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.

14. The Ugly Baby Deity Longevity

About a 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 housework. The doctor announced that Yu Wen was pregnant!

What a great and joyful news for the Ho family! Dz Yun’s parents were expecting their very 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, her father was teasing her and said:”If you married Dz Yun. you should have many children!”

“Why?” Yu Wen’s father baffled her.

     “My foolish child! Don’t you see, I’m a Mongolian, your mother is a Manchurian and your husband-to-be is a Han. There are five big races in China: Hans, Manchus, Mongolians, Huis, and Tibetans. There will be three races in your family. It was said the second generations of this kind of families, should be very bright!”

Now it’s really going to be happening! Yu-Wen was worried and scared. No adults around her. 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 her answers.

It could be because this was the first pregnancy for Yu Wen. Without any experience, no advice. She only carried the fetus less than seven months.  The premature baby was thin and tiny! Not ready to be dropped into the world. She had a head as a shrank deity of longevity. But much older!  On her baldhead and over her face there were full of wrinkles.  Her fingers and toes were so skinny and they looked awfully long. Yu-Wen couldn’t be sure whether there were five or fewer fingers or toes on each hand and foot. Many times when nobody was around she would be picked up one tiny hand or foot to count over and over again.

Mrs. Lyan heard that her daughter just had a pregnancy baby.  She rushed to the hospital to see them. When she saw such an ugly old deity of longevity granddaughter, Mrs. Lyan was very disappointed.  She suggested to Yu Wen:

“How about exchange a better-looking one? Today on my way here at the Nursery, I saw an abandoned baby girl as old as this ugly being. The nurse said her mother was a student at Pei-Jing University who ran away a few days later after the baby was born. That baby girl I saw, has beautiful black hair, big eyes, and a small mouth. She’ll become a beauty someday. Anyway, that’s an unwanted child, why don’t you exchange them?” Mrs. Lyan said seriously.

Yu-Wen was so frightened.  No matter how ugly the baby was, that was her very own flesh and blood. That was her daughter!

Ever since that moment she heard what her mother had said, She was so scared!  She would never let the baby out of her sight.  She was afraid that her mother may stealthily exchange her baby.

Dz Yun named their first born girl You Wen to honor his sweetheart. You Wen means Yu Wen Junior!

You Wen, this a premature baby. She was unusually small! At home, everyone called her Syau Wen as a nickname,  which means “Little Tiny Wen”.

Syau Wen was born on 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 premature bab on a piece of wood board. Rapped up with a new clean cloth. Before Yu Wen bundled Syau Wen up with a blanket, she placed Syau Wen in between of two layers of unused cotton, then put the bundle on the rapped board.  The bundle was secured on the board,

  • Unused cotton* is warmer than the used one. Besides it’s clean, no harmful germs.

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 fully grown. Her bones and skeleton were not well enough connected yet. It seemed if there is just the slightest shake could cause the bones scattered! When she was on the board she will not be shaken at all.

This poor little girl didn’t even know how to suck! Each time when it was time to feed her, Yu-Wen had to put some milk into an eye drop suction tube. Then open her baby’s mouth to drop one drop of milk at a time. Waited until that one drop was completed swallowed. Then drop the next drop. If accidentally dropped two drops into Syau Wen’s mouth, it could chock Syau Wen and she would throw up all the milk she had swallowed. All the hard work was in vain. She had to start from the beginning again.

From no experience at all only based on those two sets of books, Yu-Wen made it. She and Syau Wen went through the hottest days in summer and bed 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 filled with thanksgiving to heaven and the people around her.  On top of all the worried was her baby could be exchanged by her mother. Many timed she woke up at midnight to check and make sure if her “tiny old deity of longevity” was OK!

–to be continued.

  1. Smallpox vaccine and The  Deadly Enteritis–  is on the way

13. Garlic and Steamed bun

Dz Yun got a job as a teacher before they married. After his honeymoon, he went back to work.  One day, Yu-Wen++ at home alone. Sitting in the wicker chair enjoying the embroidered Phoenix and the peony on the window light pink curtain. She appreciated their harmonious colors and the exquisite needlework very much.

“That’s right! I’m going to buy some cloth with the same color as the curtain. I’ll make a tablecloth and embroider the Phoenix and peony on it.”  She looked around the room. Smiled from the bottom of her heart. Her new home was not big. A small living room and a small bedroom about the same size. Two wicker chairs with a small tea table in between placed next to the only window in the living room. An enamel inlay vase with roses in it sat on the tea table. Yu-Wen made herself a cup of jasmine tea sat next to it.  Enjoying the fragrance of the jasmine tea and the sweetness of the roses. Yu Wen ‘s heart was filled with sweet warmness. This is her home! The home of Dz Yun and hers.

Suddenly there was some knocking on the door.  Yu-Wen walked to the door and saw a stranger stood in the doorway.  And said: “Please, may I ask is Mrs. Ho home?”

Yu-Wen heard that he was asking for “Mrs. Ho”. She thought: “My mother-in-law is at Ho-Nan. It is so far away from here. Why is this young man asking for her?” 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 of the one month rent. What a surprise! Those beautiful window curtains were rented!?

While Yu Wen was watching the stranger taking those beautiful curtains down the windows, optimistic Yu Wen thought:”Good! It saved all my trouble to look for the right kind of cloth for a tablecloth. And it will save me money too! Without window curtains, the room looks brighter.”

While she was thinking about what had just happened, Yu-Wen laughed at herself. She could never imagine that window curtains can be rented. Is there anything else rented in this room? 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 household, old or young, should go to the kitchen to help to make dumplings. Dumpling is symbolic the shoe-shaped gold. Women were helping the family to make money for the coming new year!  From making the dough,  preparing the stuffing for the dumplings, to roll out the dumpling wrappers with a small roller, rape the stuffing with the dough rappers and boil them. At her new home, you would see dumplings on the table almost every day!   When Dz Yun was teaching at the school, Yu-Wen usually bought some steamed buns(with no stuffing) for her lunch. She smashed the garlic mixed them with salt and sesame oil. She tore the buns into small pieces. One by one she dipped them into the smashed garlic and eat.  They were very tasty. She wondered why didn’t she ever ate at like this back at her home. The smashed garlic became the main dish on their table every day!  Yu-Wen never thought that garlic would play a very important role in saving her life. The garlic cured her Tuberculosis.

It was so many years later, Yu-wen had non-stopping coughing. She was worried that her Tuberculosis was back. After the X-Ray, the doctor told Yu Wen her coughing was because of bronchitis. And also the doctor found some calcified spots on her lungs. He asked if Yu Wen had Tuberculosis in the past? He was interested to know what kind of medication did she take? The doctor’s questions reminded her that was the garlic which saved her life.

To be continued- – -14. The Ugly Baby Deity Longevity– is on the way.


 

12. The Marriage

Now the whole Lyan’s residence was decorated for the big event. Joy mood everywhere. Everyone was excited about this coming up the wedding for the only daughter of the Lyan’s.

But Yu Wen was suffering from cognitive dissonance. She was very sick. Her head was stuffed with cotton. Dreaming day and night. In her vision, everything was like a shadow. Indistinctly her father touched her forehead.  She saw Dz Yun’s face was flushed with excitement. Wong Ma’s worried face……..

Seemingly Yu Wen was watching a show. The actors were running on and off the stage. An instant later she was on the stage. Like a puppet, Wong Ma picked her up from the chair and hold her arm up to let the tailor measure her for her wedding gown.  She wasn’t sure whether everything truly happened or not.

When the time for Yu Wen was about to say farewell to her parents, she kneeled down on her knees. She saw her father’s red eyes. Her mother’s long face still looked the same as she saw lately.

Dimly Yu Wen was embraced. Who embraced her? Then someone assisted her into the wedding car. Everything she was familiar with began to withdraw. The gate of her home closed her car and disappeared. Tears running down her cheeks.

“Wong Ma! Wong Ma?” she called out half dreamingly.”Where is Woman 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 backward in the car.

Dimly Yu Wen saw herself was playing in the courtyard with Wong Ma, but the everything she saw seemed so far away. Then the vision changed, she saw people in and out her room, all of a sudden 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 very heave and filled-up with jewelers, antiques, and thousands of 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 marriage:

That night was so quiet. Yu Wen was sitting next to the table absent-mindedly. She could hear her own heavy breathing and her coughs. This was the last night at home for Yu Wen. When will she be back? ………………….

Wong Ma stood next to Yu Wen, 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 breastfed her until she was almost two years old. She taught her to say “Ma”, “pa”. She watched her 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 wobblingly towards her mother. She poured some tea into a cup and handed to her mother with both hands. She was so touched that her mother could come in to see her the night before she left home. Her mother forgave her!

 

Mrs. Lyan accepted the tea from Yu Wen’s hands and sipped a little, She said in a cold and calm voice:”En! The tea is cold!’ Then she said with her eyes looking in the air:”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 back the debts? I know that your father gave you lots of expensive jewelers and thousands of pieces of silver coins. Maybe with your dowries, I can get some good luck from the happiness of your wedding, so that I may win back what I’ve lost. But I’ll pay you back later.”

Mrs. Lyan didn’t wait for an answer, she told her maid to open that big trunk and took all the jewelers, antiques and the money.

Wong Ma couldn’t keep quiet any longer. She kneeled down on her knees and 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 any word or any tears.

Mrs. Lyan did not pay any attention to Wong Ma. Proudly she walked out of the room with her head up.

Thus how Yu Wen stepped into her married life with only some used daily clothes and a brush. A brand new life awaits her.

Mrs. Lyan had never ever mentioned about anything that she’d 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 its brilliance.  But it didn’t lose any of its hair.

To be continued.

—Chapter 13. Garlic and steamed bun– is on the way—-

 

 

11. The Engagement

 

Since Mr. Lyan promised the marriage, D z Yun started to prepare for the engagement.

The engagement was very different from nowadays.

First of all, De Yun must have a matchmaker to present his engagement proposal.

He asked Uncle Bu to be the matchmaker to go to the Lyan’s residence to proposed the engagement for him. Uncle Bu was a close friend of Mr. Lyan. He visited Mr. Lyan frequently. At the Lyan’s, Uncle Bu acquainted with Dz Yun. He was of the opinion that Dz Yun was an honest and gentle boy. He understood  Dz Yun and Yu-Wen loved each other. He was willing to be the matchmaker.

The Matchmaker played a crucial role in those days. Without a matchmaker, there would no marriage.

Only for preparing the engagement there were three steps:

Step 1: For the boy’s side —  he should have a matchmaker who should know both persons well and willing to be involved with this engagement.

Step 2: First of all, the matchmaker should bring a piece of red paper with the boy’s birthday and eight characters of a horoscope to the girl’s parents and an engagement ring. The girl’s parents will take boy’s birthday and eight characters to a fortuneteller to be checked to see if this boy’s date of birth and eight characters of a horoscope would match with their daughter’s. If there is no problem and also they think this boy may be an ideal son-in-law to be, they would accept the ring and the red paper.  In return, they would give their daughter’s birth date and eight characters of a horoscope to the matchmaker to bring to the boy’s parents. The boy’s parents will do the same as well.

.     Step 3:  After everything was OK, the matchmaker would prepare two pieces of formal “Big Dragon and Phoenix Card” for each party. Those Cards carries both boy and girl’s birth dates and eight horoscopes. The one for the girl’ parents was printed with a pair of Phoenix on the very right side of the card.   The one for the boy’s parents was printed with a pair of Dragon on the left side of the card.  These “Big Dragon and Phoenix Cards” were really big! They were about one foot long and three feet wide solid red silk cloth framed with gold thread.

Until both cards were accepted,  the marriage ceremony is awaiting!  By now, if any of the two party refused to accept the big red card, the engagement is canceled. There will be no wedding!

Yu-Wen valued the Small Card and the Big Dragon and Phoenix Card so much. Because of the war, her family moved from place to place. The lost many valuables but these two cards always with her. Until they settled down in Taiwan, She hung them on the wall in her bedroom by her bedside. Along with her mother-in-law’s portrait. The person who loved her so dearly!

Small Dragon and Phoneix Card

Big Dragon and Phoneix Card

 

–To be continued–

12. The Marriage

is on the way

10. Accepted The Young Idiot

Not that Yu Wen wanted to oppose her mother’s will, but Yu Wen could never forget the very first time when she met Mrs. Dzo. She looked at Yu Wen. Yu Wen wasn’t sure if Mrs. Dzo had looked at her face at all. She felt that Mrs. Dzou’s eyesight 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 measuring the size of her feet first. Then to check if her dress was properly worn. Then to see what kind of jewelry Yu Wen wore in her hair. Yu-Wen got goosebumps all over her while Mrs. Dzo’s sights were moving up and down on her. But that was not al!

Every time when Mrs. Dzo came to visit them, she brought her royal power and prestige with her. She comments the workers to work for her as if she was at her own home. She 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 inform people that she was a widow. Her gray hair combed up high to the back of her head and ended up with a bun and a piece of jade pen stick in the bun. Yu-Wen was thinking if she wanted to embroider Snow White’s stepmother as Chinese, Mrs. Dzu would be the best model. YuWen thought:”Whoever be Mrs. Dzu’s daughter-in-law, will end up to hang herself to death.”

Wong Ma worried and think 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 widowed 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 attention 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 her best.  My schoolmate didn’t want mention anything to her husband to hurt his feelings.  He did not know what was going on at all. Until one day when her endurance was over the limitation, she hung herself and died.”

But Yu Wen hadn’t ever even dreamed of that 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 send 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 that “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.

Wong Ma was sitting in Yu Wen’s bed while she was thinking of these, her tears flow down her cheeks and cried quietly. Yu-Wen came in at that moment. She was taught that a lady should always walk quietly. Therefore when Yu Wen came in like a cat, Wan Ma didn’t notice it at all until Yu Wen taped on her shoulder gently.

“Wong Ma, what had happened 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 propose the marriage, she was very worried. What should she do now? If she is 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 lensed 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 Y Wen. The magnifying glass dropped off his eye and landed on the floor. Quickly Yu Wen picked it up and handed 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 pour 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 her mistress will send 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 first. 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 wait for a couple more years later.

Mrs. Lyan in charge of everything at Lyan’s house. But the most important matters,  Mr. Lyan’s decision was always honored and respected. Thus it came as a heavy storm but ended up with a few small little raindrops.

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 insisted 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 a plan was simmer in the dark.

For his job necessity, Mr lyan often traveled back and forth from Pei-Jing and Tyan-Jing. Once he decided to take the whole family with him. Even taking the servants and the cook with them to stay there for a while.    Dz Yun was a poor student at Pei-Jing University. 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 between the young lovers. 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 letting anybody know in the family, she hired some thugs to deceive Dz Yun to one of the old deserted collieries in Tang-Shan, TyanJing where no one would be around. But nothing could be hidden unless it has never happened! The terrible news came to the young messenger. He was a very loyal long-term worker at Lyan’s family. He came to Lyan’s home as an orphan when he was only six years old. Yu-Wen was very nice to him. She always helped him. Especially with money in his time of need.  He told Yu Wen what he had heard on the very first day.

Quickly Yu Wen ran to her father for help. She told her father that someone will use her name to cajole Ho Dz Yun to one of the deserted coal mines at Tang-Shan. Over there, they will teach Dz Yun a good lesson to let him know that he should never see her again.

Mr. Lyan understood what is going on. Nothing he needㄎ to ask.

He contemplates how could he get to Tang-Shan as soon as possible? It is more than 100 kilometer from Tyan-Jing to Tang-Shan, the fastest horse will take at least a day and a 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 is 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 looked a bicycle!  The only thing that a bike doesn’t have was the engine, a one wheel box-car attached to its side, you can put something in it or have one person sitting in it.

Mr. Lyan mounted on the bike and started the engine, the bike roared and dashed forward to its destination.

That was one of the hottest days in summer. Even the motorbike was much faster than a horse, but running under the burning sunlight,  you could get a sunstroke. 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 later since Mr. Lyan left home yesterday, Mr. Lyan came home. The very first thing he said to Yu Wen 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 safety that much, Ho Dz Yun loves you. Why don’t I have him to be my son-in-law? That will save 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 understand 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  Wen’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 be dropped on the floor and could be broken.

“It’s so hot outside, not as cool as in the room with a 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 awakened now! 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 of his beloved daughter, again with a nonstop riding on the motorbike 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 a blowout and fainted kept unconscious for almost a whole day.

Mrs. Lyan lost a lot of weight even under the good care of the doctor. Her health condition made Mr. Lyan’s heartache. 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 0 degree. Right after Yu Wen heard that her mother regained consciousness, she ran to her mother’s bedside. 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 she went to her parent’s bedroom with her best regards as she usually did,  Mrs. Lyan would not say a word. While her father was not around her mother would not even look at her. Yu-Wen 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, when she was learning the Princesses Etiquette, her mother was very strict on correcting her postures, but their relationship was never being as bad as strangers.

Yu-Wen understood that her mother loved her. Her mother wished to see her only daughter married to a matched marriage to have a good life. But she herself knew that she would never want 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 an impoverished student. But she never learned 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 He-Nan. But to Mrs. Lyan scholarly family for generations 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 health 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.

—To be continued.

  1. The Engagement is on the way —

 

9. The Young Idiot

Mr. Lyan was proficient in 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 introduced himself as Ho Dz Yun, a student from Pei-Jing 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 outgoing 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 right away. He was very embraced and blushed. And finally, he gave up!

Mr. Lyan found himself was very fond of this young visitor, especially 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 Mr. Ho at all. She called Mr. Ho “Young Idiot “. It seemed to her that this young idiot knew nothing other than mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Once while Her husband was talking with this” Young Idiot “, she saw him was clapping and jumping like a happy child! He had no aristocratic bearing at all. And no manners!  He never polished his shoes. Sometimes hair may hang down to his face due to not pomade his hair.

Since “Young Idiot” Ho Dz Yun visiting Mr. Lyan frequently, he noticed that Mr. Lyun had a lovely daughter.  Mrs. Lyan’s comments of this “Young Idiot” brought up Yu Wen’s attention. Actually, Yu-Wen found out Ho Dz Yun was not an Idiot at all. He is very knowledgeable in many fields. Other than those what-so-ever he was discussing with her father which Yu Wen didn’t understand, Ho Dz Yu was quite erudite as well as in Chinese ancient civilization. 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 were 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 shinnying polished but always in a good condition. He always wore 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. They were either overcautious on behalf of maintaining their nobility or they would be swollen with arrogance. Dz Yu was different from them.

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 early for Yu-Wen. She is still too young to get married. Besides Yu-Wen was their only daughter it’s too early to let her go. Besides he thought they should be very careful to pick and choose the best son-in-law. It matters Yu Wen’s whole life.

Among the young men who proposed for marriage, Mrs. Lyan selected 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.

Every time when Mrs. Dzo came, Yu Wen ‘s mother would purposely be arranged some chances for Yu Wen to be with the guests.

—–To be continued.

  1. Accepted The Young Idiot—-

8.Bass Drum

In that big living room, Yu-Wen stood there as straight as a solder in front of her mother, who was sitting upright in a big Padauk Wood armed chair.

“I said, NO! Didn’t you understand what I’ve just said to you?” Mrs. Lyan said with a rather loud and harsh tune.

“Who has ever heard of a young lady like you from an illustrious family,  would ever learn to sing ” Pei-Jing Brass Drum “? Such low-class folk song was only for those people on the street working for their daily bread. If our relatives and friends ever heard the Lyan’s only girl is learning Pei-Jing Brass Drum, what would they think about you? How am I going to be able to look for a matched marriage for you? En?”  Yu-Wen bowed her head low, quiet as a mouse!

“So, I’ll say it again: NO! YOU – ARE – NOT – ALLOWED  – TO –  LEARN –  IT! ” Mrs. Lyan rapped her older. She turned over to Wong Ma and said: “Wong Ma, escort your lady back to her room. Without my permission, your lady should not leave her room.”

Wong Ma whispered to Yu Wen: “My lady, let’s go back to your room now. Don’t make it difficult for me.”

Yu Wen was going to say something, but when she looked at her mother’s angry face and  Wong Ma with tears in her eyes, she withdrew quietly from her mother’s room.

While they were walking to her room, she mumbling to herself: “Ok! Ok! I am not going to learn it, but I really don’t understand how could “learning a folk opera” being  related with ” lower one’s identity.”

That evening Mr. Lyan came home from work, he heard the servants were talking about the unhappy incident that happened between Mrs. Lyan and his only daughter, he went into his daughter’s room instead of going to his wife.

“My girl, I say, you are playing revolution again! And you upset your mother, right?”

“No! I did not.” Yu-Wen was trying to defend herself.

“I was just telling my mom that I wish to learn a song from [The West Chamber], in one of our folk opera. I didn’t know that could upset my mom that bad and she enumerated all my wrongdoings.”The feeling of wronging her, tears running down her cheeks.

“Papa! You have to think of some way to help me. I really want to learn it.”

“The West Chamber? Isn’t it the romantic story about Tswei Ying Ying and Jang Jun Rei? I know it. Nice melody!  But…………..  ”

It wouldn’t be hard for Mr. Lyan to figure out why that Mrs. Lyan was opposing the idea. For it was not just a song sing by the street people. The leads in the story consummated their love without parental approval, its potentially lethal could jeopardize young people in danger of pining away under their influence, which could not be accepted by the feudal society in early 18ths.

He didn’t want the happening gets too complicated, he branched it off.

“My girl, How about the pouch you promised me? It should be done by now. Isn’t it?” Mr. Lyan changed the subject.

“I am almost there! Pa. But I don’t feel if I would like to do anything anymore now!”

Yu-Wen was the pearl of Mr. Lyan’s palm. She was so precious to him. On one hand, Yu Wen’s personality was inherited from him, free and easy. On the other Yu Wen’s exquisite intelligence was from his wife. In addition to this, Mrs. Lyan had painstakingly educated Yu Wen with the Chinese traditional needle works. Yu-Wen was a priceless treasure for Mr. Lyan. Therefore Mr. Lyan always granted whatever Yu Wen requested.

Mr. Lyan was very proud of his daughter’s needle arts. Every piece of the needlework that Yu Wen did was beautiful and unique. He always carried one or two pieces of them with him when he had some social activities with his friends. Such as a handkerchief,  From time to time, he would take the hanky out from his pocket to wipe his nose or so. Then spread it out on his knees and fold it back again to show off the beautiful embroidery at the corners. Mr. Lyan was a pipe-smoker. He carried the pouch which holds the shredded tobacco with him all the time. The pouch, he thought, would be the best chance to show off Yu Wen’s masterpiece each time when he loaded his pipe. And people will not notice that he did it purposely as well as he wiped his nose with a hanky! Therefore he asked Yu Wen to embroider a pouch for him!  Now when he found out his daughter will go on a strike, he gave-in.

“OK! You tell me what’s on your mind?”Mr. Lyan asked.

“I’m ……I’m wondering if it is OK to employ a Bass Drum actress to come to our home to teach me?” Yu-Wen thought that was the best way, which would be complete in both respects.

“You mean to learn it secretly at home. So that none of our relatives and friends will know it and also it wouldn’t embarrass your mother too, right? But should we let your mother know about it?”

Yu Wen laughed happily because she knew her father will help her now.

A beautiful young lady came to Lyan’s residence the next afternoon to teach Yu Wen  The West Chamber secretly! Yu-Wen found out later, the actress, Jang Tswei Feng, was a very famous Pei-Jing Brass Drum actress,  Maybe because Jang Tswei Feng was famous, therefore Mrs. Lyan accepted the whole idea and did not give Yu Wen any more hard time.

Yu-Wen remembered after each class when Miss Jang was about to leave, she always bowed down her head looking on the flour, and walked backward for a few stapes, then turn around walked quickly out of the room. Yu-Wen did not understand why Miss Jang bowed down her head and walked backward to leave the room. Wong Ma told her:

“Of course! She is just an actress. A woman of lower class. That is the way to show their respect.”

But Yu Wen did not think of it that way. She thought every person should be the same. Especially Miss Jang who taught her how to sing the opera, she is her teacher!

—to be continued.

  1. The Young Idiot—

7. The Princesses Etiquette  

One morning, around 10 o’clock, Wong Ma ran up to Yu Wen and said:”Hurry up, my lady! Madam wants to see you. She is in the Main Room. If you are late, Madam will blame me for neglecting my duty.”

Yu-Wen went into the Main Room unwillingly. To her surprise, after she entered the room, she saw some of her distant relatives dressed in their fancy traditional garments were there with her mother. They sat in those visitors’ chairs on each side of her mother.  They were all looking at her. Yu-Wen had a funny feeling as if she was standing in front of a group of judges.  She did in her very best manners, ceremoniously greeted those aunts.  Before Yu Wen had a chance to find out why her mother sent for her, one of them said: “Oh my! What a pretty child! But I say, it’s supposed to be the right time to teach her our basic princesses’ etiquette now.” Yu was around seven years!

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 and unpleasant voice, she said to Yu Wen:”Start from tomorrow I have to teach you the princesses’ etiquette. You’d better learn it with your all your effort. 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 stood up and raised up her right hand with palm down in the air about equal height to her shoulder. Her maid quickly came forward to receive her hand humbly into her left hand. They walked out of the main room gracefully! Left many questions and wonderings behind to Yu Wen.

After her mother was totally out of sight, Yu-Wen asked Wong Ma: “What is princesses’ etiquette anyway? You can do it, right?”Yu-Wen asked

“No! My lady, I’m just a servant, how could I ever learn these kinds of court etiquette! I’ve been with Madam to visit many royal families, I saw how those unmarried ladies salute your mother. Their gestures were so graceful, so beautiful! They squat down slowly and balance with their two hands folded and landed on one knee, their upper bodies were straight up but not stiff. Looked like a beautiful petal float down slightly. Anyway, it is very difficult for me to describe.  I suppose it is not that easy to learned!”

“……..?”Yu Wen’s mind was floating in the clouds.

Next morning before Mrs. Lyan’s teaching, she sat down on her armed padauk chair with her two arms on the chair arms. She looked like a commander in chief to Yu Wen.  Not wearing too much facial expression.

Mrs. Lyan began her speech with a stiff look: “I was going to teach you the basic princesses etiquette earlier.  But your father 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 anyone say our girl is not educated. Listen to me, don’t you dare to tell any rubbish to your father.”     Yu Wen dare not to say anything to resist nor to answer back. She knew her mother would not tolerate with anything that disgraced her.  She understood that what had happened the other day was really embarrass her mother.——

Yu-Wen stood there obediently. She watched mother demonstrated the whole processes of the princesses etiquette, Yu-Wen understood what Wong Ma was trying to tell her.

“Your body must be well balanced when squatting 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 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 she stood back up gently.  Mrs. Lyan’s gesture looked so graceful, lofty and dignified.

Now, the show dropped down to Yu Wen!  She felt like a puppet, doing each movement whatever her mother told her to do. And the way her mother posted her.

From her mother’s demonstration and her first lesson, Yu-Wen realized it was not an easy task at all. Especially for a seven-year-old youngster.  When Yu Wen was trying to squat down, not only her upper body swayed her legs wobbled too. She fell down and sat on the ground. She couldn’t help but 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. She felt her head slipped into her neck. 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 working on it.” Mrs. Lyan said to Yu Wen with a cold voice. Then she turned to Wang Ma: “Wong Ma, watch your lady when she practiced every morning until she will 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 rubbed were some refreshing medication for Yu Wen , not only eased off the pain on her forehead temporarily it also warmed up her heart. 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 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. 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, especially for her age.  Sometimes she had to be assisted by Wong Ma before she fell onto the ground.

When Yu Wen was a little girl, she didn’t understand why each time when she was trying to squat down, a childhood memory always came up to her. She remembered when she was 5 or younger, she saw some ladies wearing some embroidered shoes with Flower Pot High Heels. When they walk with them, they looked so gracefully slandered, very pretty and charming. Once she sneaked into a dresser and found a pair of those kinds of shoes.  She put them on! While she was trying to stand up with them, the Flowerpot at the soles stood right in the middle of the arch of her feet. That made her dizzy and lost her balance. Fortunately, she grabbed the corner of the table close to before she fell onto it and broken into pieces.

“Flowerpot high heels”, looked at a very small up-side-down flower pot. They were hollow in the middle. The small side attached to the middle of the sole. The bottom of the bigger side was sealed and 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 stepped out, 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 feminine. Yu Wen wished that someday she could be able to wear them. But never did Yu Wen had a chance to do so after she grew up. Not only because the  changing of the age and also fashion, she married to the Han man

Yu Wen understood what her mother asked her to do was for her good. Who would not wish to be a respectable lady? She tried very hard to work on it and overcome the difficulty.

Sometimes Mr. Lyan came to Yu Wen’s room to give her some comfort and moral support. Though only tears and complaints, he would get from Yu Wen, whose fatherly love Yu Wen treasured her whole life.

From Mr. Lyan, Yu-Wen learned that there were many different kinds of court etiquettes. Different etiquette for unmarried girls, married ladies, men, servants and when officials meeting with the emperor in the feudal times. 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 those different etiquettes anymore.” Yu Wen would never realize that how much it would benefit her in her future.

—To be continued.

  1. The Young Idiot—

 

 

6. The strict Mother

Yu Wen’s wet nurse, Wong Ma, took care of her ever since she was a newborn baby until the day she married.

Yu Wen’s from childhood to grow up, Wong Ma took care of everything of hers. Besides nursing her, she watched her starting crawling, to make sure she will not get dirty. Ever since she stepping out her very first baby step, Wong Ma was with her to make sure Yu Wen would not fall on something that might hurt her. To see what’s the suitable cloth for her to wear every morning and dressing her. Combing her thin hair.  Wong Ma knew what was Yu Wen’s  favorite cloth, and foods. Whenever Yu Wen was going out, Wang Ma was with her. There were always some long-term workers around her to make sure she was well secured.

Yu-Wen lived like a princess. But whenever she was with her mother, she became a little mouse who saw a cat!  She must be very cautious with her manners. She should stand as straight as a pine tree. But never swing. Never lean on the table or against the wall, chair or anything. Her mother said that looked low and degrading not only herself but also her family. People would think her mother never taught her manners. When she sat, she should be sat as straight as an old grandfather clock!   In bed, she should sleep on her side as a bow. Never facing up. Fortunately, her mother seldom came into her bedroom at night, unless when she was very sick.  Wong Ma would never mind how she slept! All she cared was if Yu Wen slept well and comfortable. If accidentally her posture was incorrect, her mother would knock on her forehead with the most pointed place of her fist. and left a  bump on her forehead. The sharp pain would be with her for days.  Ever time when it happened, Yu-Wen felt her head shrieked until nothing left but the pine. She even forgot how to cry. But tears streamed down her checks. Until she and Wong Ma got into her room old she threw herself into Wong Ma’s warm chest and start to cry hard.  Wong Ma would say to her with a cracking voice: “Oh! My poor lady, Oh! My poor lady, next time try your best to be careful!” Wong Ma’s cracking voice and her gentle rubbing always worked as pain-killer but temporarily.

She would never be able to act as a spoiled child with her mother. She did not even dare to dream of it!

Gradually the fear of her mother getting more than yearning for being close to her.

Based on the Manchurian lifestyle, Mrs. Lyan wanted to educate 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 were always more privileged to enjoy their life freely than the girls. Whatever boys did were acceptable because they were shield by their fathers. But for girls, their parents wished to look for a good match for their daughters. Therefore the girls must behave well as a perfect lady.

They must well rememorize all the “The three Obeys” and “the Four Virtues”  when they were very young.  No matter young and old all females should keep these teaching in their mind and in their daily life.

The Three obeys:

Obey your father before you married.

Obey your husband after you married.

Obey your son if your husband died.

The Four virtue:

1. Good behaviors.

2. Good appearance; clothing, headgear, and footwear should always wear properly.

3. Speech – when you talking with people, should agree what they say, be understandable, should always realize what you should or should not say.

4. Should be good in Chinese traditional women’s skills, such as needle works, cooking, housekeeping etc.

For cooking and housekeeping to a ladylike Yu Wen was not necessary. Those were taken care by long-term workers. For needle works and all the others, everyone is a “Must”.

In the olden days, the cultural background of China was very different. Every lady wish to be a model lady! The rebellion was rarely heard of. Nowadays I believe, we still value a woman with some of those standers now!   

Yu-Wen loved needled works since she was a little girl. This pleasing her mother very much. She provided Yu Wen all chances to practice her needlework. You can see Yu Wen’s needle works everywhere at Lyan’s residence. such as window curtains, door curtains, tablecloth and chair covers, bed sheets, pillowcases. She made her own designs based on her love of nature. Her needle works were different. Highly admired and welcomed among her friends and relatives. Especially her father’s appreciation encouraged her a lot.

Everlasting Blossoms was built on her enthusiasm and devotion of nature and crafts, The Chinese old tradition fine art, embroider, unlocked her talent.

—To be continued.

  1. The Princesses Etiquette is on the way

5. Lade Head and Black Bean Eeyes

One of Mr. Lyan’s sisters lived close by. She married Mr. Byan who was a descendant of 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 she invited Yu Wen to visit them. This younger cousin of Yu Wen loved her as much as his beloved older sister.

The alter in Byan’s main room was decorated a little different. At the center the altar 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 to pick up the 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 princess all right, but she married to a westernized husband who doesn’t think it is necessary to do so.

Therefore every time when Yu Wen visit her aunt, she always looked at the alter curiously, wished that if she can somehow to get to the altar to have a good close look at the “Ladle Head Black Bean Eyes”.

One day she got a chance, Her uncle was not home, her aunt was in her room working on her needlework. Yu Wen and her cousin were lingering in the main room.  Yu-Wen was a little bit older than Shu Syun,  she always acted like a commander to Shu Syun,  Shu Syun had no other siblings. He loved this commander cousin as well as his elder sister. Whatever Yu Wen told him to do, he always did so.  Now Yu Wen grabbed this good opportunity. She told Shu Syun that she wanted to climb up to the altar and ask him to help her to move a chair closer the altar. So she could climb up to the altar.

“What? Climb up to the altar? 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 red sandalwood.  They were very heavy. Too heavy for a little child like Yu Wen. Her poor little follower couldn’t stop her. Helplessly he joined her. When the chair was close enough for YU Wen, quickly she climbed up and stood up on the chair. The altar 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 leaned her body onto the altar. She thought she could climb up to the altar as easily as she climbed up to the chair. To stand on the altar she could 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 so she can move upward.  The next thing Yu Wen notice was her legs were dangling in the air!

“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. It seemed that the alter growing higher after YU Wen leaned onto it. And the chair ran away…..! It wasn’t very easy for Yu Wen to lean onto the altar at the first place, and now, it seemed there were ten feet farther from the chair than before. The chaotic noise disturbed Mrs. Byan from her needlework. 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 us that our ancestor Nurhachi was killed on the battlefield. People could not find his body but they found his head only. Therefore his coming generations use a ladle instead of a shrine and worship him.”

What so ever her aunt said sounded reasonable to her when she was a little girl. But at school Yu Wen learned in history class that Nurgaci’s death was because of the illness. Which one is the truth, which one is false? It’s hard to tell.  Anyway, her uncle was a descendant of Nurgaci Ai-Xin-Jue-Luo. Nurgaci was the first emperor of Qing.  Ai-Xin-Jue-Luo was the emperor’s surname. But why did they use black beans for eyes? Yu-Wen had never done any further research.

— To be continued.

 6. Strict Mother is on the way is in the way

 

4. Fireworks and others

Tyan-Chyau was a very popular place in Pei-King even nowadays. It was named Tyan-Chyau (Bridge to Heaven) was in the old days, at Chinese new year, the emperor would pass this bridge to Tyan Tan( God’s Temple) to worship God.

Ever since the new government in power, they filled up this area with rocks and dirt. Many small businesses moved in. As well as variety shows and all kinds of Chinese folk arts! People love to visit Tyan-Chyau especially during Chinese New Year season. People would not miss the fireworks at Dung An-Men( The Gate of  Peace at East) as well.

That kind of Bridge to Heaven was very different from nowadays. After the fireworks shoot into the air, not only exploded into thousands of sparkles. Those sparkles may suddenly be turned into an ax, a cup, or even a war chariot, etc….

 

Yu Wen told her children the best firework she had ever watched was when she was about 6 years old. That was at Dung An Men( The Gate of  Peace at the East) during one Chinese New Year Season.

That evening. one of Lyan’s long-term worker carried her on his shoulder because she was too short to see anything in the middle of the crowd.

Yu-wen remembered that:

After she heard a loud:「Bang!」 There was a big fireball floating up into the sky. Suddenly the fireball popped into a knight sating on the horseback. It floated in the air for a little while and starting to fade away. Those fading sparklers in the sky changed into a summer-house. When the summer-house starting to fade away, there was a big cluster of grapes shown in the air. One by one, the grape burst.  Then sky returned it’s darkness again!

This kind of old technique and skill of making those kinds of fireworks were failed to handed down from past generations.  Yu Wen had never seen anything similar to that kind of fireworks the rest of her life. Every time when she was telling this story to her children and grandchildren, they thought that was a magical cartoon story.

*       *        *       *        *

At tyan-chyau, there were varieties of booths for snacks, pastries.etc. [Chwei Tang Ren] was one of Yu Wen’s favorite.

“Chwei-Tang-Ren” is one of a rear Chinese folk art. You may see it at Tyan-Chyau if you have a chance to visit Pei-Jing. The owner of “Chwei Tang Ren” put some brown sugar unto a small clay pot which was placed on a small charcoal stove. He stirred the sugar with a small bamboo stick until the sugar melted into thick liquid.  He will pick up some of the melted sugar, poked a tiny copper pipe into the middle of that small chunk of sugar and blow. At the same time with his two magical hands, he shaped the soft sugar into a different kind as he desired, mostly would be some figurines well known to every Chinese. Such as “Ju Ba Jye(The big fat pig),  Swen Wu Kung (The Rocky Monkey), Mi Le Fu (The Buddha Maitreya) etc…. You name it, he’ll make it.  Mi Le Fu was always Yu Wen’s first choice. Because, each time when she pushed its belly button on its big fat belly, some honey will drop out from the bottom of the belly. After all the honey were gone, then Yu Wen would finish up the Buddha! Sometimes the big fat Buddha was not enough for her, Yu Wen would ask for a Big Fat Pig.

*        *        *        *        *

Once at Tyan Chyau, there was some happening shocked You Wen that she could not forget her whole life:

Yu Wen saw so many people at the foot of the tall city wall. She squeezed herself through the people. There she saw a tall young man standing in the middle. His upper body was naked. He was ready to perform some very special Chinese Kung Fu, Gecko Kung Fu. After he saluted the people with cupping one hand in the other in front of his chest, he turned around facing the city wall and his back toward the crowd. Beginning with a few steps of quick running, that tall young man started trotting on the city wall as if he was trotting on the ground until he almost reached the to top of the wall. Suddenly a armed soldier showed up and aimed him with his rifle.  The young man turned his body over and jumped down to the ground quickly as a flash. People applaud loudly and shouted with “GOOD!” It tells the performance was really out of the running sth. Coins throwing on to the ground like popcorns.

*          *          *          *          *

There was one particular toy that Yu Wen always wanted to play but never dare to try. It was called “Poo-Dern,  Poo-Dern”. It was made of very, very thin glass, shapped as a calabash. At the bottom of the calabash was especially thin. When you blow and inheal from it’s other end slightly, quick and short, the air will moves the bottom in and out, which makes a very cheerful sound as “Poo-Dern, Poo-Dern”. Once Yu Wen saw a little boy was play with “Poo-Dern”. He was blowing a little too hard. The bottom part of the calabash blew off into small pieces and flying all the directions. Some of the broken pieces flew onto the boy’s face who stood next to him. That poor injured boy screamed out loudly and blooded all over his face.

Wang Ma told Yu Wen: “Fortunately, he was blowing. if he was inhaling, the tiny broken glass pieces could get into his throat. It could be too late to send him to the hospital.” That is why there is a nursery rhyme, which says:[Poo-Dern, Poo-Dern. Two pennies could cost your life.] ” My lady should never play with it.”

—To be continued.

  1. Ladle head and Black Bean Eyes is on the way.

3.Valuables from the Imperial family  

(From now on, I will post one new chapter every Monday. Hope you’ll enjoy it! Your comments will be highly appreciated!

All the stories in this book have truly happened. They are not make-believe! stories!)

One day, Lord Jin Sz came to visit the Lyan’s . He dressed up with the traditional garments, long gown and a mandarin jacket over it, a rather formal dress. The end of the sleeves was wide like a funnel. While the adults were chatting and drinking tea, Yu Wen noticed that one of the ends of the sleeve of her uncle’s garment was moving up and down.

“The sleeve could not move by itself. There must be something in there, some kind of living creature in it.” Yu Wen thought.

She was so curious and opened her eye big and wide staring at it. She wished that it would come out so she can see it. But it just didn’t want to show its face. Yu Wen couldn’t hold any longer. She sneaked behind her uncle’s back. Before anyone noticed, Yu Wen jumped out from the back of her uncle and shouted at the sleeve in her loudest  Suddenly, out it jumped a tiny little dog barking with a tiny but rather thrill sound. The dog was really very small, as small as your palm. The sudden appearance of the tiny dog startled Yu Wen.

“Wow!” She jumped up on 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 that 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 and 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 go out. This kind of dog was a tribute to the Emperor, Very unusual and precious. It is extremely difficult to take care of. 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, the cute little creature? ” Mr. Lyan went on: “It slept in my brush pen pot, looked so cute! When I needed to make some ink, I knock on the holder with my brush pen, it would jump out, picked up the ink stick and started to ground on the ink tray until I say “Stop”. Then it stood aside next to the ink tray, looking around with his big sparkling 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 else 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 wake up Yu Wen excitedly, “Hurry up, My lady, Master Lyan was asking for you. It seemed that he has something for you.”

Yu Wen remembered that her father had promised her yesterday that he will look for something that will be more interested than that tiny dog. Now that must be it! She jumped out of her bed. Quickly dressed up with Wong Ma’s help. To brush her teeth? No ! That takes too much time! Gargle and rinse would be faster. Without any response to Wong Ma’s words, she wiped her face with the wet towel handed to her by Wong Ma.

“My lady, My lady! You have to sit down and let me comb your hair. You can’t go to the master’s room like a lunatic! Madam  Lyan will fire me out!” For Wong Ma, Yu Wen would do anything!

Yu Wen dashed out of the door. She wanted to go straight across the court yard to her parents’ room! Oh! Those red handrails at the pathways! Why should there be any? They used to be beautiful and suggestive poetry or painting to her. But not now! Who cares about the muddy grassland. So she skipped the pathways and ran around the pond. Like a flash! There she stopped at the corridor where her parents’ room was. Usually, if she walkㄎ as a lady should, it took at least 2-3 minutes walking from her room to where she stood now. Today she ran like a rabbit, jumped like a monkey, it only took her less than 30 seconds!

She stamped her feet on the ground trying to get rid of some dirt from her beautiful embroidered shoes.  With a deep breath to put herself together again. Then, she knocked on the door and said out loud: “Mom, Dad, your daughter is here to greet you Good morning .”

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! Oh, My! That’s how you came here so soon. Where is your manner, en? 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 dareㄎ not to take the short cut anymore. She walked like a well-educated lady.  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 goodness gracious! What a Rarity!” Yu Wen couldn’t figure out why was it a rarity? They were but only 4 small paper figurines made with very thin bamboo sticks. One small copper plate and a small wooden stick.

“No! My lady, You know originally this one was one of the treasures in the treasure pavilion in the royal families. I believe it was a special gift from some Lord. ”

“What is a pavilion?” Yu Wen asked. “Where is this pavilion? Could you take me there someday?”

“No. My lady, the 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 The Four Books, or some valuable rare toys. Such as this one Lord Lyan gave you.” 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 be circled around. Therefore you won’t miss anything in it. 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 holding two balls shaped hummers, They were weapons. These weapons all looked different from each other. These people were ancient heroes long times ago. Look at this one with golden hammers, his name is Li Yuan Ba. This one with silver hammers 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! I am going to 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 in the plate, waving their hummers. When two of them getting very close to another one, they knock on each other, one of them would be knocked down and fall down in the plate.Then she put it back standing up at the plate again.

“Oh! Oh! My goodness! This is really fun.”Yu Wen was thrilled. She jumped up and down, clapping her hands and laughing! She grabbed the little wooden stick from Wong Ma’s hand and did as Wong Ma was doing until there was only one left standing on the plate. She raised her hands up high and shouted; “Hurrah! Here is the winner!” Then she put the 4 of them back again standing on the plate 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 until 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 her father gave her, 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!”

Seven Sorrows of Mary Rosary

I did not know there was a prayer(Seven Sorrows of Mary Rosary) for sinners.  Until two months ago. I found it in a prayer book that my niece sent me from Taiwan. When I was reading it, surprised to see it says “Pray with “Seven Sorrows of Mary Rosary”. I’ve never known that there was such a kind of Rosary in my life. The prayer book did not carry any pictures. How would it look like? I was more interested in the Rosary then the prayer!!    I went to the gift store at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, Ca. Right away after lunch that day, There I found one. But very expensive. It costs $32! That was the only one they have.

That was the end of the month. Like others! There barely any money left in my bank!

The Rosary was so beautiful! Especially thse Sorrowful Mothe and Seven Sorrows of Mary medals. They looked awesome! How I wished to go home with it! But ……….. I handed back reluctantly to the kind lady and said: “I’ll be back for it!”

On my way home, I said to myself: “‘the difference between Rosary and the seven sorrows of Mary was the number of beads and seven sections instead of five decades. The Sorrowful Mary model instead of a Crucifix. I have some beads left over from the Rosary I made before.  Only if I can find those models, I could save some money!

From the internet, I ordered three sets of Seven Sorrows of Mary Rosary. I found some cute beads. But only enough for two. I had spent enough money for models already. Instead of buying some beads.   I picked up the same sides but different colored bead.  I made a colorful one for myself. Who cares the color! As long as I don’t have to count my fingers while praying. God will listen the same!

Those nice ones, One for my 2nd son in Taiwan. One for a friend in Taxes. Because I know they really pray!

I asked them to pray with me for sinners include me every Friday!.

 

http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/seven_sorrows_prayer.htmlhttp://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/seven_sorrows_prayer.html

 

 

What are these?

Yesterday, Peter and I went to a farmer market where we never visited before. There I saw something that I had never seen before!

Aren’t they look like the watermelon?  Yes! They did to me!But they aren’t! And they are awfully small! Did you see it?  They are just as big as your thumb! Have you ever seen them before?

 

 

2. The Royle Pride

Yu Wen was born in Pei-Jing, China,1914. The beginning years of a new democratic government, The Republic of China. The glory of Ching Dynasty faded. There were many cultural or historical relics, rare treasures from Ching’s palace or homes of officials of Ching government flowed away to the market.

All the relatives of Mrs. Lyan’s were born with blue blood. One of them, Lord Jin Sz told Yu Wen a true story which she could never get over with. It was a downgrade lord who was so sensitive about his reputation.

One morning, Lord Jin Sz Yewas strolling with his bird’s cage along with a famous temple, Hu-Gwo-Sz in Pai-jing. There were all kinds of small business around the temple. stories, tea huts, and small restraints. People loved to hang around there, shopping, eating and chatting with people, acquaintances or strangers. To make a day fly-by with pleasure.

Jin Szn Ye walked into a tea hut for some breakfast. Sitting behind him, there was a poor tattered old jobless lord. It was very noisy at that tea hut; some were calling for the waiters to take orders, some were asking for the prices. Friends talking to each other across several tables. Birds twittering in their cages restlessly……. All of a sudden, he heard a loud slam coming from the table behind him. Someone shouted: “It’s too loud, Be silent!” Everybody stopped talking and turn around to look at the table behind him. Jin-Sz-Ye saw a jobless lord, standing at the table with his dignity. Even he was a jobless lord; he still is yesterdays majesty. The hut was as silent as the night. The people at the tea hut started eating or drinking quietly.

Jin Sz Ye stood up trying to calm the old man down. But he found out that the old jobless lord was wetting his pointer with his saliva from his mouth trying to pick up some sesames seeds which jumped out of the cracks in the table, due to the force of his slam.

That was a sad story. But to a little innocent girl, Yu Wen, around five or six years old, she could never understand the ways of the world. She thought the old jobless lord was so funny. She was even imitating his action, banging on the table and made lots of loud noise until Wang Ma stopped her.

But the royal pride deeply planted in Yu Wen blood. No matter in what kind of circumstances or situation, she was a princess.  As well as the old teachings:”The Three Obeys ” and “The Four Virtues”.

1. The Humble Beginning

Yu Wen’s father, Mr. Lyan was a descendant of a Mongolian prince. Inherited Mongolians’ special personality, bold and generous, easy and out-going. Her Mother, Jin Shr, was a lineal descendant related to Qing’s.  If the Qing was in power she should be a princess, a very traditional Manchurian. She married Mr. Lyan, they had two sons and one girl, Jen Dung, Jen Sing and Yu Wen. Yu Wen was the only girl, the pearl of the family.

 

Mr. Lyan was educated in Japan, the University of Tokyo. Because of his education back ground, he operated an arsenal in Pei-king. That was during the beginning of The new republican government was newly established. Political affairs were very unstable. The current brought out warlords, those did not agree with the policy of the new government. In older someday they could take over the whole country and build a better one. First of all, They have to enlarge their own territories by taking lands from the other Warlords. Wars happened here and there in China. Munitions were needed between new government and the warlords. Mr. Lyan’s arsenal was mutually benefited.

 

Due to the business, Mr. Lyan was operating, the Lyan family was courteously treated by both government and the warlords. The Lyans were able to keep their splendid house with courtyards which were located at Bei-Wu Alley in Pei-king. It was not as big and beautiful as a prince’s house, but certainly, it was very unusual.

A pair of stone lions stood on each side of the main entrance. The two doors at the main entrance were tall and wide. Painted with red. A  copper lion head with a copper ring in its mouth on each door for visitors to knock.  When the loud knocking noise sound, the doorman would know someone is coming.

The Lyan’s residence was two-hall building. The rooms around the first courtyard were for menials and long-term workers.

The houses around the second courtyard were the masters and guests. The second court yard was a beautiful garden.  A man-made pond with rockeries in it.  The pond was surrounded by beautiful flowers. Eaves are long and wide. If you place a manh-jong table under the eaves with 4 people playing at the table, they would not get wet by the heavy rain. Pathways with red railings winding in the garden to connect each side of the house. Some of the Ancient Bricks inlaid on the pathway were carved with moral stories. You may see these special bricks in the gardens of the old residences or rich families in China. But after the downfallen of Qing, most of the decedents of the royal families could not adjust the new age and they had never worked in their whole life. All they do was; when food was ready, they open their mouths. When clothes handed over to them, they stick out their hands. And spending. Gradually they used up all the money.  To hold out their lives, first, they sold the furniture, valuable Paintings, curious, Clothes. Until there was nothing else to sell. They dug out those Ancient Bricks to exchange for some food. They never know the true value of those Ancient Bricks.   The Lyan residence was taken over by the Japanese one year after they took over Pei-King.

When Yu Wen was a little girl, she often asked Wong -Ma, her nursing mother to tell her those stories carved on those Ancient Bricks. The loyalty, filially, benevolence and righteousness were deeply planted in her thought.

In the second yard, there was a man-made little hill with a secret door, a cave behind it. In the cave, there was a stone table. The cave was built for storing ice for the hot summer. In winter, The river was frozen.  People cut the ice into big chunks and sell them. The Lyans always store them in that cave.  Used them in summer to bring the room temperature down, cold drinks and cooling fruits.  and As a naughty child, Yu Wen loved to ask Wong Ma to be with her to explore the cave. She believed there must be some kind of secret path that could lead to somewhere. Such as to someone’s country side, or another mansion, or even could get out the city. She often knocked the rock on the wall to see if she could be lucky enough to open up a door to lead the way to somewhere. But the dimness, wet and coldness in the air for poor Wong Ma’s arthritis knees, they could never be able to accomplish the adventure.

There was various kind of flowers in front of the artificial hill. Yu Wen loved the nature since she was a little girl. She appreciated the beauty of nature. Often being attracted by a small flower or insects. She loved the beauty of butterflies or a bug. Whenever she found something special, she would ask Wong Ma to help her to bring it home to study it. SometimeSs even use it as a model pattern for her embroidery. That was why her needle works were so different from others.

The Humble Beginning

Yu Wen’s father, Mr. Lyan was a descendant of a Mongolian prince. Inherited Mongolians’ special personality, bold and generous, easy and out-going. Her Mother, Jin Shr, was a lineal descendant related to Qing’s.  If the Qing was in power she should be princesses, a very traditional Manchurian. She married Mr. Lyan, they had two sons and one girl, Jen Dung, Fu Sing and Yu Wen. Yu Wen was the only girl, the pearl of the family.

Mr. Lyan was educated in Japan, the University of Tokyo. Because of his education back ground, he operated an arsenal in Pei-king. That was during the beginning of The new republican government was newly established. Political affairs were very unstable. The current brought out warlords, those did not agree with the policy of the new government. In older someday they could take over the whole country and build a better one. First of all, They have to enlarge their own territories by taking lands from the other . Wars happened here and there in China. Munitions were needed between new government and the warlords. Mr. Lyan’s arsenal was mutually benefited.

Due to the business, Mr. Lyan was operating, the Lyan family was courteously treated by both government and the warlords. The Lyans were able to keep their splendid house with courtyards which were located at Bei-Wu Alley in Pei-king. It was not as big and beautiful as a prince’s house, but certainly, it was very unusual.

A pair of stone lions stood on each side of the main entrance. The two doors at the main entrance were tall and wide. Painted with red. A  copper lion head with a copper ring in its mouth on each door for visitors to knock.  When the loud knocking noise sound, the doorman would know someone is coming.

The Lyan’s residence was two-hall building. The rooms around the first courtyard were for menials and long-term workers.

The houses around the second courtyard were the masters and guests. The second court yard was a beautiful garden.  A man-made pond with rockeries in it.  The pond was surrounded by beautiful flowers. Eaves are long and wide. If you place a manh-jong table under the eaves with 4 people playing at the table, they would not get wet by the heavy rain. Pathways with red railings winding in the garden to connect each side of the house. Some of the Ancient Bricks inlaid on the pathway were carved with moral stories. You may see these special bricks in the gardens of the old residences or rich families in China. But after the downfallen of Qing, most of the decedents of the royal families could not adjust the new age and they had never worked in their whole life. All they do was; when food was ready, they open their mouths. When clothes handed over to them, they stick out their hands. And spending. Gradually they used up all the money.  To hold out their lives, first, they sold the furniture, valuable Paintings, curious, Clothes. Until there was nothing else to sell. They dug out those Ancient Bricks to exchange for some food. They never know the true value of those Ancient Bricks.   The Lyan residence was taken over by the Japanese one year after they took over Pei-King.

When Yu Wen was a little girl, she often asked Wong -Ma, her nursing mother to tell her those stories carved on those Ancient Bricks. The loyalty, filially, benevolence and righteousness were deeply planted in her thought.

In the second yard, there was a man-made little hill with a secret door, a cave behind it. In the cave, there was a stone table. The cave was built for storing ice for the hot summer. In winter, The river was frozen.  People cut the ice into big chunks and sell them. The Lyans always store them in that cave.  Used them in summer to bring the room temperature down, cold drinks and cooling fruits.  As a naughty child, Yu Wen loved to ask Wong Ma to be with her to explore the cave. She believed there must be some kind of secret path that could lead to somewhere. Such as to someone’s country side, or another mansion, or even could get out the city. She often knocked the rock on the wall to see if she could be lucky enough to open up a door to lead the way to somewhere. But the dimness, wet and coldness in the air for poor Wong Ma’s arthritis knees, they could never be able to accomplish the adventure.

There was various kind of flowers in front of the artificial hill. Yu Wen loved the nature since she was a little girl. She appreciated the beauty of nature. Often being attracted by a small flower or insects. She loved the beauty of butterflies or a bug. Whenever she found something special, she would ask Wong Ma to help her to bring it home to study it. Sometimes even use it as a model pattern for her embroidery. That was why her needle works were so different from others.

A Dream, My very first love, 60 years ago.

I was holding a heavy bag of grocery walking along a quiet freeway. Not too many cars were driving by.  My bag seemed getting heavier and heavier. How I wished if there was some kind driver could stop by and offer me a ride.

Suddenly a familiar looking  gentleman appeared next by my side. “Mura, let me hold your bag.” he said.

“Mura!?”That was Johnny!?  60 years ago, the only one person who always call me Mura. He said he like to call me Mura,” There may be hundreds of Myra I may meet in my life. But Mura is the only one I love”.  I felt a little dizzy! I was confused!

I tried my very best to control myself not to hug him on an impulse. But could not help to shout aloud: “Oh! My good heavens! Johnny! Is that you? Where have you been all these years ?”

He looked at me calmly with a smile. Did not say a word as if we were together yesterday. Quietly,  he took the grocery bag away from my hands!

What a surprise! It WAS Johnny! My very first boyfriend when I was 22.  He looked just as handsome and friendly and clam as the days we were together!

He was quiet. Smiling. Did not answer my question.  I couldn’t think of anything else to say at that very moment. Even there were thousands of questions I wanted to ask him. But I didn’t know where and how to begin with. Just walking quietly with him.

I did not know how did we get into that house. There we were standing at a kitchen counter! Johnny  pull out a blue travelling bag from under the dining table and put it on the table. I noticed there was a white Pan Am logo on it. He un-zipped it and said to me,” Mura! Here are your groceries. I put a little something in the bag for you on your way home.”

“On my way home?” I said to myself.

” Yes! I’ll drive you home! Mura.” He said.

” Drive me home?” I got totally confused. He never drove……..

Johnny sat in the driver seat. It was a Van. Many other passengers were in the van before I got in. The only seat that was not taken was at the very end. So far away from Johnny.

I was disappointed  and  miserable.

How I wished if I could sit behind Johnny! There were thousands and millions of things I wanted to talk about. But there was only the bag of groceries bag with me, the bag Johnny gave me. I peeked into the bag. In addition to my groceries, I saw a tin box of cookies, which was one of my favorite. Some bottled water and the chocolate that I used to be crazy about!

I looked at Johnny’s back and wished to say thanks to him. But he was so far away and totally absorbed in driving.

Tears running down my cheeks…………..

My pillow was wet in the morning!

This was the only dream I ever had in 60 years after I stopped receiving Johnny’s letters.

We had dates! But totally differently from nowadays young people’s dating. We went to movies, we walked in the park, we went to the coffee bar. When there was no one around we held hands, we hugged, we kissed. Those were too much over the limits for me in the 60s in China.

For those, I felt sinful. I went to confession one day. Father Gregory, a Portuguese Jesuit was my spiritual consoler. I told him I have sinned. I have a boyfriend, we hugged and kissed. Father asked:”Then?”

“Then?……” I was surprised.

“Yes! Then what else did you do?” Father continued.

What else could we do? Would those be worse enough? I thought.

. “No!” I answered honestly.

“Those were OK! Those are not sinned. But just be aware those may lead you into sin. don’t overdo it. You should know when to stop! Otherwise, you will be fine!”

That was why I always said to Johnny: “OK! That’s for today. Let’s save the others for next time.” Sometimes we bumped into each other on the street, Johnny always said: “Don’t forget the ones we saved for the next time!” Loud and sound. That always embarrassed me no end and made me blushed!

We went to movies. When it’s empty after the show. Johnny always walked behind me and hold out his arms on each side of my soldiers to protect me from the jam-packed crowds.

When we sat in the park, he always spread out his handkerchief on the bench for me to sit.

If there was a  sudden shower when we were outdoors, he always took off his outer garment cover my head and shoulders.

Sometimes he bring me some of my favorite snacks

He read my mind. Do things for me before I said.

One weekend He did not come to see me. That night I received his express mail. He told me that day was his birthday. On his birthdays he usually not going anywhere except go to work. For us Chinese  always say: ” A child’s birthday was a mother’s suffering day.” At our birthdays we should give our mother some gift to thank her for bringing us to the world on her sufferings. If the mother died, we should close the door and think of her and make a self-examination. To see if we had done anything that disgraced our mother. We often hear people say that, but not too many people do the way as Johnny did. Even I myself. I was always brought my mother something she liked.

In short, I was totally fascinated. I wish someday we could get married. I’ll be a good wife and so proud and happy to be with him.   I was even imagining if we’ll have children, how would they look like!

Johnny went to another city for a new job. Working for Pan Am as an office employee. He wrote me a letter every day with express mail. Express mail usually delivered in the evenings in our area. Every evening was the happiest time for me to read his letter. Occasionally mail delivered at day time, my younger sister would pick it up running to me and say “Love letter! Love letter!” loudly to let everybody in the house know it!  We never said “love” to each other. For Chinese, we do not say “I love you!”. But from the concerns and attentiveness we show to each other, tells how much we loved each other. Johnny’s letters showed all of them.

After Johnny left two weeks or so, suddenly I stopped receiving any mail from Johnny. No matter what I wrote, it would like to through a rock into the ocean. There was no respond. Sometimes I thought the mailman didn’t drop the mail into the mailbox instead he through the mail over the fence. They did that sometimes! The mail could be scattered everywhere in the yard. Sometimes the mail may be landed into my Jasmine bush. Will not be seen days later. I pushed aside every branch of the jasmine to try my luck. But never was any! We had a dog “Lily” She was quite naughty, she may torn paper sometime. but there was no torn paper in the yard at all.  There was nothing I can do. You could imagine my feelings!

Johnny was disappeared!

4 years later I married to Peter. My Sweetheart.

One day I was visiting my parents with our 2 years old. I didn’t know how and where did he found a picture of me wearing a blue dress I made it myself.

“Mom, mom, is this you?”

“Yes! That was me!” I stared at the picture. It was taken almost 7 years ago before Johnny moved to the other city to take his new job. I bought two necklaces at the gift shop in our church. A small shield-like plate with a cross in the middle. I give the blue cross one to Johnny. He put the red one on my neck.  That day we passed by a studio. Johnny thought it would not be a bad idea if we take a picture. So as if we see each other every day. That was my idea too. We took two sets of pictures:  one with us together one of Johnny and one of me. Each get a set. But where were the others?

I asked my mother if I can see the other two.

“The other two?” My mother said. “I burned them along with all the letters he mailed to you” My mother said calmly.

“What?” I could not believe what I’ve heard.
“Yes!” My mother said quietly. ” And also  I wrote him told him don’t ever write you anymore. I could not allow my daughter to marry someone who has a brain tumor and become a young widow soon after the marriage.  All the letters he mailed later, no matter to you or to me, I burned them all. Because I know you so well. If you find out he would not live too long. you will propose to marry him right away.” …………………………………….

People say “if you dreamed of someone, it could happen that you had thought of that person the day before. I loved Johnny deeply but not thinking of him too often. Not the day before the dream.

Well, honestly,  I do think of him sometime. After all, he was the very first love in my life!

Once for all

I could not remember how many times I been in and out that chapel in a hospital. But it happened once, only once!

God came to me when I needed Him the Most.

That was about half year later after my stroke. I  was almost beaten by my disability.

That day, with a depressing and sad heart I rolled over to that chapel and pray.

There was no one else in the chapel when I went in. I parked my motor chair which I bought not long ago next to a chair. Slowly I transferred into that chair. The quietness made me felt God’s presence. Like a hurt child came to her parent. I bowed down my head and cried. At that very moment, how badly I wished if I could drop my kneels on the kneeler. Tears running down my checks. I couldn’t think of anything to say to God. Just keeping on saying “Our Father” and “Hail May”.

A young man came in when my tears were running. He walked to the Holy cabinet to put back the Holy Eucharist. A strong desire rose up in my heart. ” Go forth and ask for the Holy Communion!”

My eyes were fixed on his movements.  The young man closed the Holy Cabinet door and took the key out from his pocket. My! There was no time for me to give a second thought. Quickly I wiped off the tears from my face and struggling to stand up from the wooden chair. Some ugly squeaky noise came from the legs of the chair. That sweet young man turned around and facing me with wide opened eyes.

“Do you need any help?”

“No!” I said. ” But may I have Holy Communion?”

“Yes! ” briefly he answered. He bowed his head down before he opened the cabinet. After the door was open, he held the Holy Chalice with both hands and walked to me with steady steps.

My! Oh my! Jesus came to me! There was no word could describe the feelings I had the moment when Jesus was in me. I heard a tiny voice in my heart:

“Here I am, Myra!”

Indescribable Joy and happiness filled up my heart, my mind, my entire being! The feeling I had never had before.

That “once”, the only “once” is nourishing me until now, 15 years later, and the days to come!

He is with me.

Thanks to God.

Praise the Lord!

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A 72-year-old child

One day as I was passing by the ping-pong room, Caught by Mr. Wu who was playing ping-pong with a lady.

“Big sister,” He called out with a loud voice. “This picture of yours really looks beautiful. Can I have a copy of it?

I rolled over closer to the displaying board on the wall. Found out it was shot by our activity coordinator Aliona with her iPad. The one I was holding the dream catcher

” Yea! iPad always take better pictures!” I said.

“That’s right!” Mr. Wu said.  “See! you look homely.  But in this picture, you looked so beautiful!”

“What? Am I looking that awful ?” My eye glasses

almost dropped on the floor!

You know what did he say? Awesome!

” You see! I’m telling the truth!”  He said it seriously.

Oh! My good heavens! I can’t help and burst out into laughter!

” OK! OK!  The more you touch things up, the darker they get!” I couldn’t stop laughing and said to him: ” Come here! Come closer to me!”

He was puzzled. He gives a look at the lady who was playing ping-pong with him.

The lady looked backed to Mr. Wu, and said: “Ah Ha! I bet she is going to punch on your nose!”

My non-stopping laughter almost cause me short of breath!

“Come here!” I said again.

Mr. Wu walked to me hesitantly.

You should look at his face!

I sat in my wheelchair. He was too tall standing there. So I asked him to bend down.

I bet poor Mr. Wu was wondering: ” What on earth is she going to do?”

I hold his neck and gave him a big kiss on his check!

” I have never seen anyone as lovely as you!” I said.

You know what he said?

” You see! When I talk to people, I always like to ask: ” Do you want me to be honest or dishonest? But I know my Big Sister wants an honest brother!”

 Mr. Wu loves to help the neighbors with all he can.

One day, We had Thanksgiving luncheon at our dining room.

Mr. Wu asked the lady who sat next to him, ” How was the chicken I bought for you?”   The lady answered: ” Thank you so much! I could never get a chicken as good as the one you bought for me!”

Another lady sat at our table cracked a joke: “Isn’t it nice to have such a boyfriend?”

You would guess what did Mr. Wu say! He looked at the lady whom he bought the chicken for, a little disdainfully. He said: “I don’t want such a girlfriend! Even  someone had introduced me a cute young girl was not my kind!”

Mr. Wu is one of those rare simple and honest folk. There is no crafty in him!

A 72-year-old child!

How do thread my tatting needle

Many people were questioning me,  how do I tatting? How do thread the tatting needle?My answer was:  “If anyone who can thread the tatting needle,  will be able to do tatting”

  1. first of all, I have to hold the needle to get the thread ready.  %e6%8b%bf%e9%87%9db

  2. Thread the needle

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  1. Hold the needle with clamps, then start the work

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Sometimes I have I have to hold the needle with my third hand!

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Angle — tatting

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I found this instruction on Youtube.  It looked very nice with that bead head.  But I could not get the right sized bead for the head.

I tried with the tatting head without the right number of stitches. It didn’t work out very well.

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Do you think the head for the white angle is a little too small?

It is too late for the redo!  I’ll tat more stitches next time.

A challenge!  I love the challenge!

Practice # 2

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To practice with yarn is not easy!  Too soft, hard to manage.

From now on, I’ll practice with thread. No, I mean tatting with thread! Every piece will not be just a practice but a masterpiece! “Practice” may keep me thinking “It’s just practicing!”  I may tat it a little carelessly.

But anyway, Peter thought it was beautiful!

He is always a sweetheart!

 

 

Fun with needle tatting

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I was learning how to tatting a lace with YouTube.

When it was done, the whole thing looked like a mother turtle was taking her babies for a walk.

I thought it could be a meaningful bookmark. It may remind the reader:

It’s OK to read as slow as a turtle walking. But do not stop. As the turtle. You will get the reward.

The first turtle was the desire of reading.

The second one – Eyes.

The third one – Mind

The fourth one – Think.

But when I gave a second look, I thought I should not give it to anybody as a bookmark. Especially for my grandson! It’s only good for a sample piece.

Why?

Of course,  I didn’t mean it when I was tatting! It was a careless mistake.

But did you see the third turtle – Mind, was trying to run away with Think_?!

Autumn Leaves

 

Last Friday some of  my neighbors and I were playing  kindergarteners. But I was a pre-schooler!

We use dry autumn leaves as patterns to make prints on the paper.

 

My neighbors put paint on the leaf to make prints on the paper. They look great! I tried that way. But the leaf slipped. The prints came out awfully!  So I tried the other way around to put the leaf on the paper and hold with my water jar. Brush the color around it. It should have the uncolored white shadow show on the paper with the colored background. But what a mess was it!

 

Aliona asked me: “How is it, Myra?” I was very unhappy with mine. I said: “Not good at all!”  She said: “At least you did it! It looks not bad at all. There is more paper. Would you like to make another one? I can help you! It’s only 2;30.”

 

I said, “It’s OK!” If she is going to help me, that piece will not be mine.

I took it home. Peter saw it. He thought that was great!? I wasn’t really impressed with what he had said because whatever I brought back from the craft class, he always says:”Very good!”. So I through it onto the table carelessly! I was not pleased with my picture today.

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This ugly one was mine!

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An hour later I was playing with the computer, Peter came in with that ugly picture in his hand and talking to himself: “What a pity! Such a nice picture just though it on the table!”

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He put it on the wall, his favorite corner next to his bed. And said: “Isn’t it a beautiful picture! Don’t you know how to appreciate it? That is a piece of real artwork! ”

I was touched!

I was always thinking of to change a new husband. But, now, I decided to stay with him until the end of the world!!

 

I’ll pick you up tonight

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After the witch’s party, I went to check if there was any mail for me.

On my way , I met a grandmom  with her cute little granddaughter, was about 5 or 6 years old. I wush to hug her! She stared at me. Maybe she thought:”Wow! A witch!”

I smiled at her. She smiled back.

Then I asked her seriously:”Are you a girl today?”

“Yes! ” She said.

I smiled again:”Good! Wonderful! Would you like to be my helper?”

She said: “Yes”

I handed her a bag of candy. “Very good! Then, I’ll come to pick you up tonight.”

Her smile frozen on her little face.

Share Helena’s happiness

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Helena, one of my neighbors, had never crochet before. But she wished to make her own blanket for her legs. She thinks an old lady should cover her legs when she sits and watching TV. It shows her dignity!h-3

Her niece was trying to teach her how to crochet.

Poor Helena! Chains had no problem with her. But those single crochets and double crochets……..!?

She spent the whole afternoon with her niece, struggled with  single crochets and double crochets. When she came home, Everything was gone!

She asked me if I could show her how to crochet. I can’t! With one hand to manage both hook and yarn at the same time? No way! I can only loom knitting. I was touched with her eagerness to have a homemade blanket! I introduced her loom knitting.  She never dreamed that it could that easy and fast to knit a  blanket! In just a few days she finished a beautiful blanket. Her very first blanket in her life! She was so happy and so proud of her work. I’m very proud and happy for her too.

I don’t have to tell you how many times Helena had to redo her piece due to her mistake. Though she  carried through to the end. I admire her spirit!

Bookmarks

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Spent almost 20 days  to finish these bookmarks for our two grandsons.

They are not as perfect and good looking as I thought, But I did it! Just as not perfect and pretty as I am.

I waved those bookmarks with my love and blessings

You may wonder how did I work on them with only one hand? Of course, I could not do with this Scotch tape stand and the cramp.

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I’m sure the people who first made the Scotch tape stand and the cramp would never imagine what a great pleasure  those things could give an old handicap lady!

Thanks to them with big kisses and hugs!

Plate Mat!

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Ever since I picked up tatting again, my heart is filled with zeal for tatting.

I promised our two grandsons that I’ll make a bookmark for each  of them. But it won’t be done very soon! Because I have to design it first!

To tat with thicker yarn is always so much easier for me. Besides, I don’t want to waste my beautiful thread while experimenting a design!

What do you think of this plate mat!?

Of course, I’ll prolong the design. It will be much thinner and smaller.

In my imagination, the bookmark should be pretty and look good!

Besides, no one would like to put a plate mat in the book!

OK! I’ll start to work on that bookmark.

My imaginary bookmark!

That’s My Guy!

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We had a wonderful lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant that day.

After we got out of the bus walking closer to the main door of  St Mary’s Garden, Richard happened to be on his way out. He held the door for me. Peter was walking very slowly behind.  I was going to push the auto-opener for Peter. I heard Richard said : “Be behold! There is a guy behind you.” I knew Richard was still holding the door. I rolled away to make room for Peter to come in.

After Peter came in, I said to Richard, “Thank you, Richard. That’s my Guy!”

Richard looked a little surprised. He didn’t know that Peter is my husband! he showed me a thumb up and winked his eye at me!

My spirit was very high!  Not because of Richard’s thumb-up.

Peter had walked almost 10 blocks today!  The longest walk he ever had in almost 9 months. I ‘I didn’t care how much time we walked that 10 blocks. Peter did not take any break to sit in his walker while walking that day! That had never happened ever since he got rid of shingles last April.

May God bless him and keep him up like today always!

Mandalas Coloring

I don’t have much sense of coloring. Have no idea which color matches which color would look  better. Besides, [Coloring] is more like for kids! Until one day our Activity Manager Aliona sat a coloring hour for us.  I found great joy in coloring! It is not kids’ stuff only!

There were more than 10 residents signed up the class!  Very soon almost all of the coloring pens were taken. I grabbed the leftovers before they were all gone!

I choose the page of fish without much thinking.

When I about to start working on it , I was not too happy with those colors I had. I had them because there was no choice for me because the other colors were too soon to be taken! That’s all left for this old turtle could have!

As I began to color, I  noticed that many of the designs were similar and everyone was so exquisite. I must be very careful when I color them. Otherwise, the colors will be all mixed up. It could look awful.

I was so involved once I began coloring. Nothing could bother me at that moment at all! I was enjoying the working! And so happy about every achievement I did. Those colors worked perfectly! I was glad I have them!

After I finished the whole page, it looked nice!

I realized no matter what color you color a Mandela picture after you finished the whole thing, it will look good and unique!

But, if I have never taken the first step to try to color, the picture would always stay black and white. The beauty of colors will never show.

Thanks to Aliona!

Her class helped me to build up my confidence!

Her class taught me: [Have courage to “TRY”, always is the key to open a new door!]

The “KEY” is in my own hand!

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What is that for?

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When my very first tatting flower was almost finished, my caregiver asked me; “What is that for?” Suddenly I could not answer her question. She was right! What was it for? What could such a little tiny crochet thread flower for?

But I was drawn in my own happiness!

After all these years, I was a little disappointed with myself because with one hand I could not tatting anymore.  Here I am with a thread tatted flower in my hand!

What am I going to do with it? I asked myself.  It took only a few minutes to finish this little flower. Now it took me three hours working with so many tools.  I used tatting anywhere I went, now I must work at home!

To lace my clothes? No! I won’t do that. I can’t make even my own clothes anymore!

Noteword’s bookmark flashed through my mind. I knew it won’t be so easy. The thread may be tangled! But it is worth to try!  I knew I won’t tat one as beautiful and fancy as her piece! But whatever I tat, it will be my masterpiece!

Here is my half way finished bookmark!

 

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A new step to a new but old craft!

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I thought I’ll never be able to tat anymore.

Until a few days ago, Jackie, Netting with Heart posted a video:” Needle Tatting” “https://www.pinterest.com/pin/12596073937598299/” It brought me some hope!

Right away I went to Michael’s and Beverley’s to look for tatting needles.  But all they have was big fat crochet needle! Anyway, I bought one.

With clamp and tweezers, I started TATTING! My heartbeats went faster!

When the very first circle was done, you can imagine how happy I was. Even it was just a small circle, it was the very first one I ever dreamed in 15 years after my stroke. I thought I would never be able to tat the rest of my life. Here I am, with a small circle I tatted. It was the very first big step of mine towards tatting dream again!

I took picture of ever step I tatted. They were my world records of tatting again. I want to keep  those happy moments of how I started my most favorite craft again, the craft I thought I’ll never be able to do anymore.

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Fortuity!

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We all have had popcorns ever since we were kids. We stringed them to deck Christmas trees.

little girls love to string necklace, bracelets. Your movie would be more enjoyable with a bag of popcorn!

Boys may compete who throw farther with popcorns!

Corns can pop into all shapes. With your imagination, you could  see anything out of a popped corn!

But a Poodle……………?

Next time when you have some popcorns, don’t just put it into your mouth without thinking. Try to see you can find another poodle!

The cat on the roof

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Our pet Lily, was a pretty smart and sentimental lady with a beautiful bush tail. It looked like a squirrel tail. When she walking it looked like a lady sweeping and dusting.

She  and Snow, my cat, were very good friends. When Lily was a puppy they slept together in the basket. Both of them could walked freely in and out the square hole that father cut for the Snow at the bottom of the door.

Lily grew so fast. Not long, only her head could squeeze through the hole. At daytime, Lily had no problem to do in and out the house. But after the door closed at night, Lily can only stick her head in the hole and whining. We have to open the door to let her in. As soon as the door opened, she would rush in and jump right into the basket where she always sleep with Snow. Her size was  a little too big for the little basket. My father and my two brothers build a dog house for her in the yard. But unexpected things happened. the very next morning, we found Snow was not in his basket. he was in the dog house. Ever since the dog house become “Dog and Cat House”!

One day, Snow left us to look for his new life and never came back. At the beginning. Lily was wondering all around the house to look for her buddy. She snuffed almost every single inch in and out of our home until there was not even a shadow of Snow could be found.  Whenever we mention Snow, Lily would jump up  looking around for Snow. she would walk  back slowly, sat down with her head laid on her front legs.

You can tell how smart Lily was. isn’t it? But she was not a smart mother!

Everybody was so happy that Lily had her very first baby puppy. The baby puppy was so tiny! I guess Lily took it as the same size as Snow. She used to put her head on Snow while sleep. One day my mother heard some weak squeaking came out from Lily’s house. She thought that was a mouse went into the doghouse until she found Lilly lade her head on top of that poor tiny creature.  Quickly my mother pulled the poor kitty out from Lily head.  Unfortunately, when the same thing happened again no body was around.

Lily was very sad. She couldn’t understand why my father took her baby away and never gave back to her.  She lost her appetite!

One day my baby brother found her a new born alley kitten. Lilly adopted it right away. She washed the new baby all over with her tongue and milked the hungry kitty. The picture was taken by my friend while they were visiting us one day. They thought the mother dog milking a baby kitten was such a sight they’ve never seen it before!

We noticed something different in Kitty as he was growing up. He could climbing up the tree but did know how to get down! Oftentimes we found him crying and trembling on the treetop, walk back and forth on the branch. Lily barking at him under the tree until my baby brother climb up and get him down!   One day, Kitty was crying on the roof of our house!  the tilt room was not like the tree branch. Kitty could not walk back and forth, his hair all sticking out, he rolled up  as a ball, cried the cry I had never heard before. The mother was barking and jumping!

The roof top was too high to reach. My baby brother had to run to the neighbor to borrow a ladder to get him down.

My mother said it was because Kitty had a dog mother, she couldn’t teacher Kitty as a cat did.

 

Chinese Knotting and Marami

(Macrame)Owl–front
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(Macrame)Owl — back
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(Chinese knot) fish — front
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(Chinese Knot) fish — back
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butterfly(new life)
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The Eternal Wheel of life
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(Chinese knot) There are two knots, the top one means ceiling or a safe. The lower one  is  a ball made of rolled silk, it could be for happiness blessing and love. But the combination of circle and square  means harmony.

 

Mona Lisa

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I had never noticed that my eyebrows are any distinct from other people until one day…………………

That was almost 20 years ago. The Old Navy was newly opened in San Francisco, Ca. Our grandsons, Phil was 6 years old, and the younger one, Gabe  was about  one. We were wandering  around with the crowds in Old Navy. Window shopping! When we came to the third floor, Phil stopped at a  portraitist’s drawing stand. watching the portraitist drawing, he was just about to finished his piece for a lady. I peeked at the finishing picture, it looked very nice, looked just like that lady! I had never had a drew picture. Why not have one today? so I sat in the seat after that lady left.

I couldn’t see what the portraitist was drawing behind his stand, but I could see his arms were moving up and down, from left to right. Looked at me for a second and then went back working again.

After he worked for a few minutes, he stopped again. This time was not just a couple seconds he looked at me. He put his pencil in between his front teeth and stared at me quite puzzled.  Then he took the pencil out of his teeth, gave a strong knock on the drawing stand. With a mischievous smile and go back to work again. A few minutes later, he took the picture down from his drawing stand and handed it to me. It was me! I looked nice in it! I should say that was the best one I never had. I was very pleased with it. But……there was something there. I could not really tell. There was something in it!. As we were walking, Phil said: ” Nanny, let me see it.” I handed it to him. He looked at a picture , his little head slanting from left to right several times. Very displeased  he handed the picture back to me and said: “Granny! It doesn’t look you!” I was surprised to hear it!

“No? But I think it is very nice!” I banded down my back and showed the picture to Phil again.

“No! Granny! Look at here.” Phil’s little pointer pointed at the eyebrows. And said:”Look! It has eyebrows, but you don’t” His litter finger sliding  back and forth on my forehead where the eyebrow should be.

“What? Really?”

I turn to my daughter-in-law and said: “I’m going to use the lady’s room!”

There in the mirror, I saw me! Yes! Now I found that something unknown in that beautiful picture was my eyebrow. I do have some. But they were just too light and too thin! You have to look very close. Otherwise, You can hardly see!

That was why the poor portraitist was hard to decide what should he do about my eyebrows. He was smiling mischievously when he looked at me, it might because he thought “Wow! Here is the another Mona Lisa!”

Here is a copy of Mona Lisa’s picture at top of this page which I found from Google. Have you noticed the Mona Lisa had no eyebrows!

I’m so proud of myself to be another “Mona Lisa”!

This picture of mine was taken this morning.  Won’t agree with me?! Just a bit older!

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Dry Carnations

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I wonder why was Carnation selected to be The Mother’s Day Flower?

From the wreath I made almost two months ago, it tells me, Carnation  fully deserved to be The Flower of Mother’s Day .

Just by looking at the color of the flowers. Even the flowers were dried, the color was still as garish and beautiful as can be!

To me, the color signifies mother’s love.

Mother’s love never fade!

happy Father’s Day

父親節禮物

Our activity manager, Oliona gave us a chance to make our very own Father Day gift. She provided us mugs, brushes and colors.

We knew those brushes and colors were for us to paint on the mug. But what if we have to wash the mug, won’t the picture on it be washed off? What’s good for us after all the hard works we did?

Aliona told us those painted mugs will be baked in the oven . After one hour the paint on the mug will become porcelain . It will never be washed off!

I thought that will be fun!

But after I started working on the mug. I found it wasn’t as  fun and easy as I thought.

First of all, the hair of brush was very hard.  Not flexible at all.

Second, there were not many choices in colors. There were only green, red, blue and black.  If there is yellow, it could make a big difference.

Well! It is for Father’s  Day. I want to wish a father happiness. I should write “Happy Father’s day.”  It will be for my honey! So I should write in Chinese. “父親節快樂”  As you can see the strokes in those words are very complicated! With this flattop  rigid brush, they could take up all the space. That won’t show my true regards!

The writings turned out the ugliest ones I have ever had. I think even  a kindergartener could write better.

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These two hearts are Peter and Myra!

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Two little hearts are our two sons.

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Those three flowers are our two daughter-in-laws and me.

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The flower buds will be our dreaming great-granddaughters in the future!

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After it came out of the oven, I think it wasn’t bad at all! Isn’t it?

Peter looked at the writing, he said:” The writing wasn’t bad at all! Actually, the brush and those very basic  colors are for kindergartens!”

I almost jumped out of my chair!

Then he said: “pictures are very meaningful!  Not bad! I like it very much. Thank you!”

Ping-Pong Champion 

Thomas worked in the engineering department. Tall, smart, dark suntan skin, and had a beautiful voice. You can tell even when he was humming. Sometimes you can hear him humming in the shuttle bus; making the boring shuttle time shorter. Everyone knew him as “the humming Thomas “. He was not only a hummingbird,  but he also was a ping-pong champion! People said he won the championship in college.

At the one-hour lunch break, most of the time, Jasmine would finish her lunch quickly and rush to the ping-pong room!

There was only one ping-pong table in the room, however, to let everyone have a chance to play while they waited by standing against the wall, they play doubles. Jasmine was lucky to have Thomas to be her partner the very first time she picked up the ping-pong paddle. From then on Thomas became her partner. Since James was a ping-pong champion at college, they were always the winner even if Jasmine was not a good player at all! She was so happy to have a great player as her partner! She meant to say something to James sometimes, to thank him for being her partner, but she was always too involved in watching how people catch the ball and how to hit it back.  She wanted to learn more and to become a better ping-pong player.

Well, actually at the ping-pong room, it seemed there was not much time for the players to chat. Everyone was concentrating on watching the other players play, and to watch for who will be next. When it was their turn, they would watch where the ball goes!  Finally, when the bell rang, everybody rushed to each one’s office.

The office was located in the countryside away from the city where the employees lived. The shuttle buses would pick up everyone in the mornings and take them back to the city in the evenings.

It happened one morning, Thomas sat next to Jasmine on the shuttle.
“Good morning, Jasmine! My name is James.”
“Good morning! Thomas!” Jasmine felt it was unnecessary for James to introduce himself. Everybody knew who he is. But she was surprised how did her ping-pong partner learn her name? She had never told him. She did not realize “the rose” incident had made her name well known.

The conversation did not carry on that day.  Maybe it’s because the bus was too quiet!  It seems that everybody was still not quite awake. James usually talked cheerfully and humorously. But when he was sitting next to Jasmine, he just could not find any suitable word to begin the conversation!  Even himself could not understand why he becomes a person of few words. He had heard the story about how those roses had offended Jasmine. He admired her straightforwardness, but to offend her would be the very last thing he wanted in the world.

If Thomas could only realize that opportunity knocks only once, he would grab it by all means! He was transferred to another city before long.

After Thomas left, Jasmines felt sorry that she had lost a wonderful ping-pong partner. None in the ping-pong room could compare with him.

Jasmine was about to leave her job to take a new position offered to her as a teacher.

A farewell Chinese dinner was arranged for her. There were almost 30 people signed up for the dinner. They were from different departments.

To Jasmine’s surprise. She found there was a seat reserved for her at the dining table. Thomas sat next to her! On the other side, sat another young man whom Jasmine occasionally met at the shuttle stop.

During dinner, that evening, Jasmine’s plate was never empty. It was always piled up with all kinds of food offered by those two gentlemen who sat next to her. No matter what kind of food or if she liked it or not!

When it was time to post a photo, Thomas pushed his way out to get a place next to Jasmine. After the photo was taken, He said to Jasmine seriously, ” When you get the picture, don’t forget to ask for everyone’s autograph. Here is my address, I hope you will mail me the photo. I should have my name on it too!” Then he continued in a rather sad voice: ” I miss those good days at the ping-pong room! Don’t forget to mail me the photo. I promise to mail it back to you right away.”  He looked at Jasmine with a very different look filled with hope and longing.
But to Jasmine, she felt farewell! Sad! After today, She will only see Thomas in the photo with those good memories of the ping-pong time!
Thomas paused a little. Hopelessly he said: “Wish you good luck in your new job! I have to leave now to take the night train back! Don’t forget to mail me the photo.”
Reluctantly he walked out of the restaurant. Kept on looking back at Jasmine. Even all he could see was Jasmine’s back!

Many years later, sometimes what had happened at the farewell dinner encircled Jasmine’s heart when she looked at that picture. The people in the picture came alive as if they were in Harry Potter’s movie!  She forgot most of their names if she did not look at the autographs on the back of the photo.  But Thomas.  She never mailed that photo to the address that Thomas gave her. His name was printed on his face!
Actually, Jasmine never did ask for any autograph of anyone.  When the photo was given to her, the autographs were already there!

Christmas party

The last day before Christmas and New Year holidays, there was a big surprise party for all the employees in Jasmine’s office. When people got off the shuttle bus, they heard Christmas carols coming from the office. They thought: “Well! Tis the season!” But when they stepped into the office they thought they had stepped into the wrong room! It was a ballroom!  Decorated with all kinds of Christmas ornaments and a big Christmas tree in the corner standing cheerfully. No one ever told them there will be a party today. All they knew was each one of them should bring a gift to work today. There will be a gifts exchange at lunch break. If they knew there will be a party, they would wear their party clothes. But…..
The office manager and  supervisor stood under the Christmas tree with a big smile. Supervisor told them to put their gifts under the tree while there were already two wrapped gifts laid on the floor with many envelopes around them.

Jasmine ,like the others, found an empty seat and sat down after she put her gift down.
The supervisor came to the middle of the room announced to them all:  There will be boxed Christmas lunch at noon. Around 3 o’clock the gifts they put under the Christmas tree will be handed out. Before they get on the shuttle bus,  the manager will call their names and pass out the envelopes which they had seen under the tree. Those were their bonuses!

” Hurrah!” Exclaimed everyone as soon as they heard his last word.

Music was on!  First, Manger and supervisor invited the ladies to dance. When the supervisor came to invite Jasmine, he had a ruler in his hand. He said: “Jasmine, may I have the honor to dance with you?” Jasmine stood up to accept the invitation. She stared at the ruler in her supervisor’s hand could not figure out  what was the role of the ruler?

After Jasmine put her hand on the  supervisor’s shoulder, quietly he used the ruler measured a ruler long distance between he and Jasmine and said: ” Now, we dance!” Jasmine could not help but laugh! She recalled the incident of the roses! She remembered after the supervisor said: ” if lieutenant Donald comes back again….” she jumped up on her feet and almost roar like an angry lion. She must be looked  awful at that moment!

— to be continued —

Jasmines’ story

A. Jasmine

Jasmine, a newly college graduate, began her employment as young freshmen. She was quiet, youthful, and had soft and shiny hair. Black like obsidian, yet it curls naturally hence no need for her to perm. She loved to comb her hair, keeping it neat and tied it up in a ponytail that hangs behind her head. Yet she would always find a few strand of hair hanging loosely down the sides of her face as if it was on purpose.

Her attire was simple, not being picky about how she dress. She wore whatever her mother made for her. Whether it was a tad small, loose or tight, it didn’t matter to her for, in the end, she always trusted in her mother’s skill. The college she graduated from was not of coed studies, it was an all girls college, which provided little to no chances for the girls to get acquainted with the boys. With her quiet personality, people at the office where she worked at took her approach as a serious and diligent girl in both speech and manners.

Jasmine worked under the inventory control management section at a big engineering construction corporation. Their recent project was  planning and constructing a newer modernized airport facility. Many smaller contractor companies came in and out of the office in order to submit their list of materials required pertaining their part of the project.

During a coffee break, Jasmine seldom joined other girls conversation, because the topics of fashion and dresses and/or Prince Charming was never of interest. Rather, she would enjoy a freshly brewed cup of jasmine tea while catching up on articles in the daily newspaper. One day on a typical coffee break, Jasmine was focused in; so concentrated on double checking the inventory control request form that she did not sense anyone approaching. Making sure she would go back to work on time, she raised her head and the next thing she knew was someone handing her a bouquet of beautiful roses. There she saw Lieutenant Donald, a mere translator for the company, smiling at her saying

“Here Jasmine, this bouquet of roses is for you!”

To Jasmine, it was such a serious insult.

“To think of doing such act in front of everyone in the office, how could he do this to me? How embarrassing!”

Her face tinted a subtle red, not because she was blushing, but in fact, she was very angry. At that point, she could not refrain from lashing out and expressing her anger. Her “quiet demeanor and formal manners” suddenly came off track. Enraged, she grabs the bouquet out from the young man’s hands; slamming the beautiful bouquet and destroying it into pieces. Buds from stems, petals from buds, all laid at rest dead on the floor.

She sat down burying her head into her arms and began to sob until the supervisor came to her and said: ” Don’t cry! Jasmine, you should be very proud of yourself! First of all, I wonder where did Lieutenant Donald get those nice roses at this time of the year? Secondly, he must be admiring you for a while. Today he mustered up all his courage to show you how much he adored you! It’s OK! If you don’t like him just forget about the incident today. If you think he is OK, then when he comes back to you again……”  When Jasmine heard this, she jumped up on her feet about to shout out; but to her supervisor……., she swallowed everything and tried to cool herself down with some deep breathing.
After the incident, Jasmine went to the movie with her father one day.  Sometimes they whispered  to each other when the movie was on. What  a  coincidence!  Lieutenant Donald happened to sit  in front of them. He peeked back and saw Jasmine sitting with a gentleman and saw they were whispering with each other! At the end of the movie, as soon as the lights were on, Lieutenant Donald turned around and facing Jasmine. Pointed at her as if he had caught a child who  was being naughty! And said: ” Ah! Jasmine!”
Jasmine said with a lovely smile rather mischievously: “Dad, This is Lieutenant Donald, the translator in our office!”
Lieutenant Donald’s face turned red all the way down to his neck!
Jasmine hold her father’s arm proudly and happily leave that poor young guy behind!

—to be continued—

Fruit Sticks

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We are so lucky to have our new activity director, Aliona. She got all kinds of ideas. Last week we made the dream catcher. This week we made the fruit sticks. Each one of us was given a bowl of different colored fruits cut into small cubes. And also a paper plate and three sticks. She said : “If you need more sticks or fruits, come back and ask me for it.”

We were asked to have the darkest colored fruit at the very bottom. Then dark red, yellow, orange and red on the top.

OK! The purple colored grapes should be the first on the stick! But they were such cute little purple grapes! As soon as I poked the stick into it, the peel cracked! The white pulp showed!  That would not fit the rule! I had to poke another one. I think I had broken at least 3 of them until I made it. I was wondering why were they broke so easily? Maybe the stick was too big for the tiny grape! But why they were OK for my neighbors? Then I realized the small grapes were like littler rubber balls. They could not stay stable on the table. If I did not poke in the center, the grape rolling a little. When the stick went through it the peel on the side could not be expanded evenly and cracked. If I had another hand to hold the little ball from rolling, the stick poke into the center, the grape will not crack  because the peel expanded evenly!

Well! Anyway, crooked or straight, I made three short fruit stick! While others had sticks full of fruits!  I was very happy because I did what I could!

I brought them home with the leftover fruits.

Peter was very happy to see those fruits that we don’t have very often. Such as grapes even  their peels cracked! Because they were too sweet for us diabetes!

Well! Once in a blue moon! Enjoy it!!!

 

My dream catcher

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We had a craft teacher came to our apartment to teacher us how to make a dream catcher the other day. My neighbors and I were warmed up since we saw the notice a week ago.

  I have seen dream catchers before. Was wondered how did people make it? Today, I am going to make one!

On the table in our community room, the teacher displayed some colorful beads, strains, ribbons, dry grass and some big rings. She passed a big ring to each one of us and showed us how to rolled some dry grass around the ring until the dry grass covered the whole ring.

My Oh My! No wonder the teacher said, “to roll the grass around the ring could be the hardest part of the dream catcher!” With my only one hand to pull the grass around the ring is already not an easy task. Even I used pins to fasten the ring on the cork board.  But the grass rolled on the ring would not stay in their place! It kept on getting loose! I have to tighten the grass every now and then.

If I have another hand to hold on the grass that had rolled on the ring……………..

While my neighbors all started to weave the net, I was still struggling with the grass!

Finally! The ring was finished! You have never seen such an ugly dream catcher ring! The ends of the grass stuck out everywhere from the ring! I cut off those grass end but the ring was not smooth at all! It was just as ugly as it could be!

I saw some of my neighbors with their dream catcher in their hand. With a big smiling on their faces.  Walked out of the room proudly.

The room temperature rose up on me, I took off my jacket!

I will finish it! I won’t give up! No matter what!

“Never give up! Never Surrender!”—Who said that?

The clock on the wall said 3:30! I was fighting with this dream catcher for an hour and a half now! I was the only one and the teacher in the community room!

Who cares! My dream was done!!!!

Even it doesn’t look very nice, I love it! My very own Dream Catcher!

I think it is beautiful!

Mission is completed

My mission is completed.
Everlasting Blossoms had posted its last chapter, the method  of “How to crochet the rose”.
I’m so anxious to see some Everlasting Blossoms post on your blogs, which will be worth of my mother’s goodwill and the expenditure of time and effort to compile the method of butterflies and direction of rose.

綜合

This heart shaped collage, I arranged four large pictures in the center purposely;
1.My mother’s in the middle. She was the author of those crocheted flowers, which my father named them “Everlasting Blossoms”

2.To her right was the very first “Rose of love” my mother
crocheted for my father.

3.Bellflowers was on her left. After my father died, my mother lost
her pillar of life and lost her interests in crochet completely. It
was these bellflowers that brought her back to crochet again. Thus, more new Everlasting blossoms and new butterflies were born.

4.This trophy was given by Taichung Main Library to appreciate
her for the Everlasting Blossoms classes she  taught. The trophy
says: to Mrs. Ho Lyan Yu Wen,
Pass down our folk art
Presented  by Ma Gang Heng,
Curator of Taiwan Tai-Chung Main Library
Year of Rep. of China 72(1783), March 20

All the other picture, each had a story in the book. If you are interested, please read from my “Everlasting Blossoms”.

Above all, my mother and I hope there will be more Everlasting Blossoms blooming  to make this world more beautiful and more cheerful.

 

B. How to crochet your own rose(2.Leaves and sepal )

 

Leaf for rose.,  Working Round
Rnd 1 Beginning with 18§, 1§, crochet with wire
Rnd 2 18*
Rnd 3 2§, 3*, 3**+1*** ,5***+1***, 2*, 3●
Rnd 4 2 §,  2●, 2*, 2**+***,5***+1***, 3**, 3*, 1●

 

  1. Sepal for rose. There are five pieces of connected leaves. Crocheted with the size of wire which matches.
The first leaf of the sepal. Beginning with 24§   Working Rnd  
Row 1 23§,1§, crochet with wire
 

Row 2

5*,  18**, do not cut the wire, connect with the next leaf, so is the 3rd,4th and 5th row.
               The second leaf of the sepal
Row 3 23§,1§, crochet with wire
Row 4 5*,  18**
                 The third leaf of the sepal        
Row 5 24§
Row 6 5*,  18**
                 The fourth leaf of the sepal
Row 7 23§,1§, crochet with wire
Row 8 5*,  18**
The fifth leaf of the sepal
Row 9 23§,1§, crochet with wire
Row 10 5*, 18**, 1 ● connect with the first  row.
  • Do not cut the wire too short. The beginning and ending of this wire will be tied up together with the

flower stalk.

  • Assemble the rose:
  1. Bend the end of the thicker wire which will be the peduncle of the rose.花梗2

2. With the green yarn entwine the petals to the bended wire. First with the #1 petals one by one to the bended wire tightly. Then the#2,#3, #4 petals layer by layer.

 

  1. Entwine the five leaves of the sepal evenly next, your rose is done.

After you entwine the leaves your whole work is accomplished.

B. How to crochet your own rose(1 Petals)

永遠綻放的玫瑰

This is the second rose my caregiver crocheted for me. The first one was a test piece, the second one is the experimental verification to the instructions my mother wrote.
Now, I’m proud to introduce the crochet stitch of my mother’s Everlasting Blossoms-How to crochet your own Rose?

Symbols and abbreviations of stitches for rose:
§……chain–ch.
*……single stitch–sc,
**….double stitch–dc
***..triple stitch–tric
+ increasing stitch–inc.
– decreasing–dec.
○……skip a stitch–sk.
●……slip stitch, move to the next stitch without adding height. Also used for join work–sl.
→….turn over towards.
To crochet with wire for flower petal and leaf and also for hemming the butterfly wings.

There are 4 sizes of petals. with 26 gauge or any gauge that suitable for your yarn. wire.
Number 1 petals(3 pieces): Working Row
Row 1 beginning with 15 §,
Row 2 14 *, 1§ crochet the wire in. Fold the wire in two ,crochet one in row 2, the other piece crochet into row 3.
Row 3 2*, 11**, 1●,
Row 4 1§, ○1, 1●, 2*, 8**, 2*,
Row 5 2§, 8**, 1*, 1**,
Row 6 1§, ○1, 1 ●, 1*, 3**, 1*, 1●
Row 7 2§, 1+3, 5**, 2,1●
Row 8 1§, ○1, 1●, 2
, 8**
Row 9 1§, ○1, 6*, 5**, 1*, 1●

No. 2 petal:(4 pieces) Working Row
Row 1 beginning with19§
Row 2 18*, 1§ crochet the wire in.
Row 3 1§, 2*, 14**, 1*, 1 ●
Row 4 1§, 15**, 3*
Row 5 2§, 10**, 1*, 1 ●
Row 6 1§, ○1, 2*, 4**, 1*, 1 ●
Row 7 2§, 1+2, 9**, 1 ●
Row 8 1§, ○1, 2*, 10**,
Row 9 1§, ○1, 15**, 3*, 1 ●

No.3 Petal: (5 pieces), Working Row
Row 1 Beginning with 23§,
Row 2 22*, 1§ crochet the wire in
Row 3 1§, , 3*, 17**, 1*, 1 ●
Row 4 1§, ○1, 1*, 21**
Row 5 2§, 1+1, 12**, 1*, 1 ●
Row 6 2§, ○2, 11**, 3*,
Row 7 2§, ○2, 3* 10**, 1 ●
Row 8 2§, ○2, 2*, 7**, 1 ●
Row 9 2§, 1+3, 13**, 2,1 ●
Row 10 2§, ○2, 3**, 15**
Row 11 2§, ○2, 17**, 4
, 1 ●

No. 4 Petal, (5 pieces) Working Row
Row 1 Berginning with 27§
Row 2 26*. 1§, crochet the wire in
Row 3 2§, 24**, 1*, 1 ●
Row 4 1§, ○1, 1*, 24+2
Row 5 2§, 18**, 1*, 1 ●
Row 6 2§, ○2, 2*, 15+1
Row 7 1§, ○1, 1**, ○1, 17+2,5,1*, 2 ●
Row 8 2§, ○2, 1 ●, 11
, 1*, 1●
Row 9 2§, 18,○1, , 3 ●
Row 10 1§, ○1,2*,16
, 1*, 1●
Row 11 2§, ○1,2* 16**, 5*, 3 ●
Row 12 2§, ○2, 1*, ○2, 2*,○1, 1*, 12**, 1*, 1 ●

F Unveil the Methods of Crochet Everlasting Blossom–One

< My mother used to say to her students; "The crochet foundation of Everlasting Blossom is Roses. If you know all the stitches as they were said in the directions by heart, and people identified the flower you crocheted was a beautiful rose. From then on you can create your own Everlasting Blossom. You've gotten the method of crochet Everlasting Blossom and the spirit of Everlasting Blossom!"

Symbols and abbreviations of stitches for rose:
§……chain–ch.
*……single stitch–sc,
**….double stitch–dc
***..triple stitch–tric
+ increasing stitch–inc.
– decreasing–dec.
○……skip a stitch–sk.
●……slip stitch, move to the next stitch without adding height. Also used for join work–sl.
→….turn over towards.
To crochet with wire for flower petal and leaf and also for hemming the butterfly wings.

Before you start to crochet the rose, there are some important cues for you of how to crochet the wire in the petals and what should you do about those ends of yarns?
英文花瓣圖解1
a href=”https://myrahochang.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/e88bb1e69687e696b0e59c962.jpg&#8221; rel=”attachment wp-att-938″>英文新圖2
height=”184″ class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-931″ />英文玫瑰花瓣的線頭A
英文玫瑰花瓣線頭B英文玫瑰花瓣線頭C

So far I’ve posted 6 patterns of butterflies now. There are more to come.
I’m so anxious to see if any of my friends had crocheted any butterfly.
It was my mother’s wish and so is mine, the long lasting beautiful butterflies could fly everywhere.4

F. Unveil the Methods of Crochet Everlasting Butterfly

If you are a butterflies lover may be you would like to have some flying in your own room. Their brilliant colors, flying slim and graceful are so delightful.
OK! I’m going to pass you my mother’s handout of how to make your own butterfly. All the diagrams and instruction were designed by her personally. She wished the beauty and the joy of the butterflies can be spread everywhere.
If you would like to show your appreciation to my mother’s hard work and her selfless good intention, you may post your own butterflies on your blog after you made your own butterfly.
It is really very easy to crochet butterfly. If you only know the basic ways of crochet.
1. First of all, you should read this annotation of the instruction and try to memorize them that will make your work more efficiently.

好6
2. Most of the diagrams will indicate with suggested colors. After you experience couple of them, you may make your own design.
3. It is very important to add lines as those butterflies I posted in the previous chapter.
Butterfly one
7

The world is beautiful!

Image0004 Ever since the ambulance took me to the hospital, I was transferred from rooms to rooms. I had no chance to see the sky. I enjoy the blue sky. I love to watch the clouds moving. I always amazed at the brilliance of sunset………..
I’m sure there were windows in all those rooms I had stayed. But I could only see the hanging window curtains. it seemed that I had never thought of asking anyone to pull the curtains up for me.
I was struggling with sit up in bed.
The left side of my body was perfect when you look at it, but it was as soft as bread soaked with milk! Yet it’s feeling sensation was OK. If you pinch any part of the skin it really hurts! People had to put a lot of pillows on my left side to make me sit up. Even though my body could not keep up straight very long. I didn’t want to keep on ask people to put a dozen pillows on my left side to sit me up. I tried to hold on to the bed side rail to pull myself up. I didn’t know after how many days I tried and tried to sit up without much support. Finally, I made it!
I asked the nurse to put me in the wheelchair. I wanted to get out of bed. I wanted to go out of the room! Even for just a few minutes. Ha! That was not easy to transfer me from bed to the wheelchair. How could one lady to pick up a piece of 120-pound meat from a bed and put it into the chair! There were always two of them. After they dropped me into the chair they had to put belts on me. One on my lap one around my chest.
Probably you have never noticed why when you help a child to get up from the ground would so much easier than an elderly. it’s because the limbs of a child are strong plus his strong strength. With his own help and yours the task is light and easy. But for an elderly his strength worn out by age, he can’t help much instead you have to work harder, you can feel part of the elderly’s weight. But when you try to pick up a 120-pound helpless meat it means 120 pounds! That is what I was! I could hear: ” Wow! You are very heavy!” which I didn’t like at all!
The nurse pushed me out of the room. My room was not the whole world! There were other rooms with people in beds. I wished they could get out of bed like me.
We came to the community room.
Oh, My! What a big room with open windows! The daylight made the room so bright! Not like my room the lights were always on. You could hardly tell whether it’s day or night. The air in the community was so fresh and sweet!
I wanted to sit by a window. I wanted to see the outside world which I missed so badly! I was thrilled when I saw the hilltop far away over the houses, I saw trees, the blue sky patched with pieces of white clouds. Tears streamed down my cheeks. My heart said strongly:
“How beautiful the world is! I will go out to see more! I will!”

D-4 Accessory(two)

BenQ Corporation
BenQ Corporation

When I was working on collecting all the information for this book, I recalled about those unique little animal head wish to include them in the book. I did have one but it was too small and I lost it. With remorse I called my sister-in-law, wishing that if she would have some. But the answer was no! Nevertheless, she’ll look for them.
Every one of the family in Taiwan even my second son went from Taipei to Taichung join the treasure hunt. They looked for everywhere. Nothing they found. While I was very depressed with disappointment I received my nephew’s email. He said he found some small animal heads pins by accident! While he was dusting a bookcase which he had dusted so many times. There was the bamboo waved turtle box
which belonged to his grand-mother. With love and respect he never thought of to open it. Since they almost turn the house up-side-down to look for those precious animal heads, would it be possiblly that grandmother had put them in here the box she usually to love very much? With a little guilty in his heart, he opened it. There he found them laying in a small plastic bag. Totally there were 11 pieces; 3 in pairs, and 8 single heads. My nephew took a picture of what he found attached with his email. What a discovery!
I asked my second son, David to take some individual pictures of each pin, which would show more of the beauty of them. And can be seen a better view of them. My son said while he was taken those pictures, the eyes of those animal heads were sparkling under the flush light! David was thinking and wondering: if it was not because of the flush light his grand-mother’s wisdom and unique skills will be hard to understand. Those treasures were almost 30 years old while those picture were taken. And they are the only ones in the world by now.
it’s a pity there was no instruction to tell us how to crochet those animal head. Hopefully through these pictures that may give some ideas of how those animal heads look like. You may use them as patters to crochet some handbags to give to your friends. Those unique handbags would be the only one of the kind of gift!
With the instruction of butterfly and rose, we, the children of Ho Lyan Yu Wen, wish that there will be crochet flowers blossoming all year long, and butterflies flying everywhere. What a beautiful world that will be! Thus will fulfilled our mother’s wish!
F Unveil the Methods of Crochet Everlasting Blossom is on the way!

Life is good!

Life is good!
If you had never had any dramatic happening in your life, probably you would not notice “life is good”. When you have good times you maybe feel happy. When you get something you wanted so badly, you are happy….. But those are no what I mean.
There were twice I feel “life is good” in my 80 years life.
40 of 50 years ago, the most common transportation were bikes and motorbikes. Mine was a bike.
One day after work, I was riding on my bike to home. On the way I was almost home. I looked at the other side of the street, there was a huge picture advertising some new apartment will be finished and will be ready to move in on X day X month X year. The picture of the apartment was a special styli which I had never seen before. As my eyes were fixed on the ad. my bike’s front wheel went closer to the curb and lost its balance. My bike and me fall in the middle of street. As fast as a flash a motorbike behind me ran over me. I could feel something scratched over my head. I thought that was the wheel. I heard some fearful screech! It sounded so awful!
I struggled to sat up. the first thing I did was to touch my skull! That was a miracle! My skull was as solid as it was all the time! No blood on my hand!
A man’s voice talked to me: ” Are…..are you OK?” I stood up with his support. ” I think I am OK!”
A lady ran over to me hold my shoulder with wide opened eyes and said with a shiver voice: ” Oh my good heavens! I thought you were ran over by that motorbike!” She looked at the right side of my head and found a little bloody on my ear and behind my ear. The motorbike driver said to me: “You fell down so suddenly. I could not stop my engine neither turn left at that moment. There were cars coming behind me. If I did a terrible traffic accident would occurred. So I made a quick sharp turn wish that I would not ran over your head. I guess the kickstand scratched your head.”
All of a sudden, I just couldn’t help but thank my mother. She gave me a smaller sized head! Otherwise the kickstand could cut open my skull not just a little scratch!
After the motorbike driver picked up my bike’s One thing I found the frount fork of my bike was squelched. The wheel couldn’t move. I asked the motorbike rider took it to the bike shop to pull them straight. The rider was a very sweet young man. He pushed my bike and escorted me all the way home and keeping on asked me how did I feel? Is there anything he can do for me? He asked me for my phone number because he wanted check on me to see if everything is OK. He called me every day for about almost two weeks. I was OK.
But started from the third week, the rider stopped checking on me, My head started a kind hurting. Not sharp pain but it hurting continuously day and night. Nights were even worse. I could not lay down in bad at night. That would hurt more.
My youngest sister recommended me to visit a retired Army colonel who knew some kind of acupressure which was very different from the traditional way. It was told he had helped many people from pain. And it was free! Because he made a vow to a deity when he learned it.
Unbelievable! I visited the colonel only three times my headache stopped!
Oh my! You could never imagine how happy I was.
LIFE IS GOOD!

D-3. Embroidered shoes

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Other than crochet art my mother also love to make her own shoes. She embroider the shoes with her own design. Later she found that the small shiny sequins and beads would be more beautiful than embroider with silk thread. She make the top of her shoes and have the cobblers to finish with the soles. She made pairs after pairs to give as a gift to whoever loved it.

Besides those embroidered shoes, my mother crocheted some small baby slippers for her grandchildren.

Continue reading “D-3. Embroidered shoes”

D-1 Butterfly(part two)

 

Unfortunately, the export business embroiled into his partner’s bankruptcy and lost almost all his fortune. He had to stop the butterflies business completely. But he was faithful and a man of honor, even those products means nothing to him now, but he paid off all the labors without any deficit.

My mother was very grateful to that businessman’s faithless. When those service family member found out what had happened, they felt so sorry for the businessman who had involved in such misfortune.

Continue reading “D-1 Butterfly(part two)”

C-39 Meeting friends with flowers–part three

Professor was very fond of arts You would see many art works in her home. In addition to those Chinese Paintings and calligraphy, there was a black ink painting of Mr. Feng-Dz-kai. Mrs. Li-Shu-Syan embroidered a colored picture of Professor Sye,  dressed as a woman soldier in  when she was young, looked dashing and spirited.

Professor said to me: ” Art represent the culture of a Nation.”

Continue reading “C-39 Meeting friends with flowers–part three”

C-39 Meeting friends with flowers–part two

文化中心C

 

The show room was on the third floor. There was no elevator, which would make people very tired from climbing those stairs. Besides, Elderly Professor Sye had a leg surgery some years ago. But none of these would hinder her visits. Each time after she struggled up to the showroom, she was almost breathless. And each time she came would bring some friends of hers. Happily she showed them what she had found. Thus Everlasting Blossom had a chance to meet Poet Shu-Man-Sya, famous Novelist Fan-Lu, artist Chen-Syu-Ying and an Air force Writer Jang-Tau.

Continue reading “C-39 Meeting friends with flowers–part two”

C-39 Everlasting Blossoms Meeting New friends –part one

Since 1968, four years after the very first rose was born, Yu Wen’s children had arranged many exhibitions for her from Taiwan to California, USA.

1974, the first big exhibit at Tai Chung Main Library, Taiwan, Everlasting Blossom started meeting with new friends brought lots of good comments and praises.

Continue reading “C-39 Everlasting Blossoms Meeting New friends –part one”

C-38. Chrysanthemim and Spider Chrysanthemum

菊AUntitled
菊

Chrysanthemum[1]

chang01-R2-E058

chang01-R2-E003

UntitledSpider Chrysanthemum

 

Amount all the Everlasting Blossoms, Spider Chrysanthemums were the ones that Yu Wen had spent the most time to crochet those petals.

There were almost 200 petals in each flower. And they were in six to seven different lengths! Every petal must be supported with a very fine copper wire, so it will be stiffer, yet not as stiff as like sticks . You can shape those petals the way you wanted to. Therefore the whole flower will look like if they were growing in the garden. To organize the petals evenly on the stem is another ordeal .

Yu Wen crocheted different kinds of Chrysanthemums  because she loved them specially for their unusual spirit. They are beautiful yet not brightly colored. Their unique faint fragrance. They blossom in cold winter. Snow and the freezing frost  would not stricken them.

Chrysanthemums were favored by many Chinese poets.

 

C-39 Meeting friends with flowers–is on its way! 

C-37. Barbados lily

孤挺花

When we were preparing the second exhibition at Taichung Main Library in 1983, my mother was in a taxi cab with Barbados lilies in her hands. The taxi cab driver thought they were real flowers. He asked my mother : 「Ma’am, Are you going to the flower arrangement show?」 My mother laughed and said:「No! These are crocheted flowers , we are going to have an exhibition at the Main Library. 」When taxi stopped we were about to get out, the driver stared at the flowers in my mother’s hands exclaimed 「Wow! They are really fake flowers! How come they so realistic! 」

C-38. Chrysanthemim and Spider Chrysanthemum–is on the way

C-35. The Bellflower- two

bellflower

” I’ve never seen such strange but beautiful flowers before. ” she said, “The petals of those fully blossomed Bellflowers, were all turning upwards from the center of the flowers, and pistils hanging downwards. They really looked  like bells! And those Christmas cactus looked liked a string of crab claws hanging down! There is a special looking red flower at the end of each string of the crab claws. I guess those Bellflowers flowers and Christmas cactus flowers were too heavy for their stems or the crab claws , that’s why they were all hanging downward!」

My sister-in-law’s description interested my mother! She said:「OK! Take me over to the flower store with my wheelchair, I want to take a look how special! 」

This visit made my mother got the yarns and the hook out of the drawers and crocheted the Bellflowers, The first bonsai since my father died. And then, the Christmas Cactus, the third, the fourth…….much. more new ones were born.

C-36.Christmas Cactus–is on the way

C-35. The Bellflower-one

chang01-R2-E008

The motivation for my mother to crochet the flowers was based on my father. But 1988,my father passed away after the stroke. The pillar of her life suddenly collapsed. She completely lost the interests of crocheting. All the yarns and crochet kits were put away.

One day, my sister-in law came home in a very joyful mood. She told my mother that on her way home from the market, she passed by a flower store, the owner was a fan of Everlasting Blossom, invited her into his store and introduced her some new flowers which he had just purchased and asked if her mother-in-law would be interested.

My mother was not interested at all.

My sister-in-law didn’t pay any attention to her reaction, just kept on talking and talking. – To be continued –

C-34. The Gladiolus

福蘭

While the Everlasting Exhibition was held at the Tainan Folk Culture Center, in Taiwan, Mayor Su Nan Cheng cut the ribbon for the opening ceremony. He was the very first distinguished visitor of the exhibition.

My mother presented Mayor Su a vase with Gladiolus in it, similar to the ones as the picture shows in this page.

Gladiolus symbolize “blessing” and “Good luck”!

C-35. The Bellflower — is on the way

Offset with crochet flower

C-33. I am An Iris

Yu Wen went on, “As life would have it, both my mother and her sister-in-law gave birth to a girl. Sadly, my cousin, the peony, died before she was 3 years old. I, the iris, continued growing!”

Yu Wen recalled her worst childhood sickness was the measles, free from any serious illness. She told the artist, “I’m so very grateful and fortunate that my mother chose the Iris!”

World War II and the following political change in China each contributed to the total loss of contact with Yu Wen’s mother. There was no way to find her.  She also lived with an added sorrow from never having a picture of her dear mother.

Yu Wen began thinking…, if I can crochet some irises as a loving memento to my mother…? She called upon her memories of the irises of her youth and began creating the crocheted Iris Bonsai Tribute.

C-33. I am An Iris–

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In 1967, at the very first Everlasting Blossom Exhibition in Tai-Chung, Taiwan, I heard my mother, Yu Wen telling the following story to an artist in the showroom:

Yu Wen said, “I remember when I was a little girl, my mother always said that I was an iris.

In my hometown of Pei-king, there were lots of irises growing on both sides of the path in our garden. They were very easy to take care for and they blossomed every year. Nonetheless, they were not as beautiful as roses, peonies, or any other flowers!”

Yu Wen went on explaining to the artist, “The night before I was born, my mother dreamt that her mother came to see her with two flowers in her hands. A peony and an iris. She told my mother to choose one of them. My mother thought the peony was beautiful, but also knew it’s very difficult to care for. The iris, once planted it into the soil, will grow and blossom every year. No special care needed. My mother told her mother she decided to choose the iris.  Her mother smiled and said, all right! I’ll give the peony to your sister-in-law.”

–To be continued —

Abundant Offer could not sway her

C-32.   –The first exhibition–seven–

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This trophy was presented by Tai-Chung Main Library to  Yu Wen to  thank Yu Wen’s teaching at the library.

 

 

 

 

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This trophy was presented by the students of the crochet class Yu Wen taught at theTai-chung Library.

Yu Wen met all kinds of visitors in those nine days. The first exhibition was a remarkable success. The news posted on all papers. Hwa Shr TV stations made three minutes interviewed in their noon news.

While the exhibition was on, Kwo Tai Life Insurance offered $3,000,000 NT. to buy all the Everlasting Blossom. It’s negotiable if Yu Wen was not pleased with the offering, but Yu Wen refused. Many of her friends and relatives felt deeply sorry for her refused such a good fortune.

But YU Wen said: “Money is good but could create problems as well! Crochet Everlasting Blossom is my hobby. I like to let people know that crochet hook or needle could be as good as painting brush. It could make life more beautiful, but my works are not merchandise.”

After the exhibition was over, the library asked Yu Wen to open a class to teach people how to crochet Everlasting Blossom. Yu Wen accepted. News spread out. So many people signed up for the class.  There were too many signed up for one classroom, so it ended up with two classrooms full for a three month session. Many of them were domestic teachers and art and craft teachers. Yu Wen spent a lot of time in writing the instructions to hand out in classes. The instructions included: “Rose, Dendrobium, peony and poinsettia”. In class, she walked around the room, back and forth between the desks. Explained every question and demonstrated how to work out.

After the three months session was finished, the library hold an Achievements Exhibition for the students. Yu Wen encouraged the students and said to them: “Actually you don’t have to do what I did. Since you know all the stitches that I taught you, just keeping on practicing crochet roses until you can make a good looking one eith out looking at the instruction then you’ll be able to create your own Everlasting Blossoms.”

The library manager asked Yu Wen to have some more classes. However Dz Yun could tell that Yu Wen was very tired after the session was over. If she kept on having more classes she’ll be exhausted. Nothing would be more valuable than the good health of his wife. He declined the invitation with great courtesy.

Yu Wen’s third son-in-law arranged an exhibition in Tai-Nan Library. The mayor of Tai-Nan, Su Nan Cheng cut the ribbon on the Inauguration of exhibition. Mayor Su Nan Cheng came to Yu Wen’s Exhibition in his busy days, it was such an honor for Yu Wen that worth to remember for life. She presented one of her beloved bouquet with vase to Mayor Su to show her appreciation.

There were exhibitions held in other cities in Taiwan. Praises and appreciation heard in every one!

An Artist Praise with Painting

  –The first exhibition–six

Once a middle aged lady supported an old gentleman with her hands slowly walked into the showroom. The lady said they were from Jang-Hwa. They walked slowly around the table looked at every showpiece. After he praised Yu Wen for her unique exquisite hand works, the elderly gentleman said he would like to paint something for Yu Wen to show his appreciation of what he have seen that day. But there was no painting paper nor painting brush and ink. Syau Wen said to him if he wouldn’t mind waiting a little while, she would go home to get some paint supplies. The old gentleman told Syau Wen he can wait. There was nothing important for him to do that day any way.  Syau Wen rushed home on her bike, and brought back rice paper, ink and different sizes of painting brushes .

That elderly man painted some Chrysanthemums growing along the eastern hedge. He wrote five Chinese characters 采菊東籬下–*Tsai Ju Dung Li Sya– on the top right corner and handed it to Yu Wen. Yu Wen was overwhelmed! She understood that the painting and the writing were telling her how much this unknown elder gentleman was praising her works. Right away she hung it up on the wall in the showroom. The curator of the library saw that picture, he asked Yu Wen why didn’t she ask the artist to sign or seal his picture? It looked like the picture was done by a famous artist who lived in Jang-Hwa. If so his last name could be Hung. Who knows that this painting could worth a fortune if he had signed or sealed!

*Tzai Jyu Dung Li Sya, is the first sentence of one of a the famous poem which was written by an ancient classic poet, Tau-Yuan-Ming. The whole piece tells that the poet left up his head while he was picking some Chrysanthemums, surprisingly he saw the amazing beauty of the South Mountain along the eastern hedge. The elder gentleman wanted to use the Chrysanthemums as a expression to tell Yu Wen when he walked into the library that day unexpectedly saw these amazing hand crafts.

Once a well dressed lady walked into the show room, The jewelry she wore sparkled. Her body swung gracefully in her high heels. What a lady she looked! She came up to Yu Wen and said:”May I ask, Elderly lady, do you want to sell these flowers?” But the Tone of her voice astonished Yu Wen and the boys. It was a man’s voice! Childishness in Yu Wen couldn’t be controlled, she answered in a very low tone and said: “SORRY! THEY ARE NOT FOR SALE!”

 I was fooled by myself

C-32.  –The first exhibition–five–

There was a young man, who looked as a student stood in front of the Nasturtiums. Holding his chin with his right hand and stare at the Nasturtiums. He veered his head walking backwards a few steps. He stood there in a little distant looking at the Nasturtiums. Again he walked back very close to the flowers, his face almost touched the Nasturtiums. Suddenly he laughed softly. Yu Wen was so wondering what was so funny with those flower? She walked over to that young man and asked: “Hope you don’t mind if I ask you what’s so funny?”

“No! I was fooled by myself!” The young man said . “I saw so many colorful flowers when I was at the door. Some of them that I’ve never seen before. Curiously I walked in and took a closer look, found out they were crotched with fine yarns. They were all hand crafted except those pots and gravels. You can hardly tell when you looked at them in a little distance. I was laughing because I was fooled by myself!”

— To be continued

 A barefoot Viewer

C-32.  –The first exhibition–four–

The schools were on their summer vacation. Some of Syau Wen’s elder son’s classmates Volunteered to be the ushers. Their main job was to make sure that no one should touch any of the showpieces though the signs of “Don’t touch, please!” were placed on the tables in case some viewers can’t refrain from touching them.

Yu Wen was around her sixties at the first exhibition. She was a little heavy and panted if she walked a little too long. But she walked back and forth in the showroom in that nine days. Explaining and answering questions for the visitors. She even walked down to the second floor to answer a phone interview of a local news. The great joy and happiness from her heart put smile on Yu Wen’s face, and she didn’t panted at all!

In the showroom, it was always crowded in that nine days.

One lunch break, Yu Wen and the boys were having lunch. A middle aged man walked into the showroom with bear feet. He was wiping his hands on his shorts! It looked like that he was just finished washing his hands. He looked as a famer who had came back from the farm land. Yu Wen stared at him in astonishment. She saw him slowly circled the show table from the first pot to the last one. Very carefully he looked at every one especially with those orchids. He came up to Yu Wen and said:” Granny! I counted the pistil and stamens, they virtually look as real as flowers.” The Curator of the library told Yu Wen that every one call that bear feet bizarre dressed man “Bear feet Celestial” who was an orchids expert. For some reason he had made a pledge to god that he would dressed up like a famer with bear feet in and out any public places.

–To be continued–

C-32.  Mission Accomplished

The first exhibition–three

That gentleman said to her: “Very good. could you also ask you mother how many days she prefers for the exhibition? I suggest it should be more than a week and open and close at the same time as office hours. We can schedule the dates after you told us what your mother thinks.”

Syau Wen went home joyfully and told her mother about this good news.

Yu Wen laughed and said: “I see, That was why your father took some pictures of the flowers! So, there is a Secret Agency in our home.”   What Dz Yun and the children did brought Yu Wen sweet love which urged and encouraged her to crochet more. She told Syau Wen that she would like to have a nine days exhibition. When the dates are booked, she wish to visit the locus to pre-plan how will she place her pieces.

Syau Wen conveyed the massage to the library office the very next day. Just in a few days later, they received the notice from the library that the nine days of exhibition were set in that summer. A very large room was assigned for “Everlasting Blossom Exhibition”. For the visitors to have a good view of everything that placed on the show tables, Yu Wen arranged the tables in a “U” shape. People can walk around and see every side of the showpieces.

–To be contimued–

 A Succeful Step

C-32.The first exhibition–two–

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“We would like to hold an exhibition at your library if it is possible.” Syau Wen said uncertainly.

The lady responded in a welcoming voice: “Sure! What category do they go to?”

“I really do not know. But they are a kind of art, I’m sure” Syau Wen handed those pictures out to the lady as she was saying. ” My mother crocheted many these kind of flowers. They were all done with my mother’s hands. Except the vases, pots and pebbles,  “Really?” With the pictures in the lady’s hands, she walked over under the light. She was amazed when she looked at them closely. ” Please wait here, I’m going to show them to our manager.

Syau Wen sat in the chair anxiously, she didn’t know what will be next.

Not too long a middle aged gentleman came out from his office with those pictures. Syau Wen assumed that he should be the manager and she stood up.

” These are rare folk art, How many pieces your mother has?” The gentleman asked Syau Wen. Syau Wen said quickly: ” About 40″

“I see. They need a larger show room. They should not be joint with other exhibition. There should be a Solo Exhibition. What do you think? ”

Syau Wen couldn’t believe what she have heard. She didn’t know what to do. She had to ask her mother to decide. She said: ” I think I have to ask my mother first see what she say.”–To be continued–

 

Hesitation

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C-33. The first exhibition–one–

Yu Wen’s children, five of them, all thought keeping their mother’s beautiful art craft at home would be the lamp under the bed. It should be placed on the table to lighten up the whole room. And the light should be shared with others. They thought the library would be the most appropriate place. It’s the place for all kinds of flower arrangement show, sculptures, painting and calligraphy exhibits.

Dz Yun was an outstanding amateur photographer. He photographed his most favorite Nasturtium, Luxuriant Bonsai and Dendrobium for Syau Wen to show to the library. All these activities were working in secret. They wanted to surprise Yu Wen. If the request should be rejected, it wouldn’t hurt Yu Wen’s feelings. They were a little hesitated, because Yu Wen’s works were neither life flower arrangement nor painting, calligraphy or sculptures. They didn’t know which category Everlasting Blossom would be fitted in. Yet those pieces were truly a different kind of art.

One morning, tentatively Syau Wen walking into the office of Tai-Chung Main Library. It was a kind of early that morning, the big office still looked empty, and Syau Wen saw a kind looking lady standing up from her chair behind the desks and smiling at her. She said to Syau Wen: “Good Morning! What can I do for you?” –To be continued —

 

C32. Narcissus (Daffodil)

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The white Chinese Narcissus have a very sweet fragrance. They possess a kind of natural grace and noble manner.

The Narcissus that Yu Wen crocheted shows all those special nature. Especially the roots which looked so vivid. Every time at the exhibition, Yu Wen always advise and urge her children when they were helping to set up the show room, She said: “Be sure those roots must be seen!”

It’s a pity! The roots and the stems were crochet with wire to support them, they would be rusty if you put water in the pot. Otherwise if there is water with those pebbles in the pot, it will look more like a life bonsai.

C-33.  The first exhibition–one– is on the way

 

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Did you know those reindeer who pulling Santa’s slide were female deer? I’m proud of them!

I’ve just learn it today.  I learned that only female deer got antlers on in winter!

Could you tell if this antler was drooped by a male of a female deer?

C-30 . Winter Jasmine

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Winter Jasmine is very common in the northern part of China. You can see them almost everywhere. Since Taiwan is at the subtropical zone you can only find the in the mountains. To comfort my mother’s homesick, She crochet the Winter Jasmine as the ones in her memory.

One day at the flower market I saw some small yellow flowers in bundles. Not much eaves. Those flowers looked like one of my mother Everlasting Blossoms – Winter Jasmine. When I bend down to look at the tag which tied on the spray. Yes! They are “Winter Jasmine”!  The only different between the fresh ones and my mother’s everlasting ones were: the fresh leaves and the petals of the flower  were much thinner!  Some of them were not looking fresh anymore!

C-31. poinsettia

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The correct way to organize the petals of Poinsettia is very important. The pistils are pretty complicate as well.

My mother placed a fresh poinsettia right in front of her while she was crocheting. She did exactly the same as she saw. That’s why they look so realistic.

C-28 Morning glory

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Morning Glories only looking beautiful in the mornings. After a few hours when the afternoon comes, morning glory will not glory any more. It’s brilliant color will be faded and it’s beautiful appearance will be withered. But the Morning Glories my mother crocheted will always be the same as if they were in the morning!

C-27 Begonia

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If the calyx of the Begonia flower or it’s flower bud do not have the right looking, it will not be a Begonia flower at all.

Each time when Yu Wen was creating a bonsai, she always tried her very best to have it made as perfect as possible. That was why each time at the exhibition, would always heard some people say: 「Everlasting Blossoms look like real flowers!」

C-25 Orchid-Phalaenopsis

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To crochet and organize this kind of Orchid as the Phalaenopsis,  is not hard, but the center piece is a little tricky. You must watch for the stitches, they cannot be either too tight or too loose. If the stitches are too tight, the center piece will be stiff and rigid. If they are too loose, it will hanging down lifelessly.

C-24 Tulips

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The appearance of Tulips are graceful and elegant, ingratiating themselves to whoever looks at them. To crochet the flower petals are easy, they were similar to rose. The leaves are not hard either. Easy to organize them. But you must  have enough patient to crochet lots of leaves.  That takes a lot of time and yarns.

Hint:  “Don’t forget crochet with wire! “

C-23 Violet

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Yu Wen have heard someone said that there was a newly opened Rung Sing Garden in Taipei. There were many special flowers among the other plants. She took a special trip to Taipei by train to visit the new Yung Sing Garden.

The graden looked brilliant! Among all those splendid rich multicolored flowers, Yu Wen fond some spectacular tiny pretty three colores flowers, violet, which she had never seen before.

With her memory and skilful hands, she crochet Violets.

-C-24 Tulip- is on the way

C-22  Water lily

12087491_1038992096145625_1364053974_nWhile Yu Wen was crocheting this bonsai, she really spent a lot of time and put in a lot of thoughts.

In this picture we can see a bug crawling on the stalk, the dragonfly perched on the lotus bud. Two frogs underneath on the lotus leaves on watch for the bug like tigers. One of them opened it mouth ready to swallow! The little bug seams not care much because it has wings and can fly away at any time. And mock at the frogs’ benighted.

The dragonfly perched on top of the lotus flower bud leisurely and carefree. It didn’t pay any attention to whatsoever is going on.  Enjoying the sweet fragrance of the air and the warmth of the sun.

The combination of this bonsai has it’s own refine style, it’s unsophisticated and natural. It also gives people lots of space of thinking. May be that is why at every Exhibition, this bonsai always drew most of the attention from the viewers.

Hooks and yarns are different from painting brush. You can draw with colors and brush easily. But with hook and yarns, you have to go stitch by stitch, to finish such big piece of lotus leaf, it took hundreds and hundreds of individual stitches, one stitch at a time. Yu Wen’s lotus leaves are as large as the real ones, And there were more than one leaf! Because of those big pieces of green leaves, shows the beauty and elegant of the lotus flower.

C-23 Violet is on the way–

C-21 Lily, Rose and Carnation

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“This bonsai of flowers is a combination of love.”  My mother told me.

Roses and carnation symbolizing the worldly love .

Lily, the Easter flower, symbolizing the love of God. Remind us that God send His Only Son, Jesus Christ who came to earth, suffered and died on the cross of us. And on the third day He rose again from the dead, in order to complete God’s love.

My mother was converted into Catholic around her early 50 s. Though she didn’t go to church regularly, but her devotion to God was deeply planted in her heart.

This whole combination of flowers shows her ideal of The Unity of God and His People on earth

C-22  Water lily is on the way!  

C-20 Nasturtium (part 2)

C-20  Nasturtium  (part 2)

The words were spread out! There was a newly opened department store in Taichung wished to borrow her nasturtiums, and would like to put it in one of their showcases. The manager came and ask her permission to let them to placed it in their store to show to the public.

After the nasturtiums were placed in the showcase, the crowded masses passed by, most of them thought the flower in the showcase was a decoration.

It caught attention of a young man, because there were not too many nasturtiums in Taiwan.

But he was surprised when he found out the whole plant was made with yarns! He could hardly believe his eyes! After he found out the whole bonsai was made by some lady, he asked the manager if he can buy it?

When my mother heard about it, right away she told the manager to bring the nasturtiums back, She said:”It’s not for sale!”

C-21 Lily, Rose and Carnation is on the way

C-20 Nasturtium (part 1)

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Once my mother saw a picture of Nasturtiums. She was totally amazed by those slender vine twigs which could swinging in the wind. Those leaves shaped like lotus leaves. The brilliant color of the flowers. And there is a unique spectacular tail at the back of each flower!

She was totally enchanted. Every part of Nasturtium was like a poem to her.

She wanted to put the picture into three-dimensional!

She found some suitable wire for the swinging stalks. She bought some very fine yarn with the right color for the flowers. According to the structure in the picture, she started to work on it.

After she crotched the petals, she found out that they were too soft. They should be supported by some kind of very fine wire to make them stand up but not stiff. She found some very,very fine copper wire which was just the right softness for what she demanded. Only with that kind of wire which can show the beauty of the flower and its spectacular little tail!

My mother spent about almost two months to finish the whole bonsai of nasturtiums. It looked so real and vivid. Praises and appreciations were heard from whoever saw it !

To be contiued.