Monday, October 21, 2013

recording our history

My grandfather was an obstetrician. My mother was the first to hold me, after the nurse, my father was second. My grandfather was in prison at the time of my birth, the communist had gone after any bourgeois family that threatened them. Imprisoned for six years. He was freed when I was one year old, and from then stuck by my side devoutly.

When my mother was little girl, maybe seven or eight, she witness him save a life. They were walking down our neighborhood. She remembers him suddenly letting go of her hand and running across the street. He had caught a boy, with his bare hands, who had fallen from the balcony of his house, two stories up. Motorcycles screeched to a stop, people cried out and some screamed, while my mother bursted into tears from the commotion. They lauded him as a hero that day. He accompanied the boy to the hospital and overlooked his care. He stayed with him until he was in stable condition.

The boy grew up and went on to fight in the Vietnam War. When he died his mother came over to our house and they cried together.

He used to take me to grade school with on his bike in the mornings, and wait to pick me up. It was tradition to grab a banh bo, a sweet rice cake, on the way. We always get it from the same lady who sells them. One day I was walking to school with some friends and thought it perfectly acceptable to take one for myself since they were mines to take anyways. The lady made a note and stopped my grandfather on his way to pick me up that after, to cover the cost of my rice cake.


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