My cousin, a former journalist of a couple of newspapers in China, wrote a short prose and got it published on the Xinmin Evening News recently. It’s about his trip to Yang Zhou city with another 3 of my cousins and their extended family during the Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day), and the visit to their grandparents’ grave.
Not mentioning the feelings that the article itself had generated to its common readers, as a relative of the author, I noticed that he briefly wrote about some of his childhood experience with his grandparents (from his mother’s side). His description was so vivid that I felt like I can see the scenes in those sweating summer nights, hear his grandfather’s voice and smell the aroma of his grandmother’s cooking.
However, coming to the end of reading, I also realised that the grandparents he was talking about in that prose, are actually my grandparents as well. They are my father’s parents, and they are the people I have never met and will never meet in my life. Besides, neither did I get to meet my grandparents from my mom’s side.
Only now, I am meeting them on the paper……through the stories told by other people.
I feel a bit jealous. And, I was a bit annoyed by the fact that I didn’t have all these luxuries to enjoy the same sort of love from a grandparent, and I don’t have the fortune to call Yangzhou, a city where buried my grandparents and where my father was born, the home. I don’t know what my grandparents look like, or any stories of them. It’s like a missing piece of a big puzzle picture, I guess my connection to this historic place and that generation is just weak.
My parents are people who seldom look back or like to dwell in the memory, so we don’t talk much about the passing generation. According to what I heard, all four of them died in a quite old age, but as the youngest child of the youngest child in a family, the problem was I just came too late.I get called “aunt” by my nephew who is one and half years older than me, but it didn’t give me as much fun as I could have from a grandparent care.
Having a very simple family relationship for all my life, I know how it’s like “without” the presence of grandparents, but sometimes when people slipped out the words of “pop” or “nanny” in their conversation, I just can’t help imagining what it would like when there is the “with”….
Ugh, make sure you have baby young
Note: The above photo is from china.org.cn. Taken by Hu Zhenling at Slender West Lake in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, China.