Bucks County Herald

Supporters “live the legacy” at Pearl S. Buck House

CONNIE WRZESNIEWSKI



Emma Strausser.

The sixth annual Living the Legacy Breakfast at Pearl S. Buck International welcomed such notables as U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, state Rep. Marguerite Quinn, Sheriff Duke Donnelly, and Emma Strausser, hopeful future CEO of Pearl S. Buck International.

An air of joy, hope and dignity pervaded the tent on the lawn of the Pearl S. Buck House where the crowd assembled for breakfast Oct. 6.

Pearl S. Buck, the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for her rich and epic descriptions of peasant life in China, was the first to use the word Amerasian, a person having one American parent and one Asian parent. Her legacy lives on today.

A number of the 50,000 to 250,000 Amerasians left behind after American occupation remain in the Philippines.

They are often stigmatized through bullying, mockery, racisim, and self-identity issues.

The “forgotten Americans” endure slurs such as bamboo shoot, left by the ship, half dollar and souvenir. They have desperately sought recognition in the United States and acceptance in their own country. They live in hope. They dream of a future that Pearl Buck’s legacy can provide.

The photography exhibit adjacent to the Gift Shop, “The Forgotten Americans,” Amerasian Photography by Enrico Dungca, inspired Fitzpatrick to stop and consider seriously their dream.

The breakfast was a reminder that help is needed to bring their desperate stories to the forefront. A means of portraying this was through placard carriers who waited in the wings with cardboard testimonials that conveyed the story created through the hope of Pearl S. Buck, who grew up in China, a missionary’s daughter unwelcome in that country.

“Today Pearl Buck is revered in China,” said Janet Mintzer, CEO of PSBI for the last 15 years. She spoke of Pearl Buck as an amazing activist before her time.

Seventeen-year-old Strausser from Korea shared her story of adoption beginning at the age of 4 months.

“I can’t even begin to imagine what my life would be like without everything Ms. Buck has done and advocated for in her life. Her voice brought me home to my family.”

The Strausser family was not complete with three children. Something was missing.

“After having three boys my mother, Laura, still felt her life wasn’t complete without a daughter. It was my grandmother, Lynne, who came up with the idea of adoption because she had read Ms. Buck’s books and she had always heard of the famous Welcome House adoption program of Pearl S. Buck International,” Emma Strausser said.

The night before visiting Welcome House, Emma’s mother had a dream. In that dream an angel brought her a child in need of a home. The next morning when they actually visited Pearl Buck’s home, her mother made a mental note of the nametag worn by the receptionist, Frieda.

“She had a small angel pin next to her nametag … a sign, a life-changing journey was about to begin,” said Emma.
On a recent visit to the Philippines Emma was introduced to her own angel.

“The Pearl S. Buck team in the Philippines found me a child in need; her name is Angel. This journey has cemented in my mind that I want to do as much as I can for all of the Angels in the world.”

Strausser has become steeped in her new role, participating in the High School Leadership Program, and becoming a docent for the Pearl S. Buck estate. Her current dream is to become the Buck organization’s CEO.

Mintzer stepped in to give an update on current events, one of which is a future renovation of the house paid for by a $250,000 grant. Dave Ballai, chairman of the board, briefly spoke on financial matters.

Tony Luna, vice president of development, a firm believer in “building bridges instead of walls,” acted as master of ceremonies for the event. Proudly wearing a vest designed specifically for the occasion by his son, a graphic artist, he guided the successful meeting to a close.

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