Thursday, July 17, 2008
My Grandparents- Yin and Yang.
My grandmother's tutor turned out to be her future husband. By all accounts, as tough-minded and pragmatic my grandmother was, my grandfather was the yin to her yang so to speak. He was quiet, scholarly, and apparently a little ditzy. (Ask me about my dad and hornets some time).
My grandparents married, and in another remarkable move, my grandmother continued with her teaching with my grandfather's support. It wasn't until my grandmother had her first miscarriage that she left teaching.
My grandfather had joined the Kuomingtang and eventually became a military officer, a colonel in charge of supplies. This meant that the family had to leave their native village near Nanjing and move down to Xian. By this point, the family had grown to Daniel (born in 1936), Julia (born in 1938), and Samuel (born in 1941). My grandmother had to leave Samuel behind with her family for the time being as she thought traveling with such a young child would not be good for him. The picture posted in the first post above was of my grandmother, my uncle daniel and my aunt Julia. I think this was of them traveling to Xian.
While living in Xi'an, my grandmother gave birth again, this time to the youngest, Moses, otherwise known as BoBo. (little treasure). The picture here shows the entire family some time later.
The family stabilized in Xi'an for some time, even as the entire country was engulfed in both a Japanese invasion, and Civil war between the communists and KMT. (Nationalist government). My grandfather's family suffered terribly and eventually his twin brother was killed by the communists. My grandmother did retrieve Samuel, and the after the fall of the KMT in 1949, she took her children and fled to Hong Kong. My grandfather was not able to join them as he felt it would be a desertion of his post, and had to stay in Xi'an.
When my grandmother left Xi'an and China, the country of her birth, her youth, and her adult life at the time, she did not know that she would not return for more than 30 years. She also didn't know that she would never get to have any communication with her family for decades due to the delicate political problems at the time.
I have often wondered what that was like for my grandmother. She loved her children and the family so much, and I simply can't fathom what it would be like to not know or hear anything about your mother, your father, your brothers or sisters for decades. She never spoke of her sibling or her parents to me, and she rarely spoke of them to her children too. By the time my grandmother died, she was the last surviving member of her generation.