A few months ago, I had the bizarre idea of compiling the stories of women in my family.
Why the women, you may ask? And what is so special about their stories?
Firstly, the generations of my parents and my grandparents had spent significant portions of their lives during war times. This was not limited to only internationally significant incidents like the Second World War, and the Vietnam War, but also the 100-year occupation of Taiwan by the Japanese, and the ‘Liberalisation’ of China (in 1949) by the communists. Furthermore, one way or another, the women had played prominent roles in the upkeep of the family.
Both my paternal and maternal grandmothers, PG and MG for short, became widows at a relatively young age. My late PG had five (one adopted from her good friend) children under her care, at a time of scarce resources and when Taiwan was often bombed by the American forces during WWII. My MG, with three children, experienced at first hand the cruelty of communists in China, then in North Vietnam, before she finally settled in South Vietnam.
Secondly, I think it is important for each individual to be aware of his/her own family history. I am sure I will learn a lot about my family as I do more research into the past. And, finally, I guess deep down there is this desire to acknowledge the long line of lives which led, ultimately, to me! 🙂
Along this line of thought, the book My Place by Sally Morgan springs to mind. She is an half-aboriginal girl who did not know her aboriginal origins until she was fifteen, and for many years subsequently was perplexed why her family had withheld the truth from her. Many years later, she set out on a spiritual search for her aboriginal heritage and ‘rocked the boat’ in the process. As a result, she re-affirmed her own identity and set an example for many people like her.
For now, for the lack of time, this idea of mine shall remain just a dream – until I can get some peace and quiet to concentrate on this monumental task.