Last October, three generations of our Lee and Young family burned incense and paper money to celebrate our Mom, Sister, Aunt and Grandma’s life, to help her on the journey to her next life - her “Home-going” as they say in Taiwan.
My mother was born in 1934, in Nanjing, China. Her father was a secretary in the National Air Force. When she was three years old, the Sino-Japanese War started, and my mother and her family moved to the western part of China in the Szechuan province. Later three sisters and two brothers were born. My grandma had to work very hard. She was very diligent and talented. The whole family drank homemade soybean drink and home-prepared dishes. All six children wore warm clothes, hats, scarves and gloves that were hand-knit by my grandma.
When the Communists took over China, the family moved to Taiwan, where my mother finished high school and university. She was good at all types of sports — softball (catcher position), volleyball, basketball (even though she was the shortest in her family) and competitive swimming. At Taiwan Normal University she trained as a teacher. She left Taiwan in 1958 to teach Chinese and Math in modern Hong Kong. My father also studied at Taiwan University and then went to work in Hong Kong as a social worker. They met through their University alumni association and in 1965 got married.
Marcia Penfold’s arrival into the world was recorded on a small piece of brown paper in curly whirly Burmese script on the 19th of November, 1935. I have omitted her middle name as she has never liked it!
My mom’s name is Lorenca Gutteres da Conceicão. She was born in small village called Suai in 1948.
Lorenca’s father died a week before she was born. What a life for my grandma without a husband. She couldn’t do much to look after my mom and her sister, Aquilina. She was only a housewife without a job. When Lorenca’s mother’s mother heard the news, she went to Suai to bring my mother and her daughters to live with her in another village called Aitutu.
My mother’s name is Etelvina Lopes. She was born in Sub-district Quelicai, District Baucau, on June 8th, 1933.
My mother was the first baby of the family, born at the foot of Matebian Mountain, the second tallest mountain in Timor. Etelvina’s great grandfather was the Chief of Lacoliho Village in Quelicai. His eldest son replaced him after his death. The second, Etelvina’s grandfather, moved to Baguia to be the Chief of Ossuna Village, following the Rota, a traditional ruling tool.
Thus, Etelvina grew-up in Baguia.
My mother, Rosa Han, was born in the small town of Buyeo, in the Southern Choongchung Province of South Korea on June 15th, 1946.
Although the Korean war broke out when Rosa was four, and lasted for three bloody years, my mother’s life in the country side was largely unaffected by the fighting. That is not to say that her early years were free of conflict, or that she bears no scars from that time.
My mom, Miyoko, was born in Kishiwada city in Osaka, Japan on April 28th of 1934. Her mother was Mitsuko, 28 years old, and her father Jitaro, 44 years old. They also had a 7 year old daughter, Emiko, and a 3 year old son, Akira. Her father was an internist at Momoyamab Hospital in Osaka and her mother stayed at home to take care of their children.
My Mother was born to a Christian family on May 25, 1912 in Rangoon, Burma and was fifth in a family of six boys and six girls. Her name was Beaulah, Muriel, Edna, May Andrews. Her Mother was from South India and dark and her Father was from England and white with red hair. Even though he was the only child he was ostracized by his family for marrying an Indian whereupon he changed his last name, we think from Bean to Andrews which was his Mother’s maiden name. We never knew anything about my grandfather’s family, except that his father was supposed to have been an Admiral in the Navy. Her Dad worked as a rice mill Engineer and they lived in a house built over a graveyard. As we were growing up we heard many a ghost story from my Mum about that old graveyard!
My mom’s name is Nhan Thi Nguyen. She was born in North Vietnam in 1931. She grew up in a small village a few hours from Hanoi called Ha Dong. Her father’s last name was Nguyen and her mother’s was Dang.