Chinese American Archives - StoryCorps

Sisters Remember Growing Up In Their Parents’ Hollywood Laundry Business

In the 1940s, Siu Fong Yee Wong and Moon Tung Wong — also known as Frank — immigrated from China with their firstborn daughter, Suzi, and opened up a laundry business on Melrose Avenue, right in the center of Hollywood.

The Wong kids (Suzi, Eddie, Donna & Warren Wong) with a World Book Encyclopedia set in the early 1960s. Courtesy of the Wong family.

As Frank and Siu Fong Yee saved up for a house, the growing family lived in the back of the laundry.

It was a cozy setup: behind the business, the family carved out a living space. Their bedroom, play area and living room were all rolled into one, and the kitchen space doubled as a study and wash room.

Suzi and Donna Wong at their StoryCorps interview in Atlanta on March 15, 2022. By Hillery Rink for StoryCorps.

Sisters Suzi and Donna came to StoryCorps in 2013 and then again in 2022 to share stories of what it was like growing up just minutes from all the big movie studios in Hollywood, California… but a world away.

Siu Fong Yee Wong and Frank Moon Tung Wong, before their laundry closed in late 1984. Courtesy of the Wong family.

Originally aired March 25, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Listen to Suzi and Donna’s story on the StoryCorps Podcast.

Even Though He Wasn’t A “Tough Guy,” This Purple Heart Vet Made His Mark In Vietnam

As a child, Richard Hoy dreamed of becoming a hero, like the ones he saw in Hollywood movies. Growing up sheltered from the outside world, he wanted a life of adventure. So when he was 18 years old, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.

By 19, he was serving as a medic in Vietnam, and what he encountered in the field challenged his notion of being a “hero.” 

Richard Hoy (left) at his new assignment after recovering from a gunshot wound to his abdomen, and a concussion by a grenade. He is applying a fresh dressing on a patient shot with an AK-47. Circa 1971, Fort Ord Hospital, CA. Courtesy of Richard Hoy.

One day, his unit surrounded a village in Vietnam, and Richard remembers seeing a North Vietnamese soldier staring at him 50 feet away. Presented with the opportunity to shoot, he didn’t. He questioned if he was cut out for war. 

Five decades later, he came to StoryCorps with his daughter, Angel Hoy, to share how being a medic on the front lines of war shaped him.

Originally aired March 5 on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.

Top Photo: Richard and Angel Hoy in Seattle, WA on Feb. 22, 2022. Courtesy of Richard Hoy.

This interview was recorded in partnership with KUOW as part of StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative.