MARY'S GENEALOGY TREASURES
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The Chinamen - Seven Persons

Seven Persons - Once Hundred Sixty Acres and a Dream

Chapter 29

Among the conglomerate nationalities of this new community centre came at least two men from China. One had a laundry business in the north-east part of town. Children, on their way to school, would peek into his shop to watch him hurrying at work. He wouldn't say anything, and laughed uproarously if they did. He washed clothes in tubs and hung these garments out to dry on a clothesline. His pressing iron was big and heavy. There must have been demand for his services, for he continued on for a few years.

Another of his countrymen had constructed and operated "The Chinese Cafe". It was better known as "The Chinks". No name for him seemed to have been ever known or recalled as having been used. His cafe was between the Seven Persons Trading Store and the Post Office. He served meals and coffee and lunches, and sold such items as tobacco, candy and gum. Sometimes he had firecrackers to sell. His cafe was rather bare and undecorated except for two or three beautiful Chinese calendars, which were hung upon the wall, luminous and glittering, with some Chinese ideographs.

"What you want -- breakfast?" he asked Tom McDonald.

"Yes, please," was the reply. "May I have bacon and eggs?"

"Allight, bac'n aigs comin' up. You new here? Velly good place, Se'n Pehsn. Velly good people you like."

He was kind and cheerful at all times.

Mrs. Edith Ellingson, who lived on the Edwardson farm in 1918, told this story. "My husband and his hired man were taking wheat to the elevator in Seven Persons so I requested that they buy a few loaves of bread, so that I wouldn't have to bake. This they did and we had some of this bread for supper. I was chagrinned when my husband said, "Did you see that Chinaman mixing dough in the back room?"

"O yes," said the hired man. "He was using his feet to knead a big pan of the doughy mass."

"Perhaps that's what gives this bread that special flavor," suggested my husband.

"I knew they were joking," said Mrs. Ellingson, "but I could not eat any more of that bread. I set a sponge of yeast that evening, and I didn't order 'bought bread' again for a while."

Children were enthralled by the abacus the Chinaman used so deftly. With it in his hand he could make change to any transaction so very quickly. He did not want any one to touch it.

"Show me how to use it," said Fritz Tonberg. "I'd like to take it to school. That old teacher gives us so much adding to do. I don't understand subtractions either. I could count on beads like you do."

After some years the Chinaman moved away and was heard of no more.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup