The Story of My Father（7-8) 我的父親（7-8）
One day when I was in the fourth grade in elementary school, a classmate suddenly whispered to me, “Jiang Qing is a big bad egg!”
I was really frightened by this “outrageous” claim. Isn’t Jiang Qing the “closest comrade-in-arms” and wife of “our Grand Leader Chairman Mao”? How can she be a “big bad egg”? How dare my classmate make such a frightening statement? Wouldn’t she be immediately regarded as an “active counter-revolutionary”?
But this frightening rumor turned out to be true very soon. The “Gang of Four” headed by Jiang Qing was really brought down. I didn’t know that this also meant that “the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” which had brought endless disasters to millions of families, and which had caused more than 7 million deaths, had finally ended.
I only remember that as a member of the performing arts group in school, we were required to stand under the scorching sun to wait for the arrival of the “Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, Vol. 5”, which would come from the faraway capital city of the county with big fanfare, loaded in big trucks and decorated with many red flags.
It was an extremely hot day. The sun was so fierce that even the tar on the road was melting. When the long convoy carrying “Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung” finally arrived, we were asked to sing and dance to show our joy. However, my shoes were glued by the melted tar, and I couldn’t dance or walk at all, making me feel like crying.
After a period of time, I suddenly heard that the legal system, including the public security organs, procuratorial organs, and people’s courts, which were all “smashed” during the “Cultural Revolution,” were all to be restored, and that people with professional knowledge were highly demanded. As a result, my father, who graduated from the Southwest University of Political Science & Law, was going to be transferred back to Mianyang and work at the newly established Justice Bureau!
Mianyang! That was the capital city of the region, second only to Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province. I heard about this city a lot, but had never had the chance to visit it since childhood. I felt very excited.
However, the Party didn’t arrange for my mother to go as well, as there was no “manning quota” for my mother in Mianyang.
Although my parents absolutely didn’t want to be separated again, it was a good thing to be able to return to the bigger city from the remote small town, and to do a job that suited my father’s professional training. Isn’t there an old saying in China that “people should walk towards higher places”?
Furthermore, my parents believed that if my sister and I could go to Mianyang to study, we would have a better opportunity to attend a good university in the future.
On the contrary, if we stayed at such a small town as Hanwang, we wouldn’t get very far in society. In my mother’s words, the only street in town was so short that one could even cover it from the start to the end when one fell down to the ground.
Although I had always been the No. 1 student in Hanwang Elementary School in terms of exam scores, my mother never failed to remind me, “It’s just like being a general amongst a group of dwarfs.” She would also always remind me to remember that “there are higher heavens beyond this one, and there is always someone better.”
So, in order that two generations of our family could have a better future, after just being reunited for several years, our family was once again split into two: my older sister and I went to Mianyang with my father; whilst my younger sister stayed at Hanwang with my mother.
（To be continued 待續 ）