The other day, out of the blue, I received an e-mail from a young Chinese woman about the positive impact that reading about the lives of children from Chinese laundries had on her.
"I am a daughter of the owners of a 24-hour Chinese laundromat in Queens, NYC. My parents speak little English, which leaves me with the task of doing everything that requires English for the business (e.g. bookkeeping, dealing with belligerent customers and suppliers, etc.), whilst establishing my own career and attending graduate school full-time. To add to this, our only employee for the wash & fold services recently went on a permanent maternity leave. After much practice, I can now fulfill a 45-pound order of laundry in under 2 hours.
When I came across your book at the Museum Of Chinese in America, I was both excited and a bit peeved. Excited that such a historical account on the Chinese-run laundromat business in America actually exists, but a bit annoyed that you had beat me to the punch, as I had been ruminating on writing exactly the same book. Joking aside, thank you for such a treasure. After reading the chapter on "Lives of Chinese Laundry Children", I felt great pride in my unique experiences, and was very happy to have my thoughts and feelings normalized."
This testimonial definitely illustrates the power of personal stories to inspire other people experiencing similar difficult circumstances.