad everything is over. No I am not the only one.
JQ: You can start on the grandchildren.
LAURA JUE: Huh?
JQ: Start on the grandchildren.
LAURA JUE: (Laugh) Well I think it is easy, when I start my grandchildren I don’t have the store. I will be glad to go to them and take care of them.
BOBBY JUE: The thing about that you won’t be able to show them what growing up in a grocery store is like. That is the bad thing about it. You can’t show your grandkids that.
LAURA JUE: Well it is good for something, and bad for something. We have the store. So we lived with grandma. The grandma never know me. She don’t have to stay lonely by herself. Just like us. We have four kids. When they grow. They can find a job. I don’t care how many children they have. They can still with me. See what I mean? So it is always something bad and something good. We are lucky to have grandma to take care of the children. In the other way she is lucky to have her grandchildren live with her. Her children are close around. Those are not everybody, but at least her younger son lived with her. Then the oldest daughter lived with her. The last few year before she passed she been really sick. You know. We took turns you know. We take care of her. Then her oldest daughter took take care of her. We don’t have to put grandma in a nursing home. With everybody working, you get a job. You can not just. I am not able to work, because I have to stay home and take care of mother. You get to take care of your children. So some kind of the way it is good for the elders.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Growing up in the store?
LAURA JUE: Oh yeah, she don’t have to stay. You know like a lot of elder people the children all go to work. They just stay there all by themselves all day long. Maybe if the children not live to far away from her, they will come by and see you once a week. You are lucky all ready. You see?
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: It sounds like your children learned a lot growing up in the store.
LAURA JUE: Oh yeah
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: You were able to watch them.
LAURA JUE: Yeah you are able to watch them. You always can give them advice if they do something wrong. If the parents are working like in the teaching or working in the hospital, you only see your children when you get off. Do you see what I mean? Sometimes you don’t know what your children are doing. That away when they come home, they have to stay with me. I know what they are doing before they were under eighteen you know. Sure when they go to college, you don’t know what they are doing. You always tell them. I think it is good to keep your children around with you before they finish high school.
BOBBY JUE: I think that one of the advantages of being in the grocery store. They would have to come back there everyday. You see them. It is not one of these what you call latch key kids. You don’t see them till after you get off work. At the store they would come back after school. We would see them all of the time. That gives you a closeness too. I think that is one of the reason why they Chinese family is so close. It had their advantages of living there.
LAURA JUE: You loss something. You gain something. We feel sorry about that we never had a weekend with the children. Have fun like taking them to the movie or a picnic. Go here or go there on Saturday. We missed that, but that is okay. At least you can watch them around, and make sure they do everything right. You know they do something. You know how children they are. They maybe do something is fun. Something that is not telling you what they do. So far, I think it is the best parenting stay with your children all of the time. Especially after they get out of school.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Going back to your experience in school here. Did you have any favorite teachers?
BOBBY JUE: I remember my first grade teacher. She was real nice to me. My second grade teacher was too. You know after grade school. I don’t think I had any favorite teacher after that after the first and second grade.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: You mentioned a lot about being on the other side of the tracks. Did you feel pretty isolated?
BOBBY JUE: I did. I did . I don’t know how my brother and my sister felt. What we would do in the mornings. We would walk to school. The color school was just down the street from where our grocery store was. Maybe it was two or three hundred yards. More or so in the afternoon, we would be walking to school. We would have the color kids come in. They will say something to you. In the afternoon it got real bad. When both of us got out at the same time, both schools. So we would be walking home. The colored kids would be walking home. Sometimes they would push you off the sidewalk. My sister got pushed off the sidewalk a lot of times, my younger sister. You had colored kids call you different kinds of names. It was stuff like that.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Did you feel more criticism from the black community, or?
BOBBY JUE: Well, I know the black community probably had against us is because we made a living off of them. I think they kind of resented that. We did make a living off of them, but we treated them with respect more than if they went to a Caucasian run store. We treat them with respect. We thanked them. We showed them that we appreciated it. We always spoke to them nicely. We never said any bad things to them. You can tell when you walk into a store, how the management will treat you right away. You can sense it. We always treated our customers with respect as a human. I think that is the reason why we do so well. I think that is the reason why Chinese in general did well.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Laura you have seen a lot of changes since you come to the United States. What do you envision for the future?
LAURA JUE: Are you talking about when I just came here?
BOBBY JUE: No
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: No what do you see? No I just said that you have seen a lot of changes. You have seen a lot of changes. What do you see for the future?
LAURA JUE: Well I see it like the older generation. You know. They have a store and small house. They can raise the family. The younger generation, after they finish school, they have to move out.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: This is tape 2 of 2. Kimberly Lancaster is speaking with Laura and Bobby Jue. Dr. Quon is facilitating. It is February 4, 2000. Laura you were talking. We are interviewing Bobby and Laura Jue for the Mississippi Delta Chinese Oral History Project. Laura could you tell us what you see for the future Chinese in the delta.
LAURA JUE: I think the younger generation is going to go off because they have to go to the big cities to find a job. My generation, they have lot more people stay in Delta because they have there own store. They have their own business. They can raise the family. Our children when they finish school, they will move somewhere else. I don’t think they will come back here to raise their family. I think there will be less and less Chinese. We are retired right now. We might spend the rest of our life here, or we might move somewhere else. I am not sure yet. I have got to wait until the children see where they can move. We never know until that many year later. I have been living in Mississippi. I am glad we sold the store. We closed the store. I thought I would move off somewhere else, but after a few months of thinking about it. I have been living here for thirty years. I have friends here. I have got used to the country life. When I drive, we don’t have a that stretch. It is not that many cars. The traffic is not that heavy. So we make a trip to Chicago, and Houston. We saw so many cars and trucks. We get nervous. I think it is like just some places you get used to, and you know it so well. You feel safer. Our age and maybe later, we might spend the rest of our life in the Delta. I don’t think the children, or the younger generation will. They can’t find jobs here. There are not too many.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: You agree?
BOBBY JUE: Yeah I agree. I don’t think there is any future for the kids being educated here unless you can find a job around here. I don’t think there is that much opportunity here. When we came, I think we were one of the first Chinese families here. There were fifty Chinese here then and seven grocery stores. Now there is only one grocery store. There is only six Chinese. Everybody else is moving to Texas, California. We have a kid in Illinois. We have one in Texas. Then we have a boy that is supposed to graduate this year. Then our daughter that is in L. S. U. They way they talk. In fact before we closed the store, we asked our youngest boy. Well we ask them all, the youngest boy especially, because he was the play boy in the family. He went to Mississippi State first year. He got a $4000 dollar scholarship from Mississippi State. He played around. He had a .5 average. So we pulled him out, and we sent him to Delta State. His grade improved. It was .6 averages. So we pulled him out of there. He got mad. He went to work. So he went to work for about six months before he went back to school. We told him that he needed to go back to school. So that put him about a year and half almost two years behind. He went back to school. Now he is kind of matured. We offered him the store first. The oldest one, and they said he didn’t want it. We ask him if he wanted to run the store. He said if he ran the store in two years he would be out of business. So we decided to sell it. If he didn’t want to run it, and we had the opportunity. So we sold it. He said that he didn’t want to come back to Hollandale. Nobody wants to come back to Hollandale or to Mississippi because they say nothing is here. He is going to school at Southern Mississippi. Priscilla is still kind of a small town. It is not what you would call a big town. He said coming to Hollandale, it is just like it is dead. Our younger daughter is even worse. She goes to school at L. S. U. at Baton Rouge. She said there is so much to do there. She said after two days of coming home. She is ready to go back to school. I don’t see them coming back to the Mississippi Delta. I think the original Chinese of the Mississippi Delta. They are almost extinct. It is not going to be no more. After our generation leaves, I think it is history. I think we need to preserve history now. It is so many things that have changed since the fifties and sixties. Our kids have become Americanized, and they are blended in with society. It is just don’t want the life that we led. In which you can not blame them, you know eighty hours a week you don’t get any enjoyment. You can’t do anything. You see the future for the younger kids. Them come back in the Delta or Mississippi itself, the only place I see them going is probably Jackson. They might go to the Gulf Coast, I don’t see that much on the Gulf Coast. If they come back, they probably would go to Jackson where the factories are and the jobs are. If you are a engineer with M. C. I. World, some company like that they might come back. I don’t see them coming back to the Delta.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: This is changing the subject. What do you remember about your grandparents?
BOBBY JUE: I didn’t know my grandparents.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: You never knew them. Do you remember any stories about them?
BOBBY JUE: Well I remember my father’s father what they told me about him was he had a store in Mayersville. Then he sold that store. He (Tape was not able to understand.) As he was crossing the street, he got killed. I remember my mother was telling about her parents. They were farmers in a village. I don’t think they were poor. They were fairly well off. I think most most of ours were. She didn’t find her sister a life there. She didn’t like how her mother-in-law treated her more like a servant because then you would have to do everything your mother-in-law tell you to do. I remember she didn’t tell me too much about her father, except her father wanted her to go to school. Her grandfather didn’t want her to go. So she didn’t get to go but one year. She would go see friends that went to school. They would teach her. They would stay over night. She was taught that way when she came over here. She got us to teach her the ABC’s and things like that. When she would write her name, she would write it like a first grader. You know real slowly. She would print it out. It looks like first grade work too. She learned that. Mostly what you hear about them like when she came over. She came through Seattle, Washington. Before she could come and meet my father. She was retained in Seattle, Washington for one year. I think for screening. She stayed there for one year. She didn’t speak English or anything. Then she came and met my father here in Mississippi after one year there. I think that was routine then. It is something like close to New York. What is that place?
JQ: Ellis Island
BOBBY JUE: Ellis Island, I think the Chinese came through Seattle, Washington. She was the type that you just did what your husband tell you to do. That is the type of lady she was. Back in those days, I don’t think they had their own mind. You just had to follow the man of the house.
LAURA JUE: Yeah that was a long time ago. Chinese woman, after they are born they said when you are young. You can obey your father. After you are married, you can obey your husband. When you get old, you have to listen to your son. That is the way. It is not fair to the lady It is not any more now. I only obey and listen if you are right. If you are wrong, I don’t care how old you are. Right you got to fight for yourself. You have to protect yourself. Why do you let people treat you wrong? I don’t treat people wrong, but I don’t let people treat me wrong. It is just like our Chinese in the our county. Usually we are poor, and we don’t have any weapon. You get to let the other country attack you. They take your place. Just like McCow, the place I grown. They govern by Portuguese for four hundred years. They just took that place. See, our country is not strong. You know people are not going to treat you right.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: You mentioned earlier before we started the interview that you do read the Chinese news?
LAURA JUE: Well I grown from Macau because they are took over by the Portuguese. I have to same feeling like Bobby. Like he said, some place they don’t accept you. You go to some restaurant. They want even don’t serve you the food. In McCow they took over by the Portuguese, but Macau is supposed to belong to our China. You see this is your house. The other people come in move into your house. They take over your place. I will tell you, I remember you know. You go to the Post office and buy a stamp. Everybody have to line up. The Chinese people, everybody have to line up. They have three or four people selling stamps. At the Portuguese walk in, they walk in front of you. They go straight to the front place. They buy a stamp. The Chinese people are scared to say something. They let them go in front of them because the country is weak. I am glad you know we are not like that anymore. People give you more respect. You don’t want to treat people wrong. You don’t like people to treat you wrong, either. You have to fight for your own freedom. I have the same feeling like he did. That is why you know. My mother-in-law she doesn’t have time to take a lot of education. At least she know she lived to be humble. I don’t care how much education you have. How much money you own, you know that stuff don’t mean nothing. She know don’t have a lot. She don’t have a chance to go to school. The way she teach her kids. She is really smart to me it is like that. I think she teach her children right. You know a long time ago, the Chinese mother-in-law and daughter-in-law they lived in the same house. They are going to have problems. You know you might have two people in the way. I know in other ways, she is a mother. She take care of her children nice. She knew what to do. She knew what to teach her children how to lead them to everything right. That is what really helped the children how to be polite, respect the elders. Our children, I always tell them, when you go visit your friends, you go in their house. You got to speak to the parents. Make sure you call them Mr. and Mrs. Grubbs. The same thing when my children bring their friends to my house, they don’t speak to me. I don’t want to speak to them either. Sometimes you speak to them, they even don’t want to answer you. My feelings are hurt you know. So if you want you people to look right, you got to start it when your children is little when they are young that a way they can come out better. That is all I know.
BOBBY JUE: There were four things that my mother always taught me. I teach my kids that. She always told me these are four things to always say thank you. She said to be as humble as you can. Always address people by their name, Mr. or Ms., Aunt or Uncle. (Tape was not able to understand.) She said to never look down on people. That is four things she always taught me. It has always kept it in my mind. I try to teach my kids the same way. I hope they teach their kids the same way.
LAURA JUE: See our country is always, we learned from them. You will always return to people’s favor. That is the way our father and mother raised us. When we grow, we always thought about. How we would return the favor back to our parents. So when they get old and sick, we have to take care of them. It will always come back. I remember one time when my mother-in-law had. She had a stroke in her brain. She lost all her memory. She don’t even recognize her own kids sometimes. We still bring her back to the store. One of the pharmacy, Mr. Grubbs a long time ago he owned the pharmacy in Hollandale. He would come and ask me. Laura I see you young folks treat the mother. The parents, you know you send them to the nursing home. I told them this is the way we learned. We are young. We always heard from the kin folks or uncle or aunt or mother or grandmother talk about. When you grow, when your mother or father get old when you grow you got to come back and take care of them. This is your future. This is the way we are. That kind of way to the family.
BOBBY JUE: I think it was easier for us to do it because we had a grocery store to bring them back to the grocery store. Now the kids have jobs, it is going to be kind of hard to do that.
LAURA JUE: Oh yeah, we don’t expect our children to do that to me. We understand that they can not put that job down and come home stay with me.
BOBBY JUE: Because they have to make a living too.
LAURA JUE: Sometimes you have to see the situation through. It don’t mean they can’t do it. They are just not able to.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: I will ask you the same question. Do you remember your grandparents?
LAURA JUE: I remember my grandfather on my father’s side. My father’s father, my grandfather was passed away when my father was three years old. I don’t remember nothing. Then my father had two older brother. My grandma had three sons. Then when my grandfather passed, my grandmother had a hard time to raise three kids. She don’t have a store. She had to go to market. She had to sell. She had to do something for the other people to make money to raise three kids. My father had a hard time too. My mother came from a better family. My grandfather, my mother’s father, he finished college in a village. He was the one to build the school. He had high education. He was the only son in the family. Also he was my grandfather’s father came to the states. He had more money in his family. He left the country when he was thirty something years old and went to Hong Kong. He had his own business. When he was about forty something years, my grandfather get ready to retire. He put all his money in one bank. Way back at that time, the government doesn’t have nothing to spend to protect the people. He deposited of all the money in one bank, the bank went bankrupt. It closed. He would lose everything. He don’t have nothing. He got nothing you know to pay you back nothing. That a way my grandfather was upset for that. He died in when he was forty something. My mother, I don’t know my mother was. I don’t know my mother was sixteen or seventeen. She had to go find a job. So I think both families, my mother and father’s side both had a hard time. This way you will always listen to your mother and what they say or your father on what they say. How hard it was where they come from in the family. This is a need. I learned it. People’s life is like that. As much hard time you can take. You will be more strong and tough. So I don’t feel sorry for myself. I have to work that many hours after I married. I just look back at my grandmother. I am luckier than her. It is the same thing that I tell my children, you see. I say I will tell you everything comes so easier. They can buy anything. After they finish school, your life is long. You know step by step. When you see something was on the way. You got to think about how to move here. So you keep going. They say you go in a row if you see a big rock in there. I can’t go over the row. If you see a big tree over there. Stop you weight, I can go around there. Then you will come home. You don’t have no future. I will tell them if you see something in front of you. You got to think about how to move you log? How to cut the tree? So you can keep going to find a future. The much you can take, the better future you have. You see you let them a lot of money, and make them easier. I don’t have a lot of money to let them. I think the best you can teach your children is too tell them how to face the problem. You have to let it go early.
BOBBY JUE: (Tape was not able to understand.)
LAURA JUE: Just like my son the first year he got the job, he said you don’t make too much. Well yeah, but he has a master degree. I will tell him I don’t care what degree you have. If you know you don’t have any experience, you can look for the first money to go. You start working. Don’t think you have to look at what degree. I have this degree, you know. That means people will pay you because you don’t work yet. You don’t have any experience. I told him always tell him take step by step. Everything is step by step. We have a small store. When I met Bobby, we had a family type store. Everything was old style. We have an old style pharmacy. People order it. We have a old box. If you want an pot of hot chocolate. One year, I married him. You think about. You want to do better, you got to keep going. You have to improve everything. We put in open boxes. You wrap them in there. What we are going to do. We used to be scared. If you cut the meat, you have to put so much meat to fill the box up. You are not selling for two or three days, you got to throw everything away. The mean would have turned dark and old. That time we told him, we are young. If we fell, we can stand up again. Do you see what I mean? Don’t worry about the mistake. That is the only way you can encourage yourself and make you do better. If you are scared to try you will never succeed. This is my way. The same thing I tell my children the same. Nothing is impossible for you to just keep learning. At least you have to try.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: Would you say learning is the most important?
LAURA JUE: Oh yeah, nobody can teach you everything. You have to learn from other people. You have to pay attention when they are talking. You know I don’t understand they say. At least if I learned it, I listen what they say. I pick up a few things. Also encourage your childrens to read books. That is the best way to lift them up ten thousand dollars. They spend it all. They don’t have nothing. The knowledge is helpful forever.
BOBBY JUE: I think that is the reason why Chinese always stress education. To go as high as you can.
KIMBERLY LANCASTER: You enabled your siblings too.
BOBBY JUE: Just getting them to do. They are so Americanized now. They just want to get that degree and forget about everything. Like my oldest daughter she didn’t want to go get a higher degree. She just got. The oldest boy did. The youngest boy, he is at Southern. It is like State’s electric engineer program. I thing Southern calls it electronic engineering. He said after that he is ready to get out. He doesn’t want to go any further. We always stress education. I think it is better being in a profession or making good money than trying to. Well it is good to be an entrepreneur too. Entrenpeur are the people that take all the chances. It can either make you are break you. If he get a degree a professional degree, it is in the mind. You can walk with that. Then entrepreneur you got have so much competition, like your place burned down well you lose everything. Well you have insurance. You are still out of a year or two of business. If you get a good education, you can walk with that. Like us, we you have to put the hours in. I am sure you have to do it to be a professional too. At least you got the market and in your brains.
LAURA JUE: I think why the Chinese children why they. The Chinese people why they want their children to have more education and a high education. I remember I have brother in Natchez they have a restaurant. One time I go there. Then doctor come in, and he sit down. He ask to talk to me. He ask me, “Why do some Chinese children you know they are doing real good, and they are getting the higher points?” and all of that stuff. He said, do you think the Chinese children are smarter than the other kids. I told him I don’t think that a way. The reason because why the Chinese children who works so hard. They see their parents work so hard. Like if they have a restaurant, they raised up in a restaurant. They open seven days, twelve hours. Like we had a grocery store. We open up seven days and twelve hours. We have all ready taught the children. You if you don’t want to work the long hours. You don’t want to work seven days a week. You want to have the weekends off. You have fun with your children. You definitely have to have a good education. You got to get a good job. So you can take care of your children. Other wise, you have to do things like we do. We get up work twelve hours. We are open at eight o’clock. We close at ten o’clock. That is fourteen hours a day everyday. What can you do with your kids. They are look for half day off on Sunday after we closed. We take them to go out to maybe a movie. Or we maybe just have dinner. That is the only way they had fun. It is not like the other parents. They have good education. There are out working. So Saturday and Sunday they don’t have to work. Then they have two weeks off vacation. They can take their children and have fun. We have all ready talk to them. We explained to the children, you got to push yourself harder. You got to finish school and go to college. A better education is the only time you can get a better job.
BOBBY JUE: I don’t think we ever had a weekend off. We closed a week and went on vacation. That was a good thing. We closed Christmas day till New Years day. We always took the kids on vacation. Oh like Disney World, we took them to Mexico or L. A., Hollywood. You know stuff like that. That is one thing that they can’t take away the memories. When we got to this store, both of us couldn’t take off. So one of us went on vacation, while the other stayed. Then they went on vacation. So we kind of missed the family outing then. They still remember the vacations we took when they were young. Especially the younger daughter. She brings it up all of the time. Like the time we went to Disneyland or Mexico or something like that. It was only one week out of the year.
LAURA JUE: At least you had one week a year. Do you know why we do that? I think about. We can’t make it without the money. Money is not everything. If you work all year round, and never take a day off with your kids. You close one week. You maybe make less two thousand a week. You come maybe less two or three thousand a week. It doesn’t hurt you. You still make enough to pay your bills, right. Your children have something even once a year. So we to push ourselves to work hard, do better, and climb up higher. Always look up. Don’t let the money drive you crazy. That is what I think about. If you don’t close that one week, your children will never have nothing. You close one week, you just make less. You children can have one week. At least they are happy.
END OF DOCUMENT