Special Grandma


Story of “Special Grandma”

Special Grandma's House1

“Special grandma” was NOT of a typical grandma age. She’s more like my mom’s age. “Special grandma” did not become a real grandma until when I was around 14. She’s simply a close friend of my mom, and kindly enough to bring me up under her roof. I could have called her “special mom” if I had an adult brain at that time. But I didn’t. Mom was too busy with meeting orders of custom clothes for villagers, and dad was too busy with part time carpentry work at that time. They were had no time to take care of me. In my childhood eyes, no parents could be so caring as my “special grandma”, so I naturally referred to her as “The Special Grandma”, which has stuck with me ever since.

I was told that my older brother was confined to a wooden chair in maternal grandparents’ front yard so he wouldn’t run about the village to get himself lost. Myself, being their second born, was reared up in “Special grandma’s” care, and had more freedom to roam about.

So, there should be a person with the title of “special grandpa”, correct?

Well, I referred to him using his real name, “Ying Guan”. The “silver officer”, as the name implies. The “silver officer” married “special grandma” at his age of 14, and he humorously recounted that it was a hard, bitter winter, and a dowry of winter blanket would save him much misery. So the marriage was proposed by him at 14 and they got married quite happily ever since. Hardly did I see any couple living so harmoniously together.

“Special grandma” once had a wooden house of humble appearance. On one side, connected to the house was a wooden pig pen, also put together using an ancient technique called “mortise and tenon”. On the other side was a tiny open yard dedicated to cloth lines and passing villagers. When the original wooden house was torn down, the new house was built with bricks and mortar. “Special grandma” laid out the bricks as perfectly as possible by painstakingly filling in mortar cavities with pennies.


“Silver officer” & “Special grandma” built their brick house themselves. To compensate for any crookedness of bricks, pennies like these below were used to wedge in between the bricks.



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