A Story from my Gung Gung’s Childhood

The titles of my posts just keep getting longer and longer.

We recently celebrated my grandpa’s birthday, and I made him this silly card.

It’s definitely not my prettiest work, but it’s the thought that counts! The design of the card is supposed to represent exciting things that have happened/will happen this year – the Blue Jays doing better than usual, his trip to Hong Kong, and the birth of the best great-grandson ever! This was also the first year I wrote something more than just “Happy Birthday” in the card. My Chinese is limited, but my mother’s is not, so I just told her what I wanted to say and she wrote it out and I copied it and it looks like a child wrote it. But again, it’s the thought that counts!

As my grandparents age, I keep trying to get them to squeeze out stories of their youth, but for some reason they’re very tight-lipped about it. (Example: I asked my grandma how she and my grandpa met and she said very bluntly, “Work,” and then left it at that.)

This year at my grandpa’s birthday celebration, I lucked out in the storytelling department – my grandpa’s brother spilled the beans! I’ve always wondered what my family members were up to during the Second World War, and I finally got some answers.

When the Japanese army invaded Hong Kong, many people fled to China, my grandparents included. My grandpa lived with his older sister and her husband, but attended a boarding school a few hours’ WALK away. Imagine the distance from downtown Toronto to Newmarket! My grandpa walked that distance every weekend to visit his siblings. Along the way, there was the occasional soldier or patrol person with a gun, and my grandpa’s brother would wait anxiously every time my grandpa made that long journey home. There was also something about my grandpa running around and having fun even though it was dangerous? (The language barrier, you know how it is.)

I’m very thankful for these (much) older people in my life. They’re all such wonderful examples of Christ and they’ve definitely played a huge role in shaping who I am today. Grandparents are just so great! (For this last paragraph, I changed the pronoun to plural because if my grandma could read this, she would want to be included – she read all of my grandpa’s birthday cards before he did because of course she is crucial to all of his success and prosperity and needs to be thanked! At least that’s what most old Chinese grandmas believe.)


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