Clocking in on Sundays

Interaction with one’s parents here, translated…

Later on, I’d stopped asking her, “Are we going to the church services tomorrow?”, doesn’t matter, my mother always had to work, for all the years, Sunday became my mother’s workday, she never took a day off.

Because my mother’s not taking her weekends off, I was in the elementary years, and I’d gotten used to waking up early on Sundays, the morning news, after breakfast, I’d had to prepare myself to answer whether or not I wanted accompany my mom to the factory, or to go with dad, to the ball courts.  The answer was always the latter, I enjoyed following my father’s softball team all over, as they’d competed, and, only once in a while, would I accompany mom to the factory, as she pulled in her overtime, she’d often gone to work alone.

Working her extra shifts alone, my mother drove me to the textile mill next to the iron tower by the mountains, and, on the ride there, the sceneries were never the same, constantly changing, as my mother rode on, she’d commented on how beautiful the weather was, and even the owner’s wife didn’t show up.  After she’d parked her motorcycle, we’d walked in, to the small temporary shack, and, worked around in the darkness: my mother went to turn on the lights, then, set the eight textile machines parallel to each other, and started working, at which time, I’d rush to the clock, took out my mother’s timesheet, then, push it down hard, fearing, that she’d not earned the extra second she was there.

I’d paid close attention to that time-punch clock for a very long time, it was a clock, with an alarm, I’d cared even MORE about the rack with the timesheets stacked in it.  The white paper, with the blue strips, showing the employees’ names, there were, over twenty in the stack, and, during the regular working days, the employees had to stand in life to get their time punched in, back then, the economy was really well, and, there were three shifts, and, maybe, twenty time cards is nothing, but, it’s grand scale, in a place where there are rarely any job openings.

I recalled, that there are only single characters for the first AND the last names, nicknames, like those in small groups, calling each other secretively, I’d read the privacies and the ordinariness of this factory, imagined how the workers would laugh and talk during their lunch hours, and, one of the voices was my mother’s, does she also have her friends, her own feelings, and things she can’t tell other people about too?  There was a “Zhou” in my mother’s name, and that, was all she put down on her time card, the strokes looked very strong, with one look, I’d found her, I recall that there was a card that said, “Huen”, as in “meats” in Chinese, I’d started in a game of questions and answers with my mother in the factory, and, while the machines worked, I couldn’t make out her words, only her lips, as well as the fragmented conversations, with the fragments of the conversations, I’d started, piecing together, how “Huen” looks, what she was like, what was going on in her family, how she’d gotten along with her in-laws, in the end, I’d understood, that she was “Fen”, instead of “Huen”; there was also a western name, Lily, Mary, most of them were middle school graduates who were just, part-timing in the country, they will soon, quit, and head over to Shan-Hua or to Tainan, to find other jobs; there was a “Ming”, I’d often heard my mother told of an older woman named, “Ming”, and, I’d actually found her on the card racks, my mother smiled and said, that I could help her get her time punched in, and, once, I’d found someone else with the same character in her name, and noticed how she’d wrote the characters super large, I’m used to write it fine, my mother told me, that next week, “Ming” will be in, for the extra shifts, and that she will introduce her to me, actually, I am kinda scared.

Later on, I’d used this names of this time puncher clock, to use as the characters in my stories, I know, that behind every timesheet, there’s a story of a working woman.

And so, this is how the memories of the childhood years, can have such a huge influence on someone’s life, and, this person must’ve had some amazing time with his mother, at work, on Sundays, sharing things that they wouldn’t normally, at home, or on regular weekdays.


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Filed under Cost of Living, Family Matters, Interpersonal Relations, Life, Parent-Child Interactions, Properties of Life, Socialization, Story-Telling

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