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1:25 - Introductions

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Partial Transcript: "My name is Eleanor der Bing. I was born in Sacramento, California 90 years ago."

Keywords: bound feet; California; China; Chinese; Sacramento

Subjects: California; childhood; name

2:27 - Growing up and Family

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Partial Transcript: "Well I grew up in Sacramento, California like I said 90 years ago. And because of the
Chinese exclusion, my mother did not come to the United States until she was 40 years old and
she came by Angel Island and of course they were interrogated."

Keywords: Angel Island; Brother; California; Canton; China; Chinese Exclusion Act; Father; Mother; Sacramento

Subjects: Brother; Father; Mother

4:19 - Growing up and Neighborhood

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Partial Transcript: "I was one of them. My mother had to go to work and when she leaves for work she would
say well that was before then, she would leave me with somebody in a grocery store and I would
sit there and they told me I just sat there and they feed me until I was like three or four years old."

Keywords: Asparagus; Bound feet; Canners; Cantonese; Chinese neighborhood; Chinese school; Cotton; Delmonte; Discrimination; Grocery Store; Japanese; Key; Latch Key Kid; Neighbors house; Primary school; Segregation; Uniforms

Subjects: Blacks; Canners; Chinese; Chinese ladies; Family; Japanese; Mother; Neighbors; Spanish

10:05 - The Depression

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Partial Transcript: "Oh yes. I remember going to a truck and buy a loaf of bread for 10 cents, or something
like that."

Keywords: Bread; Chinese food; Chinese restaurant; Lunch money; Money; Struggle; Work

Subjects: Asians; Family; Girlfriends

12:57 - First Part-time Job and College

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Partial Transcript: "Yes I do, I was going to school, college. Sacramento college. And I pass by the sign of
tests being given by the state of California retiring system. So I went into my school books and
everything, so I took the test and I scored 99.5% and they want me to go to work right away."

Keywords: Dropped out; Promotions; Records; Retirement system; Sacramento College; State of California; Typing

Subjects: Sacramento College; State of California

14:28 - After College

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Partial Transcript: "Well, I didn't finish college like I said I went to work for the State of California and when
I was working at the state of California, I got married. And when I got married, my husband mother-in-law decided we have to go back to North Virginia because she had a
restaurant to run and she need her son to run it."

Keywords: Bankruptcy; Civil Servant; Husband; Kids; Marriage; Mother-in-law; Naval Base; Printing shop; Procurement Department; Restaurant; State of California; Virginia

Subjects: Fort Eustis; Husband; Kids; Naval Base; State of California

15:36 - Moving to Houston and Getting Jobs at NASA

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Partial Transcript: "When I was
working in the naval base, my husband said he got offered a job by the space task group. I've
never heard of an astronaut, I've never heard of going to moon or anything."

Keywords: Air force base; Astronauts; Houston; NASA; Procurement; Space task group

Subjects: Houston; Husband; NASA

17:01 - Childhood

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Partial Transcript: "No because most of the ladies she socialized with are just like her. You know, bound feet,
speak Chinese, adhere to all the Chinese holidays, they don't celebrate Christmas. Mostly
Chinese New Year and you know all the dates."

Keywords: American culture; Assimiliation; Cemetary; Chinese community; Chinese Exclusion Act; Chinese holidays; Government

Subjects: Mother

19:37 - Experiences with Discrimination

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Partial Transcript: "Well, the worst is in Sacramento. I went to Walgreen to try to buy something. And that
girl waits on everybody before she came to me and I complained to the manager. I say "you don't
want Asian to work, to come here to buy things, just putt a sign outside". That's what I told them."

Keywords: Discrimination; Dragon Lady; Equal Opportunity Counselor; Sacramento; Walgreens

Subjects: Asians; Dragon Lady; Girl; Walgreens

21:09 - Experiences with Promotions and Negotiations

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Partial Transcript: "Okay. For years and years, I was always accompanied to toastmasters. So I have to join
that time."

Keywords: Asian culture; Assertive; Conventions; Dragon Lady; Job opening; NASA; Negotiations; Organization of Chinese Americans; Presentations; Promotions; Toastmasters

Subjects: Boeing; Contractor; Director; Dragon Lady; Elaine Chao; Husband; Josephine; NASA

29:43 - Discrimination at NASA

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Partial Transcript: "That's when I got the book I didn't know they wrote a book about it, Hidden Figures. You
heard about it. Hidden Figure, yeah."

Keywords: Colored restrooms; Discrimination complaint; Hidden Figures; Men; Minority; NASA; Procurement team

Subjects: Co-negotiator; Hidden Figures; Husband; Men; NASA

32:36 - Working and Experiences during World War II

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Partial Transcript: "I think the other races have more than we do and then I don't think my mother understand
some of the privilege that you can get because they don't understand the system in the United

Keywords: Cannery; Chinese school; Communication; Delmonte; Draft; Drum and Bugle Corp; Green shoes; Internment camps; Japan; Japanese classmates; Manpower shortage; Marching band; Ninth grade; Reunions; Schools; War; War effort; World War II

Subjects: High Schoolers; Japan; Japanese; Men

37:19 - Meeting her Husband

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Partial Transcript: "One of my girlfriends came over and introduce me to him. He wanted to meet me."

Keywords: Army service; Dating; First date; GI bill; Growing up; Husband; Norfolk; Sacramento; Virginia; Walking; Wedding

Subjects: Girlfriend; Girlfriend's mother; Husband; Mother-in-law

42:06 - After Marriage, Moving to Virginia, Running a Restaurant

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Partial Transcript: "After I got married, I still work for the State of California, and he was going to school, and
I n--when he asked (?)--but then the only thing is that we had a baby, uh, he was born 1947. JulyJune--July.
July 30th."

Keywords: Baby; Competition; Cooking; Der Bing's Chinese Kitchen; Mother-in-law; Restaurant; State of California; Take out

Subjects: Baby; Der Bing's Chinese Kitchen; Husband; Kids; Mother-in-law

44:47 - Moving Back to Houston

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Partial Transcript: "That's because after we um, after we, uh, lost that business, I told Bill, I'm gonna--I wanna
go home. And so then he say he will take me back home."

Keywords: Air Force One; Army; Goodwill tour; Home; Houston; Jobs; NASA; Traveling

Subjects: Astronauts; Husband; President Johnson

46:45 - Having Kids, Relation with Mother-in-law

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Partial Transcript: "Uh, I had Junior in Sacramento. And Debbie and Dinah (?) born in Norfolk."

Keywords: American culture; Chinese; Chinese culture; Daughters; Diverse neighbors; Funeral; Hawaii; Marriage; Norfolk; Raising kids; Sacramento; Son

Subjects: Daughters; Mother; Mother-in-law; Neighbors; Son

50:16 - Identity as an Asian-American

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Partial Transcript: "I identify myself as Chinese-American. I would not leave the Chinese out."

Keywords: Asian-American; China; China Republic; Chinese Professionalism Club; Chinese-American; Cultural Revolution; Discrimination; Government; Hong-Kong; President; Republic of China; Taiwan

Subjects: Asian-American; Chinese-American; Nixon

55:42 - Involvement with Chinese Community in Houston

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Partial Transcript: "Oh, I got inv--I got involved immediately upon when, when Bill and I came to Houston,
because Bill and I do not work on weekends or at night because we don't have a grocery store,
we don't have a, a restaurant or anything."

Keywords: Bill; Bowling; Chinese Baptist Church; Chinese Professional Club; Chinese-American Citizen Alliance; Kids; Miss Chinatown Pageant; Miss Chinatown USA; Sylvan Beach

Subjects: Bill; Kids; Local girls

61:27 - How Houston has Changed, Religious Involvement

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Partial Transcript: "Well, we used to know everybody; when we go to a restaurant we see ev--
see everybody. We know who's--their name, everything. Now we go in there, we don't know
anybody, all, you know, and then there's never been (?) so many Chinese restaurants."

Keywords: Chinatown; Chinese restaurants; Church; Houston; Kids

Subjects: Chinese kids; Neighbors

63:47 - Story of Getting Robbed Recently

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Partial Transcript: "Somebody followed me in and they didn't have a guard at the gate here, and--because he
was making a round, checking all the doors."

Keywords: Guard; Residential building; Robbing

Subjects: Guard; Robber

66:20 - Further Involvement with Houston Chinese Community

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Partial Transcript: "I was involved very much with, uh, in uh, in Houston with the Chinese community. In
fact, when Martha Wong ran for Council--"

Keywords: Award; Block Walk; City Council; Martha Wong; State Rep

Subjects: Cookie Joe; Glenda Joe; Martha Wong

68:10 - Favorite Decade, Favorite Movie, Proudest Achievement

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Partial Transcript: "Oh, oh. My favorite is, um... oh. I hate to say this. During the World War II, when we
were working, and all my girlfriends, we had fun, we were just like a... a, um, we were some
like--we were helping the war effort, we felt like we were doing something."

Keywords: Asian Pacific Hertiage; Book; Crochet; Equal Opportunity Counselor; NASA; Ombudsman; Sound of Music; World War II

Subjects: Bill Der Bing; Husband; Japanese astronaut; Lorna Onizuka


Interviewee: Eleanor der Bing

Interviewers: Tian-tian He, Xingyi Li

Date/ Time of Interview: June 15th, 2017

Transcribed by: Tian-tian He, Xingyi Li

Audio Track Time: 1:21:31


Eleanor der Bing was born in 1922 in Sacramento, California. Her parents immigrated from Canton, China to the United States and his father passed away when she was 2 years old. They lived in a neighborhood with all Chinese and Japanese in Sacramento. She has been through the Great Depression, World War II and Civil Right Movement. Eleanor went to Sacramento college and got a job in California Retirement Center as a procurement agent. She then quitted the college and got married with Bill der Bing when she was 20. After they got married and had their first child, the couple moved to Norfolk, VA to run the family restaurant "Der Bing's Kitchen". After the restaurant closed, Eleanor found a job in the Naval Base in Virginia. Afterwards, Eleanor and her husband moved to Houston to work in NASA. Eleanor worked in the procurement team and was known as the "Dragon Lady" in the negotiation team. She retired in 1989.


The interview focuses on Eleanor der Bing's life history, discrimination, and her work experience. The interview took place in Buckingham Nursing Home in Woodway Dr., Houston in Eleanor's apartment.


EDB: Eleanor der Bing

TH: Tien-tian He

XL: Xingyi Li

-: Speech cuts off, abrupt stop

--: Speech trails off; pause

Italics: Emphasis

(?): Preceding word may not be accurate

Brackets: Actions (laughs, sighs, etc.)


[Chit chat and preparing the equipment]


TH: My name is Tian-tian He.

XL: And my name is Xingyi Li.

TH: And we're here on June 15th, 2017 in the Buckingham in Eleanor der Bing's apartment to interview for the Houston Asian American Archive. So, can you please state your name and when and where you were born?

EDB: My name is Eleanor der Bing. I was born in Sacramento, California 90 years ago.


TH: And what's you maiden name?

EDB: My maiden name is Qian but that's a paper name. My real Chinese name is Lew, L-E-W.

TH: Did you have a Chinese name?

EDB: Yes.

TH: What was it?

EDB: You want me to say it in Chinese?

TH: Yeah

XL: Yeah

EDB: Lew Fong Gang.

TH: Oh, so can you describe where you grew up?

EDB: Oh I grew up in Sacramento, California like I said 90 years ago. And I, because of the Chinese Exclusion Act, my mother did not come to the United States until she was 40 years old, and she came by Angel Island and of course they were interrogated. I don't know how she had got through but she got through and I was born when she was 44 years old. She has bound feet, did not speak 3:00English. My brother is 17 years older than I, and he was born in China.

TH: Where did they come from? From China?

EDB: Um, Canton.

TH: Um, so did your father come earlier?

EDB: Yes, but he died when I was 2 years old, so I don't know that much about him, but he came and I noticed that I- I was writing an autobiography of myself and it was just three years ago I found out he was adopted. I did not know that he was adopted. But he came to United States. I guess the family must be rich and sent him here, over here. And he is educated because he has beautiful Chinese writing. I've seen that. And he was the, I don't know what you call it, in the gambling place he always wear suits and he takes care of the debts owned by the people that gambled there; and he has books with names, how much- how 4:00much they own in Chinese. I remember seeing them and, its beautiful handwriting.

XL: Yeah it's like the, that's kind of like computer, like that kind of Chinese old fashioned calculator? The Abacus?

EDB: The abacus, yeah.

TH: So, what kind of neighborhood did you grow up in?

EDB: Um, well. You ever heard of latch key kid?

TH: Yes.

EDB: I was one of them. My mother had to go to work and when she leaves for work, she would say, well that was before then. She would leave me with somebody in a grocery store and I'll, I'll sit there and they told me I just sat there, and they feed me until I was like three or four years old. And then, she would wore key around my neck and sent me to one of the neighbor's house and I stayed 5:00there all day 'til she comes home. And they were working at DelMonte, with asparagus, that's asparagus country there, in Sacramento. And all the ladies, Chinese ladies, they all lived together, they can't live anywhere else out of discrimination there. So it's almost like living in a fish pool, everybody knows everybody. So, I lived in the neighborhood which was all Chinese and we know everybody. And there's some Japanese and hardly any blacks or Spanish, just mostly Chinese and a sprinkling of Japanese. And they do have a Chinese school and I attend Chinese school. I went up to Chu Zhong You, you know what that is, up to the seventh grade.

TH: Okay.

XL: Uh, what is that sorry?

EDB: What

XL: Can you- Can you say that again?

EDB: What was that?

XL: Can you say that again? Uh, What did you learn? Chu zhong yeu? What was that?

TH: I think- I think she said Chu Zhong.


EDB: Chu zhong yeu. Chu zhong yeu. The seventh grade.

XL: Oh seventh grade. Okay.

EDB: Yeah, I went up there and then I refused to go because I was going to you know, school at the same time. And I have to go every night five to eight and Saturday nine to one.

TH: To school?

EDB: To Chinese school, in addition to going to, you know, primary school.

TH: So all the Chinese ladies, were they canners or?

EDB: Yeah they are canners. Uh, Asparagus, tomato, fruits, certain time. And they wore their uniform, white uniform and everything. So, it was- it was like a family.

TH: How did your mom go to work with bound feet?

EDB: She just slowly walked there with the bound feet. And every time we go anywhere I give her a half- half an hour start and I will catch up with her. 7:00It's ugly when I see her feet bound, all squished up, it was- it was terrible. And she had to put lots and lots of cottons in the shoes that she buys. And she has to walk with just her heels, one foot at a time.

TH: So she kept them bound?

EDB: Huh?

TH: She kept them bound for her whole life?

EDB: It was bound when I saw it. She was bound when she was a baby from what I understand and then they unbound it after- after a while when her feet is about, I would say about four inches length and all squished up.

TH: Um, so you spoke to your mom in Chinese? [EDB: Yes. I can speak.] Or Cantonese?

EDB: Yes, I speak Chinese before I can speak English. In fact, they didn't know that I'm supposed to go to school when I was five years old. And I was a little bit late starting kindergarten because my brother was working and my mother was 8:00working at can making. So they didn't understand the system there. So one of the neighbor say she is old enough to go to school, so my brother took me to school and when I went to that kindergarten, the teacher could not pronounce my Chinese name. And so therefore she said every time I called Eleanor, you come, and that is your name. That's who named me. Her name was Miss Aetna, in kindergarten.

TH: Wow, you still remember.

EDB: Huh?

TH: You still remember her name.

EDB: Oh yes I do remember her name. I remember even what she looks like.

TH: Were there any Chinese kids go to your school?

EDB: Oh the school is nothing but Asians. The neighborhood that I lived as I said, we're restricted to live in a certain area. So we couldn't go out like that. So all the kids in class are, I would say, half Japanese and half Chinese. 9:00And we got one black and two Spanish. But the whole class was Chinese and Japanese.

TH: Did you like know like all of the other Asian ladies in the area. Was it really tightknit?

EDB: Like I said, it's like living in a fish pool. Everybody knows everybody, everybody's' business.

XL: Were you allowed to- Were you allowed to go outside of the place where we were living?

EDB: Oh you can go anywhere. But I notice that after World War II, some of the friends that we know, they go to certain restaurants or everything, they are not served because they are not allowed to go there. And there is a lot of discrimination there. But we lived with, I lived with it. I know where I am not supposed to go, where I am not supposed to, uh, you know, do anything. We just stayed in our area, we're happy.


TH: So you were born in 1927?

EDB: Yes.

TH: Do you remember the Depression?

EDB: Oh yes. I remember going to a truck and buy a loaf of bread for 10 cents, or something like that. Yes I remember.

TH: Did your family struggle during the Depression?

EDB: Oh yes. Everybody struggled, everybody struggle. And we watched every penny, in fact, during the depression year, when I go to school I didn't have any lunch money. I- I'm hungry, but I will wait till I get home. But that's- that's life.

TH: So you just skipped lunch?

EDB: Huh?

TH: You just skipped lunch?

EDB: Well, I don't have any money.

[EDB laughs]

So, I don't- I- they didn't fix me lunch to go to school, so, I just don't have lunch.


TH: Um, do you think like uh, Asians fare differently with other races during the depression?

EDB: Well, I think the other races have more than we do and then I don't think my mother understand some of the um, privilege that you can get because they don't understand the- the system here in United States. So they think that you can only get what you can pay for. [TH: Oh, okay.] Yeah. And so since we have only asparagus and tomatoes, so guess what we have for dinner every night? Asparagus or rice, cooked in different ways.

TH: Did you get to eat Chinese food?

EDB: We eat Chinese food everyday. We don't eat American food. And I think the reason why I am- I'm healthy now is because during the World War II there was a 12:00manpower shortage. And when we go to school, we don't have to take two subjects, study period and physical ed and we go to work. And so I went to work at a Chinese restaurant. So when you go to Chinese restaurant, most of my girlfriends go there to work so we had a lot of fun going together. So we leave school around two o'clock and then go to work. So when I go to restaurant, I get to drink milk, I get to have potatoes, I get a meal. So I got healthy food. I think if I didn't get all that nourish food, I think I don't know whether I will be healthy like I am now. I worked there during the WW2 [TH: Okay.] And then get 100 dollars a month, that's a lots of money with tips and pay and everything.

XL: Do you remember your first part-time job?


EDB: Huh?

XL: Do you remember your first job?

EDB: My first job? Yes I do, I was going to school, college. Sacramento college. And I pass by the sign of tests being given by the state of California retiring system. So I went into my school books and everything, so I took the test and I scored 99.5% and they want me to go to work right away. So I went to work for the retirement system, my school- I didn't even go back to college.

[All laugh]

I didn't get to clean out my locker. And I got paid 90 dollars a month. That's a lot of money then, you know. And then- when I worked there, they noticed that when I typed the records, every time I typed, I don't have a single mistake and they were astound by that, so I got raised pretty fast. I started with junior and then intermediate and then senior. So I got up to intermediate within 6 14:00months, which is pretty good. That's means you have a higher pay. And I work in the retirement system. I keep records of all of the employees.

TH: I really like to go backwards, could you describe like your education ever since kindergarten?

EDB: My education?

TH: Yeah.

EDB: Well, I didn't finish college like I said. I went to work for the State of California and when I was working at the state of California, I got married of course. And when I got married, my husband decided... my mother-in-law decided we have to go back to north of Virginia because she had a restaurant to run and she need her son to run it. So we move back to Virginia. Of course, it was a fiasco. The restaurant went bankrupt and here we were, I have three kids and no job and my husband went to work for Fort Eustis and- and the printing shop as 15:00civil servant, since he's a resident, he got preference. So I went to work for the Naval Base. In North of Virginia, that naval base is the largest in the world. So I got into the procurement department where we buy things for all the ships that come in down. And so then on, everywhere I work for the government is always in procurement office and that's when NASA came in. When I was working in the naval base, my husband said he got offered a job with the space task group. I've never heard of an astronaut, I've never heard of going to moon or anything.

TH: Do you remember around what year- around what year that was?

EDB: What year?

TH: Yeah.

EDB: We came to Houston 1961. In fact, my daughter when they went to summer 16:00camp, the astronauts' kids also went to the same camp. And they didn't know what their father did or anything. They were just kids and they said "my father is going to moon.", they thought that they were crazy. So anyway, when we husband decided work for NASA, I also applied for a job at NASA. And I got into procurement. And so they moved us to Houston in 1961. So we all drove. I drove one car. My husband drove one car. We drove across the country from Virginia to Houston. And we were scattered all over Houston when we came in 1961 because they didn't have a big building or anything. They- they had us working at Ellington (?) Air Force Base. We had some offices there.


TH: Can you go way back to your childhood again.

EDB: Okay.

TH: Um, so did your mom try to assimilate into American culture?

EDB: No.

TH: Cause you were in that community?

EDB: No because most of the ladies that she socialized with are just like her. You know, bound feet, speak Chinese, and adhere to all the Chinese holidays. They don't celebrate Christmas. Mostly Chinese New Year and you know all the dates. I remember that. I remember that they believed in the day when they have to go to cemetery, I would have to carry all the food she cooked that day, we would bring it up there, and she talked to her husband and tell about everything that happened the whole year. Then we bring the food back home and eat it. You 18:00know that huh?

TH: Yeah.

EDB: Well she believes in that, I did that for a long time.

TH: So that like when you went to college, were left that kind of community?

EDB: No. We have to stay there, there's still discrimination then.

TH: Oh, okay.

EDB: The Chinese Exclusion Act was not um let's see... was 19- After World War II before they change it. There's still the discrimination. We still have to live in that same neighborhood. And I hate it because it was, the bath- the bathrooms were terrible, and it was not, to me, uh, I- I wanted to get away.

TH: What job did you want to have as a kid?

EDB: Pardon?

TH: What job did you want to have?

EDB: What job did I want to have?

TH: Yeah.

EDB: I don't care, as long as it make money.


[EDB laughs]

But I've always been working for the government for the simple reason I feel that with the government, you don't make much, but you have to look at the long-term benefits. So that- I always try to tell that to my kids, they didn't believe in it. Now none of them have pension. And I'm okay. I'm taking care of till the day I die. Even though I didn't make that much money but you know.

TH: Yeah. Um...what were like the attitudes towards Asians over there?

EDB: In Houston?

TH: Just anywhere that you...?

EDB: Well, the worst is in Sacramento. I went to Walgreen drug store to try to buy something. And that girl wait on everybody before she came to me, and I 20:00complained to the manager. I say, "you don't want Asian to work, to come here to buy things, just put a sign outside". That's what I told them. I was very, very brave, you know. I was outspoken. Because I was outspoken, when I worked for NASA, they called me the Dragon Lady and they also make me a um... let's see... what is it--they made me um-- they assigned me other job that I take care of people that feel like they're discriminated against. EEO, Equal Opportunity Counselor, I was one of them when I was working at NASA. The way I feel about it, I tell it like it is. I get mad and think it's unfair and I'll tell them. 21:00And I feel like if they fire me, that's okay, I have husband that support me so I won't worry about it.

[All laugh]

TH: Um.

EDB: And there's one story I've always... My husband is very involved in toastmasters, you know what is.

TH: Yeah.

EDB: Okay. For years and years, I was always accompanied to toastmasters. So I have to join that time. This is one story that I always tell people like FOB like you [To XL] and when they come to toastmaster and would say I have to make a presentation next week, so they think they come to one meeting and they can do the presentation. And we always shake our head and say "oh gosh" and I told them that the reason that I got promoted is that they had three openings. Three openings for a contract specialist in procurement. That's a GS7, that's- that's 22:00on the way up. Once you get the GS7, you were able- you can go up to 9, 11, 12. And one of the selection was made was the select official was his secretary and I said how the heck did she get that job. She has no experience, never did procurement before, and someone says well because she looks like his wife. So I was like that's unfair. So I took a chance. So I didn't get mad. I just went from my section chief, to my branch chief, finally to the director. I just looked at him and said mister what's that? There was a promotion lately and I didn't get it and I'm wondering I did this and I did that, so what else do I need to do? As I did all the things that necessary for that job. And he looked at me, and he said, this is what he said, "I made a mistake, and you will get promoted". And I did get promoted within a week. When I came back and told the 23:00guy, said they wanted to borrow my skirt, they think it's because I'm a female I got that promotion. But after that, I got promoted every year to GS. When I left NASA, I was a GS13. So I think if I stayed, I make it higher but I don't know. But my husband retired, and I retired at the same time. But um, one of the person, director, I was negotiating with Boeing. And after...the middle of the negotiation, we left for lunch and he came to me, he said "Eleanor, when you were the negotiating person that's in charge of this contract, I didn't- I didn't know that you could do anything, you don't show any emotion or anything 24:00and just don't say anything. And its when we got to the negotiating table, I am impressed" because you know, I got what we want, and we didn't give them a lot of fees or anything. I told them why they can't get that fee. I was prepared, and I said it flat out and I had a team there. When you were negotiating with NASA, you have a person that's getting a contract and his assistant and my team would note that the negotiators would help me with all the information I need to do. And so when I faced them, I told them exactly this is what you will get, and this is why you should get this, and I said, you think about it, and we walk away, and then come back later. And so anyway the thing that is we went to lunch, the person that got the contract for, and he always go to a lunch room 25:00where all of the top officials, all top dogs in NASA, so he told them that "I'm so impressed with what she did." So since then, if there is a promotion going, I get it.

[EDB laughs]

And one time, I gave a low fee to one of the contractor. He actually went up to the director and cried. I thought that's the crocodile tear, that's what I heard. And the director called me "Eleanor, give him half a percent more fee".

[All laugh]

I said it's my money that we're spending too, its taxes we pay. So that's why they called me the Dragon Lady because I feel like fair is fair, and NASA sometimes give away a lot of things that I think overspend a lot of things that they shouldn't. And so I felt like they are not gonna get it from me.


TH: How did you think that you got to be such a tough negotiator?

EDB: Um...Because I'm a type A person. And um... what is it? Type A person. I don't use the word pushy. They're very um... what is an adjective for that? They're very-

TH: Assertive?

EDB: Yeah that's it, assertive, very assertive. And I attended a class, offered by OCA. Of course they didn't teach me too much that most Asian ladies are not assertive. They- they sit back because it's not in their culture to be assertive because it's not, it's uncouth. So when I was a EEO counselor, there was one Chinese girl that did not get moted- promoted. And she was a mathematician. And she 27:00came to me crying and said everybody around her got promoted, and- and so I investigated her case. And I talked to her manager and she said "Well, she sat there and she seems like she''s satisfied, she didn't say anything. She just sit there and do her work". So I told her I said "Josephine, I said, "You gotta be more assertive and if you are not satisfied with your work, you should speak up" and I said, "just because you know your culture said if you are- you are assertive, you are uncouth, forget it, speak up. " You know Josephine retired and she's so active. Oh maybe I shouldn't say the entire name.

[XL and TH laugh]

Anyways, so active now. Anyway she plans all the program, and she changed like 40- what is that? 90 degrees turn or whatever. She learned that just 28:00because you are Asian and you are girl, assertive doesn't mean that you are uncouth. That's not bad manner. But I attend the class that's offer OCA and um, I forgot the lady that gave that course, she lives in Baltimore. And she- she turned out to be one president, she was a president of OCA. You know what OCA is?

TH: No.

EDB: Organization of Chinese American. It's just like NAC- NACP.


EDB: Yeah and this is Chinese and I convinced NASA that that is the um, legitimate, uh--[inaudible] OCA [inaudible] Every time they have a convention, I get to go at their expense.

[XL and TH laugh]

Well, because they got one for black, they got one for Indian, they got one for 29:00Spanish. And OCA represent the Chinese, that's what I told them. And we're minority. So every time they have conventions, different cities at all time. They have it in San Francisco, they have it in Philadelphia, they have in Boston, every year they have it. So they send me. I met a lot of interesting people.

TH: Like who?

EDB: Like, let's see, I met Elaine Chao, she was a member of OCA. And there's another person that was um, she was the ambassador in Nepal. I forgot her name now. She was a member of OCA, I met them.

TH: Um, so I'm noticing this Hidden Figures book, did you know like the women in the book at NASA?

EDB: Well I know that they exist, but we were never involved because we were considered white.


TH: Oh, really?

EDB: Yeah. We don't have to go to a colored restroom. In fact, I've never even seen one.

TH: Oh, interesting.

EDB: Yeah, that's when I got the book I didn't know they wrote a book about it, Hidden Figures. You heard about it. Hidden Figure, yeah.

TH: Yeah. It's like the movie.

EDB: In fact, I think that was over when I worked at NASA because one of my uh- one of my co-negotiator is black. And she goes everywhere with me. She goes to restroom with me so I don't think she's a hidden figure. I think that's the very beginning, 1961, around that area you know when...I didn't notice any of that.

XL: Were you the only Asian at the procurement team at NASA at that time?

EDB: Yes. Only Asian.


XL: Is there like a large women proportion in that team or like?

EDB: They're mostly men [XL: They're mostly men.] in the position that I held. I was the section chief.

XL: So have you ever experienced any discrimination?

EDB: Huh?

XL: Have you ever experienced any discrimination in NASA because you are a minority?

EDB: No. No, like I said. Um, they don't-- [Inaudible] My husband faces a lot of discrimination, in fact, he had a- he filed a discrimination complaint and he won. And his pay was um, they um... what is it? I'm forgeting words now. Anyway, 32:00they promoted him and they made all the back payment. But you know, even though he won the discrimination case, he-what is it, you won a war but lost a battle? You know, even though you win, this is sort of, um.

TH: It's just a one time?

EDB: Huh?

TH: It's just like a one time thing that he won that?

EDB: Yes. Uh-huh.

TH: Oh, going back to your first jobs, I read, you had a biography on the internet. And I read that you worked in a cannery?

EDB: Oh yeah that's when during World War II, [TH: Yeah.] yeah. And they- they had manpower shortage, and I worked in the cannery. It was littered with [inaudible] And I think Delmonte too. We canned peaches, we canned tomatoes, 33:00and there's the whole bunch of, not just me, all the kids that go to school with me. We were helping with the war effort.

TH: Yeah. So that was when that was when like all the men were away so they had to bring in women to work?

EDB: No, they had the...Well, manpower shortage means all the guys went to war and um, we are all from high school and we go to work.

TH: Oh.

EDB: Not all women, some men too. Some kids. That's know they didn't draft them yet.

TH: Yeah.

EDB: I remember when they have the um...hat is it, you don't have sugar, you don't have- and I can't get a pair of shoes, so I had to buy a pair of green shoes because that's only ticket that I had and I had to get a pair of shoes. 34:00Wait in line to buy shoes. I remember being a drum corp, I got picture on my-- I was in a Chinese school, Zhong hua, you know what Zhong hua is?

XL: Zhong hua. Yeah.

EDB: So we- I belonged to drum and bugle corp and I was in front role. We march up and down west- the west coast telling them, the United States was not at war then, telling them to boycott Japan. Don't sell metal to them and so forth. So we were a marching band, drum and bugle corp. I got picture like I said.

TH: Were there Japanese people in the band?

EDB: Oh no, they were sent away to camp. [TH: Oh. Yeah, yeah, yeah.] Most of my classmate were sent away to camp.

TH: Did you have friends that were? Or anyone that you know closely...


EDB: Oh yeah they are my classmates. Half of them. You know half of them were Japanese and half were Chinese in my class. So they were all sent away when we were in uh, 9th grade. I felt so sorry for them. And l lived right there. And they had to sell everything they have and just carry a suitcase and a pillow. And can you imagine having your house, that's all you can take? And you have to sell everything. I bought a bicycle for one dollar. I mean they have to sell apartment house for 2,000 dollars, but my mother didn't buy it. She said we're going to go back to China, we don't have to buy anything. I wish she had bought some of the real estates but it was-- the Japanese were taken advantage of because like I said, how can you get rid of all your asset in about two or three weeks and just carry a suitcase, all your belonging.


TH: Were you able to communicate with them, your friends?

EDB: Some of them wrote to me. Because they couldn't do certain things, they sent me a check and told me to write to buy it for them and mail it for them. They have a reunion every year at the same time. We have a reunion with the- the- elementary school that we went to, so I see them going to the reunion.

TH: Oh okay.

EDB: But I feel sorry. Some of them really are smart, if they were allowed to stay, they would have make something of themselves, but they couldn't finish school and was sent away to camp.

TH: But after they got out of camp, they weren't allowed to get back to school either?


EDB: No they were going to school at the camp.

TH: Oh

EDB: So there were like, I don't know, four years? So they were like going to public school like we were. And getting all the education that we were getting.

TH: Okay. Um, so how did you meet your husband?

EDB: One of my girlfriends came over and introduce me to him. He wanted to meet me.

TH: Okay, and where's he from?

EDB: Huh?

TH: Where's he from?

EDB: He is from Norfolk, Virginia.

TH: So how did he hear?

EDB: Huh?

TH: How did he hear about you?

EDB: My girlfriend's mother and his mother are real good friends and almost like sister. So when they growing up, they were always together. So when he got out 38:00from service. He lived in Norfolk, Virginia, hardly any Chinese here. So he decided to go to school on GI, the GI bill, in Sacramento. So he went to college there and since the mother know each other. So you know, they sort of not took care of him but told him what he's gonna do. So he um... I'll tell you what happened. He had the first date with me. When he went the first date with me, he asked me for the October date, November date, December date, Christmas dance, New Year. All tied up.

[TH and XL Laugh]

When he asked you that, you cannot accept anybody else's date. You either don't go with him or don't go at all. So he got me all tied up.

[EDB laughs]

So I got to know him real well. You see, look at his picture in the bedroom. You 39:00look at it. He's quite a handsome man.

TH: At the time- [EDB: I know the girl- Huh?] At the time were you like eager to accept? Or were you like?

EDB: What was that?

TH: Were you eager to accept at the time?

EDB: Eager to what?

TG: When he offered to- all of those dates

EDB: No because I want to meet some other people too because I've met some other guys that you know I dated and I liked to date some more.

TH: How did dating work back then?

EDB: Pardon?

TH: How did dating work?

EDB: Dating?

TH: Yeah.

EDB: Well, what do you mean how- how dating? Did they take you to a movie or take you? What money they can afford, they take you to a movie, dinner after that, that's it.

XL: So it's the same process.

TH: Yeah, except for like social media.

EDB: Yeah, only thing he was a poor student. He didn't have a car, so we walked 40:00everywhere. It's amazing now that I think about it. We walked miles and I- I'm not even tired. But we just walked and walked, you know.

[TH and XL laugh]

TH: Um..

EDB: And he works at a post office to earn extra money because on a GI, I think he only gets like, 90 dollars a month. I- I think that's what he gets.

XL: So you were 18 by then?

EDB: Yes.

XL: Uh, were you working or at college?

EDB: No, I was working for the State of California.

XL: Oh, yeah.

EDB: I was making money--in fact, when we got married, I paid for my own wedding.

XL: Wow.

TH: Wow. When did you get married?

EDB: Huh?

TH: When did you get married?

EDB: When did I get married?

TH: Yeah.

EDB: June, June 20th, 1946.

XL: So that's when you were 20?

EDB: Yes, around 19.

XL: Oh, okay.

EDB: 19.

TH: And then--

EDB: See, that--those days, after the war, lot of the guys come back--see, we 41:00grew up fast. Because during the World War II, we were doing things that we would have done more, twenties. So but then because of the war, we were working, we're doing things that... we should have done in adult life. We grew up fast.

TH: Yeah.

EDB: So, we were--I was told, and I heard, and I think that--lot of guys said, when you attend college, and if you don't have a boyfriend by your junior year, or senior year, then nobody wants you.

[All laugh]

That... most of girls should be taken by, when you're a freshman or sophomore. And after that, you don't have a steady date, then something's wrong with you. That's what I heard.

[EDB laughs]

TH: Was it different for guys?

EDB: Huh?

TH: A different age for guys?

EDB: Uh, no, I don't hear anything about that.


[TH and XL laugh]

TH: Oh, uh, so after you got married, what did you do?

EDB: After I got married, I still work for the State of California, and he was going to school, and then- when he asked, but then the only thing is that we had a baby, uh, he was born 1947. July- June- July, July 30th. And I was still working, and I sent--I put him in a nursery, to take care of him, and I get him, I get him on weekends. Then, then my husband's mother called and said she needed him home, and that uh, you saw my bio, and so I left my mother there, and sold everything, and went back. But lo and behold, she told that to the other sons 43:00too, the other two sons, and they look at us and we look at them, and she didn't need any help. She still was running the restaurant. And so- so I- so you know we couldn't come back, we didn't have the money, so we decided open a restaurant, we'll call it Der Bing's Chinese Kitchen. Take-out thing. Oh, well after three- and- and then, it was hard work for me because I have to help, I was chopping onions, celery, the way they make chow mein over there was, there's onion, Bermuda onions. And pot of noodles and stuff like that. And then, uh, he hired a cook, and so we just have, just take-out food. Big restaurant but nothing in it, with just the kitchen. And after two years I think, we went bankrupt, 'cause I- I couldn't handle it. You know, we're--

TH: Were you the only cook?

EDB: Huh?

TH: Were you the only cook?

EDB: I didn't cook at all. Bill did the cooking, and the cook. I did the cashier, I took orders, up front. But then with the kids, and me, you know, 44:00working up front, it--and then, and then when people found out that we had, we were doing good having (?) a Chinese kitchen, delivering the food, and just taking- other restaurants did it too. And they delivered it free, they said, and it, I mean, they just make it hard on us because they tried to compete, and they tried to give away things. So that's why we, we couldn't do it.

TH: So you delivered by car?

EDB: No, we hired a boy, that rode- had motorcycle.

TH: Wow, that's so cool!

EDB: High school, high school kid. And they delivered. And we paid them, you know, by the hour. And they, they're glad to do it.

XL: So, when and why did you, uh, have--did you decide to move to Houston?

EDB: Why did we decide to move to Houston?

XL: Yeah, and when did you move to Houston?

EDB: That's because after we um, after we, uh, lost that business, I told Bill, 45:00I'm gonna--I wanna go home. And so then he say he will take me back home. So that's when he got the job, the, the army, then find out about NASA, then he, then he applied for the job with NASA, and got a job, and I also applied. He said, "I'll get you halfway there." That's why we're in Houston. And so after we got here, you know, he, he has a good job and I have a good job. Bill's job is very, very interesting. He travel with the astronaut on Air Force One, can you imagine? That, the three astronauts that went to the moon, uh, one of them that went--the three, um, Armstrong, whatever--he travel--they had a, a goodwill tour, and President--I forgot which president, Johnson I think-- um, had them make a goodwill tour with the, go to all the head of the country in Europe. So 46:00Bill met the Pope, the Queen, and the Shah, and everything. 'Cause that, you know they were the star, the three astronauts. So they traveled on Air Force One, I said, so he's gone like, he go to each--one country every two days, he would go to one country. And he takes care of uh, telling them the protocol, 'cause he like a protocol officer. And he, and he gets gifts for them and uh, and take care all what the ast--what, when you get there, what you should do, and all that.

TH: Um, so, did you have any more kids in Houston?

EDB: No, I just have two daughters and one son.

TH: Oh, so you had them...

XL: Back in Norfolk?

EDB: Pardon?

XL: So you had them back in Norfolk?


EDB: Uh, I had Junior in Sacramento. And Debbie and Dinah (?) born in Norfolk.

TH: Okay, I see.

XL: So, uh, were your, uh, original family still in Sacramento?

EDB: Pardon?

XL: Uh, your family, your mom and brother, were they just staying-

EDB: Uh, my mother died when I was in Norfolk, I couldn't get, couldn't get back to Hou--uh, back to Sacramento. Even to attend her funeral, 'cause my mother--mother-in-law didn't even come by 'cause she knew I was gonna ask her to take care of the kids. So I didn't go back to her funeral. I didn't have a nice mother-in-law.

TH: Was she a very traditional Chinese--

EDB: No, she was, uh, went to school in Hawaii (?), her family was rich, whereas--each kid had their own servant. So when she got married to Bill's 48:00father, she felt like she married beneath her. And so she's always complaining. And so I, when I got married to Bill, some of the um, some of the people, the girl--um, the, the girls there, like my age, would tell me, "Your mother-in-law, uh, treat her kids like, 'These are my kids, do not touch.'" And she's always dressing them up, you know, better than others, and she's the only lady, mother, or wife there that has a car, that can drive, and she smokes too. And her father built a house out in the country for her and she wrote me a letter and told me that her--she had a miserable 20-year marriage life. She's a strange woman.


TH: Um, then when you were raising your kids, how much did you want to pass on Chinese culture versus American culture?

EDB: Uh, nothing. Because there's--we never lived with anyone--any Chinese. We always live with neighbors that are Irish, Catholic, and one day Junior told--uh, one of the teachers told me that they asked my son what nationality he is. He say he's Irish.

[TH and XL Laugh]

That's what my husband say. We gotta li--leave this place. We gotta go some--so when he got the job with NASA, coming to Houston, well there's, you know, lotta Chinese here. But my kids always lived with uh, Americans, Caucasians, they don't know the nationality, until they came to Houston.

TH: Did you teach them Chinese?

EDB: Huh?

TH: Did you teach them Chinese?

EDB: No, I feel like it's a waste, waste of time. They wouldn't learn it. But then when they go into college, they took a course in Mandarin. They have 50:00courses offered at uh, University of Texas. They can say, xie xie. And different things like that.

[TH and XL laugh]

TH: Um, do you think it's easier to grow up Asian-American nowadays versus when you were a kid?

EDB: Definitely. Very different . You--we, I think we sort of paved the way and, and uh, took care of all the discrimination and everything. Definitely.

TH: And would you identify yourself as American or Chinese-American, or like, what would you identify yourself as?

EDB: I identify myself as Chinese-American. I would not leave the Chinese out.

TH: Mhm. Has that like changed over the years?

EDB: Well, I tell you one thing, when China took over Hong Kong, and every--and 51:00seemed like we were revered, and I just feel good about it because all my--my, I was growing up--even at schoolbooks it has Ch--the Chinese with pigtails, and always the underdog, and something derogatory about them. Any amount of schoolbooks, and I felt really, uh, like I, I was second-class citizen. So when I th--even though the Communists in China, I feel like it's good for the people, then I'm for it. That's how I feel about it. Even though I'm not a Communist. But I said well if it's good for the people, then I said, they've been, they've been, uh... I read the history, how they're taken advantage of. You know, the Tea Party, and the Opium War, and all that. And taken away all the land, even United States.

TH: Yeah.

XL: Yeah.

EDB: So I feel like now, there was a, we have some power, we have some clout.


TH: Um, were you always really involved in, like, issues of race in the Chinese community?

EDB: Pardon? You mean, if, if, I involved in--yes, I am. I'm the first lady president [first female president], of the Chinese Professional Club, I'm the first lady of the Chinese, the Chinese Association--of all the Association we have in, in Houston, it's one club. They call it zhong hua (?), uh, something, I forgot the--association of all the Chinese--I was the first lady president of that. And some of the men resent it, but I, but I, took it. And they made--they, they uh, when Nixon recognized China, they want me to send a letter to Nixon, and protest and so forth, so forth. I said, "I'm not gonna do it." And some of 53:00them are still, at that time, uh, geared toward Taiwan. I'm nothing against Taiwan. But I figure I'm not gonna be forced to take their side. I say if America wants to go to China, good.

TH: Wait so, when Nixon recognized China, that was like when... he was denying that-- Taiwan's independence?

EDB: No, they didn't want him to go recognize China.

XL: Oh, okay.

EDB: Because he went to China, they don't--even--they didn't... they recognize China, as a nation, okay. And lotta people in um, Houston, are, uh, Chiang Kai-Shek, uh--they're zhong--uh, what is that now? They're... let's see... there's two different China, there's PRC--


XL: Oh, yeah, PRC, and RC.

EDB: --and RC. Republic of China and China Republic, or something anyway. So I know there's a difference there.

TH: Okay. So this--

XL: Mainland China and Taiwan.

EDB: Huh?

XL: It's like mainland China and like, the older like, uh, yeah. That's like--

EDB: PRC, we--I call y'all PRC and the other one RC. Republic of China and People's Republic of China. There's two different--difference. And lotta people don't know the difference, PRC and RC. Taiwan government invited us, 'cause I was one of the leader here, they invited me along with the, the other leaders--they, we toured Taiwan, all around. As the, at their expense. They were, they were good to me. And I can see it, what they did to the country, they did a lot, you know. Making all the progress they have there. If, if, if they were not there, I don't think they would have all the things that they have now. 55:00But, they also took a lot of things from China to Taiwan. I went to the museum.

XL: Yeah.

TH: Oh, yeah.

EDB: They took a lot of things out of there.

TH: But then also a lot of things were destroyed in China.

XL: Yeah.

EDB: Huh?

TH: A lot of things were destroyed in China, so--it could be a good thing.

XL: During the Cultural Revolution, like a lot of antiques were destroyed in mainland China, so like, the other stuff that was--were taken to Taiwan was reserved. So that's actually like... kind of like--

EDB: So you know more about that than I do?

[TH and XL laugh]

EDB: Yeah.

XL: So, uh, when and how did you get involved with the Chinese community here, in Houston?

EDB: What?

XL: Uh, when and how did you get involved with the Chinese community?

EDB: Oh, I got inv--I got involved immediately upon when, when Bill and I came to Houston, because Bill and I do not work on weekends or at night because we 56:00don't have a grocery store, we don't have a, a restaurant or anything. So Bill and I used to have to end up, uh, chaperoning the kids. And so I, we have a bowling, uh, alley, uh, team, every Tuesday night. And when I formed it we had 24 teams. And all the kids come, and bowl Tuesday night, uh, [unintelligible], they call it, uh, [unintelligible] time. So I told them, I said, long as they're in a bowling alley, they're not out there, uh, you know, in crime. So there's hardly any crime. And any time, when some people come to Houston, they say, you wanna meet the Houston kids, you go to the bowling alley Tuesday night. And that, that's when I w--I was involved with the Chinese-American Citizen Alliance. I was a woman president there, got involved. Then I was the president of the Chinese Professional Club. Then I got involved in the Chinese Baptist 57:00Church, so I was involved a lot, because a lot of the mothers and fathers work at night. And on weekends. They don't have to involve the kids. Bill and I were one of the professionals that worked Monday, uh, Monday through Friday, had days off. And our kids were involved, so naturally, we get involved. In fact, um, one of my kids asked me, "Are you going to that party that night?" I said, yes we are. "Then we're not going." Because every time they go to any party, we are there, they can't do anything.

[TH and XL laugh]

But that one time they told me they didn't want us to go, there was a fight. And the fight was with my son and somebody else. And I say good thing I'm there! So, anyway, lotta the kids at that time, for some reason, they would call me for advice. Because they can't talk to their parents. Because their parents are not 58:00American-born, and they don't understand their problem, and they would call me and ask for advice. So lot of them, lot of them still remember me. In fact, the bowling alley, one of the girls, she's so spoiled, she d--see, if you don't bowl, they--the team lose a lot of points. So she just wanna come to socialize. So she doesn't wanna bowl, she said, "ah, I got a headache", so I made her bowl. So she would write across the bowling alley, you know the sign there--said "Mrs. Der Bing is a fink!"

[All laugh]

And I see her now, her name- Mad--I don't mind telling her name, Madeline. And I said, "Madeline, am I still a fink?" And she says, "Ah," you know, she's married now, have kids and everything. But anyway, but, but... I said it's not fair, I say, "You don't wanna bowl, don't bowl. So, you don't make your team lose all the time, losing all that points." But anyway, I had that, and then I had, I 59:00started the um, Miss Chinatown pageant here, you know. They used to have it out at Sylvan Beach. And Sylvan Beach is out, you don't know that--Sylvan Beach is way out there, and--

TH: Wait, is it in Galveston?

EDB: No, it's not Galveston, it's Sylvan Beach. They used to have the pageant there.

TH: Oh.

EDB: And there-- at the pageant, there was gambling there, there was--it's like a carnival. And I said that's not right, I said it's gonna make it luc--lucrative for the [unintelligible] girls to come in, compete with all this going. So I had them--I started them to go to the hotel, so the first one we went to was the Rice Hotel. Which no longer there anymore. They had our first, uh, indoor, you know, pageant there.

TH: Where did you get the idea for a pageant?

EDB: Huh?

TH: Where did you get the idea for a pageant?

EDB: No, I didn't have the idea. Um, my husband. Oh, gosh, he gets me in trouble. He was the president of the CACA and they, uh, they had the pageant 60:00every year, the--nobody--the one, nobody wants to take care of it so far. So they got my husband involved. When my husband is involved, guess who does it? He doesn't do it, I do it.

[TH and XL laugh]

So every--I say, "Don't commit yourself!" Next time he comes home, "Well, guess what..." [All laugh]

So meanwhile, most of the pageants that I did were local girls. They were not like the FOB's that you have now. It was hard to get the girls to run--I also have to have 6 girls. And they were always local girls.

TH: What did you--what did they do in the pageant?

EDB: They--they, they wear the Chinese dress, and they do the talent, whatever their talent is, and we, we ask them questions. And then it depends on how they present themselves. And I think there's four, four things that we scored and twen--twenty-five, twenty-five. It's almost just like the national pageant, you 61:00know. But at that time, we didn't send them to San Francisco [unintelligible] school (?). To the ma--to the main, to the uh--big one, Miss Chinatown USA. In fact, my daughter-in-law is Miss Chinatown USA. But they since divorced.

TH: Uh, so, in your opinion how has Houston changed over the years?

EDB: Pardon?

TH: How has Houston changed?

EDB: Houston changed?

TH: Yeah.

EDB: [clears throat] Well, we used to know everybody; when we go to a restaurant we see ev-- see everybody. We know who's--their name, everything. Now we go in there, we don't know anybody, all, you know, and then there's never so many Chinese restaurants. We only have one place to go for dim sum, now you can get ten, twenty of them. And, well, I always look for Cantonese restaurant. Not a 62:00Northern restaurant because they're too spicy for me.

TH: Did you used to, like, do grocery shopping at Chinatown?

EDB: Yes, I used to.

TH: Do you remember what stores?

EDB: Yeah. They're no longer there now.

TH: Oh.

EDB: They're still in Chinatown, but they're no longer there.

TH: Okay.

EDB: Down, um... in fact our church used to be there. Down, down, uh, the old Chinatown.

TH: Oh, um, were your parents religious?

EDB: No.

TH: Or how did you like start getting religious?

EDB: No. Because I think my kids need some, meet some other Chinese kids. That's how they got them--

[All laugh]

--get them involved, so they know the Chinese and what they look like and what they do and everything else. Yeah, and they would--the kids at that time, were very, uh, close together, they do things together. And they, you know, like they 63:00have their own football team, and they have like Sweetheart Ball, and like I said, the do--bowling thing. But now they're scattered all over.

TH: And um, what has been the biggest change in the world?

EDB: Pardon?

TH: What has been the biggest change in the world, just generally?

EDB: Change in the world?

TH: Yeah.

EDB: Uh...

TH: Or the things that you noticed?

EDB: Open sex, and what they show on TV.

[TH and XL laugh]

And uh, uh, too much violence. Even though there's not that much discrimination, uh, I, I just don't feel safe. You know, I was robbed here, you know.

TH: Oh! Recently?

EDB: Uh... last year. May 18th, I think it was.

TH: That's horrible.

EDB: Somebody followed me in and they didn't have a guard at the gate here, 64:00and--because he was making a round, checking all the doors. And I we don't--I don't know whether it's an inside job, somebody knows he leaves every night, and ever since I was robbed, they have a 24-hour guard out there now. But he came, he followed--he f---he must have followed me in. He was sitting at that bench there when I came in, I came in through the side door, instead of through the front, because I knew I would have to go to church the next day. And I want the car to be parked close to that door out there. And so when I walked up, I looked at him, he was black, I say, "Do you live here?" 'Cause we don't have any black residents. He said, "No, I'm waiting for my aunt." 'Cause we have a lot of caregivers here, that you know, 24 hours. So he said she's on the second floor upstairs. I said, oh, so, I say, I told him, I say, "You know I have to ask you, because, uh, you're not a resident here," we--you know, I don't know what I was 65:00gonna do with him. He wasn't a resident, so I started walking to the stairway, and he followed me in, and he looked at me, he said--he smiled at me--"I'm taking your purse! I'm taking your t--" and he ran out! And I chased after him. I don't know why I chased after him, I can't--and so he rode, he rode, drove-- drove his car away. And they took a picture of him--because they have cameras. And also of the license on his car. But they, I don't know. They never told me about their--catch them or what. I haven't heard since. The police came and interviewed me. But I got back everything that I lost, in my purse and everything. Even my lipstick. I bought new lipstick. Good thing he didn't kill me. He could have because, in the stairway, wh--where you come in there--

TH: Just in, in the building?

EDB: Yeah, he came in the building. Nobody was there, it was 10:30 at night.

TH: Would've been awful if he had, just killed someone in the building.


EDB: Well, there's no sense in--no sense in killing me. He, you know, it's easy, he just took my purse and ran.

TH: Yeah, and he just smiled.

EDB: Huh?

TH: He just smiled.

EDB: He said, "I'm taking your purse!" And he's clean-cut person. You know?

TH: Yeah.

EDB: I was involved very much with, uh, in uh, in Houston with the Chinese community. In fact, when Martha Wong ran for Council--

XL: Oh yeah.

EDB: --first day she ran, my husband went--help her. I walked... the block walk with her, and I went everywhere with her. And then when she went to uh, when she was presented the... um... was it like Ann Richards--when it gets presented in Austin--well, she got presented--she got the award too. So she invited us to go. And when she was uh, State Rep, when she was sworn in, we all went up there to 67:00see her sworn in. So I, you know, went through her whole career, the whole eight years she was, she was uh, City Council, and the two times she was uh, State Rep. It was exciting.

TH: What did you do for her?

EDB: Huh?

TH: What did you do for her?

EDB: I block walked, and I went to uh, fold--fold envelopes, stamp, and everything else. And make phone calls... and everything for her.

TH: Did you ever hear about Glenda Joe?

EDB: Uh, I know Glenda Joe and Cookie Joe very well.

TH: Oh, okay.

EDB: See, when Cookie Joe ran for Miss Chinatown, I was the one that was in charge. I know her parents.

TH: Oh, um, I recently interviewed Glenda.

EDB: Oh, I know her.

XL: Yeah, so...

EDB: Anything else?


TH: Um, we have--[to XL] do you have any more questions about like, her community involvement, politics stuff?

XL: Um, no, [to EDB] do you have anything to add? Like--

TH: I have a few more questions, that are like off-topic.

EDB: Go ahead.

TH: Okay. What has been your favorite decade?

EDB: What has been my what?

TH: Your favorite decade.

EDB: My favorite what?

TH: Decade? Like--like the 60's, 70's...

EDB: Oh, oh. My favorite is, um... oh. I hate to say this. During the World War II [laughing], when we were working, and all my girlfriends, we had fun, we were just like a... a, um, we were some like--we were helping the war effort, we felt like we were doing something. In fact, if you look at my bedroom, that crochet, that blanket, I used to crochet lots and lots of hats. And when an ombudsman--I 69:00was an ombudsman, you know, for uh, for about ten years here in Houston. You know what that is. As a volun--volunteer--

TH: Uh, could you, could you re-explain that?

EDB: Ombudsman is um, volunteer person who inspects all the nursing home, make sure that it adheres to all the rules. Okay, when I was that, I used to crochet a hundred hats every year for them. I love to crochet, 'cause it relaxes me. I crochet and watch TV at the same time.

XL: So--

TH: Okay, and then a couple more like random questions, what were your favorite, um, I don't know, like movies, or music, or actresses when you were young?

EDB: My favorite movie is, um, uh... now, what is the title of that? Um... oh. The one that they escape from the Nazis, the family? Uh, the music, uh...


TH: Oh, Sound of Music.

EDB: Yes. That's my favorite.

XL: That's really classic.

TH: Okay, and the last wrap-up question is, what has been your proudest achievement?

EDB: What?

TH: What has been your proudest achievement?

EDB: My proudest achie--achievement... Uh, I think when I was an equal opportunity counselor at NA--at NASA. And then the proudest achievement is when I started the uh, Asian Pacific Heritage at NASA in honor of Onizuka, the Japanese astronaut that died. You know, they lived with us for--when they first came here, the whole family. Because they couldn't get the house. So I still 71:00contact with um, uh, Lorna Onizuka. She and I have--oh by the way, uh, my husband is a P--like I said, is a PR person for NASA. And he, he, he stays with the astronaut's family, and he's a buffer between them and the news people. So when he died, one of the wives came, and eu-- did the eulogy. And I didn't know that he did this, it was uh, uh, Jerry, um, Carl (Gerald Carr?) and he was the one that stay up in the shuttle for 84 days. And, and she asked specifically for Bill, my husband, to be her PR person. And I didn't know that she has two sets of twins, and two kids, to he has to sorta take care of them. And she wrote a book, and she dedicated to Bill, and she said she's been trying to find him, and 72:00she never could find him, so when, when he died, she gave me the books so I--I wanna give you one of the books. Here, here it is behind me. Can you get it?

[TH gets up and finds books in a bag behind EDB's chair]

I got a whole bunch of books, I bought--I had it autographed.

XL: Oh, it's in the back?

EDB: Yeah, back there. Can you see it? Whole bunch of books?

TH: Oh, yes. The red bag?

EDB: It's a paper bag.

TH: Um, [paper crinkles] I see a bunch of books in a red bag.

EDB: Yeah, th--that's it then. They're all alike right? Yeah.

TH: What?

EDB: Yeah, that's it. Yeah, that's it. She, she wrote a, she wrote a book about her life as an astronaut's wife. And op--there, open it up, I'll show you. And my husband stayed with her. Um, and here's the uh, [flips pages] see, she autographed it. And then I think that's--right there... she uh... here it is. 73:00She said, "And especially to Bill Der Bing." Okay? [gives the book to XL]

XL: Oh, thank you. Is it like--

EDB: I--just one--I can only give you one.

[TH and XL laugh]

You both can read it, you know, and everything else.

XL: We'll put it in the archive.

EDB: Yeah, that's fine.

XL: We'll just...

TH: Yeah!

EDB: Fine, fine. You can read it, it's very interesting. It's, it's supposed to be fiction but it's not really fiction. It tells uh, how, how it feels and what she does as an astronaut's wife.

TH and XL: Oh.

EDB: Very interesting.

XL: Okay, so, I guess we're done, and um, can I take picture of you? Take a photo of you, uh, sitting here?

EDB: Sure.

XL: Yeah.

EDB: Well, I thought you were taking pictures there. Isn't it--aren't you vid--

XL: And, yeah, and the, like the photos and documents that you had?

EDB: I don't know what you're talking about.


TH: Um, we're, we're taking a video, and then they also want a picture, like to put up on the website.

XL: Uh, can you take the picture, and I will just...

TH: Oh, sure. Okay.

EDB: Picture of you and I or something like that?

XL: Uh, just you.

EDB: Okay. Well, I thought you've been taking a picture of me.

TH: Oh, we've been taking videos.

EDB: Well, same thing, isn't it?

TH: But they want like a, just one still picture.

EDB: Oh. Okay. Where do you want me to take it, right here, in front of the--

TH: Anywhere you want.

EDB: --my hundred kids?

TH: Sure!

[interview ends, chit chat and packing up equipment]