Ouyang Homecoming

This group blog tells the first person story of an extended Chinese American Family who reunited online and organized a trip to their ancestral roots in China.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"I'm coming home to Dai Liang from America!" -By Sharon F

"I'm coming home to Dai Liang from America!" How can that be? I was born in America to Chinese parents, my Chinese father and my Chinese-American mother. I am preparing to return to the ancestral home of my Owyang grandfather Gon Sing. How did this China trip come to be? Let me begin from the start.

My grandfather Gon Sing, the youngest of three brothers and son of a lichee grower, came to America around 1912 as a student. He arrived in San Francisco, worked in a laundry and attended school to learn English. The opportunity arose to relocate and to farm the fertile soil of the Delta, along the Sacramento River. His wife Lum Shee arrived 3 years later with their second son Ah Lum. My mother Marion Owyang was the oldest daughter among the 8 children born between 1915 and 1925. I am fortunate that my grandmother and later my mother are good story-tellers, each sharing their individual lives in China and America. It is their stories that led me to learn more of my Owyang heritage.

Two years ago I organized a Owyang reunion in the Delta, in the town of Isleton, close to one of the farms in which my Grandfather was a share-cropper. My mother throughout my life told me that her surname was unique, that those with the Owyang surname came from the same village in China, the village of Dai Liang. With the names and addresses of Owyang relatives that my mother had in her address book, I began to send flyers of an upcoming reunion. The news of a reunion spread among the Owyang community, the end result being the attendance of more than 200, cousins and their families. At the reunion it was suggested that we Owyangs return to Dai Liang, our ancestral village, as a group.

I am a third generation Owyang, to return to my grandfather's birthplace, to his father's birthplace, and so on up the family tree. I am returning with my first cousins, with my third cousin, with my third cousin-once removed, with my seventh cousin, etc. Cousin Michael Ho has established how each of us are connected with each other, he being able to read and understand the Owyang genealogy book of 4700 years.

This is not my first trip to Dai Liang as I visited in 1991 with my mother and my daughter, 3 generations of Owyangs. Although my cousins had torn down the home of their father, the brother of my mother who never came to America, and rebuilt a modern 3-story house the village as a whole remained rural, pigs running in the streets, rice fields with water buffaloes surrounding the homes, vendors selling fresh/cooked food in open markets. In the past 15 years since I was there, I am told that the village is now surrounded by high-rise buildings, factories, evidence of rice fields disappearing. The village of the past is no longer there. What I will discover I cannot envision. " I am coming home to Dai Liang from America".

thoughts of the granddaughter of Owyang Gon Sing
Sharon F.


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