The following is a note I prepared that I intended to send it to Cousin Kuoben (but never did): [It was posted in another blog, but I thought it may be more appropriate here!]
I came across your Face Book site this morning and particularly interested in reading the article you posted about your memory of my mother: 二姨與我 . I learned many things there which I did not know before, especially the early courtship of my parents. I guess understandably my Mom never shared any of those with me. Aunt Sanyih had told me some. I always know my Mom likes Chinese opera, but I did not realize that it helped my Dad’s efforts in courting her ;-).
I do wish to point out some facts that may not clear or inaccurate. It was in Chingtao when my Mom went to Haiyang and brought our lau-Nion (maternal grandmother) out from her native village -- as I understand she was still taking care of her own 99-year old mother at the time. From Chingtao we went to Shanghai to reunite with my Dad before the four of us coming to Taiwan/Taichung/Peitou together. The fact is that Lau-Nion had *never* been to our ChiNan home! Lau-Nion spent her last dozen years of her life with my Mom and our family from Chingtao to Shanghai to Taichung to Peitou, through part of my jumior high, all my high school and college years. She fell and hit her head and passed away untimely at age 84, while I was away from home serving my ROTC basic training after graduation from TaiDa (NTU).
In the last years of my Mom’s life, Sanyih had wanted to visit my Mom from LA, my Mom always said no to her because Mom thinks Sanyih’s foremost duty is to take care of Sanyihfu without interruption. When my Mom fell into coma, Sanyih decided she had to take the trip. I joined with her on that trip. Sadly Sanyih spent about one week in Taipei, my Mom never did regain consciousness notwithstanding Sanyih went to the hospital every day talking to my Mom. But that week was memorable for me because that week I was able to spend all the time with Sanyih and she taught me many things about my maternal family history which I know very little about. Sanyih is more than an Aunt to me. She was the one that first took me to enroll in school, the same school in Hsi-An where cousins Lihsing and George attended. When I was a freshman attending TaiDa, my parents were still in Taichung, so I go “home” every weekend to Sanyih’s house in Taipei, she treated me just the same as cousins Lihsing and George. During that week when Sanyih and I were both in Taiwan, Sanyih told me many things I did not know, about her litigation with her uncles, and she also told me about my Mom was taking care of you when you were very young that I did not know either. I was particularly intrigued to learn that a few generations back in her family there were someone holding important positions for the imperial Ching dynasty in Peiping. Sanyih always likes to talk, I wished that I could have a recorder then. I urged her that she should write it down some of the things she told me, but she jokingly said telling them to me is enough. Sanyih and my Mom are close sisters two years apart in age, but they are clearly different in their thinking and point of view in life. Being an only son I was close to my Mom, somehow I was surprised that many things she did not bothered to let me know.
Sanyih also told me about my parents’ wedding. That was in ChiNan where Sanyih had already married and cousin Lihsing was born. My Mom and Dad were deeply in love, but my Dad was still married to his first wife at the time. It was Sanyih and Sanyihfu jointly told my Dad in no uncertain terms that he had to clearing up that situation before anything can be considered. So my Dad did go back to Peiping, duly dissolved his first, family arranged marriage with my grandfather’s approval and then returned to formally married my Mom in ChiNan in a large wedding. Being the local police chief, he must have known many people. I remember seeing their wedding picture in our ChiNan home. I have no recollection of the details except that was taken outdoor in front a large building with a whole lot of people on the picture. That was the good old days of early 1934, one year before my birth!
By the way when my Dad was serving with the nationalist government guerrilla force during the war, they were supposedly fighting the Japanese forces, but they did very little of that. Instead they spent most of their time preoccupied in fighting the commies. As a matter of fact, the middle school I attended in ChiNan was established to commemorate the Commander-in-chief of that guerrilla force who was at one time being surrounded by the commies with no friendly force that can come rescue him in time, rather than waiting on being captured by the commie thugs, he killed himself with a single bullet.
I don't know if you remember the day you came to ChiNan, I was the one in the yard and readily opened the front door to welcome you in. No one had told me anything your coming so I was pleasantly surprised. But I always remembered the thrill of welcoming a new cousin into the family!