During the war against the Japanese invasion, the life in China was poverty-stricken. Clothing for example; usually they altered the adult clothe to fit the older child. The older child’s to the younger one. There for after several time’s recycle the cloth was almost totally worn out. But they were still usable!
Those cut out parts and cloth waste from each alternation, were carefully saved. After the collection came to a certain amount, people will wash them clean and store- them away. When the weather was good, people will dig them out to make their own cloth leather. They make their own glue with flour, alum and wax. The alum in the glue will keep the clothes moth away. The wax will make the needle go through the heavy cloth leather more smooth and easier. In Chinese we call the cloth made leather: “Bu Ge Bei” which means cloth made leather..
You may be interested to know how to make cloth leather. You may never need to make one, but it’s easy and fun!
- You have to have a big piece of wooden board, such as a retired wooden door.
- Put the wooden door on the ground. Brush a thin layer of glue evenly on it.
- Look for bigger pieces of cloths such as an old curtain, stretch it out and lay on the glue. If it is not big enough to cover the whole door, patch it up.
- Use a big brush to brush out the air from underneath the cloth. Until every single air bubble was gone. Sometimes you may have to use the brush to beat those air bubbles to get the air out to make sure every where is well glued.
- Then coated with another layer of glue and cloths. By now, you come to a very artistic job and fun. Because you may not always use those big piece of cloth layer after layer. Therefore you have to chose the right sides and the same thickness, as playing with puzzles, those ragged cloths’ size must be matched to each other. After you patched up the whole board, you can work on to the next layer.
- When it come to the right thickness, put the board in the sun. It may need several sunny days to dry it up. Wait until you see the corners of the cloth leather peeled off by itself, then you know it may need one or two more sunny day till the whole sheet of cloth leather ready to be peeled off the board. Thus a piece of beautiful cloth leather is ready for you to make shoes.
Most of the families make the cloth leather themselves. Some may hire people to do the work for them.
Each year when it was time to make cloth leather, is the best time for the kids at Ho’s. They thought their mother was a magician. She brought out bags of colorful cloths from nowhere. She dumped them out on a big straw mate. Yu Wen would let Syau Wen and Syau Yun to pick out some pieces of cloth for themselves to make clothing for their handmade dolls. They were also permitted to help their mother to cut off the ragged edges from those clouts. Then Yu Wen would start to play puzzle and musical work on the old wooden door which was borrowed from the neighborhood. The kids loved to help to beat those air bubbles out with the brush. Each time when the brush beat on the board it make different noise, soft or loud sounded like music. Sometime they may splash some glue up in the air while they beating. The glue may flew on to their clothes or even got into their face or hair. They would laugh loudly at each other.
–To be continued–
The kindergarten students were going to put up an one-act play. Syau Wen was going to be the flower girl.
Yu Wen was very proud of Syau Wen being chosen to be one of the players. But on the other hand, she was a little worried about the stage costume.
Back in 1940s, there was no department stories. No place you can buy clothes unless have the tailors to make one for you. Yu Wen remembered that Mr. Liu gave her the pink silk that left over from the pillows. With the white silk she had could be useful for making the costume. After Yu Wen drew a sketch in her mind she started cutting and sawing.
She used the pink silk to make the dress with two short fluffy sleeves. The white silk she used them for the collar and the edges of the sleeves. There was a piece of white strip in the middle of the dress from the collar all the way down the edge of the skirt. She made many white silk triangles to lace the collar, sleeves and white strip at the center of the dress.
Yu Wen worked the whole night until dawn. She was not tired at all. Her only concern was to dress Syau Wen like a real Flower girl. All she need to finish now was to put those buttons on and seam the edge of the skirt. Syau Wen came in to say good morning to her parents, she was surprised to see the beautiful pink dress hang on the wall. She thought she must be dreaming. The pink dress hanging on the wall must be a gift from Cinderella’s Godmother. When she found the dress was made by her mother, she thought her mother was even more power than Cinderella’s Godmother. Because there was not even one little white triangle on Cinderella’s dress. Her dress is more beautiful. It is fantastic! She wished the performance could be tonight, so she could wear it to let people know what a wonderful mother she has.
Finally the big date was here. Syau Wen wearing the dress her mother made, proudly walked out from the back stage. Holding a basket full of flower petals on her arm. with the other hand, she spread the petals onto the floor in front of the bride and bridegroom. With steady steps along with the music of Wedding March. Slowly she walked. She wanted her parents to see how good her perform is. She couldn’t help from looking at the audience. There she found them right in the first row. There was no stage fright because her mother was there with her. While show was on, the audience stood up and clapped loudly. Syau Wen thought her parents’ claps were the loudest.
There were a lots of mothers attracted by that pink dress, specially the style they’ve never seen before. They whispered to each other:”The dress that little girl wearing is so pretty. Where did they buy it?”
“Look at that flower girl! She spreading the petals seriously as if she is doing some scared work.”
” I wander whose girl is she?”
Yu Wen was so excited and so proud of her Syau Wen.. She was almost acted out an impulse to stand up to tell all the mothers “That’s my daughter!”
— “C-10 Heroes at the war of Japanese invasion” os on it way–
Finally Yu Wen sensed that there was someone standing next to her. It embarrassed her when she found that was Mr. Liu. She stood up quickly and apologize:”I’m sorry, Mr liu. I was preoccupied to notice your presence. Is there anything that I can do for you?” She asked.
“No. Nothing! Sit down, sit down. I just brought some candy for the girls. The butterfly you are embroidering was so beautiful! If it is not because you have to take care of two little girl, I wish to ask you to make a pair of pillow cases for my youngest daughter. She is going to be married the end of this year.”
Yu Wen had never seen Mr. Liu’s daughter before. Only knew her from the picture that Mr. Liu showed her. Mr. Liu’s daughter looked beautiful and virtuous. Mr. Liu was a very friendly and kind old gentleman. Yu Wen looked upon Mr. Liu as her father. When she heard what Mr. Liu had said, right away she said ::” No problem at all. Embroidery is my favorite pastime. I’d love to make a pair of pillow cases for your daughter. I wish I could paint butterflies as well.”
That was true, Yu Wen did not know how to paint at all. But Mr. Liu thought that didn’t matter at all. He said : ” No. I’m glad that you don’t paint, If you do, I’m afraid those butterflies might flew away. But the ones you embroidered with silk thread on the cloth, they cannot fly away. If you really main it, I’ll get some pink colored silk for you. What do you think?”
Yu Wen gladly answered “Yes! I’ll do it.”
Time went by fast, Syau Wen was a kindergartener now. The most joyful thing for Syau Wen was that every day she could skip and hop all the way to school with the little book bag in her hand. She was so happy that she became one of the students who playing in the schoolyard. Not the one who can only watching down from the windows. Now she could learn how to read, to sing songs and play games with the students.
When she came home, she loved to imitate her teacher and had Syau Yun to be her student. She wanted to teach Syau Yun how to read. But Syau Yun couldn’t sat still more than one minute and began to grab the book and wanted to tear the pages. Syau Wen snatched it back from her little sister’s hands and ran away.
One day Syau Wen came home with excitement. She told her mother that her teacher appointed her to be the flower girl. There will be a bride, a bridegroom, mouse, frog and cricket. Yu Wen couldn’t understand what was Syau Wen talking about until she visited Syau Wen’s teacher. –To be continued–
Dz Yun’s family settled down at Wu-Tung-Chyau. It was a Xanadu!
Jya-Ding and Wu-Tung-Chyau both were well salt product cities in Sz-Chwan.
They moved into the Salt Bureau Guest House. The building was built on the mountain side. From the French Windows you could view the beautiful mountain slope all way down to the mountain foot. You can enjoy a variety kind of flowers all year long. There were leafless trees in winders, but many evergreens as well. Never snowed in winter, yet no breathless hot summer too. May be it was not as in spring all the time, But you certainly would deeply fell in love with her!
On both sides of the mountain trails, there were big and tall Chinese Parasol trees. When the season the seeds falling down from the trees, Syau Wen would join the children’s treasure hunting group to look for parasol seeds. The seeds grew on both sides of a spoon shaped shell. They were delicious! At first, Syau Wen was dare not to eat it. But ends up she couldn’t resist the temptation looks on her companion’s face as they were eating those seeds. She joined them! They were not bad at all. The unique sweetness of taste and smell she can never forget her whole life.
The days were easier after they settled down at Wu-Tung-Chyau. Dz Yun haired a lady, Peng Da Nyan to help Yu Wen to do the house works and cooking. Other than going to the market, Yu Wen stayed at home and take care of the two girls. How different the life was than the days they had before! It was in a paradise to Yu Wen.
From Peng Da Nyan Yu Wen leard how to make fermented bean curd, dry pickled vegetables and Sz Chwan Kimchi. Sometimes she would share her product with her friends.
One day Yu Wen and the two girl were playing on the mountain side. There were many different kinds of butterflies flying around the flowers. Some were big with shinning blue colors. Their upper bigger wings were embellished with black spots trimmed with golden edges. When they fly those lower small wings flowing with the big wing. They were so impressive and attractive and Dazzling. They were just awesome!
Syau Yun in her stroller watching those butterflies flying around with excitement. Clapping her little hands shouting with laughter. She was trying to say something but her baby language no one could understand.
Syau Wen was chasing after the butterflies. Running after them everywhere. It seemed those butterflies were smarter than her. When she was almost catch one that was stopped on a flower, the butterfly flew away before she touch it. She tried to catch them over and over again, until she couldn’t catch up with her breath!
Those running and screaming made the two kits tired and sleepy. As soon as they got home, they felt into deep sleep in bed.
Yu Wen sat in front of the French Windows looking at the view outside . Her mind was completely occupied by the beautiful scenery she had just seen. Those butterflies are still flying in her mind. They were just awesome.
She couldn’t sat still any longer and took out her embroidery kit. After Yu Wen stretch and tighten a piece of white silk on the embroidery hoop, she began to make out lines with the silk threads, Then began to embroider.
There was an old gentleman, Mr. Liu who lived upstairs brought some candy for Syau Wen and Syau Yun. His family didn’t moved in yet. He came down to see Syau Wen and Syau Yun very often because he missed his own grand-daughter so much. He walked close to Yu Wen and stood next to her. He was spellbound by her needle work.
–To be continued–
Fortunately their landlady’s house survived form the bombings. There were only some roof tiles falling on to the ground due to the vibration of the bombings. No one was hurt.
After they got into the room, Yu Wen remembered that her two month old baby was still on her back!
“My good heavens! Syau Yun was on my back almost for a whole morning. She must be all wet and hungry to death.” But after Dz Yun helped her to put Syau Yun down in the bed, they found her eyes were tightly closed. Her body was soft and pale, as much as a dead body. Deeply regret and heartbroken Yu Wen burst out in crying and cried hysterically:”Don’t die! Syau Yun. Wake up! Mom is going to milk you. Come on, open up your eyes for me.” Syau Wen had never seen her mother acting like this. She was so scared and cried out.
Mrs. Lee was standing in the yard to check if there was any serious damage. She heard the cryings came out from the Ho’s room, and rushed in. She checked on the poor baby over and found out Syau Yun was warm and still breathing. So she said to the shocked couple:”She is still alive! She’ll be saved. Let me make some ginger sugar soup for her. She’ll be okey. Don’t cry, Mrs Ho, don’t cry.”
Kind landlady brought the soup in. The father harden his heart forced opened Syau Yun’s little mouth and poured warm soup in with a spoon. After about ten spoonful of the soup, Mrs Lee told Dz Yun to stop feeding Syau Yun. And said:”That will do, let’s wait and see.” But Syau Yun was not moving.
Later that afternoon, Mrs. Lee brought them some steamed rice and a dish of shredded pork stir-fried with salted vegetable.
Dz Yun and Yu Wen sat next to Syau Yun. They have no appetite at all. Syau Wen saw her parents sitting next with her little sister, it didn’t look like if they were going to eat at all. Even Syau Wen was too young to understand what was going on, but she can sensed the heaviness of the air. She sat there quietly but from time to time her eyes would peek at the delicious food on the table.
Yu Wen knew that Syau Wen must be very hungry. She said to her:”Sweety, go ahead and eat. Your dad will fix you a bowl of rice with some vegetable and meat. After you fished with it, go to bed. All right?”
Syau Wen climb up the chair, picked up the bowl of rice and chop sticks started eating like a hungry tiger. There was no one to wash her hands and feet. No bed side story. No lullaby tonight. She feel into sleep quickly.
Dz Yun handed Yu Wen a cup of water, she drank a little and put it on the table. She picked up Syau Yun. She knew for sure the Syau Yun was alive. But Syau Yun was unusually quiet. The dipper was dry. She stared at her poor baby with no blink. It seemed as her loving look could infuse some energy into Syau Yun’s little body, it could help her awaken faster.
Dz Yun’s heart was aching when he watched his daughter and his wife’s worried face. He couldn’t do anything to help but pray. Hope that the love of mother could touch the merciful heavens. They would not break a loving mother’s heart and bring the child’s life back to her mother..
Finally Syau Yun’s body started wiggling slightly. It looked like if she wanted to cry but no sounds can be heard. Quickly Yu Wen feeding Syau Yun with her breast. She wanted to cry out loud but quietly and slowly her tears running down her cheeks…
Dz Yun wiped out her tears with a towel and hold her in his strong arms and whispered in Yu Wen’s ear: “It’s all right now, pal! Our child is back! Don’t worry now.”
The night was so quite. Nothing can be heard but only the harmonious chorus preformed by the insects. It seemed that whatever had happened in the day time never influence their life. But was there any of their companion died or got hurt from the bombing? Was there any broken family in their community? But now they are singing leisurely and carefree.
Yu Wen was thinking :”Maybe the life of insects would be much better than the human’s!”
–” c9. Needlework” is on it’s way–
“Woo—Woo—Woo—Woo—Woo” Emergency siren! This was very unusual! This kind of siren the people in Wan-Syan had never experienced before. But they knew what could be happened next. They were shocked and started getting panic.
There was such a chaos at the market. People tearing down their booth, collecting their goods.Many items were dropped on the ground untended. Dogs barking, Chicken jumped out of their pens crowing and flying over everywhere, people were running towards the bomb shelter, shouting and crying.
When Dz Yun heard the energency air-raid alarm ran, quickle picked up Syau Wen and put her on his back, Yu wen was carrying their two month old second baby girl on her back ever since they left home this morning. She hold Dz Yun’s hand. Together they run to the cave close by which was located at the “bagger’s rocky “. They didn’t even get a chance to sit down after Dz Yun put Syau Wen down, people poured in. Bombs started dropping down from the sky while there were still so many people outside running toward the Bagger’s cave. The bombs dropped like rain drops. Some were dropped on the rock above the cave. They sounded terribly lound. Dz Yun told Yu Wen and Syau Wen to pock their fingers into their ears and open their mouth wide. Yu Wen near sighted eyes saw things dropped down from the air and brought objects up flying into the air. She couldn’t tell what were they. But she could see some house roofs jumped up and down, ashes flying everywhere. They didn’t know for how long they’ve being standing in the cave. Finally bombing stopped. The roaring of the air planes faded away. The whole world quiet down. There were only heavy breathings could be heard in the cave.
After a long period of quietness, people started to move, Slowly they walked out of the cave. Before they walked out, Dz Yun was going to put Syau Wen on his back, he found that Syau Wen’s fingers were still stocked in her ears. Gently he pull down Syau Wen’s hand and put her on his back. He said to his daughter:”Syau Wen, You must be very tired from that long standing. Now close your eyes and take a nap on my back.” Syau Wen lean one her father’s big wide soft shoulder, it feels much better than her bed. In no time, she felt into deep sleep.
Dz Yun said to Yu Wen:”Let’s go now, pal! Give me your hand and close your eyes. Don’t open until I said so. I’ll tell you what to do.” Yu Wen nodded her head and hold on tight to her pal’s warm hand. When Dz Yun said “Pick up your right foot. Step forward with a big step.” She did so. If Dz Yun told her to cross her foot to the left, she cross out to the left………Until Dz Yun said:「My sweet pal, now you can open your eyes. We are home.”
On their way home, Dz Yun saw such a sad and horrible sight. He knew what a battle field looked like. But that was soldiers to soldiers. Here what he saw, dz Yun said to himself: “Hell couldn’t be worse than this.” He saw countless people died with missing limbs. Many laying on the ground or crawling crying for help. Blood everywhere covered the ground. Some limbs hung on top of the fallen houses. Some were lounged on the tree branches. People with minor injuries running back and forth among those bodies and the ones who were still breathing. Wishing to locate their loved ones. A hungry baby was crawling on his mother’s breast crying for milk. Some people stretched out their hands to Dz Yun asking for help. Dz Yun was totally numbed by all what he had seen. He had only one thought: “To take my wife and the girls home safely.” But, he dare not to picture what their home would be look like.
–to be continued–
After Dz Yun and his wife left Ji Syan, they were thinking about to go back to Pei-King. But it was said the Japanese had occupied the northern part of China. To avoid the chaos caused by the war, they changed their plan. Instead of going back to Pei-King they were going to Sz-Chwan.
Dz-Yun was interested in wireless. He bought many reference books to study on his own, and learned a lot from them. Due to his knowledge in the field of wireless he got a job as a wireless maintenance personnel at the Salt Bureau in Wan-Syan, Sz-Chwan. Salt Bureau was one of the government organization. The government of China decided to move the Salt Bureau to Wu-Tung-Chwau(a well salt production city in Sz-Chwan).
There was one month vacation before the Appointed date for Dz Yun’s new job. All the workers of Salt Bureau received one month bonus salary along with extra allowance for their expenses to move to Wu-Tung-Chyau. The allowance Dz Yun got was more than enough for their expenses to travel to Wu-Tung-Chyau. They decided to go to a restaurant for a little celebration for the ending of job hunting and for their promising future.
Wan-Syan was a small county located on the northern bank of Young-Dz River. The inhabitants were honest, kind and simple. Every first day and the fifteenth day of the month, there would be a market hold on the county center plaza. People from near-by towns gathered at the plaza for either selling or shopping.
That was a beautiful find day. There were all kinds of business at the plaza: from articles of daily supplies to farm animals, such chicken, cows, pigs etc. The plaza was crowded with people, businesses and animals.
Young men talking to each other about those young ladies who were bargaining with the cloth store owner. They judge which was the most beautiful one. Some of the girls there kept an eye on those young men. From time to time, they may smile back at them! A little boy holding his father’s hand tightly, looking at a big fat pig. A mother sat on a piece of rock milking her baby. A middle aged man calling out loud telling people what a hard working and obedient cow he had for sale. One mother was chasing after her naughty boy who was wondering among those booths.
Suddenly the air raid siren ran off. “Woo————————– Woo——————————“.
Usually the people in Wan-Syan would just watching those air-plains with a red sun on their wings flew by. They would count and guess how many plains may flew by and how many would flew back. The Chinese government had put out all kinds notices and pictures on the bulletin board in every city and town, to tell people how terrible it had happened to some places which were bombed by the enemy’s plain, People should get into the shelters when they hear the siren. If the emergency siren run off, all the people should already in the bomb shelters. Otherwise they could be seriously wounded even may lost their lives. Those pictures showing how horrible those victims looked like. But the people in Wan-Syan would never worried about it. It seemed those Japanese plain would never be interested in Wan-Syan.
–to be continued–
Early when Yu Wen first met Dz Yun, she found out that Dz Yun could not pronounce “jr, chr, shr”but “dz,t’s,s”, even “r” sounded weard. She always teasing Dz Yun and said that Dz Yun was too lazy to curl up his tongue upward when he was saying those sounds. But when they came to Dz Yun’s hometown, Yu Wen realized that almost everybody in Ho Nan couldn’t say “jr, chr, shr, r”!
Another interesting discovery; In Mmandarian many nouns ending with “dz”s. Such as: kwai-dz(chopsticks), shau-dz(spoon), dzwo-dz(table),yi-dz(chair)etc. All these “dz”endings the folks of HoNan say “de”.
There was Ho Nan folk song that amused You Wen the most! , It’s about a young lady was asking her older sister-in-laws to take her to the famous lantern show in Young-Jou. All the “dz” words in the song were “de”s. Each time when she sing the songs, she would like to act like that young lady in the song. All the Han ladies started to bind their feet when they were five or six years old. Some were even younger. So their feet were very small shaped like small pyramids with a pointed toe. Those small pyramid feet couldn’t hold the lady’s body steady and hard to manage their balance. So they wobbled when they walk and sometimes walk few steps forward may went backwards a step or so. Yu Wen’s feet were natural grown with normal sides and walked stably. So she kept her toes upwards and walked on her heels. Her arms automatically swung from left and right and walking forwards and \da. Yu Wen looked so cute and funny when she was singing and acting that song. It always make people laugh.
–” c8. Air Raid” is on it’s way–
With his hand, Mr. Ho dipped the brush pen in the ink tray and make sure if the ink on the brush was evenly absorbed. He brushed a little on the tissue paper to see if the ink was well ground. After Mr. Ho was satisfied with everything, he then put the end of the brush pen into his mouth and holding it with his teeth begin to write. His head moved up and down or turned left and right with each stroke he wrote on the white damask. And his body swung with his head too. That looked so funny to Yu Wen. She had never had watched anything the same in her whole life! After each word was written, Dz Yun on the other end of the table would pulled the white damask evenly toward him to the edge of the table. Then along the edge, Dz Yuen pull the white damask downward slowly. Yu Wen opened her eyes wider and wider, because first she saw Dz Yun was standing, then bent down his knees, then slowly squat down, and then he sat on the floor. The whole sight looked so dramatically funny to Yu Wen! She wanted to laugh. But that would be very impolite to laugh out loud in front of her father-in-law. She swallowed her laughter and hold it hard. But when she saw her dear husband pulling the white damask down to his laps, and slowly Dz Yun with the white damask moved under the table and slide down on the floor. Finally he lied down on the floor under the table but still holding the white damask even and flat. The laughing gas made her ribs dancing in side her. she just couldn’t hold any longer. She had to escape from this room to somewhere to dump the laughing gas out. Otherwise her stomach will be exploded. Next thing Yu Wen knew was she bumped into Dz Yun’s younger brother, who married at the same day as Yu Wen, in the door way. Both of them exclaimed! “Oh!….” She didn’t even have time to make an apology, she ran into her room and lock the door and starting to laugh. She was laughing even when she was telling that story to her children in the later days.
Later Dz Yun told Yu Wen; when Yu Wen bumped into his brother, spontaneously together they cried: “Oh!”. That surprising “Oh!”was not too loud but loud enough to distract both Dz Yun and his father from their work. Mr. Ho’s brush pen accidentally brushed out a long tail on the last word that he was writing. Mr. Ho looked at the doorway, didn’t say anything but cleared his throat with some dry coughs. Then he told his son to get another piece of white damask and started the work all over again.
–to be continued–
Yu Wen was a little worried about her first impression to her mother-in-law. She had heard that Dz Yun mentioned many times that his mother was a traditional Chinese lady. Yu Wen’s hair style may not be passed. She had perm hair ever since she was married. Most of the country ladies, those unmarried ones were braided their hair. The married ones make their hair in a bun. But with these curvy hair?
“I should have my hair straightened, but it’s too late now! Wong Ma had never taught me how to comb my hair into a bun? ”
When they entered Ji Syan, Yu Wen’s heart pumped faster.
The Ho family was Hans. They are not as the Manchurians with so many unnecessary and over etiquette. The most formal etiquette for Hans is to kowtow. That Yu Wen knew how to do it. The Lyan family were buddhist, they kowtow when honor their ancestry around Chinese New Year. The first time when Yu Wen met both Mr. and Mrs. Ho, she kowtowed. Yu Wen’s graceful bearings gave her parents-in-law a good impressions.
The hair style that Yu Wen concerned so much, for Mrs. Ho she thought that was beautiful! She said:”My child’s hair was so soft and fine, especially those curves look like a lamb!” From the very first time they met, Mrs. Ho never called Yu Wen by her name or daughter-in-law, but always call her “my child”.
For most parents or grandparents wish that their first child or grandchild be a boy. Syau Wen was a girl. Mrs. Ho wasn’t care at all. She loved to carried Syau Wen wandering around the neighborhood. She always wrapped Syau Wen in her sleeveless jacket to keep Syau Wen warm. Also she told her only daughter to make an undergarment for protecting Syau Wen’s abdomen, The undergarment was embroidered with a fat baby sitting on a lotus flower picking lotus seeds. Which means to wish Syau Wen good health and hopefully Syau Wen will bring many children to this family.
The love that Yu Wen received from her mother-in-law was more than her own mother. It was a pity the Yu Wen only stayed with her mother-in-law for s short period of time. Yu Wen had never had a chance to see her again. Fortunately Yu Wen brought a picture of Mrs. Ho from home, which she treasured so much.
It was an 1 inch picture. Too small for Yu Wen to hang it on the wall. One of Dz Yun’s friend used that one inch picture as a specimen and painted a 16″ x 20″ large one. Yu Wen hung it on the wall next to her bed, so she could see her mother-in-law every day.
This painting was with Yu Wen all the way from mainland Chins to Taiwan. It was always hanging on the wall next to her bed. She told many of her storied to her children. Her beloved mother-in-law was in one of them.
While they were at Dz Yun’s hometown, Yu Wen had a chance to watch her father-in-law writing with his mouth. That was quite an experience!
One of the Ho’s neighbors asked Mr. Ho to write funeral scrolls for him. Yu Wen helped Dz Yun to get everything ready for Mr. Ho. They spread a piece of long white damask on the big table. One end was placed in the middle of the table. The other end hanging down from the edge on the opposite side of the table. They put brush pen and well ground ink at the right side close to the damask and a piece of tissue paper. When everything is ready, Dz Yun went into his father’s room to ask him to come out to write.
–To be continued–
Dz Yun tried to comfort Yu Wen while they were walking, he said to her: “My sweet pal, you are not strong enough to take care of two babies at same time. One Syau Wen is enough to keep you busy. If add another one your health will break down. Then what am I going to do? You’ve given them some money already, I know that was not too much, I wish I could give them some more, but the money we have are barely enough for us to get home. Otherwise I would give them some more.”
Yu Wen just couldn’t hold her tears. Without saying anything, quietly she followed Dz Yun stepped into the train.
There is a very popular “Flower Drum Song”. It tells what kind of life the people have at that period of bed time:
“Talking about Feng-Yang,
It was a very nice place.
But ever since there was Emperor Chu,
Nine years famines out of ten.
Dung dyi lung dung chyang, dung dyi lung dung chyang, dung chyang dung chyang dung chyang.—–(drum rhythm)
The rich ones sold their properties.
The poor ones sold their children,
I have nothing for sale,
Carrying my flower drum singing everywhere.
Dung dyi lung dung chyang, dung dyi lung dung chyang, dung chyang dung chyang dung dung chyang. .—–(drum rhythm)
The earth covered with snow,
A girl huddled her mother under the falling roof.
Tasted of all kinds of earthly bitterness and sweetness.
Cold and hungry with tearful eyes.
Dung dyi lung dung chyang, dung dyi lung dung chyang, dung chyang dung chyang dung dung chyang. .—–(drum rhythm)
Melons are ready for harvest,
my shabby skirt can hide some for me.
Mountains and rivers where is the end of the road?
When am I be able to make it home?
Dung dyi lung dung chyang, dung dyi lung dung chyang, dung chyang dung chyang dung dung chyang.—–(drum rhythm)”
Dz yun’s home town was in Ji Syan, Ho Nan province. During Ming and Ching Dynasties , it was named Wei Hwei Fu, Now it is Wei Hwei City. It is located at the northern part of Ho Nan Province, on the northern bank of Yellow River. It is on a terrain higher than the other cities along the Yellow River. Rarely flooded by the Yellow River. The fertile land can grow many different kind of crops.
Ji Syan can be linked by river and road to various parts of the country. It is an important collecting and distributing center of merchandise.
Most of the inhabitants of Ji Syan were farmers and many were scholarly families.
There were many clans in Ji Syan. There usually several surname in each clan. But the Ho’s clan there is only one Ho as surname with many individual Ho families.. Dz Yu’s family was one of the biggest. There were closely to one hundred people in the family. Possessed around three hundred Ares farmland. They plant wheat, corn, peanut and sesame. At harvest time, they have to ring the big hanging bell to call the people from the fields for meals.
Dz Yun’s father, Mr. Ho Jya Ang(Ho Ho Ping-his pen name), was a retired principle of Ho Nan Kai Feng Agricultural High School. His specialty was writing calligraphy by holding the Chinese brush with his mouth. He could write beautiful calligraphy in four different styles. The large ones could be about half a square feet. The smallest could be as small as half a square inch. His writings were highly praised and appreciated. Some of his writings are collected in today’s” Modern Chinese Calligraphy Dictionary” which was published 2009 by Je jyan People Publisher in China.
C-7 Visiting Dz Yun’s Parents–part two–
Not long after they waited, a young man pushing a three wheel barrow with a white fair old lady sitting on one side and some luggage on the other side. The old lady was blowing her nose and crying, and mumbling over and over: “Oh my good heavens! Where can we find it? It’s all my fault, I didn’t even notice that when and where I lost it.”
Dz Yun knew these must be the owners. He walked over to meet them and asked: “Did you lost something?”
“Yes! It was all my fault, I dropped a small bundle somewhere.”
“Ma-Ma! Don’t cry now! We found a small bundle. But first of all, could you tell me what was in the bundle? ”
The old lady said:”There are two shirts, one was patched with a piece of black cloth, there are 17 pieces of silver coins and two Yin Pyaus.”
Dz Yun wanted to relief the poor old lady’s worries, he quickly handed the bundle over to the young man and said:”OK! OK! Please check and see if there is any thing missing.” The young man got the bundle and opened it. Everything was there. He took those 17 pieces of silver coins out and handed to Dz Yun for thanking him for his kindness. But both Dz Yun and Yu Wen said together:”No! No! But thank you. We will not accept anything. You ‘d better hurry up and get on your way with your mom.”
Released from the burden Dz Yun and Yu Wen were delighted to pick up their tour again.
As they were walking, Yu Wen saw a young lady with a baby in her arms. There was circled straw stuck in the baby’s cloth. In the early days when days were difficult, if someone wanted to sale him/herself, would stuck a circled straw in their hair as a mark to tell people they need money urgently, wanted to sale themselves .
A white haired old man sitting against one of the pillars. With his head bowed down so low. His head was almost touching the ground between his knees. Sobbing but hardly be heard.
The young lady said :”Dad! Don’t cry, please Let’s think it this way, Dad. This child may be will have a good live. The one who take him may be a very nice person, rich and kind. It would be far better than stay with us to live in such in impoverished life. After we find Chyang(her hunband) everything will settled down, you’ll have another corpulent grandchild. Aren’t you so anxious to see you son? From here to Bou-Ding there is still quite a long way to go. How can I assist you while a baby in my arms. Besides if there is anything happened to you, what am I going to say to Chyang? He will definitely divorce me.”
Yu Wen understood by now that was a daughter-in-law rather gave up her own child because of taking care of her father-in-law. Tears running down from her cheeks. There were only two pieces of *silver coins* in her pocket. Without a second thought, she handed them out and gave to that lady. The lady thought that Yu Wen was going to buy her son. She accepted the money and handed her precious baby to Yu Wen with a heart-broken looking on her face.
“No! No! The money is for you! I have a child, can’t you see.”
But the lady said:”How could that be, that doesn’t sound right. I can’t accept your money for nothing. Besides I have to give this child to someone anyway in order to make me easier on the trip. I’m sure if he will be with you, he will enjoy a life in comfort and happiness.”
Dz Yun came to help Yu Wen to get out of the predicament and said:”We really can’t afford to raise two children. Please accept these money. This nice looking little boy will have good fortune. You just stay here and wait, I’m sure that there will be someone would love to have him. We have to be one our way now.”
*silver coin* In those days, one piece of pure silver coin could be enough to buy two weeks daily bread of two people.
–To be continued–
Syau Wen was about two years old, but Yu Wen hadn’t had any chance to meet her Mother-in-law yet. Usually at the wedding ceremony, both parents from the two parties should be presented. But Dz Yun ‘s second younger brother got married at the same time of when Dz Yun’s wedding was taking place. Since Dz Yun was the oldest son in the family, his father came to hold his marriage ceremony and his mother stayed home to hold his brother’s wedding ceremony. After that the war with Japan occurred. Most of the northern parts of China were taken by the Japanese. And disorderliness everywhere! Dz Yun received lesser and lesser messages from back home. He was worried and would like to visit his hometown to see his parents.
With Syau Wen they took some simple luggage started their journey to Ho-Nan. They decided to walk to the train station. Not only they could save the Rickshaws fee, they can walk across the Lu-Gou Bridge enjoy the beauty of the Architecture. The bridge was built in 1189, long 266.5 feet, width 7.5feet, 11 culverts. 140 stone carved pillars. There is a stone carved lion on top of the pillar. They all look different from each other. Some are sitting, while the others are resting on it four legs. Some lie prone. Some holding a cub, Some carrying a cub on it’s back. The structure itself is a piece of art. Especially those stone carved lions. They had never had a chance to see the whole view yet.
While Yu Wen and Dz Yun were walking on the bridge, Yu Wen saw a cloth bundle laid on the way. “Who left it here?” she wondered and picket it up. She found some old clothes in it. Some one dollar silver coins and two hand writhing money tickets, “Yin Pyau” with a big amount written on it. It tells people that someone had sold all his property and exchange the money into this written ticket which would be easier to carry for the journey. It must belong to a refugee. It’s all his possessions. Dz Yun and Yu Wen decided to hold on to it and stay where they found it and await for the owner to come back for it.
–to be continued–
I was thrilled when I received this notice!
Your kind supports sustain me to move on. I’ll do my best to meet your interests.
Since I’m a first time writer to edit a book, there are a whole lot to learn . I’ll appreciate any kind of comments. From your comments I can learn about how to edit the story more readable. The mine idea to write “Everlasting Blossoms” is to let people to know once there was a woman who was pure, full of love: she love nature, love the people around her. With the flowers she crocheted shows her philosophy of life. How was she led into the art of needle works. Why was the first rose crocheted. And her last wish was let people know how to crochet flowers and butterflies with easy steps. You can crochet your own unique flowers and butterflies. Thus you can keep the beautiful spring at your house as long as you want to.
After the herbs were cooked, Yu Wen was ready to give to Syau Wen, she realized why the old doctor told her to dump the soup into the mouth. Because Syau Wen couldn’t open her mouth and swallow anything at all. With Dz Yun’s help to open Syau Wen’s mouth, Yu Wen put a spoon between her teeth and dumped the soup in her mouth slowly.
Both Dz Yun and Yu Wen sat right next to Syau Wen after all the soup were dumped. They watching at Syau Wen’s pale face without even winking their eyes. That one burning joss stick time seemed as a century long. Finally they saw Syau Wen’s nose tip start getting wet, Gradually they could even see some tiny water globs! Yu Wen was almost cry and shout out for joy, but quietly her tears running down like stream on hers cheeks. Dz Yun hugged her tightly and gently patted on her back.
After several follow up packs of Chinese herbals Syau Wen was recovered from that terrible diarrhea. Yu Wen wanted to thank that Heavenly given doctor who saved Syau Wen’s life. But that white hair white beard friendly kind old doctor was not there anymore. The neighbors told Yu Wen his son took him back home, because his son thought it is inappropriate for his old aged father live along so far away from home. Where was his hometown? No one knew it.
Yu Wen told her children later one, she often regret that she did not ask the old doctor for the prescription. Otherwise She could have helped saved some other baby’s life in the same case.
Within these first two years in Syay Wen’s life, she had much more tough days than those same aged children. Likewise Yu Wen had worked much more harder than the other mothers, more painstaking care to this immature birth child, a baby given by God. Yu Wen from an unexperience mother, step by step she grow up with Syau Wen. Every step was a surprise, a new discovery and joy. Together She grow up with Syau Wen who learning to sit up, crawling, tooth growing…….
Yu Wen, a girl from a wealthy royal family, knowing nothing about child care and cooking. Gradually with the experience piled up day by day, she grew up together with her children.
— C7 Visiting Dz Yun’s Parents is on it’s way–
After that Yu Wen forgot all about what the doctor had told her “immunity against any kind of dermatosis for life” until they were in Si-An. The whole family caught scabies but Syau Wen.
When Syau Wen was about eight or nine month old. Dz Yun haired a house maid to help to take care of Syau Wen. So that Yu Wen could have some break.
Sometimes the maid would gave Syau Wen some toys to plat with, as well as coins. It was the time for Syau Wen put forth teeth. Whatever she grabbed she would like to put it into her mouth. Just anything! The maid didn’t know that copper was toxic.
Syau Wen began with diarrhea. Yu Wen though it was some poor digestion problem and treated her with some common baby medications over the counter. Instead of getting better, Syau Wen’s diarrhea got worse and worse. If the watery excrements wet some part of the skin, the skin would be blistered. There were blisters on the maid’s arms and Yu Wen’s too! One day Syau Wen got in a state of coma. By now Yu Wen realized how serious it was. She took the unconscious baby to several hospitals, but the doctors told her the same thing: “Sorry! It’s too late.” Yu Wen wouldn’t give up. But no matter how hard Yu Wen begged the doctors to safe her daughter’s life, there was nothing the doctors can do.
Yu wen got in the rickshaw with her dying baby in her arms. Not too long she will lost her beloved daughter.
The rickshaw was a small vehicle with two wheels used for carrying one or two passengers, and is pulled by someone walking or riding a bicycle.
The driver of the rickshaw suggested to Yu Wen: “How about trying to see a Chinese herbal doctor. Maybe they can help since there is no other choice. I know there is an old herbal doctor lives right at the end of the alley where you live. May be he has some secret recipe that handed down in their family for generations.”
Like a drowning person grabbed a piece of wood, this could be the only hope for Syau Wen. She took Syau Wen to visit that herbal doctor right away.
The white hair white beard old herbal doctor looked so kind and friendly. After he touched Syau Wen’s pulse, he took some different kinds of herbs out of the little drawers and handed to Yu Wen and said:”Take these home and cook them right away and dump the soup into her mouth. Wait after finish one burning joss stick time, see if you can see the tip of her nose start getting wet. If so, your child will be saved. Otherwise, prepare for the a funeral.” ……………….
–To be continued–
Ever since that moment she heard what her mother had said, Yu Wen would never let the baby out of her sight. She was afraid that her mother may stealthily exchanged her baby.
Dz Yun named their first born girl You Wen. “You” mines Young. Because it was a girl, she was the young Yu Wen.
You Wen, this premature baby was unusually small! At home everyone call her Syau Wen as a nickname, which means “Tiny little Wen”.
Syau Wen was born in a summer day in 1963. The weather was awfully hot. But Syau Wen’s body temperature was always low. There was no incubator at those days. From ” How to nourishing and bringing up a baby” Yu Wen learned how to keep her tiny baby warm and safe.
She put lots of unused new cotton on a piece of wood board rapped up with clean cloth. Before Yu Wen bundled Syau Wen up, she placed Syau Wen in between of two layers of unused cotton, then put the bundled baby on the rapped board.
Actually to put Syau Wen on a piece of board was not only could keep her warm, it kept her safe in one piece. Syau Wen was born before she was ready to come into the world, she was too fragile. It was very difficult to hold her in the arms. When you put this soft infant on the wooden board, You don’t have to worry about to twist, break or shake her poor skeletons! Syau Wen didn’t even know how to suck! Each time when Yu Wen was milking Syau Wen, she had to use a eye drop suction tube to suck some milk. Then open her baby’s mouth and drop one drop of milk at a time. Waited until that one drop was completed swallowed. If accidentally dropped two drops into Syau Wen’s mouth, it could chock Syau Wen and throw up all the milk. All the hard work was in vain.
From no experience at all only based on those two sets of books, Yu Wen made it. She and Syau Wen went through the most hot days in summer and bad hygienic condition. Even the doctors would not sure that a baby like Syau Wen could be survived. Syau Wen kept on growing safely. it was a miracle to Yu Wen. Her heart was fulled with thanksgivings to heaven and the people around her. On top of everything that Yu Wen’s worry was her baby could be exchanged by her mother. Many timed she woke up at mid night check to make sure if her “tiny old deity of longevity” was OK!
In those days smallpox was still passing around the world. All babies must get vaccine to avoid being affected by smallpox. Syau Wen did not get the vaccine until she was four months old due to her health condition.
Yu Wen kept her eyes on Syau Wen’s vaccine area ever since the cowpox planted on the little X cut on Syau Wen’s left arm. She watch the skin around the X turn red and swollen. Then it became a pustule. Until the pustule dried out. She saw the dry pustule starting to lift! What a relieve to Yu Wen. Because if the pustule popped before it dried out, where ever the pustule go, the area it touched will becoming a new vaccine. That means there will be more scars left on the skin,. It would look bad specially for a girl if she wears sleeveless. Now Syau Wen will have only one lovely round shaped scar on her arm.
But there was not much time for Yu Wen to be happy, because Syau Wen got measels! Yu Wen was shocked. Could her poor emaciated baby make it? Could Syau Wen be survived after she been abused by measles!?
With tears Yu Wen brought Syau Wen to the pediatrist.
Yu Wen almost fall unconscious when she heard what the doctor had said:「My good heavens! How could it be happened to this child?」 Yu Wen thought Syau Wen was going to die. She burst into cry.
“No! No! I’m sorry that I’ve scared you.” Quickly the Doctor said.”I’m just too excited! Being a doctor all these years, This was my second case. There may be one out of 10,000 babies will get it. It’s very rare. Which means the measles attacked the child when the dry pustule starting to lift. After the child recovered from measles, this child will be immunity against any kind of dermatosis all her life.”
“But during the measles period, we have to be extremely careful, this child is too fragile!”
Under the care of the doctor and the love of a mother, Syau Wen survived.
–To be continued–
Dz Yun had a job as a teacher before they married. After his honeymoon he went back to work. One day Yu Wen was alone at home sitting in the wicker chair enjoying the embroidered phoenix and the peony on the window curtain. She was very much appreciated their harmonious colors and the exquisite needle work.
“That’s right! I’m going to buy some cloth with the same color as the curtain. I’ll make a table cloth and embroider the phoenix and peony on it.”
Suddenly there was someone knocking on the door. A stranger stood at the door way. And said: “Please, may I ask is Mrs. Ho home?”
Yu Wen heard that he was asking for “Mrs. Ho”. She said to herself: “My mother-in-law is at Ho-Nan, which is so far away. Why is he asking for her over here?” She was just about to say: “Mrs. Ho doesn’t live here.” Then she realized she is “the” Mrs. Ho!
That stranger told Yu Wen that he is coming to collect the window curtains . Today is the due day for the one month rent.
While Yu Wen was watching the stranger taking those beautiful curtains down from the windows, optimistic Yu Wen thought:”Good! It save all my trouble to look for the right kind of cloth for a tablecloth, and it saved the money too! When there were no curtains on the window, the room looks brighter.”
While she was thinking about what had just happened, Yu Wen laughed. She could never imagine that there were even curtains for rent. The world full of all kinds of business. All you need is hard working, you can always make a living. You would never be starved.
At the beginning of Yu Wen’s married life. She didn’t know how to cook. All she knew was to make dumplings. Back home, at each Chinese New Year Eve all the women in the house hood, old or young, all should go to the kitchen to help to make dumplings. From making the dough, preparing the stuffing for the dumplings, to roll out the dumpling rappers with small roller , rape the stuffing and boil them. At her new home, you would see dumplings on the table almost every day! When Dz Yun was teaching at school, Yu Wen usually buy some steamed buns(with no stuffing). She smashed the garlic and mixed them with salt and sesames oil. Dipped the steamed bun into the smashed garlic and eat. The smashed garlic became a delicious dish on their dining table. But Yu Wen never knew that garlic would played a very important role in saving her life. The garlic cured her Tuberculosis.
It was so many years later, Yu wen had a non-stopping coughing. After the X Ray the doctor told Yu Wen it was the bronchitis which caused the coughing. Also the doctor asked Yu Wen if she had Tuberculosis in th past? Because he found some calcified spots on her lung. But what kind of medication did she take? The doctor’s questions reminded her that was the garlic which saved her.
About one year later after they married, Yu Wen happened to be in favor of sour food. She became lazy and easy to get tired when doing her daily house work. The doctor announced that Yu Wen was pregnant! What a great and joyful news for the Ho family! Dz Yun’s parents was expecting the first born grandchild! Dz Yun’s father mailed two sets of books to his daughter-in-law: “Fetation” and ” How to nourishing and bringing up a baby”. These two sets of books not only brought Yu Wen love they also brought new knowledge that all she needed. Without these books Yu Wen would never know what should she do to bring up her very first baby.
Before Yu Wen married Dz Yun , her father was teasing her, and said:”You should have many children!”
“My foolish child! Don’t you see, I’m a Mongolian, your mother is a Manchurian and you husband is a Han. There are five big races in China: Han, Manchu, Mongolian, Hui, Tibtan. In your family there will be three races. It was said the second generations of this kind of families, should be very bright!”
Now it’s really going to be happened! Yu Wen was scared. No adults around. Nowhere to get Won Ma. Whom should she go for help? From the books that her father-in-law sent her ,Yu Wen found all the answers.
It could be because this was the first pregnancy for Yu Wen, no experience, no advice. She only carried the fetus less than seven months. The premature slight baby was so tiny! She had a head as the deity of longevity. And a very old one! On her baldhead and over her face there were so many wrinkles. Her fingers and toes were so skinny and they looked awfully long. Yu Wen couldn’t be sure whether there were five or more on each hand and foot. Many times she picked them up and counted over and over again.
–to be continued–
Then they will go to the second step – Exchange the “Big Dragon and Phoenix Cards” along with engage rings. These Cards were really big! They were about one foot long and three feet wide solid red silk cloth. The card from the boy’s side give to the girl’s parents, printed with two phoenixes, one on the right and one on the left. The card from the girl’s side for the boy’s parents was printed with two dragons. The cards carried with both boy and girl’s names, date of birth and eight characters of a horoscopes.
Until both cards were accepted, marriage ceremony is awaiting! If any of the two partied refused accept the big red card, the engagement is cancelled.
Now the whole Lyan’s residence was decorated and full with joy. Everyone was excited about this coming up wedding for the only daughter of the Lyan’s.
But Yu Wen was suffering with cognitive dissonance, she was very sick. Her head was stuffed with cotton, and dreaming day and night. In her vision everything was a shadow. Indistinctly her father touched her forehead, she saw Dz Yun’s face was flashed with excitement. Wong Ma’s worried face……..
Seemingly Yu Wen was watching a show. The actors were running on and off the stage. In a instant she was on the stage. The tailor came to measure her for her wedding gown. She wasn’t sure whether everything was truly happened or not.
When the time for Yu Wen to say farewell to her parents, she kneeled down on her kneels. She saw her father’s red eyes. Her mother’s long face still looked the same.
Dimly Yu Wen was embraced and sent into the wedding car. Everything she was familiar with began to withdraw. The gate of her home closed behind her car and disappeared. Tears running down her cheeks.
“Wong Ma!”she called out half dreamingly.”Where is Wong Ma?” Yu Wen was looking for the one who loved her so dearly.
Someone said in her ears: “My lady, Madam Lyan sent Wong Ma to work in the kitchen from now on. Actually Madam Lyan was going to dismiss Wong Ma. She said since you are married, Wong Ma is no longer needed in this household. But Master Lyan remember all the good care that Wong Ma have had with you. He kept her working in the kitchen.” Speechlessly with a broken heart, Yu Wen fell back into the set. Her vision got more blurred.
The time was frozen and went backwards in the car.
Dimly Yu Wen saw herself was playing in the court yard with Wong Ma, but the every thing she saw seemed so far away. Then the vision changed, she saw people in and out of her room, all of a suddenly she heard some uproar laughter and people fell down on the floor. These people were trying to pick up a big trunk from the floor. They all knew that Yu Wen was the only daughter of the Lyan’s. Her dowries must be rich and valuable. This trunk should be very heave and filled-up with jewelers, antiques and thousands pieces of silver coins. They picked up the trunk with all their strength. Up the trunk flew into the air! They couldn’t keep their balance and fell down to the floor. First was shocked with surprise. Then they laughed. They would never believe that there were only some clothes that Yu Wen’s wears every day and a cloth brush.
Then the time flew back to the night before the wedding:
The night was so quiet. Yu Wen was sitting next to the table absent-mindedly. She could hear her own heavy breathings and her coughs. This was the last night at home for Yu Wen. When will she be back? ………………….
Wong Ma stood next to her, patting on her back. Trying to ease off her lady’s coughs. Wong Ma’s tears were flowing in her eyes. This lady is with her ever since she was a baby. She breastfeeding her until she was almost two years old. She taught her to say “Ma” , “pa” . She watched Yu Wen from crawling to stepped out her first baby step. She comforted Yu Wen when she had some hard times. She even dressed Yu Wen every morning until now. But after tomorrow, the girl she took as her very own daughter will be departed from her forever………………
Suddenly the door opened. In came Mrs. Lyan assisting with her maid. Yu Wen stood up right away. Walking wabblingly towards her mother. Yu Wen poured some tea into a cup and handed it to her mother with both hands. She was so touched that her mother could come in to see her the night before she leave home. Her mother forgave her!
Mrs. Lyan accepted the tea from Yu Wen’s hands and sipped a little, She said in a clam voice:”En! The tea is cold!’ Then she said:”Last night I was playing mahjong with some friends. Unfortunately I lost all my money. I don’t want to upset your father. Could I borrow some of your dowries to pay off the debts? I know that your father gave you lots of expensive jewelers and thousands pieces of silver coins. May be from your dowries I can get some good lucks from the happiness of your wedding, so that I may win back what I’ve lost. I’ll pay you back later.”
Mrs. Lyan didn’t wait for any answer, she told her maid to open that big trunk and took all the jewelers, antiques and the money.
Wong Ma couldn’t keep quite any longer. She kneeled down on her knees and knocked on the ground. Cried out:”Please! madam, please! Leave some for your daughter, please. You took everything away from my poor lady, what would it be for her future.” Yu Wen stood there without saying any word, not any tears.
Thus how Yu Wen stepped into her married life with some used cloths and the brush. A brand new life awaits for her.
Mrs. Lyan had never ever mentioned about anything that she had said that night. Yu Wen never mentioned to her father about what had happened the night before her wedding. There was never had anything special happened that night.
That brush was a very good one. It had traveled with Yu Wen so many years from places to places. Even till forty years later. Only the wood handle that holds the hair looking old and lost it’s brilliance. But it didn’t lose any of it’s hair
— “C-6 First Time Being A Mother” is on it’s way–
–Everlasting Blossoms —
Mrs. Lyan lost a lot of weight even under the good care of the doctor. Her health condition made Mr. Lyan’s heart ache. But a promise is a promise! It can’t be changed! Mrs. Lyan had just let it be.
Upon this Marriage Revolution, the relationship between Yu Wen and her mother dropped down under to 0 degree. Right after Yu Wen heard that her mother regained consciousness, she ran to her mother’s bed side. But as soon as her mother saw Yu Wen, she closed her eyes and turned her head away from her. Ever since that each morning and evening when Yu Wen went to her parent’s bedroom with her best regards as she usually do, Mrs. Lyan would not say a word and even not looking at her unless her father was around. Yu Wen always stood in front of her mother until Wong Ma pulling her sleeve to imply her it’s time to leave. Her mother treated her as a stranger. At Yu Wen’s childhood, only when she was learning the Princesses Etiquette, her mother was very strict on correcting her postures, but their relationship was never being as bed as strangers.
Yu Wen understood that her mother loved her, Her mother wish to see her only daughter marry to a matched marriage to have a good life. But she herself knew that she would never wanted to become a daughter-in-law of Mrs. Dzo, and ended up the same way as her high school classmate. Yu Wen aspired to a blissful marriage. Nevertheless, she couldn’t drop her mother’s love as well.
Her mother could only see that Dz Yun was a impoverished student. But she never learn the Dz Yun was born in a scholarly family for generations. Some of Dz Yun’s ancestry were officers at the imperial court. The Ho’s family was one of the most famous celebrities in HeNan. But to Mrs. Lyan scholarly family for generation would never be compared to a blue blood family.
Struggling between the love of her mother and a blissful marriage, tolerated with her mother’s coldness every day, Yu Wen couldn’t take any more. She was devastated and her heath collapsed. Every day after 12 noon, Yu Wen began to have some fever not too high but coughed a lot. Traditional Chinese Doctor diagnosed Yu Wen of Non-communicable TB.
Dz Yun did as Mr. Lyan told him. He asked uncle Bu to go to Lyan’s residence to proposed the engagement for him. Uncle Bu was a close friend to Mr. Lyan. He visited Mr. Lyan residence frequently. Uncle Bu have met with Dz Yun quite often, was of the opinion that Dz Yun was a honest and gentle boy. He understood Dz Yun and Yu Wen loved each other. He was willing to be the matchmaker. Matchmaker was a very important character in those days. Without a matchmaker there would no marriage.
At that time, the engagement was very different from nowadays. There were two steps:
Step one: For the boy’s side — You should have a matchmaker who should knows both persons who involved with this engagement. The matchmaker should bring a piece of red paper with the boy’s date of birth and eight characters of a horoscope to the girl’s parents. The girl’s parent will check with a fortuneteller to see if this boy matches with their daughter’s date of birth and eight characters of a horoscope. If there is no problem and they think this boy may be an ideal son-in-law to be, they would accept the red paper and give their daughter’s birth date and eight characters of a horoscope to the matchmaker to bring to the boy’s parents. After everything was OKed, the matchmaker would exchange the *”Small Dragon and Phoenix Card* for the two parties. One addressed to the girl’s father, one to the boy’s father. If both side accepted which means the engagement is half way to success. If any of the two parties refused to take the Card, There will be no more engagement.
*”Small Dragon and Phoenix * – Two pieces of red paper(as the picture showed) carried both boy and girl’s date of birth and eight characters of a horoscope. One addressed to the girl’s father, the other addressed to the boy’s father. These cards should be written by the matchmaker with his name and seal on them.
The picture above was from my grandfather to my maternal-grandfather , asking for permission the engagement.
—To be continued —
Mr. Lyan mounted on the bike and started the engine, the bike roared and dashed forward to it’s destination.
That was one of the hottest day in summer. Even the motorbike was much faster than a horse, but running under the burning sunlight, you could get a sun stroke. Yu Wen was very worried that how much heat her father could endure? This is the first time her father ever ride on a motorbike, could he manage it? The long hours of riding would it cause her father fatigue? could her father make it on time before the party started?
Next day at noon, about 24 hours latter from yesterday, Mr. Lyan came home. The very first words he said was: “My daughter, I saw Ho Dz Yun, he is OK! I had a long conversation with him and understood that he loves you. I was thinking since you cared about Ho Dz Yun’s safty that much, Ho Dz Yun loves you. Why don’t have him to be my son-in-law? That will safe all the trouble in the future. And Ho Dz Yun promised that he’ll take good care of you all his life with all his heart. That was all I waited for him to tell me. So I told him to select a good date and then come to our house to propose for the engagement.” Mr. Lyan said all these without any break. Then he took his pocket watch out from the pocket and handed to Yu Wen and said:”Touch it, my child!”
Yu Wen didn’t sleep the whole night last night, she was still half sleeping. Now her father came home safely with this sudden good news. It was just too much for her to take them at the same time. She was not in her senses yet. She didn’t understood why her father asked her to touch his pocket watch. Senselessly she stretched out her hand to hold the watch.
“Oh! How come it’s so hot?” The pocket watch dropped down from Yu ‘s hand. It was too hot for her to hold. As hot as a piece of burning rock! Fortunately the watch was chinned to her father’s pocket otherwise it would dropped on the floor and could be broken.
“It’s so hot outside, not as cool as in the room with big chunk of ice and fan. Wong Ma, give me a big cup of water with some crushed ice.”
Now Yu Wen was totally wide awaken! Her father loves her so he loves Dz Yun as well. To ward off regret of being late , her father rode on the motorbike without any stop, even at night in order to have enough time to stop the incident. And to relieve the anxiety off his beloved daughter, again with a nonstop riding on the motorbike he came home under the burning sun. If the pocket watch could be that hot, as hot as a burning rock, what would be for a human being? She burst out in tears. Speechless she grabbed a piece of towel wipe off the sweat from her father’s face and neck. With a fan she fanned all over on her father. In her heart she prayed:”Thank God, everyone is safe and well.”
But to Mrs. Lyan, after she heard what her husband had told her, her whole being was blowout and fainted kept unconscious for a whole day……..
— To br continued —
Mrs. Lyan took her husband’s advise and broke off the engagement, but she was enraged. No one knows her daughter more than a mother. She knew that this girl is interested in that Young Idiot. She knew how much her husband loved their daughter. If she insist the marriage, it would lacerate the harmony of the relationship between she and her husband. And also give other people a chance to make up stories. Therefore she was calm on the surface but really was planning something, a plan was simmer in the dark.
For his job necessity, Mr lyan often traveled back and forth from Pei-king and Tian-Jing. Once he decided to take the whole family with him. Even with the servants and the cook to go to TyanJing to stay there for a while.
Dz Yun was a poor student in Pei-King. He couldn’t afford to travel too often. One of Lyan’s long term young worker voluntarily to be the messenger to pass their love letters from each other. Actually nothing could be hide from Mrs. Lyan. She concerned about a good life of her daughter’s, she should not allow Yu Wen to marry to that impoverished student.
The best way Mrs Lyan could think of was to hire some thugs to give that Young Idiot a good lesson. So that he will leave her daughter alone,. Mrs. Lyan made up her mind, without let anybody know in the family, she hired some thugs to deceive Dz Yun to one of the old deserted coal mine in Tang-Shan, Tian-Jing where no one would be around. But nothing could be hide unless it was never happened! The terrible news came to that young messenger. He was a very loyal long term worker at Lyan family. He came to Lyan’s home as an orphan when he was six years old. Yu Wen was very nice to him. She always helped him specially with money in his time of need. He told Yu Wen what he’ve heard at the very first day.
Quickly Yu Wen ran to her father for help. She told her father that someone will used her name to cajole Ho Dz Yun to one of the deserted coal mine at Tang-Shan. Over there, they will teach Dz Yun a good lesson to let him know that he should never see Yu Wen again.
Mr. Lyan understood what is going on. Nothing he need to ask. He contemplate how could he get to Tang-Shan as soon as possible? There are around 100 kilometer from Tyan-Jing to Tang-Shan, the fastest horse will take at least a day and half to get there. That would too late!
Suddenly Mr. Lyan remembered that he bought a motorbike from one of the * Bei-Yang warlords*. He had never had a chance to try it yet. Now it the right time! He told his adjutant to fill it up with gas and bring it over to him. He was worried about how to ride on it. But when he saw it all the worries were released. It look a bicycle! The only thing that a bike doesn’t have was the engine, a one wheel box-car attached to it’s side, you can put something in it or have one person sitting in it.
* Bei-Yang warlords* – There were many warlords in China at the first years after the Republic of China was established. It looked like those warlords obey the orders that was given by the new government, but in fact the government was controlled by the warlords. Each warlord occupied a piece of land with their own armed forces.
— To be continued —
Wong Ma was sitting in Yu Wen’s bed while she was thinking of these, her tears ran down her checks and cried with a broken heart. Yu Wen came in at that moment. She was taught that a lady should always walk quietly. Therefore when Yu Wen came in, Wang Ma didn’t notice it at all until Yu Wen taped on her shoulder gently.
“Wong Ma, what had happen to you?” Even Yu Wen’s voice was very soft Wong Ma was startled. She wiped off her tears and said: “No! Nothing, nothing.”
“Tell me, Wong Ma, who bullied at you? Was it my mother?”Yu Wen asked her.
Wong Ma was a very honest person she could never lie but tell the truth.
Yu Wen heard that the Dzo’s will sent someone to come to propose for marriage, she was very worried. What was she going to do? If she really going to marry to Mr. Dzo, what kind of life will be for her? But she was not panic.
“What am I going to do?”Yu Wen calmly asked herself. 「I must let my parents know that I don’t want to marry Mr. Dzo.” She dared not to go to her mother, she knew her mother would not support her at all. She could only go to her father.
After she made up her mind, Yu Wen walked into her father’s workshop.
Mr. Lyan wore a single lens magnifying glass on one of his eye, concentrated in carving a stone seal. Yu Wen didn’t want to surprise her father with a sudden drop in. It might cause a slip of his carving blade which may cut her father’s fingers. So she softly said: “Pa!’
Mr. Lyan raised up his head looked at Yu Wen. The magnifying glass dropped off his eye and landed to the floor. Quickly Yu Wen picked it up and handed it back to her father. Then Yu Wen acted like a spoiled little child, rocking her father’s shoulders with both hands, and said: “Pa! pa! I don’t want to marry to the Dzo’s. Each time when Mrs. Dzo came to visit us she always looked at me from the top of my head down to my feet which makes my spine tickled and numb. It will drive me nuts if I have to live with her for the rest of my life.” Tears began to pouring down from her eyes.
“Wait a minute my silly child!” Mr. Lyan laughed.”Who said you are going to marry to the Dzo’s? How come I’ve never heard of it?”
Yu Wen grabbed the chance and said:”Wong Ma told me that one of Dzo’s servants, Chwen-Mei said that her mistress will sent someone to come to proposed for the marriage.”
“Is that right? I’ll find out what’s going.” Mr. Lyan became serious. “But…..after all, this Dzo Yau Dzung is a nice young man.”
“No! No! Pa! I would rather die to marry to the Dzo’s.”Yu Wen cried harder and harder.
“My good child! Don’t cry, don’t cry. We’ll see until I find out what’s going on fist. All right?”
After Mr.Lyan talked with his wife, he got the whole picture. He opposed it firmly, because their daughter is still too young to be married. It should be wait for a couple more years latter.
It seemed that Mrs. Lyan in charge of everything at Lyan’s house. But the most important matters, Mr. Lyan’s decision was always be honored and respected. Thus it came as a heavy storm but ended up with a few small little rain drops.
— To br continued —
C-5 Marriage-Important event in Yu Wen’s life: –Part two–
Among the young men who proposed for marriage, Mrs. Lyan celected one, Mr. Dzo Yau Dzung. His father died when he was a little boy. He was the only child of his widowed mother. Dzo Yau Dzung was a nice young man, smart and gentle. But his widowed mother was something else. Everytime when Mrs. Dzo visiting, Yu Wen ‘s mother would purposely arranged some chances for Yu Wen to be with the guests.
It was not that Yu Wen wanted to disobedient her mother, it’s because of this Mrs. Dzo. Yu Wen could never forget the very first time when Yu Wen met Mrs Dzo. She looked at Yu Wen , but Yu Wen wasn’t sure if Mrs Dzo had looked at her face at all. She felt that Mrs. Dzou’s eye sight quickly dropped down to her feet then slowly moved upwards to her dress. Then skipped her face and landed on her hair. It seemed that Mrs. Dzo first was exam the size of her feet. Then to check if her dress was properly wore. Then to see what kind of jewelry Yu Wen wore in her hair. Yu Wen got goose bumps all over her while Mrs. Dzo’s sights moving up and down on her. But that was not all!
Every time when Mrs Dzo came to visit them, she brought her royal power and prestige with her, gave orders to every worker at Lyan’s residence. Told this one to do this and that one to do that with a rather Her Highness manner. Mrs. Dzo always wore a black long gown. Her gray hair combed up high to the back of her head and ended up with a bun and a piece of jade stick in the bun. Yu Wen was thinking if she wanted to embroider a Chinese style stepmother for Snow White, Mrs. Dzo could be the best model. Yu Wen thought: “Whoever being a daught-in-law to Mrs.Dzo, will ends up to hang herself to death.”
Wong Ma worried and thinking to herself:”Mrs. Dzo was a widow ever since she was young. Mr Dzo is her only child. Mr. Dzo is a good young man all right, but as a window mother who has only one son, would she be a good mother-in-law? Nice to her daughter-in-law? Would she think that her daughter-in-law will get all the attentions from her son. take her only son away from her?”
Yu Wen said to Wong Ma: “You know what epoch is it now, Mrs. Dzo still acted as a royal madam. Even when she is visiting us she acts like as if she were at home.” She continued:”I had a high school classmate. Married to a nice young man under the commitments of both sides’ parents. Her husband loved her dearly, behind him, his mother abused her with all her best. My schoolmate didn’t want her husband to know what was going on. One day when her endurance was over the limitation, she hung herself and died.”
But Yu Wen hadn’t ever even dreamed of that one day her own mother was planning to have her to married to Dzo Yau Dzung.
One day Wong Ma heard that the Dzo’s family will sent someone to come to Propose the marriage!
Wang Ma knew that her lady was not very fond of Mrs. Dzo. She knew also that Yu Wen had some good impressions with ” Young Idiot”. If she really going to have Mrs Dzo to be her mother-in-law, what kind of life her poor lady is going to have.
C-5 Marriage-Important event in Yu Wen’s life: –Part one–
Mrs. Lyan started to seek for a matched marriage for her only daughter. But each time Mrs. Lyan thought she found a matched one was declined by Yu Wen’s father. He thought that it was still too young for Yu Wen to get married. Besides Yu Wen was their only daughter it’s too early to let her go. And he thought they should be very careful to pick and choose a good son-in-law for it matters Yu Wen’s whole life.
Mr. Lyan was proficient at mathematics, physics and chemistry. As a director of an arsenal, many young scholars, professors, celebrities came to visit him. One day a young man, he introduce himself as Ho Dz Yun, a student from Peiking University, wish to see Mr. Lyan. He said that he had been admiring Mr. Lyan’s great attainments in physics and chemistry for quite a while. He would like to ask him for some advice. Mr. Lyan was out going and informal with everyone The conversation he had with this young fellow was pretty delightful. The Math problem that this young man brought up, Mr. Lyan gave him the answer right away. In return Mr. Lyan’s gave him some math problem. Young Mr. Ho couldn’t answer it. He was very embraced and blushed. And finally he gave up!
Mr. Lyan found himself was very fond of this young visitor, specially for his talent. He said kindly to him:”It’s OK! It is a little difficult. How about this way, you take this problem home today and think it over again. Come back with the answer some other time.” Thus Ho Dz Yun became a frequent visitor of the Lyan residence. He addressed himself as ” Mr. Lyan’s student”.
Mr. Lyan loved to make new friends, especially with this young man. But Mrs. Lyan didn’t like him at all. She called Mr. Ho “Young Idiot “. Because it seemed that he knew nothing other than mathematics, physics and chemistry. Once while Her husband were talking with this” Young Idiot “, she saw him was clapping and jumping like a happy child! He had no aristocratic bearing at all. But the fate often surprising people.
Since “Young Idiot” Ho Dz Yun visiting Mr Lyan frequently, he notice that Mr. Lyun had a lovely daughter. Mrs. Lyan’s comments of this “Young Idiot” brought up Yu Wen’s attention. This visitor of her father. Actually Yu Wen found that Ho Dz Yun was not a Idiot at all. He is very knowledgeable in many fields. Other than those what-so-ever he was discussing with her father Yu Wen didn’t understand, Ho Dz Yu was quite erudite as well as in Chinese ancient culture. Sometimes Yu Wen even heard Dz Yun hummed some Chinese opera.
Yu Wen speculated that it could be because this young man is a student, his attitude and dressing was so different from those profligate sons of blue blood whom her mother introduced to her. Dz Yun never greased his hair. his shoes were not shinny polished but always in a good condition. He always wearing a blue long Chinese robe, neatly clean. The whole being Looked elegant and gentle.
Yu Wen thought Dz Yun was special!
Yu Wen was not only Westernized in knowledge and thoughts as well as. Advocate the freedom to choose one’s own marriage. She was not in favor of those her mother introduced to her. For if they were not overcautious on behalf of maintain their nobility or they would be swollen with arrogance. Dz Yu was different!
What a surprise that I received a notice says:
“Congratulations on getting 50 total likes on myrahochang.Your current tally is 55.” With a big orange circle and a stared black “50” in the middle!
With my heartfelt thanks to each and everyone of you. Your “like”s keep me powered and continue my blog journey with more confidence.
We Chinese say some one like my age – 80 – trying to learn some thing new is like carving on a piece of rotten wood! But with all your supports I can boldly keeping on carving. There will be something carved out. With patient I just keep carving! Carving! Carving!……….
C4. The Ladle Head —part two
“Oh! My goodness! Oh! My good heavens! You’ll fall off from up there. What am I going to do? You may be killed if you fall down to the ground. Please come down. Please, I beg you, My sweet, sweet sister! My queen! My chief commander…..” Shu Syun cried out frighteningly.
“OK! OK! I’m trying. Don’t you see I’m trying. But…. where did the chair go?”Yu Wen shouted back with her loudest.. It seemed that the alter growing higher after YU Wen leaned on it. And the chair ran away… It wasn’t very easy for Yu Wen to lean on to the alter, and now it seemed there were ten feet farther from the chair than before. The chaotic noise disturbed Mrs. Byan from her needle work. She stepped out of her room and saw this funny sight!
“Well, well, my little monkey niece! What’s all this big commotion?”
Her son tried to protect himself and said: “My sister wanted to see the Ladle head Black Bean Eye, I told her not to. But she insisted.”
“En! I can see that!” She walked to Yu Wen and picked her up. She held Yu Wen up high as close as she could to the Ladle head Black Bean Eye. And said: “How is that? Is this close enough for you to have a good look at it?”
“Wow! It is true! It is a ladle. Hey! there are really two black beans on it too!”Yu Wen exclaimed with excitement! “But………….. how come that uncle’s ancestor is a ladle?”
“No! That was not quite right.”Mrs. Byan laughed. She continued: “It was told among us that our ancestor Nurhaci was killed on the battle field. People could not find his body but they found his head only. Therefore his coming generations use a ladle instead of enshrine and honor him.”
What so ever her aunt said sounded reasonable to her. But at school Yu Wen learned in the history that Nurhaci’s death was because of the illness. Which one is truth? It’s hard to tell. Any way her uncle was a descendant of Nurhaci Ai-xin-jue-luo. Nurhaci was the first emperor of Ching. Ai-xin-jue-luo was the emperor’s surname. But why did they use black beans for eyes? Yu Wen had never did any further research.
—C-5 Marriage-Important event in Yu Wen’s life is on it’s way—
C-4 The Ladle Head – -part 1- –
One of Mr. Lyan’s sister lived close by. Her husband’s surname was Byan who was a Manchurian lord. Their only son, Byan Shu Syun, was a little younger than Yu Wen. Mrs. Byan loved Yu Wen so dearly. Very often invited Yu Wen to visit them. This younger cousin of Yu Wen loved Yu Wen as much as his beloved older sister.
The alter in Byan’s main room was decorated a little differently. At the center of the alter instead of a tablet with the name of the deceased ancestors, there was a ladle. Yu Wen always wondering why don’t they do the same way as the Hans? Why uncle Byan’s ancestor was a ladle that could be used as for picking up water? Wong Ma told her that was called “Ladle Head Black bean Eyes”! Why? Yu Wen was very curious about it. Wong Ma also told her that Mrs. Lyan was a Manchurian princesses all right, but she married to westernized husband who doesn’t think it is necessary to do so.
Therefore every time when Yu Wen visited her aunt, she always looked at the alter curiously. Wished that if she could somehow to get on to the alter to have a good close look at the “Ladle Head Black bean Eyes”.
There was a chance for her one day! Her uncle was not home. Her aunt was in her room working on her needle work. Yu Wen and her cousin were lingering in the main room. Because Yu Wen was a little bit older then Shu Syun, she always acted as a commander to her cousin. Shu Syun had no other siblings, he loved this commander and cousin as well as his elder sister. Whatever Yu Wen told him to do, he always do so. Now Yu Wen grabed this good opportunity. She told Shu Syun that she wanted to climb up to the alter. Asking him to help her to move the chair closer to the alter.
“What? Climb up to the alter? If my dad knows it I’ll get in big trouble.”Shu Syun whispered to his commander.
“OK! I’ll do it myself.”Yu Wen began to push the chair as she was saying.
All the furniture in this main room were made of sandalwood. They were very heavy. That chair was too heavy for a little child like Yu Wen. Her poor little follower couldn’t stop her. Helplessly he joint her. When the chair was close enough for YU Wen, quickly she climbed up and stood up in the chair. The alter was too high for her. She tiptoed on her feet, but all she could see was only a part of the of the ladle . That was not enough to satisfy her curiosity. She lean her body onto the alter. She thought she could climb up to the alter so she could stand up and see the whole thing. But before she knew it her feet followed her body and left the chair behind. There was no spot for her to land her feet on for her to move upward. The next thing Yu Wen notice was her legs were dangling in the air!
C-3 The Princesses Etiquette
Next morning before Mrs. Lyan’s teaching, she said: “I was going to teach you the basic princesses etiquette earlier. But your father was always interceded for you. He said it’s a republican China now. It is out of fashion to those unnecessary and over elaborate formalities. Yesterday I got your father’s agreement, and will start teaching you formally. I don’t want to have any one to say our girl is not well educated. Listen to me!, don’t you dare to tell any rubbish to you father.”
Yu Wen dare not to react to stem the tide nor to answer back. She knew her mother would not tolerate with anything that disgrace her. What had happened the other day was really embarrassed her mother.
Yu Wen stood there obediently. Doing whatever her mother told her to and whichever way her mother posted her she followed. Doing the movements one by one as her mother told her
After her mother demonstrated the complicate processes of the princesses etiquette, Yu Wen understood what Wong Ma was trying to tell her. –Your body well balanced when squat down. It looked so gracefully noble and dignified–. She saw her mother’s right foot stepped out half a step, and curved a little which brought her upper body forward and lowered down, but she kept her body straight upward . Gracefully she put the right hand on top of the left one and rest them on the right knee slightly and squat down a little bit. Then stood back up gently. Mrs. Lyan’s gesture looked so graceful lofty and dignified.
But it was not a east task at all. Especially for a youngster. When Yu Wen was going to squat down, not only her upper body swayed her legs wobbled too. She fell down and sat on to the ground. She couldn’t help burst into laughter. All of a sudden she felt a burning pain on her forehead which brought her tears out. That was given by her mother who knocked her forehead with a clenched middle finger, which brought her tears down. Wong Ma quickly assisted her to get back on her feet. A small lump added to Yu Wen’s forehead!
“Look into the mirror when you are working on it.” Mrs. Lyan said to Yu Wen with a cold voice. Then she turn to Wang Ma: “Wong Ma, watch your lady when she practice every morning until she’ll not fall down again.” Mrs. Lyan walked out of the Main Room without looking at her daughter who was sobbing silently.
Wong Ma’s palm and the gentle robs were some refreshing medication for Yu Wen , which not only eased off the pain on her forehead it also warmed up her heart. But for Wang Ma, each time when she saw Yu Wen was crying, she wished that she could do more than just rubbing on Yu Wen’s lump. Each time she shed her tears with her poor lady quietly. All she could say was: “Oh my! Oh my! Try harder next time, my lady.”
All the women of Manchu nobility were not foot-binding while the other ladies should. Even though Yu Wen’s feet were born with small size, because she was rather small in stature. This kind of gesture was very difficult for her from not swaying, specially for her age! Sometimes she had to be assisted by Wong Ma before she fell on to the ground.
Yu Wen didn’t understand why each time when she was trying to squat down, a childhood memory always came up to her. When Yu Wen was 5 or younger, she saw some ladies wearing *”Flower pot high heels”* embroidered shoes. When they walk with them, they looked so gracefully and feminine. Very pretty and charming. Once she sneaked into a dresser. She found a pair of those kinds of shoes. She put them on! While she was trying to stand up in them, the Flower pot at her soles stood right in the middle of the arch of her feet. That made her dizzy and lost her balance. Fortunately she grab the corner of a table close by before she felt down and broken into pieces.
“Flower pot high heels” looked as a very small up-side-down flower pot. they were hollow in the middle. The small side attached to middle of the sole. The bottom of the bigger side were drilled with so many small holes, designed as Lotus flowers or other good luck sketches. Some perfumed powers were stuffed inside the up-side-down flower pots. After each step the lady who wears them, the powdered prints from the heels would be left on the ground. Whoever wears this kind of shoes had to keep their heads high and chest out. the walking movement looked so elegant, graceful and so republican .
If Mrs. Lyan was around while Yu Wen was practicing the princesses etiquette, 8 out of 10 times, Yu Wen would get a lump on her forehead. There were countless lumps comes and goes before Wong Ma could completely stopped rubbing on Yu Wen’s forehead. Yu Wen was so relieved before those strong knocks could soften her poor forehead becoming a big well ripped tomato.
Sometimes Mr. Lyan came to Yu Wen’s room to give her some comfort. Though only tears and complains he would get from Yu Wen, but those fatherly love Yu Wen treasured her whole life.
From Mr. Lyan, Yu Wen learned that there were many different kinds of court etiquettes. For unmarried girls, married women, men, servants and when officials in the feudal times meeting with the emperor. They were all different from each other.」
“But who cares!” Yu Wen thought, “Now it is a republican China. No one would ever care about it anymore.” Yu Wen would never realize that how much it could benefit her in the future.
Yu Wen grew in a noble family. At home Wong Ma took care of everything of hers, even dressing her up in the mornings. Whenever Yu Wen was going out, there were always some long term workers around her to make sure she was secured. Yu Wen lived like a princesses. But whenever she was with her mother, Yu Wen became as a mouse saw a cat! She wouldn’t be able to act as the other kits doing as a spoiled child. Even dare not to dream of it!
Gradually the fear of her mother getting more then to yearn for being close to her mother. On the other hand, Mrs. Lyan based on the Manchurian life style, she wanted to educated Yu Wen to be a real noble Manchurian lady. Therefore her demands get more and more strict. Yu Wen found out in the later days that in the royal families, boys always were more privileged to enjoy their freedom than the girls. Whatever boys did were acceptable because they were shield by their fathers. But for girls, their parent all wished to look for a good match for their daughters. Therefore the girls must behave well as a perfect lady. They must well remember all the “The three Obeys and the Four Virtues” and “Four virtue” The ladies young and old should keep them in their daily life.
- Obey you father before you married.
- Obey your husband after you married.
- Obey your son if your husband died.
- Well behaviors.
- Good appearance; clothing, headgear and footwear should always be wore properly.
- Speech – when you talking with people, should agree what they say, be understandable, should always realize what you should or should not say.
- Should be good in Chinese traditional women’s skills, such as needle works, cooking, housekeeping etc.
One morning, Wong Ma ran up to Yu Wen and said:”Hurry up, my lady. Madam Lyan wants to see you. She is in the Main Room. If you are lat, Madam will blame me neglecting my duty.”
Yu Wen went to the Main Room unwillingly. To her surprise she saw some of her distant relatives were there with her mother. She did in her very best manners, ceremoniously greeted those aunts. Before Yu Wen had a chance to find out why her mother sent her for, one of the ladies said: 「Oh my! What a pretty child! But I say, it’s suppose to be the right time to teach her our basic princesses ‘s etiquette now.」
Yu Wen’s heart beating fast! She saw her mother’s face getting longer. She knew something bad is on its way! Yu Wen was right! Mrs. Lyan Perfunctorily saw those ladies left, she came back to the main room. With a long face, she said to Yu Wen fiercely:”Start from tomorrow I have to teach you the princesses’ etiquette. You’d better learn it with your very best.”
“Wong Ma, move that big dressing mirror here. From tomorrow on, you’ll watch your lady practicing the traditional court princesses etiquette correctly.”After Mrs. Lyan laid down her orders she put one of her hand on the shoulder of her maid, gracefully and walked out of the room. She left Yu Wen with questions and wonderings.
After her mother was totally out of sight, Yu Wen asked Wong Ma: “What is princesses’ etiquette any way? So You can do it, right?”Yu Wen asked.
“No! My lady, I’m just a servant, how could I ever learn these kind of court etiquette! But I’ve been with Madam to visit many royal families, I saw how their unmarried ladies salute your mother. Their gestures were so graceful so beautiful. They squat down slowly and well balanced with their two hands folded and placed on one knee, their upper bodies were straight up but not stiff. Looked like a piece of beautiful petal float down slightly. Well, it is very difficult for me to describe. I suppose it is not that easy to learnt.”
“……..?” Yu Wen’s mind was up on the clouds.
—Part 2 to be continued—
This is me, Myra Ho Chang.
14 years ago the stroke got me. The stroke put my left body into sleep ever since. My left leg and foot now is half way awaken but my left arm and hand never wake up!
I was a Chinese School(after school classes) director for almost 20 years. Before my retirement or I should say two month before my 65th birthday, the stroke forced me to an earlier retirement!
The stroke did not strike me down. But to tell the truth, I was very much depressed at the beginning!
I started to practice typing with four finger. Even it was not easy to try to take over the job of the left hand, but now my fingers are dancing on the keyboard! Many times they dumped on the wrong key! Checking back and retyping takes more time! Who cares! For seniors “Time” is the most thing we possess! If God allow so.
I thought I would never be able to make Chinese Knotting any more. But with cord board, pins and tweezers,. I can still make some simple ones. Did you see my Christmas Wreath –Chinese Knotting– that was made last Christmas.
After the stroke the biggest project I finished was a Chinese book ” Everlasting Blossoms”, and published in Taiwan 2011. It tells:
What Everlasting Blossoms are.
Why was that named Everlasting Blossoms .
What was the motive of crochet Everlasting Blossoms..
And unveiled the method of crochet Everlasting Blossoms, as well as the butterflies.
English is my second language. I know my English is not great at all. There may be a lots of grammatical errors. You may call it Chinglish! If you would like to help me with that, I’ll be very much appreciated.
On my birthday this year, the most awesome gift is this Rosary. it was a gift from my grandson, Phillip. He made it! It tells his love and blessing! How much more can I treasure it?
I have it blessed by our pastor and wear it every day. Of course with it I say Rosary and Divine Mercy.
May God be with Phillip always.
– – The second pary – –
There were many cultural or historical relics from Ching’s palace or bigwigs of Ching government. Many of them flowed away to the market. Once there was one of Yu Wen’s uncle from her mother side came to visit her father. He dressed with the traditional garments, long gown and a mandarin jacket, a formal dress. Usually the end of the sleeves were wide like a funnel. Yu Wen noticed that one of the end of the sleeve was moving up and down. The sleeve could not move by itself. There must be something, some kind of living creature in it. She was so curious and opened her eye big and wide and stared at it. She wished that it would come out so she can see it. But it was just didn’t want to show it’s face. Yu Wen couldn’t wait any longer. She sneak behind her uncle’s back. Before her mother could stop her, Yu Wen jumped out to her uncle’s side and shouted at her loudest voice at her uncle’s arm. Out it jumped a tiny dog. The dog was really so small, as small as you can put it in your palm. The sudden appearance of the tiny dog startled Yu Wen.
“Wow!” She hopped up with her two feet and shouted:「My heavens! It’s a dog!」
After she put herself back into one piece, she gently touched the tiny dog. It was real, not a toy! It even sniffed on her fingers. Yu Wen found there was a tiny silver chain chained the dog to her uncle’s wrist.
The more Yu Wen looked at the tiny dog, the deeper she fell in love with it. She asked her uncle, “Can I have it?”
Before any more requests, her uncle gave himself an excuse, he put his beloved pet into his sleeve. Left quickly.
Yu Wen couldn’t get what she wanted, she started to cry out loud. Nobody can stop her from crying but Mr. Lyan.
“My child, Let me tell you something. This kind of dog is called Sleeve dog -Tibetan Spaniel. People put it inside their sleeves or the undershirt pocket when they going out. This kind of dog was a tribute, very unusual and precious. It is very difficult to take care of and hard to bring it up. If it was in your hands, surely it will die within two days. We’d better get you something else to play with.”
“Do you remember That once I had a small Aye-aye? ” Mr. Lyan went on: “It sleeped in my brush pot, looked so cute! When I needed to make some ink, I knock on the brush holder, it would jump out, picked up the ink stick and started to ground on the ink tray until I say “Stop”. Then it stood next the ink tray looking around with his big sparking eyes. If it saw an ant creep nearby, it would catch it and eat it. After I left the desk, it would lick the left over ink in the tray until the ink was all gone.”
“Yes! Yes! But how come I don’t see it anymore?” Yu Wen asked anxiously.
“It got sick one day. I took it to a veterinarian. But they couldn’t help much and it dead. I say, my child, tomorrow I’ll find something that you’ll have more fun to play with it.”
By now, Yu Wen smiled through tears, She knew for sure that whatever her father’s promise will always be accomplished.
Early next morning, Wong Ma said to Yu Wen excitedly, “Hurry up, My lady, Master was asking for you. It seemed that he has something for you.”
Yu Wen remembered that her father had promised her yesterday to look for something that will be more interested than the tiny dog. Now that must be it! She jumped out of her seat dashing out of the door, jumped cross over the pond. There she stopped at the corridor where her parents’ room was. Usually it took at least 2-3 minutes walking from her room to where she stood now if she walk as a lady should, but now she jumped like a monkey, it only took her less than one minute! To get here in 2-3 minutes? How could she wait that long?
She knocked on door and said out loud: “Mom, Dad, your daughter is here to say Good morning to you.”
Mr. Lyan opened the door looking at the huffing and puffing young lady. He looked down and saw her muddy embroidered shoes. He smiled and said kindly:”My! My! That’s how you came here so soon. Where is your manner, my young lady? Look at your muddy shoes! Shame on you!” Mr. Lyan handed Yu Wen a cloth bag and said: “give this to Wong Ma, She’ll tell you what to do.”
Behind Mr. Lyan, Yu Wen saw her mother was staring at her with a frowning face. She quickly said thanks to her father and went back her room. But this time she dare not to take the short cut any more. She walked like a well educated lady, because she knew her mother must be watching behind her.
Yu Wen was the only girl in the family, her father’s only pearl. Mr. Lyan spoiled her. But her mother, Jin Shr want to shape her with good manners as well as a real princess. Hopelessly Yu Wen inherited the Mongolian’s free and easy as well as her father.
Wong Ma opened the bag exclaimed with surprise:”My good gracious! What a Rarity!” Yu Wen couldn’t figure out why was it a rarity? They were but only 4 paper made figurines made with very thin bamboo sticks in the middle. One small copper plate and a small wooden stick.
“No! My lady, You know originally this was one of the treasures in the treasures pavilion in the royal families. ”
“What is a pavilion?” Yu Wen asked. “Where is this pavilion? Could you take me there someday?”
“No. My lady, pavilion is not a place. It was a cabinet where the royal families kept their most valuable treasures. They could be some very special agate or jade sculptures, rings, necklace or pines or bracelet. Or the very original painting and calligraphy, or mini Imperial Collection of Four, or toys. ” Wong Ma kept on:”Usually this kind of pavilion has a secret door. It can be opened only if you can find the secret switch. After it was opened, the cabinet can circled around. Therefore you won’t miss anything. it’s an unrivaled sight!” Yu Wen opened her eyes wide. She was enchanted by what she was listening. Speechlessly.
Wong Ma pointed at the articles that Mr. Lyan gave to Yu Wen and said:”These are called 8 hummers. Because these 4 people each one of them holding two ball shaped hummers. They all looked differently from each other’s. These people were ancient heroes long times ago. Look at this one with golden hummers, his name is Li Yuan Ba. This one with silver hummers his name is Pei Yuan Ching. This one with copper hummers is Chin Chung. This one with steel hummers is Lyang Shr Tai. Now watch! After I put them up standing in this copper plate and….” As Wong Ma was talking, she picked up the small wooden stick and slightly knocking on the edge of the copper plate. Magically the four paper made figurines started to move around, waving their hummers. When one of them getting very close to another one, they knock on each other, one of them would be knocked down.
“Oh! Oh! My goodness! This is really fun.”Yu Wen was thirlled. She jumped up and down, clapping her hands and laughing! She grabbed the little wooden steel from Wong Ma’s hand and did as Wong Ma was doing until there was only one left standing in the plat. She raised her hands up high and shouted; “Hurrah! Here is the champion!” Then she put the 4 of them back standing in the plat, and started the game over and over and over again. If it wasn’t Wong Ma calling her for lunch, Yu Wen could play with it till midnight! These 8 hummers kept her company through many lonely childhood days. Yu Wen was going to take them with her when she was getting married, but her mother took them away along with many other precious things the night before her marriage.
At Yu Wen’s old age, when she was telling the story about the “8 hummers” to her grand children, one of them, a grandson was so enchanted as much as she was so long ago. This little one couldn’t help but asked her: “Granny! Granny! I want one too! Where Can we buy it? Can we get one here in Taiwan? Please! Granny!”