5 feet tall and just stunning.
Priscilla Chen, my mother is the most unexpected warrior you would ever expect to meet.
She came to the United States when she 7 years old.
Born in Guangzhou, China where my grandmother was forced into an arranged marriage to my grandfather.
On the day of her birth, my Great-Grandmother brought her infant Granddaughter over to her Mother who had just given birth, what followed was a basin of water placed bedside. My mother was delivered at home, by my grandfather’s family.
Looking at the basin of water my grandmother asked “Is this for me to wash the baby?”
The answer… “It’s a girl, it’s for you to drown her”
My Grandmother, born and raised in America refused, she was locked in a room and starved for her defiance of her in-law’s wishes.
All of this taking place from the moment she refused to drown her baby girl.
At 7 my mother came to the USA.
She grew up on the lower east side and life wasn’t easy.
The family had grown to 7 and money was scarce.
My grandfather was a chef and worked many jobs to make ends meet.
My mother’s family had finally built their own restaurant in a Brooklyn Ghetto.
Patron’s often ran out without paying the bill.
Customers would return take-out boxes of food they filled with new paper and a layer of their food order to camouflage and demand their money back.
My Uncle Howard was waiting tables as a small child, heckled by the very course clientele.
While in her teens my grandmother wanted to find my mother a suitable husband.
There was one guy that my grandmother was determined to match my mother with, he was a med student, working his way through school and taking Tai Chi lessons with this incredible Tai Chi Master he would tell my mother endless stories about.
Even mom was impressed by this guy she had never met and one day this suitor, as an attempt to take her out said he wanted to bring my mother to meet his master.
My mom was 16.
She met this skinny guy with soft hands and gentle voice named William CC Chen, he was 30.
This was the one and only time they ever met.
2 years later my mother was fighting with her mother about going to the prom and my mom who went to an all girls school wanted to ask a guy friend of her’s to take him, my grandparents said no, so mom said if they didn’t allow her to ask him she would just ask the next person who walked into their Chinese Restaurants, in the ghettos of Brooklyn.
William CC Chen, like a cue in a movie walks through the door just at that moment. 2 years after meeting my mom for the first and only time.
My grandparents were falling all over this very famous martial artist.
After fussing allover dad and cooking for him, dad even went into the kitchen to help wash the dishes… Even I know that this was a dead give away as to why dad happened to walk into this Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn when he lived in Manhattan, in midtown.
Eventually my grandmother had to ask my dad for my mother to take her to the prom, he happily obliged.
Another 2 years later they were married. 3 Ducks, their feathered babies, in a studio apartment in Washington Square Village and 10 years later, I was born.