This is the story of how Toy coped with living in two cultures. She was born in Butte, Montana in 1924, yet her upbringing was solely aligned with the Chinese culture of the Qing Dynasty of the late 1800s. Toy’s arranged marriage at age 16 to Bill Kay brought her to Olympia, Washington and placed her in a long timeline of local Chinese history. Readers of her story will appreciate the unique voice of a Chinese American elder and hear her challenges as a woman working in the family restaurant, a woman dreaming of higher education and a woman who battled deep despair. Through it all, she becomes a woman who finds strength through spiritual exploration, education, and community involvement. Toy’s story is one of survival and inspiration.
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Toy Kay, 94, lives in Olympia, Washington. She founded the Olympia Area Chinese Association and has been active in several community organizations. For her efforts, Toy received the Living Legend Award of Thurston County in 2003. Toy continues to be active in Olympia. She enjoys public speaking, writing poetry and daily affirmations, the company of family and friends, and practicing meditation. After spending so many years trying to do her highest good, she is now at peace, living in her perfect now.
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