magazine: 20th Century Foxes
Interviews by Lynn
Peters Adler, Founder and Director, National Centenarian Awareness
A Century of
Kiu Yee, 100
Born: July 16, 1899; Canton, China
Resides: San Francisco, Calif.
Descendants: 9 children, 41 grandchildren, 37 great grandchildren,
4 great-great-grandchildren, Occupation: Homemaker
Lui Kiu Yee was married by arrangement at age 18 in her native
China. Her husband, who had already emigrated to the U.S., traveled
back and forth throughout their married years, working in the
States and saving money to support his family in China. In 1966,
Lui finally joined him in California (the entire family eventually
settled there) and quickly adjusted to her new surroundings:
"The Chinese are very adaptable. We get used to new places
very easily." She currently lives in her own apartment in
a seniors' residence.
What was the most important thing
that happened for women during this century?
There have been so many changes. In China, in 1911, that was
the year of the Revolution. Before that, all the wealthy ladies
had to tie the girls' feet when they were five or six years old.
Women were supposed to stay home and take care of children, and
we had to wear a hat and cover our faces in public.
How did it affect your life?
After the Revolution, ladies did not have to tie their feet.
This was so good for me, because I only had to do it for a few
years. Some ladies had feet as small as three inches. I was lucky.
I can walk normal. All of my life I have been thankful for this.
What advice would you give to girls
You have to be able to take care of yourselves. Support your
family and take care of each other. Be strong, be tough, and
teach your kids to respect their parents and grandparents.
More about Mrs. Yee
Lynn recently celebrated Chinese New Year's with Mrs.Yee and
her family at a restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown and gives
this additional glimpse into Mrs. Yee's fascinating life.
Celebrating Chinese New Year's.
From left to right are Cindy Wong
(Mrs.Yee's granddaughter), Kristie
(Cindy's 8-year old daughter), Lynn Adler
"Mrs. Yee's favorite dish at our dim sum feast was the chicken
feet! Having tried this delicacy once many years ago in Hong
Kong (where they are sold from stands on the street, as we sell
hot dogs in this country especially in New York City),
I passed and generously gave my portion to Mrs. Yee! She was
delighted, and I was relieved!
"At the table just beside us there was a family also
of four generations, with the grandmother 98 years old. I found
it interesting that she knew Mrs.Yee and they exchanged pleasantries
in Cantonese dialect.
"It was very interesting for me to observe the respect
given by younger generations to their elders, both inside the
restaurant and on the sidewalk and street outside. Young men
were opening doors and rushed to stop traffic as we crossed the
busy street. None of the children in the restaurant were playing
with hand-held computer games or coloring or reading books, as
is so often the case at family gatherings in public restaurants
all over this country. The young people were engaged in conversation
with their elders, and the elders were an integral part of the
group. The noise level was deafening, and everyone was having
a very good time! The parents and grandparents and great grandparents
were not "tolerated" as is so often observed at American
gatherings, by their descendents. I was very pleased to see this.
"20th Century Foxes" >>>