Before the brave, before the proud builders and workers,
I say I want the wide American earth
For all the free.
I want the wide American earth for my people.
I want my beautiful land.
I want it with my rippling strength and tenderness
Of love and light and truth
For all the free.
- Carlos Bulosan
My paternal grandfather was one of the original guest workers who left the Philippines for Salinas and then returned. I don't know my dad's side very well but I do remember as a kid we visited Salinas once and spent time with an American (white) family who knew him and shared their memories. I thought of him, who came in the first wave of immigration, and my mother, who came in the second wave, during the I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story exhibit. The exhibit was familiar territory for anyone who took the intro Asian-Am studies class at Cal, and there was new (to me) info, like the many Sikh-Mexican families in California. Part of the exhibit was a short play on hyphenate Americans who fought in WWII. It was pretty cool, and I was heartened to see a lot of school kids and families in the audience. Of course, I read Carlos Bulosan's novel America is in the Heart, one of the few seminal works of Fil-Am literature, but I wasn't as familiar with his poetry, so I'm happy to see that one of his poems inspired the title of the exhibit. This is all part of Baby Z's heritage now.
One of the oldest Capitol Hill institutions, Frager's Hardware, was destroyed in a huge fire last night. Thankfully no one was hurt, but I'm saddened by the hopefully temporary loss of a neighborhood store. We buy our Christmas tree there every year, and we were last there a couple of months ago to buy new knobs for the dresser we now use as a changing table.