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Interview with Joe Huie




Joe Huie was born in about 1892 in a rural village in the Taishan District of Guangdong Province in southern China. He immigrated to the United States at age 17, arriving in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1909. Through a friend from his village who had arrived earlier, Huie got a job as dishwasher in a Chinese-owned restaurant, the St. Paul Cafe, where he later worked as cook and manager and eventually became part owner. In 1915 he returned to China for a visit to his family and village. Upon his return to Duluth in 1917 he was drafted into the armed services but discharged almost immediately because of his lack of knowledge of the English language. In about 1920 he got a job at the Chinese-owned Arrowhead Cafe and worked there for more than a decade, sending remittances to Taishan for the support of his family and saving money for a future business of his own in China. In 1933 he returned to China and established a small business in Taishan. He remained there with his family until 1937, when the Japanese invasion of China threatened his business and he decided to return to Duluth. After World War II Huie again went to China and established a business in the provincial capital of Guangzhou (Canton). With the Communist victory in China in 1948, Huie realized that private businesses were in jeopardy and returned to Duluth with two sons. In 1951 they established the Joe Huie Cafe, which became a landmark in the city, attracting patrons from every walk of life. Huie operated his restaurant for 22 years before retiring in 1973 at the age of about 81. Because of restrictive American immigration laws and Chinese tradition, Huie's family remained in China during most of his years in Duluth before World War II. Although he brought two sons to Duluth in 1949, after liberalization of U.S. immigration law in 1943, it was not until 1954 that his wife and two youngest children arrived in the United States. His youngest child was born in Duluth after the family had been reunited. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Joe Huie's early life in China - his struggle to survive as a young immigrant in Duluth - his many inventions - and his interest in healing and folk medicines. Huie also provides information on the early Chinese community in Duluth. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: Joe Huie is one of the few early twentieth-century Chinese immigrants to be interviewed for this oral history project, and he provides invaluable information on the experience of early Chinese immigrants in Duluth. Portions of the tape are somewhat difficult to understand, but for the most part Huie's spoken English is understandable.





World Region



Joe Huie Narrator Sarah Mason Interviewer March 25, 1979 Duluth, Minnesota

Sarah Mason Joe Huie


SM: I’m talking to Joe Huie on March 25, 1979 in Duluth, Minnesota. Joe Huie arrived in Duluth in 1909 and he operated the very well-known Joe Huie Café from 1951 to 1973. This is an interview conducted under the auspices of the Minnesota Historical Society and the interviewer is Sarah Mason. To begin with, Mr. Huie, could you tell us about your childhood in Taishan? JH: Yes. SM: It’s in Guangdong Province, is that right, in China? JH: Yes. Yes, it is. And I was . . . at Taishan and . . . [unclear]. SM: [Unclear.] JH: Yes. SM: That was your village? JH: Yes, where is it. SM: And did you . . .? JH: And that’s Taishan District. SM: In the Taishan District. I see. JH: Yes. Canton, China. Guangdong, China. SM: Guangdong, China. JH: Oh . . . 1

SM: Guangdong is the province, too, right? JH: Yes. SM: And did you come from a large family in the village? JH: Well, yes, the larger family alright. And . . . I’ve got there five brothers. [Pauses] Three sisters. SM: That is a big family. JH: Yes. SM: Yes. And do you have many relatives in the village, too? JH: All the relatives are about a hundred. SM: Oh, a hundred. Ah ha. And did your family farm for their living or . . .? JH: Yes. They did farm. And oh . . . not really much, yes, but a small amount of farming. SM: I see. What crops did you grow? JH: Mostly usually rice. SM: Rice, yes. JH: Potato. All the vegetables. SM: And did you have any fish? Catch any fish there or . . .? JH: Oh, there, whatever it got there to go to catch the fish in the larger stream and like the . . . some kind of stream, you know, the . . . SM: Oh . . . JH: The water running and . . . SM: The river? Or . . . JH: On a small . . . just a small amount of fish, that’s all. SM: I see. Yes. Just to eat for yourselves. 2

JH: Yes. [Chuckles] SM: I see. And then did you go to school in the village when you were a boy? JH: Yes. SM: So you were pretty young still when you came to Duluth. JH: Oh, yes. And about fifteen years old. SM: Oh. JH: No, no. Seventeen years old. SM: Seventeen years old. JH: Yes. SM: Why did you want to come to Duluth? Were you seeking work? JH: Well, it’s that . . . the . . . my friend over here. SM: I see. Someone from your village was here. JH: Yes. SM: And they told you you might find work here? JH: Yes. SM: I see. Well that was . . . must have been quite a big experience to leave your home and come across the ocean . . . JH: Yes. [Chuckles] SM: All the way to Duluth. JH: Yes. SM: What was your first impression of Duluth when you came here? JH: It was the . . . my . . . it used to be my father that was in New York, that knew all of them. SM: Oh, he had been to New York and gone back to Taishan? 3

JH: Yes, went back. SM: Oh, I see. JH: Yes. SM: Oh, so he told you about it. JH: Yes. SM: Were there many other Chinese here when you came? JH: Oh yes, quite a few. SM: Do you know how many? JH: Hmmm. Maybe . . . not [unclear], for the Chinese maybe sixty, seventy, something like that. SM: Sixty or seventy. And that was in 1909, right? JH: Yes. SM: I see. And most of these were in business in [unclear]? JH: Yes, most of them. SM: I see. Did any Chinese that you ever heard about in Duluth work in the mining or the fur . . .? JH: No, none. SM: Just in business. JH: Yes. SM: Yes. And none on the docks—in the early days? JH: No. None. SM: I see. So they all came . . . did some come from the West Coast, too, from California? JH: Ah . . . Oh, you mean . . . SM: Did some Chinese come from California to Duluth? 4

JH: Oh, they came from all over. Most . . . they . . . they [unclear]. They came from California and New York, all over. SM: I see. And some from China, directly. JH: Oh, yes. Most are from China. SM: Most from China. JH: Yes. SM: I see. How did they pick out Duluth? [Chuckles] It’s so cold . . . JH: My friend got a business for here, see. SM: I see. So he could help you. JH: Yes. SM: I see. Is that the way most came? A friend . . . they knew a friend. JH: Oh, yes. They . . . yes, mostly got a friend before you go anyplace, otherwise it’s [chuckles] not so good! SM: I see, so everybody would have a friend first in where they came. JH: Yes. SM: Who was the first one? [Chuckles] JH: Oh, I don’t [unclear] it would be hard to say! [Chuckles] SM: You never heard anyone say who was the first Chinese here? JH: Yes. You know, some people, the difference is they go in someplace and they see something different, see. SM: I see. JH: For some people that . . . SM: Somebody might be really brave enough to come first. JH: Yes. 5

SM: I see. Or maybe two came together. [Chuckles] JH: Yes. SM: What was your first job then, when you came to Duluth? JH: Well, a cook . . . a . . . a dishwasher. SM: I see. And what café? JH: Cook, cook and . . . SM: Dishwasher and cook. JH: Yes. Saint Paul Café. SM: I see. Was your friend working there, too, or did he own that? JH: Oh . . . oh, yes. Yes, he was working there, too. SM: Yes. He didn’t . . . he owned it? JH: Yes. He owned it. SM: He owned it. So the early Chinese restaurants had American names sometimes, like Saint Paul Café or . . .? JH: Oh . . . why they . . . most had American names. SM: Oh. First they had American names. Were there some others in around 1910, 1911 . . .? JH: Ah . . . SM: Owned by Chinese? JH: Oh . . . I guess there were some there . . . see some Chinese names. SM: Some had Chinese names. JH: Some, but . . . like Mandarin. SM: Oh, yes. Who was the owner of that? Did you know him? JH: Oh, I . . . 6

SM: Oh, was that a Chin? Named Chin? JH: Yes, yes, that’s right. SM: Oh...Chin . . . JH: How . . . how do you know him? SM: In the public library they looked up in the city directory. JH: Yes. The Chin, yes. SM: From . . . it goes way back to 1899. They told me there was someone named Chin D. Ong. JH: Yes. Yes. SM: That’s it? JH: Yes, Chin. SM: Did you know him? JH: The Chin, yes. SM: Oh, yes. Does some of his family still here? JH: Oh . . . I . . . before this, there wasn’t a family here, I think they maybe came after, I don’t know. SM: I see. So first it was just some men, then the family. JH: Yes. Yes. Yes. SM: So would they be the first, first to come or not? JH: Mmmm, I don’t think so. Maybe, I don’t know. SM: I see. JH: I . . . I guess with the Chins that it’s possible they’re the first that came. I don’t know for sure. SM: Possibly. But pretty early, anyway. JH: Yes. 7

SM: I see. So was there something called a Portland Café? Was there . . .? JH: Not Portland. SM: Not Portland. Arrowhead? JH: Yes, there was Arrowhead. I worked in there. SM: You worked there, too. But that was a later café? JH: Yes. And why I think that they opened up about 19 . . . 1920 . . . Ah . . . SM: Or that was [unclear]. JH: Around then, 1920. Yes, something like that. SM: I see. So that was after you had been here for a while. JH: After that . . . yes. SM: Oh. I guess the ones I was going to ask you about . . . Royal? Was there a Royal? JH: Royal, yes. SM: Royal, yes. And Pollock [sp]? JH: Yes, Pollock. SM: Ohio? JH: Yes. SM: They were all early. JH: Yes. That’s . . . they were . . . was there before that. SM: They were here before you came? JH: Yes. SM: Oh, I see. So these were early but they had American names. JH: Yes. 8

SM: I see. So that’s the Oregon, Royal, and Pollock cafés. Why did they have American names at first? JH: I don’t know that. Because of the most of them followed the . . . they followed the American . . . you know . . . each one a different way. SM: Yes. JH: And think in different ways, see. SM: Sure. JH: Some you want Chinese in name for the attracting with the people, too, see. Yes. [Chuckles] SM: Yes. Later on they all did that. JH: Yes. SM: I wondered if maybe they bought them from Americans. Did they do that? JH: No. I don’t think so. SM: They started [unclear]. I see. JH: I don’t think so. SM: They started it themselves, the Chinese. JH: Yes. Yes. SM: Were most of the restaurants owned by Chinese when you came here? JH: Mmmm. Oh, there were some American. SM: Some Americans. JH: A lot of American restaurants but a few were Chinese. SM: I see. But there were a lot of them. JH: But there were quite a bit there . . . quite a bit of Chinese. SM: [Unclear.] I see. JH: But they . . . well, they were Chinese restaurants but not Chinese food. 9

SM: Oh . . . These . . . the Saint Paul Café, Arrowhead . . . JH: At Arrowhead there they got the American and Chinese. SM: Both. I see. JH: And at Ohio, Royal, Saint Paul, all of these, American dishes. SM: Oh . . . They all had American food. JH: Yes. SM: Was that because the Americans weren’t accustomed to Chinese food? JH: You know why? Because then, at that time the Chinese food then, not the . . . not like today. SM: Oh. Not as fancy? JH: No, because of the . . . the people didn’t know. SM: They didn’t know about it. I see. JH: Yes. After they’d been eating . . . SM: Yes. JH: One of the Chinese government—I forgot what their name is—and he came in Washington. They made Chinese food all . . . SM: Oh, yes. I heard about that. JH: You heard about? SM: Was that Li Hung Chang? But a high official from the Chinese government. JH: Yes, yes, yes, yes. Li Hung . . . SM: Li Hung Chang. JH: Possibly Li Hung Chang. Maybe . . . SM: I think so. JH: I can’t . . . I think that’s just about right. You know more than I do. [Laughter] 10

SM: No, not really! Not about Duluth and [unclear]. [Chuckles] JH: Yes. SM: Oh, that’s it. JH: Yes. That’s the way that after that and that they named Chinese food. SM: Ah ha. JH: Then all started the restaurants. SM: I see. Then it became popular. JH: Yes, I think it was Li Hung Chang. SM: I think so. JH: Yes, I think Li Hung Chang. [Li Hung Chang was a Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. whose cooks supposedly invented the dish “chop suey” for his American guests at a dinner in 1896. While the story of how it was invented may or may not be true, chop suey and Chinese food quickly gained popularity across America from then on.] SM: Oh, well so some of these restaurants started before Li Hung Chang came. JH: Yes, yes. SM: I see. And they had American food. JH: Yes. Oh, there were some of the restaurants before, but not very many. SM: I see. JH: But after that, they were popular and knew that Chinese food was good. SM: Oh, I see. And then it got more famous. JH: Yes, yes, yes, yes. SM: I see. Well, in Duluth were there many single men, Americans and Europeans and so on, so they ate at restaurants a lot? Were there a lot of restaurants because there were many single working men here who didn’t have families?


JH: All that . . . yes. Oh, yes. They were mostly like Saint Paul Café, like the rest. Between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue was . . . SM: Yes. JH: That one block, and the [unclear] people, and the lumberjacks. SM: I see. JH: They went here in a couple times a year they . . . like come out from the woods. SM: Ah. One or two times a year? JH: Yes. SM: Oh, I see. JH: When were the . . . they’d come out, block up the street. SM: Oh, really? JH: Yes. SM: I see. JH: And when they came in, wouldn’t order, most everybody wanted a pork chop. SM: Oh, really? JH: Yes. SM: Oh . . . JH: I had twenty-five orders once. SM: Oh, and so you were cooking then? JH: Oh, yes. I was cooking. SM: So you had food that the lumberjacks liked. JH: Yes. SM: That they would buy. I see. 12

JH: And you know that at that time the food was not like today. SM: No. [Chuckles] JH: Real cheap meal. Fifteen cents meal. SM: With pork chops? JH: Fifteen cents a meal, a hamburger, and with the potatoes, and homemade roll. SM: Oh! JH: Homemade cake. SM: [Chuckles] JH: Fruit saucer. SM: That was a bargain. JH: And . . . did I say potato? SM: Yes, potatoes. And salad? JH: Ah . . . and coffee. And a dill pickle. Eat all they want on the counter. Fifteen cents. SM: That was a real bargain. Was that a . . . JH: The hamburger, pretty near half a pound. SM: Was that a usual price then in Duluth? JH: No, there . . . SM: Just at Saint Paul Café? JH: I think at Saint Paul there, maybe a few Chinese here like that, but not . . . SM: I see. JH: Yes. SM: That was a very good price. JH: And the pork chop . . . three pieces of pork chop. 13

SM: [Gasps] I see. JH: And potato, a homemade roll, homemade cake, fruit saucer, coffee, A deal breaker, all you can eat for twenty cents. SM: [Chuckles] Oh, boy. Well, did you cook American food, too? JH: Yes. SM: Oh, how did you learn to do that? JH: Oh, you know, that anybody can be learned. SM: [Chuckles] Yes. Did you know how to cook Chinese food when you were at [unclear]? JH: No, I didn’t cook Chinese food until when I was a cook. SM: I see. But later on . . . JH: But after that, after maybe ten years, a cook or something like that, and head cook after that, then the manager. SM: I see. JH: Until then . . . SM: You were manager of the Saint Paul Café. JH: Yes. SM: I see. But first you say you weren’t the cook until ten years after you were there? JH: Oh, about ten years. SM: Oh, you were washing dishes and . . . JH: Yes, dishwasher, washed dishes and learned some cooking and then after . . . SM: You learned some cooking. JH: And then after, cook, started as cook, head cook. SM: I see. So in ten years you were the head cook, is that right? 14

JH: No, not ten years. After maybe five, six years, then head cook. SM: Five or six years. Okay. And then you became the manager. JH: Manager. SM: I see. So were you part owner of it, too, at any time? JH: Yes, most of them. SM: Most of the time. I see. JH: Most of that, part owner. SM: I see. So usually the Chinese would have partners, is that right? To own [unclear]. JH: Yes, mostly all of them. Most all of them. SM: I see. Was that . . .? JH: And not all of them, but most of them. SM: Oh. How many partners would they have? Maybe four or five? JH: Oh, it was just . . . the numbers were different. Sometimes maybe four or five, maybe ten, maybe more than that. SM: Oh, even more than ten sometimes. JH: Yes. SM: I see. And so everyone would put their money together? JH: Yes. SM: To buy the building or whatever. JH: Yes. SM: I see. So you didn’t go take out a loan from the bank or something? JH: Oh, some would buy something, a payment sometimes, not the . . . not everything, not all the time. Very few. SM: I see. 15

JH: Maybe once. Otherwise they’d pay everything in cash. SM: I see. They didn’t borrow usually. JH: No. SM: I see. Okay. And the business methods you used, you know, for keeping the books and all that, were they the same that were used in China? Or how did you . . .? JH: No, no. Not like in China. In China they . . . I haven’t been in a business now with China and I don’t know. But I don’t believe it is the same like in America, no. SM: I see. So they did it like other American businesses. JH: Yes. SM: I see. JH: You have to keep up the [unclear] and because of the . . . you know, you have to be the same . . . everybody has the same [unclear] in here. SM: Yes, that’s right. But it would be a little different in that many partners got together usually for the first investment to put the money [unclear]. JH: Yes. SM: I see. Why did Chinese develop so many restaurants? Do you know? JH: Why? That’s the way that . . . when the people come in here . . . SM: Yes. JH: And you learn from somebody else, most of all the cooking or in other . . . there’s in no other way that you can get a job. SM: I see. You couldn’t get a job in a factory? JH: No. SM: Or as lumberjacks? JH: Some, but you’ve got the friend and then because of the . . . most of them can’t speak very much English. 16

SM: Oh, yes. Right. And the rest . . . JH: See. You learn something that who . . . who’s your friend and here. SM: Yes. And he teaches you this business. JH: Yes. Yes, that’s right. SM: Yes, I see. Well, that makes sense. JH: Yes. SM: Yes. But you were never in the laundry business then. JH: No. [Unclear] my friend, there aren’t any, then I’d have to learn some laundry. SM: I see. I see, but he was in the restaurant business. JH: Yes. SM: Was that a little bit more profitable, the restaurants? Did you make more at them? JH: No, this is not very . . . there are some people making more profit. SM: Yes. JH: But when I’m in a business always just cheap and . . . the cheapest it’s possible to sell at. SM: Yes. JH: See. Some people are a different way. SM: Yes. JH: But for my part, I try to get more business. SM: Yes. So you would sell it as cheap as possible to get more business. JH: Yes. SM: Yes. Is that usually the way for Chinese restaurants, or some were different? JH: Each one a different way. SM: I see. Yes. 17

JH: My way . . . just thinking what I could [unclear], get the money, get the business. See. SM: Yes. Right. JH: Not everybody’s the same. SM: Right. So you were just thinking about what was the best way. JH: Yes. What . . . and why when I’m in a business, always make goals good. Make . . . and then . . . work successfully. SM: Yes. How do you explain that? That you were so successful. JH: First thing, you knew how to operate, how to buy the food. How’s the best you can get it. How will you cook the best way to serve the people. You . . . you can’t go on street there, looking for customers, you can’t. The customer’s looking for you. SM: Yes. Exactly. JH: Why? After they taste good, they have to come back. SM: Right. JH: I don’t have to be looking for a customer. SM: [Chuckles] Right. So if they like the food they come back. JH: Yes. Oh, yes. They come back. SM: I see. JH: But why then every place I . . . I quit, I had to go back to China because of my family over there. SM: Yes. JH: Every place closed. SM: I see. JH: Why. You have to . . . you have to think, what is wrong, what is right? SM: Yes. I’m interested in why. How you were so successful and each place you worked and then in your own café, too. 18

JH: And then I lost every . . . all the money I . . . in a business when I left. SM: When you left Duluth? JH: Yes, they go broke. SM: Oh. JH: See. I still didn’t get . . . not in my business, [unclear] in here, but they go broke. SM: Oh . . . that was too bad. JH: See. SM: That was in 1933 when you went back to . . .? JH: Oh, not until the very . . . I . . . not until the café in . . . 1946. SM: I see. JH: Alright. SM: Two times, you . . . JH: Even I . . . not go to China. I left to go to some other place, and then it go broke, too. SM: Oh, I see. Oh. Well, when you came, did you plan to go back to your family in China? JH: Oh, because of my family there . . . it was a real problem to get over here, see. [Chuckles] SM: Yes, it would be too expensive at first. JH: Oh, it was pretty hard . . . it was pretty hard to get the family over here, too, because it was not very easy to . . . to get it. SM: Oh, yes. Because of the law, immigration laws. JH: Yes, because of the hard . . . SM: Yes, until after World War II. Well, were you . . .? Even if you had very low wages, were you always able to send some money to your family? JH: Oh, yes. 19

SM: Yes. I see. And were other people here from Taishan, too? Sending money to Taishen? JH: You know how hard . . . work . . . everybody worked fifteen hour days. SM: Wow. JH: Everybody. SM: All the Chinese. JH: All the Chinese, that’s in the very correct, fifteen hours every day; no holiday, no Sunday. SM: Weren’t you tired? [Chuckles] JH: You willing to . . . no matter how hard work, and you could work . . . you see that, the point. Alright, like if somebody forces you to work, then that’s different. You won’t . . . you can’t work . . . You’re willing to work, no matter how hard work, you can make it. You couldn’t finish. You see. I worked . . . one time, they were short on the help. SM: This was the Saint Paul Café? JH: Saint Paul Café. And . . . and they were short on the help. And then I . . . it was hard to get the good help. SM: Yes. JH: And then I took extra hours, three and a half hours more each day. SM: Oh . . . JH: And about seventeen and a half hours. SM: Oh. Seventeen and a half . . . JH: Seventeen and a half hours, yes, for a few years. And never would go over five hours of sleep. SM: Oh. This was in about 1910, 1911 or so? JH: Oh, at that time that would be . . . I think about . . . about 1920, about that . . . SM: Oh, yes. JH: And then I did not take any more money. 20

SM: Oh, I see. JH: Few hours more than anybody is, I am manager, and still not taking one more penny. SM: I see. JH: I don’t think that you can pick another one in the world like that. Why? I knew everything, I’m head cook, manager. And other people, they just . . . they come from China, and then I get . . . and then I work a few hours more, for the same amount of money. I don’t think that anybody . . . SM: I don’t think so either. JH: But I possibly did take some more money but I . . . I’m manager. If I take more money, that makes it kind of . . . pretty hard to get along with the people, the partners, you see. SM: I see. JH: And then, well, let it go. What did I care for that? See, because I think most people, they’re, “More, more.” SM: Yes. JH: See. That’s the real reason I don’t take . . . I do not hire one more, that’s the real reason there. Pretty hard to get the super the honest people of heart. SM: Did you have mostly Chinese help or American help? JH: Chinese, most Chinese. SM: Mostly Chinese. This was at Saint Paul Café? JH: Yes. SM: Yes. So they would come from China or other parts of the United States? JH: Most of them came from China. SM: Oh, I see. So they didn’t have to speak English because everyone could speak Chinese in the restaurant. JH: Yes. And then as long as you know all of the names and when the girl hollers the order, you understand that, that’s all. SM: I see. So you just have to know the names of the food. 21

JH: Well, even myself, you know, how hard I learned. SM: It was a struggle, I bet. JH: Did I say that before? SM: Yes, when I talked to you before, you told me how hard . . . it was after you went into the Army, is that right? When you decided to learn English. JH: But I didn’t go to the Army because of the . . . I can’t speak much . . . SM: Oh, yes. Was that World War I? You were drafted? JH: Yes. World War I, I think. SM: World War I. JH: See, no, wait a minute. SM: In 1914 or . . .? JH: World War II, I think . . . SM: That was in the 1940s. JH: I . . . World War I, I can . . . I think I registered for both, I think. SM: Oh, did you? JH: Because in 1915, that’s World War II is it . . . or I . . . SM: That’s World War I. JH: Yes. When I was fifteen I would go to China. SM: Oh, you went back to China in 1915. JH: Yes, you know, just only a year a little bit, a year and a half. And I came back in 1917. SM: I see, to visit your family. JH: Yes, In 1917 I came . . . I think it was drafts. SM: Oh, so that was World War I then. 22

JH: Yes. Yes. SM: Yes. Okay. Yes, and you were drafted as soon as you got back, is that right? When you came back from China you were drafted to the war? JH: Gee, I can’t remember that exactly . . . SM: I think it must be, because World War II was so much later. That was after you had had a pharmacy in China and all that. It was in the 1940s. JH: Oh then a pharmacy in . . . yes, in 1946 I . . . no, no. 1946 . . . SM: Then you came back here, right? Or in 1950 or something. JH: 1946 . . . and then . . . 1946 . . . yes, I think in 1946 I got a pharmacy on the . . . SM: In Canton, right. Yes. JH: Oh, I was the . . . I was at the . . . yes, at Canton, but I was in the pharmacy at the time, 1933 to 1934, yes. SM: Yes, I see. Yes. JH: And then when I came back. Then I go back in 1946 and then was I go to see Canton. SM: Oh, I see. I see, so in 1933 you went to China, and then you came back. JH: I go to China and when I get there, I go advertising on a medicine in 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937. SM: That was in China. JH: In 1937, because Japanese got into China, I had to get out of there. SM: Oh, yes. Oh, so you came back here in 1937. JH: Yes. SM: I see. 1937 back to Duluth. JH: Yes. SM: Okay. And then . . . then you went back after World War II to China. 23

JH: Yes, then in 1946 I went to China. SM: I see. JH: And then I had a pharmacy there, [unclear] Canton. SM: I see. Well, let’s go back to 1915 when you went back to China. You went for a visit, right, to your family? JH: Yes. 1915. SM: 1915 to 1917, is that right? JH: In 1915, yes. SM: Yes. JH: 1915, yes. SM: So that was just a visit. JH: Yes. SM: Yes, and then you came back here. JH: A visit. SM: Yes. JH: And I go advertising on medicine for a few years. In 1915 . . . 1916 . . . no, no, no. 1933. SM: Yes, that was a little later. JH: Yes, 1933, yes. SM: Okay. So when you came . . . JH: In 1915, 1916, 1917 . . . I came back in 1917. SM: And that’s when you were drafted? JH: 1917? SM: That would be when . . . 24

JH: I . . . I think . . . I can’t remember exactly. [Chuckles] SM: Probably it was . . . JH: For the draft, but I . . . I didn’t go. SM: You didn’t go. JH: Because I can’t speak much English. SM: I see. And that’s when you decided you must learn English? JH: Oh, yes. In 1919 . . . maybe in 1919, something like that. SM: Oh, I see. JH: Yes. I go to school about two years. One hour each day. SM: I see, to learn English. JH: One dollar a day. SM: Oh, that’s a lot of money. JH: And sixty dollars a month for wages then. Sixty dollars a month. SM: That was a lot of money. JH: And then I pay thirty dollars to the school. SM: Oh. JH: And one hour each day then. SM: I see. What made you decide you should go to school? JH: Because you can’t operate any business without it . . . to know how to speak English. SM: I see. Up to then you got along okay but . . . JH: Yes. Usually then at that time . . . at that time, about fourteen hour days. From . . . let’s see. No . . . fifteen hour days, I think. From five o’clock to eight o’clock. I get up at five o’clock in the evening, work to eight o’clock. SM: In the morning? 25

JH: Yes. SM: I see. You worked at night. JH: Yes. And then it would be study until ten o’clock. SM: Oh. JH: Go to school one hour, eleven o’clock. SM: Ten to eleven. JH: And then it’s study until twelve o’clock. And five o’clock, come to work. SM: Oh, so you slept from twelve to five? JH: Every day for a few years. SM: Oh. JH: For two years. SM: That’s not much sleep. JH: Not over five hours. SM: Never over. For how many years was that? JH: About two years. SM: Well, now you speak pretty well. JH: I can keep the books myself. SM: Yes, I see. JH: One accountant that fixes up the taxes for me. SM: Yes. JH: And he’s a college student [unclear]. [Laughter] SM: Ah . . . Before you learned English, did someone else keep the books? 26

JH: Yes. SM: I see, so after you learned English, you kept your own books. JH: Yes. SM: I see. Hmmm. JH: Just this thing a whole . . . only five hours sleep for so many years, who do you think you can expect to . . . [Laughter] SM: Not very many people. So all the time you saved some of that to send back to your family in Taishan. JH: [Chuckles] And then just sixty dollars, and thirty dollars to school, and the money sent back to China, and how much money left for you to spend. [Chuckles] SM: Not very much! Did you usually live at the café and eat there? JH: No. SM: You didn’t. JH: In a hotel. SM: You stayed in a hotel. JH: Yes. SM: Is it a hotel that’s still here? JH: Oh . . . gee, I can’t remember the hotel. Oh, the Saint Paul Café, the upstairs, yes, yes. SM: Upstairs from the Saint Paul Café. JH: Yes. Yes. SM: I see. JH: And this is not [unclear – belonged to the] hotel. SM: Oh. JH: For our people. 27

SM: Oh, I see. Okay. There was a place to live upstairs for the workers. JH: Yes. Yes. SM: The owners of the café. I see. But at the Arrowhead, when you worked there, did you live somewhere else? JH: At Arrowhead . . . they got the bed, a place to live, too. SM: They had a place, too. Let’s see, Saint Paul Café was from 1910 or 1909 when you worked there. JH: At Saint Paul Café? SM: Yes. You started working first . . . JH: Saint Paul Café, oh . . . in 1910. SM: 1910 to 1915? JH: 1910, yes . . . . [Recording interruption] SM: . . . 19 to when you went back to China or . . .? JH: 1917, it would be . . . until about . . . about 1922. And then I took the [job at] Arrowhead Cafeteria. SM: I see. JH: Not exactly 1922, maybe 1924, I can’t remember that. SM: But around in there. JH: Yes. SM: Yes. Around 1922 or 1924. [Chuckles] JH: Yes. SM: Okay. And you worked there until . . . JH: Until 1933. 28

SM: 1933. And that’s when you went back to China again. JH: Yes. Yes. SM: Can you talk a little bit about what you did in China when you went back there? JH: 1933 I . . . I . . . I go advertising the medicine business. SM: The medicine . . . what was that? JH: The business. I go advertise in that. SM: I see. JH: On a . . . I made some kind of special medicine. SM: I see. JH: A skin disease, anything like that. SM: Oh, you made your own medicines. JH: My brother. SM: You and your brother. JH: Yes. SM: And this was in Canton. JH: I go around advertising . . . SM: Oh . . . JH: And until 1917. And then . . . until the . . . SM: 1936? JH: Yes. Oh see . . . no, no. 1933 I mean until 1937. SM: 1937. Yes. JH: The Japanese came in. SM: Right. So you and your brother had a pharmacy in Canton, is that right? 29

JH: Yes. Not the . . . not the . . . we just made special the few items. SM: Oh, I see. JH: The medicines. SM: I see. JH: And then just to . . . I would go advertising them. SM: And you advertised those medicines you made? JH: Yes. SM: But not other medicines? JH: No. SM: I see. And then you sold these. JH: Yes. I’d go around the public all over the . . . you know, the . . . SM: Yes. JH: And then go and let somebody try and all of that. SM: I see. JH: And then I made the really good . . . everybody knew them. SM: I see. And then you would sell these medicines. JH: Yes, I’d sell the medicines. SM: I see. JH: And then when the Japanese got in close to my home, then I had to get out. SM: Oh, yes. What were some of the ways you advertised your medicines? JH: Like . . . I made that . . . mostly skin disease . . . most of them and that. SM: How did you make those? 30

JH: Oh, because of the . . . my brother, he knew that, you see. SM: Oh, I see. JH: He’s a doctor. SM: Oh, he was a doctor. JH: Yes. SM: I see. And did you use Chinese medicines, too? JH: Yes. SM: Herb medicines and . . .? JH: Oh, some were like . . . almost like American medicine. Almost like it, American medicine. SM: I see. JH: I’d go around and then I’d sell it pretty good. SM: Did you? JH: Yes. Oh, yes. SM: How did you . . . how did you advertise them? JH: I’d go around and ask [unclear] ask anybody to try. SM: I see. JH: You try them, and then the next time, they . . . SM: And they would want to buy [unclear]. JH: Yes, and then . . . or after I left then at some stores to sell them, at some stores they’d sell them. SM: Oh, I see. JH: Then sometimes, maybe next time I go in there and then they’d buy there, too, you see. SM: I see. Yes. 31

JH: Then you try once, they like be on your skin, I put it on, rub it for you, and then you know that right away. SM: I see. So you and your brother both made the medicines and then you advertised them? JH: I advertised them myself only, yes. SM: I see, and your brother made them. JH: Yes. SM: I see. Well, when I talked to you a few months ago you told me about making the hollow bamboo man. JH: Oh, yes. SM: Was that later or was that in the 1930s? JH: That was in 1946. Then I was at Canton. SM: I see. When you were back then. I see. That’s when you had the pharmacy. JH: Yes. But the [unclear] is just my own medicine. SM: I see. JH: Not like a pharmacy for sale everything. SM: I see. Yes. It was just a special kind of thing. JH: Yes. Yes. SM: So you stayed there about four years that time. JH: And when I make that table, boy, some lot the people went by there, you know, like inside a big . . . the play . . . like . . . SM: JH: Like . . . SM: Like a mannequin? JH: A play. 32

SM: Oh. JH: Like I go to church in a play. SM: I see. It was a regular [unclear]. JH: Yes. It’s just a thing. You know that when anything I operate I think that someday in a restaurant, no matter what I work, I always there, what . . . how to improvement. SM: Yes. JH: You see that? SM: Yes. JH: The mess . . . that’s the business then. SM: You were always thinking of ways to improve. JH: Yes. SM: That’s the reason you were successful. JH: And then . . . and make a big man like that, high as ceiling. SM: Oh, was it? JH: Yes. SM: And this was out of bamboo? JH: Yes. Yes, bamboo is hollow inside. SM: I see. JH: The man go inside. SM: Oh. JH: And it go out on the street, the play [unclear]. SM: Oh, I see. JH: And literally, bum, bum, bum. [imitates drum sounds] [Chuckles] 33

SM: Yes. JH: And enter the people. Oh, boy. Both sides of the street, sides were packed. SM: Oh . . . JH: And then one day only, alright, after a few months, three or four different big companies followed me the same way. SM: To advertise their medicines? JH: Yes. Medicine. SM: Yes. But this was in the 1940s, right? When you went back to China? JH: 1946. SM: I see. JH: Here’s the thing, you spend a million dollars, you don’t get that much benefit. I do. SM: Right, just from thinking. JH: Yes. SM: You [unclear]. [Chuckles] Right. And did you say there was a light inside this bamboo man? JH: No. SM: Oh, a man right inside. JH: But the dress nice, the . . . SM: Oh. JH: And make it, you know, like a man . . . dress it like a man, you see. SM: I see. And this attracted the huge crowds. JH: Yes. SM: That was a very clever idea.


JH: See, the thing is, no matter what, see, the same thing like if there’s any problem. No definitely what kind of problem, I take care of that. SM: I see. So you’re really good [unclear]. JH: Alright. One time, and like [unclear]. The health department, he said, “You have to get a dishwashing machine.” SM: Was this at your Joe Huie’s Café? JH: Yes. Yes. SM: Yes. So this was in the 1950s? JH: Ah . . . then I . . . Oh, I can’t sit too much. SM: Oh, do you want stand up for minute? JH: No, no, no. But I stand all day. SM: Oh, yes. Okay. We can rest for a minute if you’d like. JH: No. No. Then he said you have to buy a dishwashing machine because the water not hot enough to clean the dishes, can’t cut . . . can’t kill all the germs. SM: I see. JH: I said, I did not . . . no room. SM: [Chuckles] You had no space for that. JH: No place for it, what do I do? And then I had to think, what I can do. And then I make a steam pipe. SM: Ah ha. JH: Go in the sink. And each sink, the water you want hot, then you can make it hot. SM: I see. JH: When it’s boiling, water boiling, then the clean water for the . . . you know, the, for the basket, lie down there and pick it up, nice and hot. SM: I see. So boiling water fell on the dishes. 35

JH: The dishes there. The steam pipe go inside the sink. SM: Oh, I see. Yes. JH: See, the steam. SM: I see. JH: The water boiling hot all the time. SM: Ah ha. JH: Alright. The dishes dirty water, not clean, our clean water hot, goes down there and pick it up. Dry it up right away. SM: Yes. JH: After I made that, the Health Department came down to look it over. Something new. SM: [Chuckles] It was your invention. JH: Yes. And the State Health Department came in and he came down with them, he asked, do you ever know anything like that? SM: [Chuckles] JH: And he said, no, not in a restaurant. Except for one I’ve seen when I was in the Army. SM: Oh, I see. So you did get something out of the Army. [Chuckles] I see. That was a very clever solution. JH: You see, that it’s just the thing. SM: Yes. JH: And nice. Why? And the dishwashing machine not that hot water. This boiling water. SM: Ah ha. So that satisfied . . . JH: Kill all the germs. And besides that, they dried up right away. SM: Oh, yes, because they were so hot. JH: Yes. 36

SM: Ah ha. So the health inspector was satisfied? JH: Oh . . . SM: [Chuckles] JH: That’s the way that the State Health Department came in and he came down with them and he asked, have you ever known anything like that? SM: Oh, I see. You brought him to see it. The city health department inspector brought the state inspector. JH: Yes, the state come in once in a while, you see. SM: I see. JH: But when he came in, then he came down with the . . . SM: I see. Well, weren’t you also known in Duluth as a kind of healer, too? That you know some cures for different sicknesses. JH: Oh. SM: For nosebleed and then . . . JH: Yes. The Health Department, they wanted . . . wanted clean water, must be hot enough. SM: Yes. JH: The dishwasher, they got the water hot, not to boiling hot. SM: I see. JH: But if you wash by hand, impossible. SM: Yes. But I mean, your waitresses and so on, didn’t they come to you with some health problems sometimes, with their son’s nose bleeding? JH: Oh. You mean the . . . I tell you before then . . . SM: Yes, you told me before about that. JH: Then this way . . . because of the . . . one of the waitresses asked to tell me and he [unclear] . . . her boy would go to school and his nose was bleeding a few times a week. 37

SM: Oh. JH: The doctor he said they have to pay for an operation. And then because most all the girls there, [unclear] always tell me that, see. SM: Oh, I see. The waitresses. JH: Yes. SM: Oh. JH: And then after that I think because of his nose, and his nose was bleeding, he was getting a lot of them. But I didn’t give attention to it. SM: Yes. JH: Until she asked me. SM: I see. JH: And then I think what I can do. After that, I told her you can try the common mustard. Then use vinegar to make a thick . . . SM: Make a thick paste? JH: Yes, paste. SM: Yes. JH: Get a piece of paper, put that on the paper and then put that on the head. Not over ten minutes. SM: Ten minutes? JH: Not over ten minutes. SM: Not over ten minutes. JH: If it does not stop, you move it for a little on the side. SM: I see. JH: Once she got home, she tried it, and it was stopped right away. SM: Oh. 38

JH: Within two minutes. SM: In two minutes? JH: Yes. SM: Oh. JH: And then it never happened again for years. SM: That’s really interesting. Did other people hear about this and ask you how to stop the nosebleeds? JH: Oh, yes. And then, after a few years, one of the cashiers, her husband, his nose was bleeding. SM: Yes. JH: And then she asked me what to do about it. I told her, “The same way you can try, like Betty. Use the mustard. And I don’t know if it would work or not, I don’t know, because he’s an old man.” SM: Oh. JH: “Maybe it will not work, but you try. And see how that works.” But then her husband won’t do it. SM: Oh. JH: Until the next day, they see the doctor. It doesn’t do any work. And then he tried the mustard. And then it stopped. SM: Oh, and it worked. Did you cure other diseases, too, in China or here? JH: This and this, I’ve never done before. It’s so funny, anybody asks me, I can, see. Number of different ways, see. SM: Yes. JH: [Chuckles] I don’t know myself! SM: [Chuckles] JH: But the thinking . . . 39

SM: Oh, yes. JH: And I don’t . . . can’t understand that. Alright. They . . . the . . . what it’s like . . . like I was in China in 1933 until 1937. And one of the ladies, lockjaw. SM: Oh, that’s pretty serious. JH: And about eight or nine o’clock at night. There is somebody go up to my house. SM: I see. Was that in Taishan or in Canton? JH: Yes, at Taishan. SM: Asked you to help? JH: They go down to her house and the lockjaw. I never heard about . . . I’d never seen anything like it. SM: Oh, and what did you do? JH: I kept thinking, what I can do. Because . . . and then I possibly could try some medicine I bought only a few weeks ago. SM: Oh. Was it a Chinese medicine? JH: Yes. And then I went home to Guangdong, put the . . . what you call a paste . . . SM: Paste? JH: Some kind of paste, the drugstore some use that, too. SM: Oh. JH: And then put that inside. And then put on the side for about ten or fifteen minutes wide open. SM: You put it right on her jaw? JH: Yes. SM: I see. In fifteen minutes it worked on it? JH: Yes. I never . . . I don’t know myself! 40

SM: [Chuckles] Well, that’s . . . so you had a reputation then. People would come to ask you about these problems. JH: And that’s always the . . . what . . . I get always the . . . what’s the problem, I’m thinking. And then I’ll tell you one thing. You know that my front door on the restaurant, how heavy, how big? SM: Yes. JH: I go up the case. SM: This was on your own restaurant? JH: Yes. SM: Yes. JH: I go up the case in there fix up a light on top. Then I put my hand on the door. The customer goes out and opens the door. It catches my finger. SM: Oh . . . JH: You know what I do? SM: What did you do? JH: I had to come down the floor to open the door before my finger would come out. SM: Oh. JH: You know what I do? SM: No. JH: [Laughs] I put my hand whole entire thing you can, tight. Keep moving, twist, twist, twist. And then way down like that on the suitcase on there, and who listen and whole . . . tight, tight, tight. Keep moving, moving, about ten, fifteen minutes. SM: Was it bleeding, too? JH: No. SM: It wasn’t bleeding. It was just crushed. JH: The [unclear]. 41

SM: Oh. Mmmm. And you kept massaging it then. JH: I kept holding tight. SM: Holding it tight. JH: Tight, you twist, twist, twist. SM: Twisting it. JH: You have about ten, fifteen minutes, otherwise it won’t work. SM: I see. JH: And then after it came out, just a little pin. SM: Oh. JH: No feeling now. No pain. SM: Oh. My goodness. JH: That comes from my head, see. SM: Oh, I see. And so . . . JH: And otherwise the black and blue for at least a few weeks, and besides the nail come out. SM: Yes. JH: I take care of that. You know what to do? After ten, fifteen minutes, whole body wet with sweat. SM: Oh, from sweating. JH: But its other people who can’t stand that, see. SM: I see. JH: When you’re hit like that, you hold that. Oh . . . That’s just terrible. SM: Oh, it was really painful.


JH: Oh, God. That’s just terrible. But alright. After ten, fifteen minutes, that’s okay. Otherwise you get hurt for a few weeks at least. SM: Yes. JH: And besides, losing your nail. SM: Yes. So you didn’t turn black and blue. JH: The only one waitress in the morning. She’s the one over there. She know that. And her blood after that . . . then her blood same as trouble and he take care of that, too. SM: I see. Well, this . . . JH: You’re unbelievable. SM: So maybe you just have an inner sense of healing these things. JH: Then this way, see, I get idea before, why. But not so bad. But that’s the first time that I learned. SM: Yes. JH: And this is a learn . . . you have to learn right away. SM: Yes. JH: You see that point? SM: Right. JH: You have to do something right away or what . . . what could be done, you see. SM: Yes. JH: And the Arrowhead Cafeteria, the showcase. SM: Oh, this was at the Arrowhead. JH: Yes. I mean the showcase was different. That first time, a little bit. SM: Yes. JH: And then they put a hanging nail . . . pulled the door, slide the slide door. 43

SM: Oh. JH: And the little . . . I learned some from that. SM: I see. JH: And then I hold that. Right then, that’s the way I learned that. Because this is not learned from somebody else. SM: Right. You just figured it out yourself. JH: Yes. SM: Well, did you have any ideas about foods and health, too? About the use of nitrites or whatever preservatives . . . I think your son mentioned to me that about twenty years before most people in America were talking about this, you were criticizing the use of nitrites in food. JH: Oh. I . . . I always tried to teach all of my family that there’s a lot of people . . . or there are a lot of buyers, buy it in this, buy it in that. I said, “No, don’t use that.” SM: Yes. The things to keep things a long time. JH: No, that . . . like it’s supposed to . . . like in baking. SM: Oh, yes. That has [unclear]. JH: A number of different things. SM: In ham? JH: You see how tender? SM: Yes. Oh, the tenderizers. JH: Yes. You know how they make it tender? SM: Yes. JH: You know what that is? SM: Right, you put monosodium glutamate or something . . . JH: Yes. But I don’t like it in. SM: You didn’t use that then. 44

JH: Why? Because anything I can avoid, I would. SM: I see. JH: But you’re in a business. Well, you can’t avoid that. You have to serve that. That’s . . . Otherwise I don’t want it, see. SM: Yes. JH: I don’t want it in my family, the . . . you know, that all my children eat that. SM: I see. JH: Before the icebox always they’d get bacon. But I’ve never seen it since then. SM: I see. Yes. So did you use those in the restaurant, too? You didn’t use . . .? JH: Well, I used it. But I’m not buying that for make my own tender. SM: I see. Yes. JH: But you . . . you can’t go without it in a business. SM: Yes. JH: What do you do? SM: Right. JH: [Chuckles] SM: It’s different in your own home. JH: Yes. SM: Yes. I see. But that’s . . . you were far ahead of your time in seeing the harm in these things. JH: Oh, I always said that. See that . . . I’m not . . . I never followed the popular . . . what the . . . anything alright. Just talk about it. That’s in a business. In Arrowhead Cafeteria. SM: Yes. JH: And the first time, I went there hotel restaurants apply you know that I wanted to see their demonstration on deep fryer. 45

SM: Yes. JH: And deep fryer, when I looked at it, my principle to see the thing, whether right or wrong. SM: Yes. JH: When I saw that, the burner . . . and few in the higher the bottom. I was real interested why. The wrong . . . wrong . . . the oil don’t get burned so quick. Not so quick. Like the old style, their burned, the bottom, that stuff, dirty stuff go down the bottom and easy to burn. SM: Yes. JH: But the deep fryer and few in the hired the bottom. All the stuff go down under the burner and oily heat go up only but never go down. SM: I see. JH: You see that? SM: Yes. JH: When it boiling, the kettle, you put the . . . your hole underneath, don’t burn very much. On top, the heat up, you see that? SM: Yes. JH: That’s the way that . . . that’s the way that I bought . . . I wanted to buy a . . . [unclear] fired. But and then after that the light company, Minnesota Power and Light Company came in and asked me if what for try. Give me the deep fryer and connect electricity from outside the street. SM: Yes. JH: And gave me five gallons, a lot. SM: I see. JH: For frying. I asked the . . . all the cooks to try every day. They won’t. SM: [Chuckles] JH: Because you have to . . . the partner . . . the president before the [unclear], because I know wanted to force you to. SM: Oh, yes. 46

JH: You see. And after for about a week, and then I get mad. Alright. You get a five gallon lard for nothing and you don’t have to use electricity you sell why you not trying. After you try, good. You don’t take it, you don’t have to. I don’t want it. But I know that it’s good. When I go in a business myself, I buy to myself. SM: Yes. JH: Why you not try? And then my friend, he tried. And tried that one day, next day, for a week. SM: [Chuckles] JH: And took the nice clean oil. SM: Oh. JH: And then I see them. Alright. You know when I telling . . . take it back. Yes, keep that. [Laughter] What do use it? Just the thing. You in a business, you have to . . . you have to think in that, everything. You see that? SM: Yes. Right. That’s the way you get ahead. JH: Why? You say for you . . . first thing, nice serve the . . . the people. Nice and long. And otherwise you use your whole time and mostly black. Not so good. Maybe first you have you few . . . a few would be alright. But after that, not so good. SM: I see. JH: And this nice [unclear]. Besides that, you don’t have to . . . say for lot of work, you don’t have to change your oil all the time. SM: So you save all that oil. JH: And besides the money. SM: Yes. JH: It’s just a thing. And now whole families got their deep fryer now, you know that? SM: Yes. JH: Hmmm? SM: Right. And what year was this that you were trying it out? Oh, back in the . . . 47

JH: I think about 1925, something like that. SM: Oh, wow. JH: I think . . . I think maybe . . . something like that. 1925. SM: 1920s then. JH: 1925, something like that. It’s just a thing. You have to be thinking. SM: All the time. JH: To have the business. SM: Yes. JH: Alright. Alright. And at the Arrowhead Cafeteria . . . SM: Yes. JH: Then when I was in the business, always busy. That’s the cafeteria, you see. SM: Yes. JH: And a long up from the door, the custom. SM: Oh. Goodness. JH: And then they come in and one of the servers, the steam table. And can’t make quick enough to serve. SM: I see. JH: And I couldn’t put another girl in there, no room. SM: Yes. JH: And then I have to make a new fork. SM: Oh. JH: Why? Because it’s not quick enough. SM: I see. 48

JH: And then I think their making new fork. I got to patent that. SM: Oh, what kind of fork was it? JH: I . . . said after a while. And then there . . . the fork. And then I put the new fork in the steam table when they come in to work. They say, “What’s that?” SM: [Chuckles] JH: And this is the . . . I showed them how to use it, the [unclear] fork. And so the [unclear] way and then she kept using it for a few days and then I take to the nickel plating, make the, you know, nice looking, see. Make it silver, you see. SM: Yes. JH: But when she come in and says, “Where’s the fork?” I don’t know. “How I can work?” Only a few days. SM: [Chuckles] JH: She can’t go without it. I go there after that, I . . . and I patented that. [Joe Huie’s patent for the fork was approved in April 1931 and is Patent #1,801,084.] And then I go to sell them, go to [unclear], the [unclear] big company. I say this could be handling sixty [unclear] for the [unclear]. But everybody was laughing. Well, I show you how to work. And then I showed, too, how to work, and everybody, yes, you could alright. I never missed one sale. SM: Oh. So you sold it. JH: Anyplace I go. SM: Oh. JH: And the two restaurants I go only because of the [unclear] asked me to go there. SM: Yes. JH: And so everyone . . . too . . . so, just to show there that I was on the right of way. SM: [Chuckles] JH: I said that I didn’t have any . . . you have to get some from the [unclear]. I guess I must have gotten like the way . . . [Chuckles] SM: Oh, so they really saw the usefulness. 49

JH: You know how? There. Put the fork like that. There. There. Pick it up and push that . . . bun. SM: Oh, I see. JH: Push that with the thumb like that. Like that. Otherwise it’s like a . . . the meat stick in the fork. SM: I see. JH: The meat won’t drop on the plate. But this way, it helps to be dropped. SM: I see. JH: Push out. SM: Oh, there was something to push it out? JH: Yes. SM: Oh . . . I see. Well, that . . . so that was a patented invention I used. JH: Yes. SM: Well . . . JH: Why I had a patent for the . . . for all the other items, all the things good that . . . not good go bait and then I . . . I thought it up. SM: Oh, you did? JH: I can be . . . I’ve got to patent that. SM: For arthritis? JH: Yes. [Clunky sounds as Joe Huie shows another of his inventions] SM: Oh. And . . . oh, I see. You made that here in America? JH: Yes. The only . . . after I retired. SM: Oh, just recently. JH: Yes. 50

SM: My goodness. [Paper rustling noises] JH: I don’t think you . . . you know who that is. SM: Walter Mondale, it says on it. Do you know Walter Mondale? JH: You know what that is? SM: The White House! My goodness. What is this? [Rustling paper noises] SM: [Unclear]. JH: [Chuckles] [Background noises, possible recording interruption] SM: Did you also patent a mechanical massager then? JH: Yes. SM: Oh. And how did you happen to do this? JH: Oh, for myself. SM: You have . . . arthritis in your fingers? JH: Yes. Yes. SM: I see. JH: Yes. Like here, this is big before. SM: Oh, yes. JH: See. The . . . I’ve been on one time that and by the fingers than like that. But after that and that’s the problem then and I use a machine, finger machine for that. SM: Oh, I see. And you’ve patented . . . you developed this after you retired from your café just in the last few years. 51

JH: Yes. Yes. [Chuckles] SM: Well, you’ve been a [unclear]. You never stop working. JH: [Laughs] SM: You know one thing we haven’t talked about on this . . . is here about your own café, the Joe Huie Café. Do you think you could talk about how you, you know, started that up. Did you have any partners in that? JH: Oh, yes. SM: Oh. [Rustling noises] SM: Is this from [unclear]? Oh, from the president. I’d better [unclear]. JH: That’s okay. The world [unclear]. SM: Oh, they did? JH: Yes. SM: Send a tape or two? JH: Yes. SM: Yes. So you’re . . . you’re really in favor of wage and price control to control inflation in this country. JH: Yes. Yes. SM: Yes. Well, are there certain political . . .? JH: And you know that Carter . . . and a . . . many . . . oh, yes. SM: Is that your son? JH: Yes. Yes. SM: Oh. Hi. JH: The many . . . I . . . no, what do the . . . Mondale. 52

Unknown younger male speaker: Hi, Mrs. Mason. SM: Hi. [Background noise, possible recording interruption] JH: They’re in Duluth. I asked him, I said that, did you know I sent . . .? [Recording interruption] JH: [Chuckles] SM: So you talked to Mondale about this wage and price control and then . . .? JH: Well, he . . . he read that there in Washington, see. SM: Oh, he had already seen that. JH: And you know that after that then he had a meeting on the [unclear] and on the [unclear]. And then I went in there to a party, see. And then I happened . . . I showed him, I said, “Did you know that I sent a letter to the president?” He said, “Yes.” “What do you think about that?” He said, “Real good.” [Laughter] That’s the way that he sent me the picture. SM: And he sent the other letter. JH: Yes. That’s the one. SM: Oh, yes. Well, are you generally in favor of the DFL policies? JH: The conditions there . . . conditions there . . . why I favor that all right. I favor that all right but my favor, no matter who is that they have to . . . and work the vote to the government, see. I’m not in favor with the one that just is selfish. SM: Yes. JH: See. SM: I see. JH: There you have to be . . . no matter what party you belong to, you have to honest way to . . . not to just to help the party. SM: Right. JH: That’s right. 53

SM: Right. JH: Yes. SM: Well, in general, the Chinese people in Duluth, are they more in favor of DFL or the Republicans? JH: I think that more . . . more favor the Labor. SM: The DFL. JH: Yes. SM: And was that true back in the 1930s, too, or the 1920s? JH: Hmmm? SM: Was that true years ago, too? JH: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Most . . . and a few . . . I think that all the, you know, then not both of the parties. Some people that favor the . . . but each one that could lead the ideas, see, for the . . . SM: Right. Well . . . JH: It’s not all of them, see. All the . . . you know, there’s some people like it . . . and they like the Republicans, too, see, but not all of them. SM: Was Roosevelt very popular among the Chinese? JH: Hmmm? SM: Roosevelt. Was he seen as the champion of the underdog or . . .? JH: Roosevelt? SM: Yes, Franklin Roosevelt. JH: Yes. SM: He was? JH: Geez, at that time, I can’t remember . . . I think . . . I think that he’s pretty good. Yes.


SM: Well, so it’s after World War II that most of the Chinese started to vote if they were first generation, right? Or became citizens after World War II. JH: Well, I [unclear] I don’t know that they had given them attention before. SM: Yes. JH: When you get a little older then you know a little more, then learn [chuckles] a little more. Yes. I guess that . . . [chuckles] and then this is the youth that . . . oh, yes. That’s it. SM: Before we stop, since Wing Young is already here, could you just talk a little bit about your own café? JH: Yes, okay. SM: We spent so much time on everything else. JH: Yes. SM: You came from China in 1951. JH: 1951, yes. SM: 1951. JH: Yes. Yes. SM: And you went into this with some other partners, is that right? JH: Oh, yes. My brother. SM: Oh, your brother. JH: Yes. SM: I see. He came with you from China or . . .? JH: Yes. SM: I see. Okay. And can you talk a little bit about your café? Like when we talked last time, you were telling me about that sign you put in the window. [Chuckles] JH: Yes. Yes. SM: And then about how you lost the key. 55

JH: Oh, yes. Yes, you mean I put that there, the sign there. SM: Yes. JH: You see, then what I was thinking—always something, you know, like the . . . what any problem, and then I think, what then could be done, you see. And like when I closed that . . . when I ran short on the help I closed the hours at night. I was short on the help. And then, after that, I get enough for help and then I open . . . open up twenty-four hours again. SM: Did [unclear]? JH: And then I put the sign on there and, let’s see, I can remember that, “We have to open twenty-four hours a day now because we lost the door key.” [Chuckles] SM: Well, what were the people’s responses? What did they say? JH: Everybody that saw that . . . when I go, come through and everybody talk about it and every customer talk about it. SM: [Chuckles] Anybody offer to get you a new key? JH: Oh, yes. Yes. Offer the key, buy the new . . . buy me some. [Chuckles] SM: What kind of clientele did you have there? Who came to your café? JH: Hmmm? SM: What kind of people came to your café? All different kinds? JH: Well, [unclear] there . . . and high class and working class people. Because of the . . . the food. And you couldn’t find any better, no matter how high class. SM: People from out of town? JH: Oh, yes. Would talk about it on the street there all the time. If I’m in Minneapolis there, they’d come and talk about it on the street and there . . . one time in a Chinese [unclear], and . . . gee . . . the whole party, about ten of them from Minneapolis. And I so sorry and . . . I couldn’t find any, and . . . SM: Couldn’t find . . .? JH: And the . . . [unclear]. And you know what you do? [Chuckles] When the lady came up and kissed me, too. [Laughter] 56

SM: Well, that’s pretty nice. JH: [Chuckles] And because of the . . . so serious . . . I don’t know why so serious. And the types of people, ladies and men, a whole party in there. SM: They came to the restaurant and it wasn’t there anymore [unclear]. JH: No. No, because only my son’s place there. SM: I see. JH: They came in. When I go in there he saw me there. [Chuckles] SM: I see. JH: And because of the . . . All the time now on the street, everybody shakes hands and . . . why couldn’t they . . . couldn’t get any? [Chuckles] SM: Yes, it’s pretty famous [unclear]. JH: Yes. SM: Well, what kind of people did you hire to work in your café? Were the waitresses Chinese and the cooks? JH: No, and this is the . . . the cooks, especially. You have to get certain cooks, if you know how, then otherwise then you can’t make it in business. SM: Did you . . .? JH: But the waitresses, anyone. SM: They were anybody. JH: Yes. SM: Were they local? JH: Yes. When I was handling that, I never fired any waitress. SM: You never fired a waitress? JH: No. I don’t like the word fired. I always keep them there. [Chuckles] SM: What if they weren’t any good? 57

JH: Well, then after . . . after working a few weeks, and then you can . . . SM: Oh, I see. A trial run. JH: You quit or you keep. I’d never lay off. SM: I see. So that would be a good place to work. [Chuckles] JH: Because of the [unclear] their straight way business. Yes. SM: Did you do any of the cooking yourself at any time? JH: Not lately. SM: But in [unclear]? JH: I was, yes, before. But not lately. SM: But in your early days? JH: But sometimes, like with my brother who has been sick, I go to cooking, and I cut the meat, everything, too. SM: Oh, I see. It was [unclear]. JH: When they were on Lake Avenue. Then my brother get sick in a couple weeks and then I go and I’m [chuckles] cooking, too. SM: Had your brother been cooking, too? JH: Yes. SM: Oh, I see. Was that an area where there were some other Chinese businesses around that area? JH: Oh, yes. SM: Lake Avenue? JH: Not Lake Avenue but I mean in Duluth. SM: Oh, yes. I see. JH: A number of different businesses. Yes. 58

SM: Were there ever any places where there were more Chinese living in the city? Or were they scattered everywhere? JH: Oh, why they’re all over. And then some in . . . in like Virginia, Hibbing, all over. SM: Oh, yes. There were some . . . there was a hotel in Hibbing, right, of the [unclear]? JH: [Unclear] not a long time. Not there a long time. SM: Oh, it wasn’t there very long? JH: No. I haven’t been there, to Virginia, for a long time. SM: Oh. JH: Since, I think about, oh, 1917, I think it was. SM: Oh, is that hotel still there then? JH: No, I don’t think so. SM: Oh. Did that serve the lumber business or mining? JH: Yes, the mining. SM: I see. So it was people connected with those industries. JH: Yes. Yes. Well, I haven’t been there for a long time. SM: Yes. Did you ever work up there? Or you didn’t work up there? JH: Oh, I worked there before. SM: Oh, you did. JH: 1917. SM: Oh, in 1917. JH: At Halloran, I worked there only one year. SM: Oh, I see. One year. JH: Yes, 1917. 59

SM: Was that run [unclear]? JH: And when I came back, and I go there about a year, one year. SM: Just for one year. Did you cook there? JH: Yes. SM: Oh, I see. Was that run by people from Taishan, too? JH: Hmmm? SM: Was that owned by someone from Taishan? JH: Yes, he was from [unclear] there. SM: Oh it was . . . JH: He was from the same village. SM: I see. Well, just one more thing. [Chuckles] Unknown male speaker: No, don’t rush. SM: And that is . . . you have the reputation of being very civic-minded. That you’re very interested in helping students or whoever in Duluth. That’s what they told me up at the university, that you were a very civic-minded . . . interested in the city, you know, benefiting the city. Was that something you thought about much or . . .? JH: Well, I always have tried to help all the . . . you know in 1933? SM: Yes. JH: I bought the six hundred dollar medicine from Northland Drug Company. SM: Oh, yes. Northland Drug Company, you said? JH: Yes. All different kinds of medicine. And this medicine I . . . most of the . . . sixty, seventy, eighty percent, I gave away. SM: Oh, in China?


JH: Yes. I . . . I used myself, very small amount. And I always that feel happy, I take care of that, anybody’s sickness. That’s the way that happened. Everybody asked me and what then and then I could take care, that’s the way that happened. SM: How did you get that idea? Helping [unclear] people. JH: Because of the . . . I worked hard for that, but I . . . no matter how hard I worked, I gave away that medicine, no matter what it cost, and then I feel happy. SM: Is that something you learned from your family or in your village? JH: No, I . . . you can . . . you can . . . no way to learn anybody of that. SM: [Chuckles] JH: You know that [unclear] it’s hard to get the honest people to help you. You can, but there’s few people. Because it is just my own way only. Why? That’s my show in here. I can do it any way I want, and that’s in my own way. SM: Yes. Is generosity something that’s considered important for Chinese people, or just yourself? JH: Oh, I think in my mind always the . . . I don’t know . . . it becomes so funny that I’m always that way for all my life. I can’t figure out what that . . . And no, [chuckles] I did not need to learn from somebody anything like that. No. SM: Just your intelligence. JH: Just it comes from my mind. SM: What about in Duluth? Did you provide any scholarships for students or hire students or help them in any way? JH: Oh, I tried to help a lot, lot of things. And lots of different things that I . . . like the donations and things like that. Like all the . . . and I mostly give that a donation. SM: For any particular kind of student [unclear]? JH: You know, there’s some, you know, the . . . the letter, the . . . send to you but he don’t know that. SM: Oh. JH: I always the most . . . most of the . . . eighty percent anyway give . . . 61

SM: Oh, for when people approach you asking for money for something like that? JH: Yes. Yes. SM: I see. So you’ve got this reputation for being generous. JH: [Chuckles] SM: Yes. JH: That’s the one that . . . you see, they talk about . . . that’s the lockjaw that . . . oh see . . . why everybody knows me then like that. Alright. I heard about that, my . . . my brother’s wife and she came in not very long, you know, I heard about intermarriages, you know, the common . . . is the China and that you know the . . . you heard about how common it is and how the . . . SM: Oh, yes. JH: You heard that. That’s a really dangerous thing. Why? Anybody . . . and anybody you can met or so and you get the little money and I kill them. You heard about that, did you? SM: Yes, I heard about that. JH: And you see that. And one inter-marriages and meeting and my brother’s wife would go have a meeting, too. And you know what she said? One lady, you know, there’s some people asking me that get my name on that . . . you know, correct the . . . SM: Oh, for those crimes. JH: And when . . . you know one lady. And you know what he saying? He a good man. SM: Oh. JH: You know why? 1933, that lady said I go there advertising that all the medicine. SM: Yes. JH: When I come back and where is she? I show that one lady the [unclear] the baby about year or two years old. Just [unclear] only. Real sick. And no . . . no [unclear] at all that . . . just like a [unclear]. SM: Oh. JH: And then I go down . . . I go up and ask . . . ask her, I said, “What’s the matter?” “Oh, he’s that sick, so, so . . .” You know, poor people, see. And then I go home, bring the medicine down. You can eat that right away and then tomorrow or so then alright. A couple days, okay. 62

SM: What did you do? JH: I got all kinds of medicine. [Chuckles] I gave her medicine to take care of that. SM: Yes. JH: See? SM: Yes. JH: Otherwise they get . . . they’d die within a short time, see. SM: Yes. Well, you must have a natural sense of healing, I think. JH: And then . . . and then . . . yes. You know how I help some a lot of people asking me to all of sudden people asking my name on that. And he said no, he’s a good man. SM: Oh. JH: He told me that. SM: Well, that was good luck. JH: [Chuckles] SM: Yes. JH: You see that that’s the . . . the money wasn’t good, see. You could [unclear] get enough to eat, see. And then, too, you help. Otherwise, why . . . [chuckles] why, you’ve got trouble. SM: Right. JH: [Chuckles] SM: You’ve had a really interesting life so far. [Chuckles] JH: [Chuckles] SM: Thank you very much for spending all this time answering these questions. JH: [Chuckles] SM: You have very interesting stories. 63

JH: When I’d see them on a train, lots of times, I’d give them medicine. I got the medicine all in my pocket all my life. SM: Even when you were a young boy in . . .? JH: No. There, after . . . after I was old enough and coming here and so on. SM: And you have some in your pocket now. JH: A few different . . . a few different kinds, all the time in my life. SM: [Unclear]. Can I look in there? [Chuckles] JH: [Chuckles] SM: It’s aspirin. Or is it . . . throat [unclear] . . . JH: [Chuckles] And that’s all my life. In a pocket. SM: So you’ve always been interested in health. JH: Yes. [Chuckles] SM: That’s interesting. JH: [Laughter] SM: You seem to have some healthy children. JH: Yes. This is how old it is. [Laughter] SM: You probably took that to China with you in 1933. [Chuckles] JH: [Laughter] And that’s the way that . . . always I tried . . . I carried all the different medicines. I’d go advertising. The one lady came in that say you got for the headache? No way. I got some, but I give you that. But I didn’t have it for sale. I give you that, you eat that right away. And then after half an hour then be okay, you come back and after half an hour he come back alright, okay. [Chuckles] SM: Yes. JH: And I charge him for that. [Chuckles] The six hundred dollar. How much . . .? SM: [Unclear] 64

JH: How much time you work for that money? SM: Yes. An awfully long time. JH: At that time, about a hundred and twenty dollars a month. At that time, a little bit more, before the sixty dollars a month and at that time I kept tell you that, say I have a hundred twenty, a hundred forty, head cook. SM: Yes. Did you ever bring any Chinese medicines back with you when you came back here to Duluth? JH: Oh, just a little bit, but not for sale. No. SM: Oh, just for friends or something like that. JH: For protection. I got all different kinds of medicine, that’s for prepared in case anything [chuckles] SM: It’s good to have it for protection. Well, thank you very much. JH: [Unclear] SM: Were you going to say . . .? JH: In Canton . . . what’s the name . . . what do you call it? On [unclear] . . . some lot of people like that. SM: Oh. JH: And then I . . . then I get home and [unclear]. You know what any? Mustard oil. SM: Mustard? JH: Oil. And . . . just to put on the nose and wake up right away. SM: Oh, to revive them. JH: Yes. SM: Ah ha. JH: No doctor for that. [Laughter] SM: Oh. 65

JH: And he . . . I don’t think he . . . sensed that. I don’t think he ever happened again. Before then, all the time. SM: Oh. JH: I tried to buy some more now but I can’t buy it, I can’t get it. The one drugstore he said . . . only one drugstore that he say there, “No . . . you can’t buy anymore.” Too strong. Because they’re not allowed to sell them. [Chuckles] SM: Oh. JH: Yes. SM: Well, I’m going to talk to the oldest and the youngest member of the Huie family. JH: [Chuckles] SM: Thank you again. I really appreciate it.