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Dad's speech: grannie's hard times

From Daddy Ku:

While your sister was leaving here for Bangkok yesterday, she asked me to e-mail all of you an English version of what I spoke during the memorial service held in Taipei on 13 April.

It was the first time I spoke about Grannie before an audience that consisted of priests, choir members and many of our relatives, and I was given 10 minutes, so the service could end in time for the mourners and the hearse to reach the graveyard in Hsinchu by noon.

This was the first time I dealt with this topic. I mean practically no relatives of ours had ever heard about the hard times Grannie had experienced. This is the main portion of my speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Brothers and Sisters:

What I'm going to talk about here is a respectable but ordinary old lady -- my mother, a lady I have known for 74 years. She was born in Shanghai in 1910. Though she did not even finish her primary education, she was able to read newspapers and novels by teaching herself.

In 1943 Shanghai was suffering from the Japanese warlords' tyrannical rule. My father left for Chungking to join the Government to fight against the Japanese imperialism. He left behind Mother and five children in Shanghai. Mother was 35. I was 13, the eldest son. When my 1-year-old youngest sister Ling Pao died of pneumonia, the whole family was sorrow-stricken. But life had to go on. Mother started to work as a female worker for a light bulb plant to earn a meager income to support the family.

In 1944, Mother took three of her four children to start the hardest trip to Chungking to join Father. She managed to raise some money by selling any possessions that could be sold. We took train and bus, sometimes hired an ox-cart and a boat. We travelled across five provinces and spent over 40 days on the journey. When a railway bridge in West Honan was bombed by a Japanese bomber, we had to get off the train to walk for hours with little food. Just as we checked into a homely inn in Luoyang, we had to run for shelter because an air-raid siren wailed. Our bus stopped for days when torrential rain turned the muddy highway into a mess.

Right now, I can still feel how Mother bravely took good care of her little ones with inadequate travelling expenses. She weathered the storm and took us to Chungking safe and sound at last.

22 April 2004 Thursday

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About grannie
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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