Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father Day

Today is Father Day. Every one has a father. My father was an ordinary man. He did not talk much, he just worked very hard to support family and educated his kids. I was born few years after my parents married. At that time, people should have baby soon after marriage. Otherwise, husbands had the right to have another woman in oder to have his kids. I heard from my relatives that mom begged my father to wait a couple more years which I thought my father did and, under those circumstances, I was born. My Daddy was very happy to have his first child. My mother told me when I was sick with running nose, my father used his mouth to clean my nose. There was no Kleenex those days. My Daddy specially designed and made a carriage to fit his bicycle. He carried me from village to village when I was an infant. My grandfather passed away when my Dad was very young. I did not see my grandfather.

Since my father was the eldest son in the family, he had to take care of the family- his mother, younger brother, and two sisters. So he left village to learn how to do business when he was a teenager. Three years later, he opened his own store. But, it was not easy for him to run a business. One of my father’s friend suggested to find a job on ships since my father was a very handy man. So he left home to work on ships. For first 6 months, he was on probation and had no salary and, in addition, he had to pay his own food. It was a very difficult time. My mother helped to take care of me and ran family farm at village. Six months later, my father had his first pay check and our life changed for the better. He bought my mother and me lots of fancy stuffs we had never seen before. All these stories were from my mother. He never said anything about it.

I only remembered one thing he said about his work at ship. Once the machine to make the drinking water on the ship was broken, he had to fix it. However, there were no parts available. He had to make the part from scratch. He made it with few tools availabe on the ship and his boss was very happy and impressed.

Life on ship was very boring. I visited his ship and stay overnight when I was a graduate student at the JHU. It was in 1967 or 1968. My roommate gave me a ride to New York city and dropped me off on the street nearby the terminal. Then I took a taxi to my father’s ship. It was pretty dangerous area. I did not think I would have the courage to do it now. My Daddy let me used his suite and we made Wanton soup for snake that night. I wrote him the first check out of my scholarship. He joked about check and I knew he was very happy and proud.

Although my father did not have much education, he did provide his kids with education. Secondly, my father did not like me to marry a man working on ship. Since our family has lots of friends who worked on the ships and they would like me to get married to their sons instead to going to college. My parents did not do that. Especially, my father did not like that idea. He wanted me to marry a man working in the office and be home every day. He said with both college graduates, working together are the best.

I just stop here and say Happy Father Day.

3 comments:

Doris said...

I remember your father when I was very little and he was making all that beautiful furniture. I rememeber dancing on his bench and playing with the curls of wood on the floor when he planed all the pieces of wood.

Old Donald said...

I don't really have any good memories of our grandfather. I didn't know he worked on a ship even. I suppose that makes sense sincec our uncle has followed his footsteps... Just curious how much influence he had in you going to engineering?

Rena said...

Donald, my father did not have any influenec on me of being an Engineer since my father was in Taiwan at that time when I was in mainland. He left Shanghai in 1949 on his ship. At that time my Mom was pregnant. My father could not take us with him so he moved us back to his village home. Two months after my father left, my bother was born. My brother saw our father fist time when he was 11 years old.

My Chemistry and Math were very good when I was in HS. As a matter of fact, my first choice was Tsing-Hua University (MIT of China), majoring Chemical Engineering. Even I got perfect scores on my math, I was not admitted to that univesity because my family backgroud with overseas connection and as former landlord. I was addmitted to Tien-Jin Univesity which both of you visited and was my 7th choice, major in mechanical engineering. Afterward, I went to Taiwan, I finished my college education and graduated from the National Taiwan University. I met your Daddy there while we both were teaching assistants.