Finally, last Saturday, my family moved into a new home we bought in 2014. For days I have been busy decorating the apartment. One of the things was collecting some memorable photos to hang on the wall. Like this one, the belongings of my grandfather who was the only one in our home village who returned from the war.
Born as farmers, my parents never knew how to protect or use them, nor could they read much. When I was little and my grandfather still alive, they were all put in a metal box without a lock under his bed. After his death, the box was abandoned in a dark corner under the stairs. So gradually, the Certificate was eaten by bugs and the diary torn up by someone little by little. When I was studying in primary school, the Certificate wasn’t broken, the diary was complete and I would read it time and again. For some reason, they mean a lot more to me than anyone in my family. So in December 2013, I brought them to Shenzhen and they are now safe with me.
My grandfather was half blind half deaf, with one leg disabled due to the bombs and bullets. He used to tell war stories, sing military songs, give us riddles and make us laugh. He was so strange as whatever the season he would wear the same uniforms and bathe himself in the river from time to time. Where there was a shadow of him, there were kids laughing as he raised his voice like thunder and laughed like a storm.
According to the Certificate, as the family of a soldier, we should have been given some favored treatment. But after the war, my grandfather returned home as he was told and had written in his diary – “A soldier should obey the orders, go home and make productions.”
Yet, it seemed only a piece of paper buried in the darkness and my grandfather a forgotten soldier. Even when I had shown one copy to the related people in college, no one took it seriously or they just said coldly, “Out of time, useless”. Thus we still have no idea about the “favored treatment”.
As our home village is dying and even the villagers stopped celebrating Dragon Boat Festival and other things two years ago, about my grandfather, seemingly only the glory of his life and some memories are left.