|Posted by John Jung on January 20, 2017 at 2:05 PM||comments (0)|
When we left Macon, Georgia where I was born to move to San Francisco in 1952, we packed up all our few possessions worth bringing, mostly clothing, family photos and small household items that we could ship on the train as part of our baggage allotment (I think 150 lb. per passenger).
We left behind our two "devices" for home entertainment, a small Philco radio that let us listen to comedy and drama programs as well as play by play broadcasts of football games and a hand cranked phonograph similar to the one pictured below. We had only about ten 78-rpm records, none of them purchased by my parents but were left by the previous occupant of our living space.
One recording that I enjoyed a lot even though I didn't really know what it meant had an amusing (to me at the time) refrain that I misremembered as, "Henry, who's that knocking on the hen house door." Decades later, in a fit of nostalgic search for childhood memories, I searched online music lyric databases in vain to try to find that song.
Then, lo and behold, the other day as I was decluttering my possessions, I discovered a folder that held four of these 78-rpm records that for reasons I can't imagine, we had brought along with us from Macon to San Francisco over 50 years ago. And, it brought tears to my eyes when I found the 1926 recording of "Knocking on the Hen House Door"....there was no Henry in the song after all. Moreover as the image of the record below shows, the banjo performer and composer was identified as Doc Walsh....someone I had no information about but google informed me that he was a well regarded country music performer of the 1920s.
Knocking On the Hen House Door
And, miracle of miracles, YouTube actually had a recording of Knocking on the Hen House Door, but I warn you that in the 1920s, the term, nigger, was commonplace in referring to black people.
In the refrain of the song, the singer repeatedly asks the !*# "nigger" to stop knocking on the hen house door.
Our One Chinese Record
We did have one Chinese record that my brother George and I played incessantly. It has a martial air, and we marched around the room as it blared forth. Learned later it was composed in the 1930s as a tribute to the Chinese resistance against the Japanese in the 1930s before WW II. Known as the March of the Volunteers, it was later adopted as the National Anthem of the People's Republic of China.
|Posted by John Jung on August 10, 2016 at 4:15 PM||comments (0)|
Unable to read, write, or speak English well even after living in the U. S. for over 25 years (mostly in Macon, Georgia), a few years after moving to San Francisco mother decided to learn how to read and write English so she could apply for citizenship.
It was not easy, but she was determined and spent countless hours doing homework late in the evening after her Chinatown class. Most of the words and phrases they learned for becoming a citizen were not especially interesting or relevant as illustrated below.
When she took the citizenship test, she had to indicate she would be willing to bear arms for the U. S. or was ever a member of the Communist party.
That was bad enough but she also had to deny ever being a prostitute or had ever been a narcotic addict.
Mother voted in the national election after she became a naturalized citizen in 1964. However, once she was on the voting rolls, she received a notice summoning her for jury duty, something that was too intimidating for her, she never voted again.
Somehow, one day in 1972 she got to meet the Mayor of San Francisco, Joseph Alioto, in a photo op, which was surprising as she was not much of a political person
|Posted by John Jung on October 1, 2012 at 12:20 AM||comments (0)|
Our parents had a small collection of 78 rpm phonograph records (the only kind in the 1940s before the new obsolete 33 and 45 rpm formats existed). We had to crank the handle of the nonelectric phonograph to get the turntable to spin, I never saw my parents play any of the records, which may be because they had no time or also because they had records of songs such as "For Me and My Gal," Begin the Beguine," and "The Vamp." They did have ONE Chinese record, and as kids, George and I loved to play that record frequently even though we could not understand the Chinese lyrics. I later learned the music on it was China's National Anthem, known as the "March of the Volunteers." It had a military drum roll, a brief incantation (in Chinese) which I assumed was some sort of call to arms, followed by marching music, which encouraged us to march around the room several times until the record ended. The version on YouTube is not the same one that we had, but is close enough and it also gives the lyrics which I never knew.
March of the Volunteers ( traditional Chinese: 義勇軍進行曲; pinyin: Yìyǒngjūn Jìnxíngqǔ, the national anthem of the People's Republic of China was written by the noted poet and playwright Tian Han with music composed by Nie Er. The piece was first performed as part of a 1934 Shanghai play and its original lyrics are the official lyrics of the national anthem. In 2004, a provision that the March of the Volunteers be the national anthem was added to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China as Article 136.
|Posted by John Jung on February 14, 2012 at 11:55 PM||comments (0)|
Updated information for people interested in George and his life than Southern Fried Rice provided can be found at this website.