Imagine — You are Hung Wah and it’s 1880

I am Hung Wah. It is 1880, I’m 45 years old, and a few days ago my laundry business was blown up, decimated even, by unknown villians.

This cowardly act has not only left me feeling enraged but also with a million thoughts going through my head as to how to strike back at the guys who did this, anti-Chinese whites probably, but since I don’t actually know if that was the case, I won’t do anything. As for going to the authorities, there’s no point. Even if they know who did it, they wouldn’t do anything about and that’s because I’m Chinese.

Yet, there’s sunlight through the rain clouds. In other words, despite the loss of the washhouse, I am left with many fortunate options because of my current wealth status.

But then none of these options are perfect. This is due to the fact that life here in Auburn is in fact hard and demanding.

To make matters worse, the Chinese tolerance in Auburn has been diminishing exponetially. I have even heard that Congress might soon pass a law prohibiting the immigration of Chinese into the United States. Indeed this possibility is formidable, yet I want to get my life sorted out before it is too late.

The truth is that I am ready to marry and settle down in Auburn. So what am I to do?

After having given it much thought, I have decided to go back to China, but only long enough to find a wife , six months at the most, I figure. Then I want to come back to Auburn.

Once back in Auburn, I will open a lumber cutting business on the same land where the washhouse used to stand.

Then, once the lumber business has had some success, I will have some kids and build a house in either Auburn’s Chinatown or in a less populated area of Auburn. In either case, I want to live as far away from anti-Chinese whites as possible.

If the lumber business fails then I would just lease the property.

I am not too worried about the future because I am resilient — dauntless even — and no matter what happens I will figure it out and succeed.

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High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.

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Peter Paccone

Peter Paccone

High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.