Sunday, November 18, 2007

priceless photos

Yesterday I visited my uncle who lives in Taipei. During the end of the 1940s, he was a boy in China, and visiting his uncle in the army. When the losing army withdrew to Taiwan, they took him with them in the chaos.

He exchanged a few letters with my grandparents, but later communications were severed between China and Taiwan. There was no more contact between them for the next 40 years. My grandfather passed away without seeing his son again.

My mother met my uncle for the first time at age 41.

But that's a story for another day.

I visited his house yesterday, and he brought out a photo album of old photos. Some were from his own life, and some were sent by my parents throughout the years.

This was sent by my grandfather before communications were severed. It's my grandparents and four of their children. That's my mother in the upper right.

I stared at this photo for at least ten minutes. The facial features of each of my uncles are clearly visible in the faces of these children.

On the back of the photo is a caption written by my grandfather, labeling each of the people. It is the only time in my life that I've seen my grandfather's handwriting. I couldn't stop staring at it.

A picture from my toddler days in China. That's my grandmother, then me (looking super-fat), and my mother (looking super-gorgeous).

This is a photo of my parents and me. My parents sent my uncle this photo years ago as a keepsake.

I really like the pants I'm wearing in the picture. I think I'm going to buy a pair just like that, and wear them around Google.


Caustic Dave said...

A very touching post. Reminds me of when I look at old photos (that I must scan ASAP) of my great-grandmother and my dad.

Anonymous said...

You look so much like your mom.

John K. Lin said...

Very cool photos and I'll second the comment on a very touching post.

The one with you, your mother and grandmother - that's at the Summer Palace, correct? (kind of hard not to remember the stone boat)

ArC said...

I think my mom had a similar hairstyle. And glasses. And blouse.

Dave said...

cool...I think every first generation or immigrant kid from china has similar photos in their collection: black and white of the folks, faded color posing in front of something very american- a car, a large green lawn, or a bbq/campground setting.

ArC said...

Dave, is that a Chinese thing? I always assumed that's just what North American family photos were like in the late 60s and throughout most of the 70s.

I see now that of course my sample was heavily skewed.

ArC said...

and by "70s", I mean 70s /and/ early 80s. ahem.

Niniane said...

> You look so much like your mom.

Wow, that's a huge compliment. Thank you!!


finch said...

nostalgic post :) remind me of my long lost grandfather
you have your mother's eyes and lips :)

mahlen said...

John K Lin, yes, that's the stone boat at the Summer Palace near Beijing. I have a picture from two years, and as you say, hard not to remember.

Mike said...

The pants rock

Anonymous said...

Wow, your childhood actually is much better than many poor children in China today! Have you thought of helping some children in need in China?

Melting pot said...

The family was so proud that they had to send a photo of their used Chevy Chevette to the people in the old country...

All of those pictures are cool.
You've always been cute.

I like the third one.

So Americana.

Almost looks midwest.