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!

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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!

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!