Told in 3rd person, The Story of Sheen Hwei, born in Formosa, (Taiwan) to Charles and Debbie (Daddy & Mommy) the oldest of 3, counting “the accident”, her youngest brother.
We were told that Francine was traumatized in school at a young age because her name was so difficult to write in Chinese, as compared to her brothers name consisting of 1 & 2 lines. Because of this and each student being required to write their name before leaving class, Sheen Hwei missed out on the snacks, cookies and fruit. This obviously has left some emotional scars. Being resourceful, however, Sheen Hwei asked her mother if she could change her name and was told NO.
Not only did Sheen Hwei attend school during the week but on weekends, she attended another school to learn her ABC’s. This was not that fun, so being the smart resourceful kids they were, they decided to go to the park and play on weekends instead of going to school. When asked by mom what they learned on week 1 she said “How are you”. On week 2 she said “Fine thank you, and you?” Mom subsequently called the school and the fun was over, grounded for life…
In 1977, the family moved to Alhambra, CA, United States of America. School was very difficult, Sheen Hwei did not really understand what was being said by the teachers or students. If English were your second language, imagine trying to figure out the difference between Patriotic and Pediatric. Being resourceful, she brought a tape recorder, English & Chinese dictionary and lunch to class every day, wanting to speak perfect english. Lunch became important, as one of her classmates, Billy sat next to Sheen Hwei and he got peanut butter & jelly sandwiches every day, while Sheen Hwei had rice and noodles. Mom not wanting her daughter to get a sugar high and crash, initially resisted giving Sheen Hwei PB&J sandwiches, but eventually did figure out that it would not hurt her. When Sheen Hwei showed Billy the PB&J, she learned what a High Five was!
About that time, middle school, Sheen Hwei decided to pick a simpler name and chose Francine to the delight of the American kids and the confusion of her Chinese friends. Francine went on to be the valedictorian of the 8th grade and High School classes, wow!
Francine worked her way thru university modeling and as a dental assistant, graduating from the University of Irvine (Ant Eaters). Going to work for Century 21 and becoming the number 1 sales person, Francine often received flowers, lots of them, bunches of them, vases, bouquets, arraignments… at one point her co-workers wondered who had died and noted their condolences for her “loss” or who ever had died…
Francine married, briefly, and then became Happily Divorced. Francine subsequently became a star at Rose Hills, then hired away by Forrest Lawn to serve the Asian Community, again doing a wonderful job, then moving to Mass Mutual doing very well again with her talent and beauty.
Francine enjoys her family, especially the nieces and nephews of her brother, “the accident” and his wife. At this point Michael Hoey unsuccessfully tried to speed up Francine. Francine is very involved as Chair of the Arcadia Chinese Association and enjoys Travel, Yoga, Cycling and Cooking. She keeps her Karma in check daily and closed by noting that Life is Good! Thank you Francine for being an important part of the Arcadia Rotary.