Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sacramento 1931 to 1942

In the decade of the 1930s to the early 1940's the Kwai Wah School and the Chinese Church of Christ of Sacramento continued to grow. At the same time the Kwok family continued to grow as my grandmother and grandfather were raising their big family, Johnny, Andrew, Sarah, my mom Alice and Esther.

Here is a picture of my grandmother Ko Po Yung instructing class in the new church building circa early 1940's (see later in this post about the history of the church building )

Here is my grandfather instructing class.

The school became a major Chinese language school for the Sacramento Chinese community and many prominent members of the community learned Chinese as young students under the tutelage of my grandfather . One student was the late William Fong who later became a well respected and well loved physician in Sacramento for many years. Norma On , one of my mother's friends , who also attended the school wrote this remembrance of William Fong's time at Kwai Wah School :

"William’s intellect was well known not just in the public school system but
also at the Kwai Wah Chinese Language School. He was one of the four
outstanding students that was often called upon by Mr. Wai Shing Kwok to
stand up in front of class to translate our lessons written on a large
blackboard from English to Chinese. William and the others were always calm
and deliberate as they were aware of Mr. Kwok’s persona, a strict
disciplinarian who had a low tolerance for errors."

During the 1930's the Kai Wah School Marching Band was formed.

This is the picture of the Silver Cup given to the Kwai Wah School Band by the Committee of the 4th of July Celebration on July 4th, 1936.

During the 1930s  Reverend Kwok was of great help to the medical community.  In a "To Whom it May Concern "  letter Dr . William Beattie wrote the following letter expressing his appreciation for Rev. Kwok's help . (Click the photo to enlarge and read the letter).

"In a great number of instances when I am called to a Chinese family, it is necessary to have an interpreter. Mr. Kwok fills this position most satisfactorily, and he has always shown an eager willigness to respond to these requests. Again, Mr. Kwok, upon learning of illness in a Chinese family, calls upon the family, and if medical aid seems indicated, advises the family to call a doctor. I know of not a few instances when Mr. Kwok's services in such exigencies, has meant the saving of life.
Mr. Kwok is also greatly liked and admired by the Chinese citizenry, and seems peculiarly adapted to the work he is carrying on here. I am impressed by his sincerity  and his enthusiasm in the position he so ably fills in this community ."

My mom says that in turn Dr. Beattie provided free medical service to their family which was greatly appreciated as the Kwok family was of very limited means relying on donations from the Church parishioners and very meager teaching salaries from the school .
Here are some graduation pictures from this decade.

In 1939, a severe storm damaged the church building , and it had to be razed.

 With the help of the Reformed Church in America (RCA), a two-story building was put up to replace it.  Here is a picture of the new building being built.

Here is picture of the finished Church building from a Chinese Language newspaper clipping.

Here is a picture of the back entrance to the building that the Kwok family used. The Kwok family lived in the back of the church building. My mom says as a girl she used to climb out the side window and sunbathe on the flat roof above the door !

 In 1940 Rev. Kwok was received as a regular Ordained Minister of the Reformed Church of America and the Chinese Church of Christ of Sacramento was received into full membership of the Classis of California and the Reformed Church in America.  Here is the document verifying this change.

In the late 1930's and the early 1940's Chinese woman in America were involved in war relief efforts to support the embattled Republic of China which was being invaded by the Japanese. Madame Chiang Kai Shek made several trips to the United States in support of the war relief effort and was invited to address Congress. Here is my grandmother in the center front row with a large group of woman in support of the war relief effort. Behind the women are portraits of Sun Yat Sen the founder of the Republic of China and President and Mrs. Chiang Kai Shek and the flag of the Republic of China.

Rev.Kwok's eldest son, John, graduated from Sacramento High School in the Winter 1938 and was the oratorical speaker. His topic was “Our Education - A Continuous Process”. He was one of the few students honored as a “Permanent Member of the Scholarship Society”.

To end this post, I will share a family picture of the Kwok family circa 1940. In the back row is my Uncle Andy , my Aunt Sarah, my grandmother Ko Po Yung, my Uncle Johnny, and seated are my mother Alice, my Grandfather Wai Shing, and my Aunt Esther.

No comments:

Post a Comment