This fall our Chapter Chicks book club will celebrate 10 years, but this spring we celebrated reading our 100th book as a club. Our fearless leader, Lisa, is very organized and keeps track of all the books we have read and discussed. Three of the six who were able to make the trip are charter members. We read our first book in October of 2007 and felt compelled to mark the momentous occasion of reading our 100th book. We chose to read “East Wind, West Wind” by Pearl S. Buck, and to make the reading special we took a field trip to Sellersville, PA to visit the Pearl S Buck House. We arrived at the former home of this extraordinary woman, with a sign in hand announcing who we were and why we were there. We were welcomed by the staff and given other Pearl Buck suggestions to consider. Proceeding with a tour we learned much about her as an author, a mother and a humanitarian. In 1980 the U.S. Department of the Interior designated the home a historic landmark.
We toured the house which was home to the many children she and her husband adopted and later fostered.
A look out an upstairs window gives a view of one of the garden and play areas.
In one of the three or four libraries in the house we saw this beautiful, Chinese chess set among the 10,000 books housed in the dwelling. According to the note she was evidently a good chess player.
It was interesting to see the desk and the typewriter where she wrote Nobel Prize winning book “The Good Earth.” Written in 1931, it quickly became a best seller and was made into a motion picture in 1937. The note she received from the Chinese government refusing her visa to visit the country with then President Nixon was among the other interesting articles on the desk. The Chinese were not happy that her stories were about the peasant people of China rather than the aristocrats. They felt this portrayed a poor image of their country. (no pun intended)
They also did not like the way she brought Western customs into the story of “East Wind, West Wind. Personally, I thought it was a marvelous culture study. Let me tell you a little about this book. It is a story of an arranged marriage of a young Chinese girl to a man who had just returned from America to practice medicine in China. The girl was steeped in tradition, having her feet bound and wanting to do her duty of bearing him a son. However the young man was not interested in controlling this young girl, he wanted to love her and wanted her to love him. She was very confused about this, but by his being loving, patient and understanding, she truly did fall in love with him, and went through the painful process of unbinding her feet at his request, which he knew was for her own good.
These are a pair of an adult woman’s shoes whose feet were bound since childhood. Can you imagine the pain a child suffered? The slow process of unbinding the feet as a young adult was very painful as well. Even though the Chinese did not like Buck exposing some of the practiced injustices, in later years a Pearl S Buck Museum was opened in Zhenjiang, China, and slowly, some of these customs were dropped.
I couldn’t help but take a picture of the portrait of this famous author who has a love for the Chinese people and a heart for children.
The outside tour was as interesting and beautiful as the indoor tour.
Good chocolate and tasty ice cream was enjoyed by all.