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A Woman of Old China This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I miss my grandma so much. She still lives in China, and is a benevolent woman. At71, she is very healthy. She has three children, two boys and a girl, mymother.

I lived with my grandma from the time I was a year old until Icame to America last year. Now, when I think about her, I realize all she taughtme, and appreciate her more.

She is a typical woman of old China. Sheexperienced the invasion of Japan; she witnessed the war between the ChineseNational Party and the Communist Party; she suffered the battles between the leftand right; she went through the Cultural Revolution. In her mind, there were sometraditional and feudalistic ideas; on the other hand I think of her as moreenlightened than any woman her age.

My grandmother's family was likeothers in China. Her father had two wives and many kids; his wives' feet werebound. His children never played games or got an education. Most of the time,they were hungry and cold since they never had enough clothes or food. There wasno meat or medicine. Two of my grandmother's brothers died. At the age of seven,her childhood was over and she began to work.

When the Chinese NationalParty withdrew to Taiwan and the Communist Party took over, my grandma was 17. Atthis time, Grandpa came into her life. He was born into the lower class, and hadno job. But he joined the Party, went through a few battles and became agovernor.

I don't know exactly how much older he was than my grandma. Mygrandma was appointed to him more than married him. He had money, and a powerfulposition to influence her mother who had the "divine" duty of arrangingher daughter's marriage.

My grandma couldn't endure herhusband's bad habits and his hypocrisy and so she took their three children andleft. She couldn't go to her mother, whose old-fashioned ideas would never allowa divorce, so she went to another city where her husband couldn't find her, andbegan a new life.

In that era, people shunned women who were divorced, hadlost their husbands or children, or who had no father or mother. Life wasdifficult for my grandma, for sure! I respect her courage to leave her husband.She left a harmful marriage, and raised three children alone.

My grandmatried not to be like her mother. Unfortunately, without realizing it, she hadinherited many of her mother's traits, including sexual discrimination. Sheallowed my uncles to attend school but not my mom because "A talented womanhas no virtue." I've heard her say this proverb since I waslittle.

During this time, China separated into two parts, left and right.The factories stopped producing and farmers stopped planting. Students read andrecited The Collection of Chairman Mao. Leftists and rightists fought for tenyears, and millions died. Many didn't understand what was happening; some wereshot by strangers while walking down the street. Even beliefs within familieswere split, with fathers and sons having different opinions. Husbands and wiveskilled each other.

My uncle was a young man during that time. He was veryintelligent and articulate, but one day on his way home from school, he wasattacked by a group. The next morning, he was found bloodied and dazed. From thattime on, he seldom spoke, and never told anyone what had happened that night. Herefused to go outside, or cut his hair. Everyone believed he had a psychologicalproblem, which hurt my grandma deeply.

My grandma has suffered a lot. Herlife has taught me that being a woman in China was extremely difficult. She hastaught me to be strong and appreciate my life. I feel lucky when I compare myselfwith millions of others.

I will never forget my grandma's story. I willtell it to my children, and my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren. I wantthem to remember why we came here.






Stone Soup by Aditi G., New City, NY









   


By Aisha R., Washington, D.C.


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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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