Fulfilling a dream of his late father-in-law, translated…
My father-in-law had always been an enigma to me, he’d never told us anything about his past, we only knew, that he was from a well-rounded family in Shaoxing, Zhejiang, and started working as a sailor when he was only eighteen, nineteen years of age, and followed that merchant ship to Taiwan at age twenty, and, never went back home again.
He had kept the diaries for long, but, never allowed us to read them, he’d told, “I’m not writing a diary, just whatever that came to my mind, I’d jotted it down, if you’re interested about my past, then, you can read it, after I’m a hundred.” After he’d passed, as I’d helped sorted through his belongings, I’d, read through the more than twenty volumes of diaries my late father-in-law had, kept, mostly were the nitty-gritty of goings on in life, but, there was this, light blue notebook, on the first page, it’d had the historical pickle farm in his ancestral home in Shaoxing, with the names of all of his siblings, and he’d told of how his life in Taiwan wasn’t what he’d expected it to be, but, he’d refused to go back, due to how tough he was.
a notebook like this…
Because there’s no record of which pickle farm, we’d searched online, and found there were, several, but, there’s only one farm with the owners being, Chen, “the Chien-Yu Pickle Farm”, and, at its prime, it was, the historical pickle farm in all of China. At that very moment, I’d, written to the Shaoxing Province connection here in Taiwan, hoped that they can help us find my father-in-law’s ancestral home, at the same time, if there are still living relatives of his there. Not long thereafter, the letter from the Chinese local governments told us, that my father-in-law’s eldest brother is still alive, but he’s in a vegetative state, bedridden through the ages, and there were, five cousins, and his youngest aunt who’s still living.
At the end of 2011,my wife and I accompanied my mother-in-law to my father-in-law’s place of origin, Shaoxing, at the same time, we’d also gone to visit my wife’s eldest uncle who’s bedridden. During the visit, my mother-in-law whispered in her eldest brother-in-law’s ears, “I’m the wife of Rong Hong, we had come home to visit you.”, and, everybody who was there, saw that our eldest uncle who’d been in a vegetative state, with tears coming from his eyes.
Two days after we’d returned back to Taiwan, my wife’s older female cousin called to tell, that eldest uncle is gone, that he was in peace when he passed.
And so, this elderly man is, waiting for that word of his loved one who’d come to Taiwan, and, he’d, finally gotten what he was waiting for, as he’d, passed away in peace, and, the family had, helped fulfilled the older generation’s dreams of returning home to visit his own kin.