Linda Susan Jew
Great-granddaughter of Chin Lin Sou
Interviewee: Linda Susan Jew, Great-granddaughter
Interviewed by: Connie Young Yu and Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Interview Date: September 11, 2013
Location: San Francisco, California
Length of Interview: 13 minutes, 27 seconds
00:12 Linda Jew: My name is Linda Jew. I was born in 1949, in Denver, Colorado. I am living now in Parker, Colorado. My mother was Wawa Chin, the number two daughter of Willie Chin, and great-grand-granddaughter of Chin Lin Sou.
00:40 Interviewer: Tell us about your folks and the kind of work they did in Denver.
00:48 Jew: Mom had a hard time. She went to Colorado Women’s College for a couple of years and got her degree in business. When her father Willie died, and so then, they couldn’t afford to go on to school, so she had to go on and find work to help support the family. She was having a hard time finding a job because there was discrimination. So she worked in Remington Arms, where they made bullets for the War.
01:28 Then finally, she was waiting tables at a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. One of her customers, her regular customers, asked her why she was working there – she had a college degree – she says, because nobody will hire me, he says, well I will hire you. So he hired her as a secretary of work at the Winter Weiss, the barge making company. So she worked there for a while until she got married.
02:00 She married my father, who was a chef in California – Richardson Springs – then he came to Colorado and tried to open a restaurant here, but it never succeeded. He died when my sister and I were about five or six, something like that. So my mom had a hard time getting, well, she couldn’t find work because she had two small children. So we went to live with Uncle Ed, Ed Chin, who was Willie Chin’s younger son – second son – and my grandmother, Daisy Chin. So we stayed with them and grew up there in Park Hill.
02:56 And Uncle Ed was more like our father than my own father was. He worked at Martin Marietta, helped build the Titan Missile. He was on the Titan Missile Project. He was the one that was in World War II in the Army Air Force and landed in North Africa in Tunisia. The only thing he ever talked about – this was Willie Chin’s number 2 son – was about the war. He did not like it, and he respected the Germans even though he had to fight them. He said he didn’t like the way people made fun of Germans as being Nazis. He said not all Germans were Nazis. They were very smart and fought the war well. And he, the only thing he told us, was they landed in North Africa in the middle of the night and told them to stay on the beach till sun up, don’t move until sun up, and when the sun came up, he was surrounded by dead bodies, and he never talked about it anymore. He went through Italy, oh what is that place in Italy, [Interviewer: Anza?] Anzio, he did say he went to Rome and got to see the pope.
04:35 And years later, they were having, they were inviting veterans back who were in World War II, to come back to Italy, and he did not want to go. He said, I have seen enough of it and I don’t want to go anymore. I said: I am sure it’s changed, uncle. And he says, no. And he definitely didn’t want to go to Tunisia. He said: you could smell it before you could get *laughs awkwardly* before you even got off the boat, there in Tunisia. So it was hard for him.
05:12 Uncle Bill was the opposite. He talked about his time in China and in Burma, being a Flying Tigers. And he talked about it all the time, with it being the best part of his time. Whereas Uncle Ed could never talk about it.
05:32 So, they were all our families. My Aunts, my Uncles, Willie Chin’s children were all helpful to in raising my sister and I, without my father. Because my mother was left penniless, everyone chipped in and we are all very close. Mom told my sister and [me], when we were growing up, that she wanted us to be good students, go to school, go to college, finish college, and work at least one year before you get married. She says I don’t want you to be dependent on some man, I want you to be able to take care of yourself. She pushed us – that was, we couldn’t do anything else except go to school and go to work afterward.
Linda’s mother Wawa See Jew attended Colorado Women’s college but struggled to find a job due to workplace discrimination. Linda’s uncles Edward and William Chin both fought in World War II, and William was more vocal about his experiences. Linda and Carolyn were raised in part by their extended family because their father had passed away and their mother struggled to find employment.
Chin Lin Sou (great-grandfather); Colorado Women’s College; Daisy Chin (grandmother); Denver Chinatown; Denver Colorado; Edward Chin (uncle); Flying Tigers; Italy; Jobs; Linda Susan Jew; Marriage; Martin Marietta; North Africa; Park Hill; Parker Colorado; Remmington Arms: Waitressing; Restaurants; Titan Missile project; Tunisia; Wawa See Jew (mother); William Chin/Bill (uncle); William/Willie Chin (grandfather); Winter Weiss company; Workplace discrimination; World War II
Chinese American children–Education Chinese American children–Family relationships Chinese American families Chinese American women–Employment Chinese Americans–Employment Discrimination in employment–United States World War II veteran histories
06:33 Interviewer: Your career, you want to talk about your life?
06:35 Jew: I was lucky enough to get into the Dental Hygiene program at the University of Colorado. I was in the first class. Our school wasn’t even built – the Dental School wasn’t even built yet – so we were, our clinic was in the bookstore at the medical school. And so, because we didn’t have classrooms, we had to use classrooms at [where] the medical students weren’t using, which was the cadaver lab. And so that’s where all our classroom were in, in the cadaver lab. I hated it there but I was getting a good education, so *laughs*. There was always a body in the background, and I was studying, I don’t always hear loud noises, I turn around and I was sure the body was getting up to come for me. But it never did. And I was lucky to be in there and I got a good career with dental hygiene. I am with a group now, coincidentally, who was called the Cody Dental group, which was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody’s nephew, so that’s where I work now. There’s a group of twelve dentists that run it, they’ve all been good to me.
08:00 My sister, she probably told you, she went to nursing school. She went to the University of Colorado School of Nursing, and she worked many years as a nurse. She got discouraged when she found out that the guy checking out at the supermarket was making more than she was as a nurse. She went back to school and became a nurse practitioner – technically it was a master’s in nursing – and then she still couldn’t get a job there. The doctors weren’t too sure what to do with a super-nurse. She went back again, to school, and became a computer programmer and worked for Hewlett-Packard for many years. Now, it has come to a full circle, and she is working back in a hospital again, as a trainer for doctors and nurses in computers and how to access records and things at the hospital. So I think mom was proud of us, that we did what we wanted her to do.
09:15 Carolyn got married and got a little girl from Shanghai, who is her daughter Jenna, who is now 15.
09:23 Interviewer: Yourself?
09:26 Jew: I, I. Mom said, “it’s been more than a year now, you can get married.” I said, “Okay Mom, when I am ready,” but I am not ready, so I wasn’t ready. So I never did. I have a dog, who is the, who is my boyfriend.
09:47 Interviewer: You live right in Denver?
09:49 Jew: I live in Parker, which is about thirty minutes south of Denver. It’s ranching and, they have lots of horses and goats. When we first moved there, there was just antelope and deer and coyotes and wolves running around. But it’s grown a lot. When we first moved to Parker, there were only four thousand people there, now there is about fifty thousand just in Parker. It’s stretched up, stretched all the way down to Castle Rock, to Colorado Springs. Now it is all built in. So, I love it there, I don’t think I would live anywhere else, outside of Denver.
Linda studied dental hygiene at University of Colorado and works at Cody dental group. Carolyn Huyn, her sister, went back to school and switched careers multiple times. Linda currently lives in Park Hill, Denver.
Buffalo Cody; Carolyn Huyn (sister); Cody dental group; Computer programming; Dental hygiene programs; Hewlett-Packard; Nurse practitioners; Nursing school; Parker Colorado; University of Colorado; Wawa See Jew (mother)
Chinese American children–Education Chinese American women–Employment University of Colorado
10:36 Interviewer: Do you have a sense of this history? Of your great-grandfather having contributed to the building of Colorado?
10:42 Jew: I am very proud of him, my great grandfather. I wish they had given him more credit for what he did. I know it was Abraham Lincoln who said, who ordered, the Transcontinental Railroad to be built. And he did credit the Chinese for building it, from the West to Utah. I think, if it wasn’t for Abraham Lincoln and my great grandfather, I wouldn’t be here.
11:21 Interviewer: Did you find that after the stained glass window was put up, the mural, the convention center, the history is more on people’s minds, or is it still largely ignored?
11:32 Jew: That stained glass window was built in 1976 and he still hasn’t gotten credit for it in the Colorado history museum. And that’s when Carolyn got a little riled, went down there and said, “My great grandfather is a pioneer here. And there’s nothing in this museum about him and there’s a stained glass there, why is that?” And a man said, “that’s a good question.” *laughs* So, she’s arming herself now, and speaking with you people from Stanford, she’s going to go there and say, this is what we are doing and this is why you need to get something in the museum.
12:18 A lot of the information was incorrect and it was driving us crazy because they were calling Willie Chin, Chin Lin Sou and getting the generations all mixed up.
12:40 I saw one article that said he came in 1879. Well, that was wrong because the railroads were being built in the1860s. So he came in the 1850s or 1859 or something. Whenever relatives come, I am always proud to take them down to the state capitol. His stained glass is in the state Senate office. And then I take them down to the convention center, where the mosaic of him is on the side of the convention center. So everybody is impressed.
13:26 Interviewer: Thank you. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
Linda feels proud of her great-grandfather’s accomplishments. Despite having the stained glass windows and a mosaic put up in the convention center, there is still a lack of representation for Chin Lin Sou and the family in the Colorado History Museum.
Abraham Lincoln; Carolyn Huyn (sister); Chin Lin Sou (great-grandfather); Chinese; Colorado; Colorado history museum; Colorado Senate office; Convention Center stained glass window; Pioneers; Transcontinental Railroad; William/Willie Chin (grandfather)
Colorado History Museum. Family history.
All materials on these pages © Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford.