16. Happenings on Lu-Gou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge)

  1. Happenings on Lu-Gou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge)

At Yu Wen’s wedding ceremony, she met only Dz Yuen’s father, her father-in-law. Dz Yuen’s mother did not attend the ceremony due to their second son was going to marry at the same time.  Yu-Wen hadn’t had any chance to meet her Mother-in-law until Syau Wen was about two years old. When the war with Japan occurred, most of the northern parts of China were taken by the Japanese. The current situation disorderliness everywhere!  Dz Yun received letters from back home getting fewer and fewer.  He was worried about his parents and his three younger brothers and one sister. Would like to visit his hometown to see how is everything going back home in Ho-Nan?.

They took Syau Wen and some simple luggage started their journey to Ho-Nan.

They could take a pedicab to the train station, but they decided to walk to instead. Not only they can save some pedicab fare, they could walk across the Lu-Gou Bridge, that they had never had a chance to visit. The structure itself is a piece of art. Especially those 485 stone carved lions.

Lu-Gou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge)was built in 1189. Long 266.5 feet, width 7.5feet, 11 culverts. 140 stone carved pillars. Those lions all look different from each other. Some are sitting, while the others are resting on it four legs. Some lie prone. Some holding a baby lion with its claw, Some carrying a baby lion on it’s back. The vivid lively sight never to be forgotten!

While they were walking on the bridge and admire the beauty of the artwork. Yu-Wen saw a cloth bundle left on the bridge.  She picked it up. In it

she found some old clothes in it. some silver coins and two pieces of paper money tickets(Yin Pyau) written by hand.  Each carried with a large amount of money written on it. Anybody could tell that big number written on the ticket indicated that someone had sold all his property and exchange the money for these tickets which would be easier to carry for the traveling. The contain did not entitle to anybody. Which means anyone could take them to a bank and exchange into cash. Dz Yun and Yu-Wen understood those ticket must belong to some refugee who had left their hometown to look for freedom and safety. If the owner who lost them, it could jeopardize his life. That money was his life support. Dz Yun and Yu-Wen decided to hold on to the bundle and stay where they found it and wait for the owner to come back for it.

Silver coins were old Chinese one dollar coins. One piece of that silver coin could be good enough to provide food for a family of 6 for one month.

Not long after they waited, a young man pushing a three wheelbarrow with a white-haired old lady sitting on one side.  Some luggage on the other side. The old lady was blowing her nose and crying out loud. She mumbling over and over:  “Oh my good heavens! Where can we find it?” “It was all my fault, I didn’t even notice that when and where I lost it.”

Dz Yun knew these people could 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 we are not sure whether it is your or not. Could you tell me what was the bundle? ”

The old lady said:”There are two shirts, one was patched with a piece of black cloth on the right lower sleeve, 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 out to the young man and said:”OK! OK!  That’s enough. could you check and see if there is anything missing.”The young man got the bundle and opened it. He saw everything was there. He took those 17 pieces of silver coins out and handed to Dz Yun for thanking him for his kindness.  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, someone wanted sale him/herself, would be stuck a circled straw in their hair as a mark to tell people they need money urgently, wanted to sale themselves.

A white-haired man sitting against one of the pillars. With his head bowed down so low, his head almost touched 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 life. The one who takes him may be a very nice person, rich and kind. It would be far better than staying with us to live in such an impoverished life. After we find Chyang and when everything settled down, you’ll have another corpulent  grandchild again.” She continued: “Aren’t you so anxious to see you son? from here to Bou-Ding is still quite a long way to go. How can I assist you while a baby is 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 received the money with a sad looking. She thought that Yu Wen was going to buy her son. Reluctantly she handed her precious baby to Yu Wen with a heart-broken looking on her face.

“No! No! The money is for you! I don’t want you, baby. 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 of 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 this money. This good-looking little boy will have a 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.”

Dz Yun held Yu Wen’s and walked away. He 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 the 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.”

Yu-Wen just couldn’t hold her tears.  Without saying anything, quietly she followed Dz Yun stepped into the train.

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15. Smallpox vaccine and The Deadly Enteritis

In those days smallpox was still passing around the China. All babies must get Smallpox Vaccine before 4 months old to avoid being transferred by smallpox. Syau Wen did not get the vaccine until she was almost five months old due to her health condition.

When Yu Wen watch the doctor cut the small X on You’s skinny arm. You Wen’s crying tearing her heart. She saw with the same knife the Docter cut the X, he applied a little creamy liquid over the cut. Then the doctor with two hands cruelly pull and push the cut to force it open more to allow the white liquid more saturated into the cut. You Wen horsed her voice with horrible crying. Yu-Wen wished if she could take the vaccine instead of for her poor girl!

Ever since the cowpox planted in the little X cut on Syau Wen’s left arm, Yu-Wen always kept her eyes on Syau Wen’s vaccine area. She watched the entire process from the skin around the X turn red and swollen. Then it became a pustule. Until a pustule dried out. She saw a dry pustule starting to lift! What a relieve to Yu Wen. Because the doctor told her there will be a scar after a pustule dried. But, if a pustule popped before it dried out, where ever the pus go, the area it touched will become a new pustule. That means there will be more scars left on the skin,. It would look bad, especially for a girl when she wears sleeveless! Yu-Wen wants to make sure 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.  Syau Wen got measles! 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 pediatric.

After the doctor looked over at You Wen.  Yu-Wen was almost fall unconscious when she heard what he said: “My good heavens! How could it happen 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 podiatrist all these years, This was my second case. One out of 10,000 babies maybe will get it. It’s very rare. Which means the measles came when a 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.

After that Yu Wen forgot all about what the doctor had told her “immunity against any kind of dermatosis for life”. Until in Si-An the whole family caught scabies but Syau Wen.

When Syau Wen was about eight or nine months old. Dz Yun haired a housemaid to help to take care of Syau Wen. So that Yu Wen could have some break.

Sometimes the maid would give Syau Wen some toys to play 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 the 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. By now Yu Wen realized how serious it was. She took the unconscious baby to the 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 save her daughter’s life, there was nothing the doctors could do.

After Yu-wen came out from the last doctor she could have. Disappointedly, filled with hopelessness she got into a Ricksha with her dying baby in her arms. Not too long she will lose her beloved daughter.

rickshaw-A small vehicle with two wheels used for carrying one or two passengers, that is pulled by someone walking or running.

The driver of the rickshaw heard Yu Wen sobbing behind. While he was trying to calm Yu Wen down and found out her baby was dying. He suggested  Yu Wen to take the baby to see a Chinese herbal doctor.  Maybe they can help since there is no other choice. He told Yu Wen,: ” I know there is an old herbal doctor lives right at the end of the alley where you live. Maybe he has some secret recipe that handed down in their family for generations.”

Like a drowning person in the ocean grabbed a piece of wood, this could be the only hope for Yu 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 got up from his seat. He opened several small drawers on the cabinet on the wall. He took some dried grass out from each drawer. wrapped up with paper and handed over 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.  If you can see the tip of her nose starting to get wet.  Your child will be saved.  Come back to get some refills. Otherwise, prepare for the funeral.”

a burning joss stick time – An old Chinese traditional way of counting the time.

After the herbs were cooked after Yu Wen went home.  When she was ready to give to Syau Wen the soup, she realized why the old doctor told her to dump the soup into You Wen’s mouth.  Syau Wen was not able to open her mouth and could not swallow anything at all. With Dz Yun’s help to open Syau Wen’s mouth, Yu-Wen dumped the soup into her mouth slowly.

After the soup all dumped in, both Dz Yun and Yu-Wen sat right next to Syau Wen They watching over Syau Wen with all attention. You Wen’s face looked was so pale and woodenly with slightly closed eyes. That one burning joss stick time seemed like a century. Finally, they saw Syau Wen’s nose tip starting wet, Gradually the wetness became tiny waterdrops! Yu-Wen was almost cry out for joy, but quietly tears running down her cheeks as streams. Dz Yun hugged her tightly and gently patted her back.

After several follow up packs of Chinese herbals Syau Wen was recovered from that deadly 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 on, she often regrets that she did not ask the old doctor for the prescription. Otherwise, She could have saved some other baby’s life.

Within the first two years in Syou Wen’s life, she had much more tough days than those same aged children. Likewise, Yu-Wen had worked much harder, and more painstaking care her this immature birth child, a baby given by God. Yu-Wen from an inexperienced mother, step by step she grow up with Syau Wen. Every step was a surprise, a new discovery, and joy. Together She grows up with Syau Wen’s learning to sit up, crawling, tooth growing…….

— to be continued —

–16. Happenings on Marco Polo Bridge– is on the way.