Sometimes my interviewees pop up unexpectedly. In October 2013 I attended the Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Award Ceremony to honor my friend Deepka Lalwani.
As I headed out, a woman stopped me and asked, "Will you take our picture?" I snapped several photos of this happy group, including the woman who looked vaguely familiar. When I returned her camera, she said the same of me. “Don’t I know you?”
|Deepka Lalwani Receives Leadership Award|
Turns out she was about to attend my talk on My Half of the Sky, and had a picture of me and my book on her desk at home. Turns out I had attended her presentation on the recent discovery of an old Chinese village in Pacific Grove and Monterey.
“The aura of fate,” she called it.
We’ve been in touch ever since.
I’d heard part of Gerry Low-Sabado’s findings on the Chinese history in the Monterey area, but I wanted the whole thing. Although she lives in Fremont, she suggested we meet 90 miles away in Monterey, where she would drive me to the important markers. I thought we’d only be together for a couple of hours. But I soon discovered that being with Gerry is an event. As she said, “I can’t be on a tight schedule. Life just happens. I don’t do, ‘Sorry I can’t talk to you. I have an appointment.’ I just succumb to the now.”
She reminded me of the female version of Billy Lee, reaching out and talking to everyone on the street as if they were old friends, sharing the story of the Chinese village in Pacific Grove/Monterey over and over and over until I, too, found myself reaching out to people to share it. I was with her all day long.
When I thanked her for her time, she said, “Well, just the way we met. It was meant to be. If I hadn’t handed you the camera, we would have just gone our own ways. If you said, ‘Sorry I have to go,’ it wouldn’t have happened. It took two of us to make that happen. So I appreciate people who will take the time to stop and listen.”
(To be continued. Next: Pt Lobos is not just Nature. It’s History.)