This is Mr. Zhang
Life was very difficult for him when he first moved here. But although he speaks no English, he was able to find work in a garment factory. He worked for about five years until it became too difficult for him and he retired.
Mr. Zhang is widowed and has three children, all currently living in the United States. The youngest, a daughter, 25 years old, graduated from a University, but he was unable to remember which one. He also has another daughter who works as a receptionist in a private clinic and a son who is 40 years old. He spoke about his children with great pride.
I decided it was time to go to Flushing to meet some of the residents there. Many of the people living in Flushing are emigres from either China, Taiwan or Korea. From some of my past experiences photographing in Flushing, I knew that many spoke little or no English. I asked a friend, Chen Wu, to accompany me to translate.
And sure enough, as we walked down Roosevelt Avenue, we met Mr. Zhang walking very slowly with a cane. Mr. Zhang spoke no English. He is 72 years old and grew up in Shanghai, in the Southern part of China. He worked as a laborer in a local machinery factory until he had a stroke 20 years ago. That left him with right-sided paralysis. He has no feeling in his right arm. Years earlier, his parents had moved to the United States before he did and settled in Flushing. After his stroke, he moved to Flushing to be with his parents.
Mr. Zhang likes living in Flushing for several reasons. Many of the residents speak Chinese and that makes life easier for him. All of the stores where he shops are nearby and although walking is difficult for him, he makes it a point to get out every day. He said the walking is good exercise for him and he is sure to do it every day, no matter what the weather.