Four Photos

Thanks for inventing the photograph technique, so that people can take pictures of their daily lives and then remember past events that were happy or sad.  A picture is a record of a family’s history and a witness to the development of the family.   I would like to introduce my four pictures to you.

The first is a small black and white photo. It was taken in the early 1970s, more than thirty-five years ago.  Looking at the picture lets me recollect the past.It was the period of the Cultural Revolution in China. We lived in a hard time. We worked six days a week.  In the daytime our two daughters were sent to a daycare center.  We were always busy working in an office and at home. Every month we waited for payday.  It was the hardest time for us, but it was the most perfect time because it was the first time our family lived together. The picture was taken one Sunday morning in Summer.  We walked on the main street of the capital city of Inner Mongolia. We walked on our way to the city park, which was the kids’ favorite place.  I held my two daughters’ hands, one was four years old, the other was six. They held my hands and ate apples.  My husband walked behind us.We were a lovely family. It was the first picture that captured the four of us.  Afterwards, and before, we were separated more than we were together, so we have only one picture of the whole family when our children were young.  It is my favorite picture. It makes me feel both happy and sad.

The second picture was taken at Changsha, Hunan, in South China. It was a Summer vacation day. We went to the park. Our daughters had grown to be teenagers. In the pictures, their faces show that they now had their own opinions, but they still depended on us, their parents. We lived together again. The background is the front door of the ancient college called Yue Lu Shu Yuan. We went there often.

The third photo was taken one evening in winter. We stayed home,talking and laughing because my elder daughter had come back from Shanghai, where she worked and was a part-time college student. The weather was very bad in Changshai,rainy, with ice and cold, but my home was always warm. My daughters recalled their beautiful childhoods, when we all lived together. Then both of them picked up the apple,asking to take a picture again. The picture was taken by my elder daughter’s boyfriend.

The last picture was taken in 1996, when I returned home eight years after I left China. I saw my two granddaughters for the first time, when they were four years old .We were six people in the picture. We stand in front of a restaurant. My younger son-in-law took the picture. My family grew from two people to eight. We became a large family. It is good that family pictures are available to people. It is their life’s record, helping them remember the past, both good and bad, cherish the present and create the future.