Sarah Lim: New book focuses on Filipinos

03/07/2009 2:19 AM

03/07/2009 2:21 AM

Columnist note: The following article is contributed by Luna Jamero, editor of "Talk Story" and treasurer of the Central Valley Filipino American National Historical Society.

Through a grant awarded by the Merced County Historical Society, the Central Valley FANHS (Filipino American National Historical Society), has published its first book, "Talk Story: An Anthology of Stories by Filipino Americans of the Central Valley" and is sponsoring a book-signing event today at the Courthouse Museum. Books will be available for sale today at the Merced County Courthouse Museum from 1 to 3 p.m. Authors will be reading excerpts from their stories during the Saturday book signing. Proceeds from the book sales benefit the CV FANHS Ceferino Jamero, Jr. Memorial Scholarship fund awarded annually to graduating high school seniors.

There was little or no history about Filipinos in the public schools 50 years or more ago according to Bob Luna, CV FANHS President. Since the establishment of the Seattle-based FANHS in 1984, there are 28 chapters nationwide and contributions of Filipino Americans are now documented in film and various publications in increasing numbers.

"Talk Story" is a collection of 36 stories written by CV FANHS members that pay tribute to their parents and elders for lighting the way during a time in history when the odds were against them. Historically, the stories reveal personal experiences from the early 1900s to the present day observations of fourth generation Filipino Americans. Experiences are shared of young Filipino scholars arriving in America during the early 1900s; the contributions of the Filipino farm workers who arrived in the Central Valley communities of California during the 1920s; the Filipino American soldiers who valiantly defended us and those who experienced the horrific experience of World War II; the stories of the assimilation of U.S.-born Filipinos during 1930s -- 1960s; and more inspirational, humorous stories and poems from our younger generation. "Talk Story" documents the personal history of its authors and the historical milieu in which their experiences occurred. The ages of the "Talk Story" authors run the gamut from 78 years young to 19 years old with most growing up in the small towns of Merced County and the Central Valley. Only a handful had ever written personal stories before. Most of the writers are retired with some returning to live in Merced County after working and raising their families in larger cities.

"Talk Story" takes the reader on a literary journey that has its roots firmly entrenched in the fields, orchards and vineyards of Merced County and other communities of the Central Valley. Despite the hardships and struggles told in "Talk Story," the stories portray a cultural richness characteristic of Filipino families. These stories are part of American history as well and will enlighten, capture and inspire the reader. For further information, call (209) 761-5862.

Sarah Lim is director of Merced County Courthouse Museum. She can be contacted at (209) 723-2401 or info@mercedmuseum.org

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