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Thursday, April 16, 2015

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LEARNING-ABOUT-MONEY--Santa-Clara








My brother's house. This was my first time in it and I had to come to Santa Clara because our 83-year-old father is gravely ill. Vincent bought me the plane tickets and even treated his older brother to an A's game. Vincent came to the US at five-years-old, worked at Macy's in dumpy Eastridge Mall during high school, went to University of the Pacific in grim Stockton then managed our father's restaurant after college. Sick of that, and our psycho stepmother's ranting, Vincent quit the restaurant to join Yahoo, where he's been the last 19 years. His wife, Gina, grew up in Turlock with 11 other siblings. Gina's dad emigrated to the US at age 53 from the Azores Islands of Portugal. In Turlock, he and his oldest sons earned a living milking cows. Gina now teaches second grade in a public school. My brother and his wife, then, have clawed their ways into the middle class, and their two sons are near straigh A's students. Fifteen-year-old Tim, the older, already has a web business selling hip clothes, Pocket Tims.

Vincent's original name is Phong, but he changed it because he got sick of the other kids teasing him, with some calling him "Fonzie." Vincent can still speak passable Vietnamese, though he cannot read or write it. Vincent goes to church weekly, has drank maybe two six packs his entire life and his most scandalous curse word is "darn."



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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing a bit about your family Linh, and sorry to hear about your father. Now, what is the story on that "Know about money" placemat?

Anonymous said...

OOps. Sorry. That last was from Gordon. In NEbreaska.

Linh Dinh said...

Hi Gordon,

Finding it in a stack in the living room, I placed it under the kitchen table so I can catch the dog behind it.

The Bay Area is familiar to me, since I've been there so many time, but it is still profoundly strange. First of, I no longer drive, so I find all of these eight lane streets and busy freeways very annoying. I can't complain about the mild weather and sunshine, though.

I like San Francisco, however, especially the Mission District, and I also like downtown Oakland. The people at the A's game are like those you'll find in Philly.

Linh

x larry said...

very interesting, what crazy families we have!--your i think younger brother sounds a bit like my older bro. sorry to hear about your dad.
love these teaching aids. so much effort goes into basically nothing. i went through an extremely, extremely gruelling celta course when i came to brighton--the one to teach english, which i'd done way back for four years--but the stuff you had to do, and for what? rich little snots who don't give two shits for much of anything but money and securing high paying, low-low-low morals, employment.

Chuck Olroski said...

Linh: Beautiful paragraph on ailing Chau, Vincent & Gina. Looks like a fascinating Karamazov Bothers contrast between you (flesh & beer) and Vincent (Yahoo & soul).

I'm sincerely happy Vincent changed his name in order to avoid being called "The Fonz". That kind of stupid nickname- branding often makes people go "ape shit" and understandably turn to violence.

Am glad to learn your nieces/nephews are nearing straight A's, but I really hope they inherit YOUR heart, passion & compassion.

I liked the Oakland A's especially during the times of beer-drinking Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson, Bert Campenaris, and Catfish Hunter. Yes -- and the guy who became World Series M.V.P., damn, forgot his name! Uh, Gene Tenace? Well, did the A's win the game you saw with brother... how much for cup of beer?

Linh Dinh said...

Yo Chuck,

A's won 10-0 versus Rangers. Oakland Coliseum has a new name but it's an aging, multi-purpose stadium without the charms of a Fenway or Wrigley. The crowd, though, makes each game worthwhile for most of them are as lovably mishappen and badly dressed as, well, you and I, Chuck. They're our kind of people. (Actually, you're in excellent shape and dressed pretty nattily also, but you know what I mean...)

Beer was $12 a pop so I didn't buy any. Coming in, there was also the airport style security check. It'd been decades since I went to a ball game, and 30 years since I was last at same stadium.

Linh

Linh Dinh said...

Yo Chuck,

You forgot the out-of-this-world Rickey Henderson! If we didn't live in a country with a criminal government and an imploding economy, going to a ball game would be such an innocent pleasure. To the A's' credit, they played "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the 7th inning stretch, and not the suffocatingly jingoistic "God Bless America." I mean, one national anthem per game should be enough, no?


Linh

Chuck Olroski said...

Linh: $12.00 for a beer??? I assume there were not too many fans at the game who couldn't pass a cop's D.O.T. urine test on way home.

I don't like the new MLB "amusement" parks, including the O's Camden Yards. As a kid in Summers, 1960s, I stayed with my Aunt Sue & Uncle Woody in Laurel MD. Woody drove truck for Pepsi Cola and used to get free tickets to O's games at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. At time, the stadium was filled with guys like you and I, and in contrast nowadays, I would not want to pay to see a game at Camden Yards where the lower deck "box" seats are populated with lawyers and corporate types.

Seven years ago, I went on a St. Ann's bus trip to Phillies new stadium, a game against rival Mets. Our seats of course were upper deck, the place is beautiful; so much to EAT and things-to-do for children on the field's perimeter, & kids do not even have to like baseball (at all) & still have "good time"!

Like every American institution, Major League Baseball is gone to opulent hell. And how stupid could I get, Linh... am watching Cole Hamels pitch against Nationals right now on, and he's already given up a homer.

Finally, you're in good shape too! Your journey (on foot) from Scranton Greyhound terminal to Bacwal's is almost 4-miles, uphill! Seriously, were I to do such marathon, I'd have to ice feet, take Tylenol X-strength.

Holy shit, Cole Hamels just got a hit, tied the freaking game! Wish you & Linky good night.

Chuck Olroski said...

Yes... Linh, 1-National Anthem is plenty. I liked the owner from Chicago, the late-Bill Veeck. He used to hire midgets in order to give opposing pitchers fits, walk them, & get on base. Ha! Veeck also hauled elephants into the stadium, & at 7th Inning Stretch, the animals walked around the field. Am signing off, nice chat.

Eddie said...

Linh,

Sorry to hear about your father. I have been looking at your South Bay pictures with great familiarity because they capture one of my stomping grounds, the area near Santa Clara University where the Earthquakes played their futbol matches from 2008 to 2014, now relocated to their new stadium across the railroad tracks.

I haven't been to an A's game in at least 4 years. I used to love sitting in the bleachers when I first moved out this way in 1989, unfortunately ruined by the return of the NFL Raiders and the infamous Mt. Davis.

Like you, I enjoy downtown Oakland. I had a nice stroll from there into West Oakland after a political event last weekend.

You might not like the Mission District as much on your next visit as the pace of gentrification is obscene. Not a week (or even a day) goes by without a report from a friend or acquaintance facing eviction or the closure of some long standing community serving business or restaurant.

We working class and poor folks are just in the way of the big money wannabees, despite whatever platitudes to inclusiveness, education and whatever other kumbaya bullshit they spout as they economically cleanse the neighborhood and take our homes.

Take care,
Eddie

Linh Dinh said...

Hi Eddie,

I had a few hours in the Tenderloin and found out that that area is also changing. Twitter has moved in, along with assorted hipsters and yuppies. It's inevitable, I suppose, considering its location.

Linh

x larry said...

enjoyed all the baseball talk. i was the biggest fan as a kid, the kc royals of the late 70s. but grew up mainly in michigan, and tigers stadium was so great. it was magic. now all gone. went once, 1988 to fenway and it was great. also went to memorial in baltimore a few times, we were goofballs, got cigars (which we could smoke in stands then) and sort of cleared out an area around us by smoking them. but that was a pretty good stadium, very softball feeling to me anyway, as there is a big national softball tournament in my hometown. old phillies stadium sucked, as did three rivers in pittsburgh. wrigley way too yuppie. to me it was, every summer, a two hour trip to detroit and a double header, often on my birthday, with the royals, then maybe one other double header. those were great days. must admit i'm now again an addict, watching miggy and co every night via internet. they're more thrilling than ever this year. cheers

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About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.