The story of my old house and me

I. Huizhou-style architecture in the Republic of China

In 1959, my father was beaten into the right-leaning when he was working in the Anhui Provincial Party Committee’s financial mouth, our family was sent from Hefei to Jing County in southern Anhui, my mother arranged to work in the Jing County Food Bureau, our family lived in the Jing County Food Bureau.

Jing County Grain Bureau is a whitewashed black tile a few deep into the old Huizhou-style buildings, from the degree of obsolescence of the wood panels at least the Republic of China buildings. Employees live in the office canteen and all the office life in this Huizhou-style mansion, the street gate is a small world inside.

Grain Bureau of the street is a double-opened gate, the scale is larger than the above picture, the Internet can only search this memory of the most similar old house pictures.

The gatekeeper is a fifty-year-old lean old man named Sun, for some reason I was afraid to see this old man when I was a child, he saw me laughing or wringing my face, I was so scared that I wanted to cry every time I entered and left the gates of the Food Bureau are trembling, try not to draw the attention of the old man Sun.

The picture below is the location of my family in the emblematic mansion of the county grain bureau. The right room for the whole family is only a room of about ten square feet, the whole room has only a small window opposite the door, the room is very dark, and the wood panels are not soundproof. To the right of the door is a small bed against the wall where the parents sleep, opposite the window is a large frame bed, we 5 children are crammed into a bed.

I remember that we children were often so hungry that we were dizzy, our mouths were dripping with water, and we hated to chew mud, and every day we ate barley paste without washing the bowl and licking it clean.

Once wrote a three-year hardship memories, an excerpt: in 1959, my father was beaten right-leaning when working in the provincial party committee, sent to Jing County reeducation through labor, our family followed the move to Jing County. This is exactly: the house leak in the night rain, we caught three years of difficulties. From this fall from heaven to hell, struggling on the line of death, leaving an indelible memory of hungry meals.

At that time, my mother was implicated by my father’s problems transferred from the provincial party committee to Jing County, and did not make mistakes themselves. So the organization “great kindness”, she arranged to work in the Jing County Food Bureau, which is the main reason why our family was not starved to death later to survive.

Jing County Grain Bureau was located in a Hui-style residence in Chengguan. Push open the two doors there are a total of three. On both sides were wood-paneled compartments, and in the middle was a patio. As a staff dormitory, my family took a room in the right compartment. At the end of the courtyard is a row of gray brick bungalows, which is the office of the Grain Bureau. Now that I think about it, the whole grain bureau is also equivalent to a large family.

Whenever the night came, the Grain Bureau door was closed, and we were enveloped in the atmosphere of anticipation.

In order to save themselves the grain bureau let the family raise pigs, divided the pig feed rice bran mother brought home, with sieve sieve rice bran in the broken rice, we five children blearily around mother, waiting for that brown throat bran rice porridge to fill the hunger. In the end, the piglets raised by the grain bureau families all died, and people didn’t have to eat what to feed the pigs? It is estimated that the distribution of piglets to send rice bran is the trick that the grain bureau does for self-help, fortunately someone thought of this play. I remember one day the staff of the grain bureau were killing the piglets, and my mother spent the whole day cleaning up the dead pig which was as big as a puppy, and the whole compound of the grain bureau was covered with joyful atmosphere, and the children were running around happily.

We have not only eaten dead pork but also eaten dead horse meat, not far from the grain bureau where there is a horse farm, the grain bureau is how to get the dead horse meat is unknown, it is estimated that the feed for.

Our family also raised geese. Every morning we a few young children (the biggest brother is only 7 years old), in the cold wind stumbled to drive the geese to the field to eat grass, hungry to pull sorghum sticks as sugar cane chewing, but also eat sorghum on a black fungus buds, we call it “black bread”, release the geese when each found a “black bread “We will cheer up.

Dirty things to eat more children have roundworm spots on their faces, once adults gave us to eat roundworm “pagoda candy”, we children lined up in the field poop, white flowers are roundworms scared each other dare not look, defecate half of the roundworm refused to come out had to use their hands to drag, sometimes drag out a foot long to.

In the Jing County Food Bureau for a period of time, every late at night when people are quiet, my mother gently woke us up, in the half-asleep half-awake we stumbled to the cafeteria, from the people in the small hand out in the basin to shoot two yam poop, waiting for the two rotten yams made of poop cooked according to the head. Sometimes, before the poop reached the mouth, we heard the door of the Food Bureau being beaten loudly, and someone shouted outside: “The chimney is smoking, come quickly, the people in the Food Bureau are stealing food again!” A look from the cook, we immediately extinguished the lamp (kerosene lamp) and left, quietly slipped back to the house.

Almost every night, the grain bureau has to make a big noise. The main thing was the theft of the grain warehouse outside the backyard. There were 100-watt light bulbs lit around the warehouse all night long and guarded, and every night from 1:00 to 4:00 a.m. people always came to dig holes in the walls of the warehouse, to the point of open fire.

I remember the orphanage on the way to school, I often curiously outside the iron gate to look in: it was crowded with 2-5, 6-year-old children (a little older orphans assigned to the institutions, the Food Bureau also assigned an 8, 9-year-old orphan), there were as many as a hundred people, each eye droppings paste eyes, can not open, ragged clothes, unkempt face, all the children are All the children were holding a broken bowl in their hands, scrambling to the side of a wooden bucket containing thin rice. A middle-aged woman was shouting and scolding as she used a spoon to scoop up the thin porridge in the bucket and distribute it to the little orphans who flocked to her. The scene was even more miserable than the one in “Orphan Mist”! The tragic situation in the orphanage has always remained in my memory, lingering.

Once I saw a 12- or 13-year-old child walking nicely on the street in Chengguan Town and suddenly shouted, “I’m hungry! Then he ran forward a few steps and collapsed, and the starving people could be seen everywhere.

On the 30th night of 1960, five of us children gathered around our mother and asked for a meal of white rice without dried yams or mixed grains for the New Year’s Eve dinner. Surprisingly, my mother agreed. When we were stir-frying vegetables, my mother pretended to have poured oil into the pot, which is usually not used in cooking, and put a few drops of oil on the cooked vegetables, we clapped our hands together and cheered, shouting, “Don’t scoop it back! No scooping back!” That was a New Year’s Eve meal I will never forget.

From 1959 to 1962 just four years, Jing County Grain Bureau, this house, carrying my life can not let go of the memory of hunger, engraved in my heart.

Second, Wuhu prefectural party committee’s “county governor building”

In the early sixties, Zhangjiashan was the location of Wuhu prefectural party committee, and in 1964, the committee built some houses in phases on the large former cemetery hill and wasteland, and the earliest one was a small red building with two 3-story buildings, which was a house with kitchen and bathroom sets just like the present commercial houses, called “county governor’s building”, mainly allocated to regional county-level cadres. In addition, some small sets were allocated to section-level or general cadres to live.

My family moved into the small red building as soon as it was built in 1965, living on the second floor of the west side. 55 years have passed, and now my brother still lives in this red building of more than 70 square feet with a bathroom and kitchen, and now most of the tenants have moved out, and the remaining tenants are waiting to be demolished.

The small red building is the longest house our family has lived in, and I have witnessed all the events here in the ten years of the Cultural Revolution, from the raids and parades to the armed struggles of the rebels and the gun grabbing by the Red Guards.

On July 13, 1967, marked by the “July 13 Incident”, a large-scale armed conflict broke out between two rival rebel groups in Wuhu, with a series of flares piercing the night and the sound of intensive gunfire resounding over Wuhu. When people were in a state of panic, news came in the second half of 1967 that “Wuhu Sihai” had come to the residents’ homes for armed robbery.

During the Cultural Revolution, all the people organized fighting teams, such as the “Iron Broom Fighting Team” organized by the cleaners, the “Bai Qiu En Fighting Team” organized by the medical and health departments, etc. The most absurd and ironic thing was the “Five Lakes and Four Seas” fighting team organized by the thieves and illiterates. The most absurd and ironic is the “Five Lakes and Four Seas” battle group (how aptly named), organized by thieves and blind men, who took advantage of the chaos to rob the residents at gunpoint. The residents had no choice but to organize themselves to defend themselves.

One evening, more than ten people from “Wuhu Sihai” came to Zhangjiashan, the location of the local committee, to rob them.

At that time, there were only two three-story buildings in Wuhu prefectural party committee, which were called “county governor’s building”, so they became the main target of robbery. My family was in the western most part of the building, and there was no cover, so people on the first and third floors did not dare to stay at home, and many people ran to my house on the second floor. My father was an old soldier who had fought in guerrilla warfare, and was regarded as the backbone of the whole building.

My house became the main battlefield with the robbers head-on.

That day, bending over the balcony to look out, we saw more than a dozen people bending over and creeping towards our building a few dozen meters away, holding guns in their hands from time to time to put a shot at our side.

The “eight hooks, eight hooks” the crisp sound of the gun chills me, I can not help but shiver up and down teeth chatter, three brothers but excited in the house straight scurry, in the father’s order everyone knocking hands with a basin shouting, the two sides confrontation for about half an hour, see our side has been prepared, the five lakes and four seas of the thieves had to retreat. .

Afterwards, I was ridiculed by my father and brothers for a long time because I did not shout and my legs were trembling and I could not speak, but they did not know that my fear was uncontrollable by my will, just like seeing the bloody scene of the dead, there was a voice in my heart “hurry up and get away”, but my legs were a thousand pounds heavy, so I could not run, I could only move my legs mechanically like a robot. Robot, I’m afraid that this phenomenon can only be explained by medicine.

It was at the end of June 1968 when I was living at home and facing the gunfire.

On the night of June 26, 1968, the two factions of Wuhu “United General” and “Three Chapters” acted one after another to rob the guns of the troops and prepare to arm themselves to destroy each other. My family lived in the local committee, which was also the leading organ of the Twelfth Army in Wuhu, and became the primary target of the rebel faction and the two factions.

That night, machine guns “da da da da”, rifles “ba hook ba hook” sound after sound, green tracer bullets flashing around my home, my home south west north all exposed to the range of stray bullets, I did not dare to stand in front of any of the windows of the home north, south and west. I walked around the house with my back bent, hating to lie under the bed to feel safe.

My father was the only one who laughed and analyzed the sound of gunfire and its source, and concluded that the garrison office to the west of my house, which was only about ten meters away, was the target, and that my house had actually become the target range. For a while, my father forgot his worries about being constantly criticized since the Cultural Revolution, and excitedly talked about shooting guns during the war years, about Browning and revolvers, about the 38 caps, and told us that the continuous “da da da da” was the sound of machine guns, and that the green light flashing in front of the window was tracer bullets… …

All night long, the sound of gunfire continued, and we did not sleep.

Wuhu Daqing Prison

After I got married and had a daughter in 1979, I left my mother’s house and moved into my new home – a big mansion in Section 6 of Wuhu Public Security Department, which is an old building of late Qing Dynasty and used to be Wuhu Qing Prison.

Wuhu Daqing Prison: late Qing Dynasty wall base, Republican brickwork, contemporary doors and windows.

The road outside the wall was originally a smoothly worn green stone slab, and the prison wall was 70 to 80 centimeters thick, and later all the families opened doors and windows on the prison wall.

I lived in “Da Qing Prison” for 12 years.

After my daughter was born in 1979, the Wuhu District Committee allocated a prison house of about 50 square meters to my family. At that time, the young couple could get such a big house, very happy, oh, and care whether it is a prison is not a cell, when moving over to know is the original prison 2 offices, it is the opposite of the real cell.

My house is divided into 2 large intervals into 4 small houses, like a rectangular “field” character. One meter behind the house is a tall solid prison wall, naturally forming a walkway, using this walkway, my family dug the stove and opened a window in the wall behind the house. Compared to the cell across the street, my row of gray brick houses looks more formal, and the occupants are basically cadres.

The residents of the cell across the street are all seven or eight square feet upstairs and downstairs, and they have to go through the watchtower in the middle of the prison to get around to the upper floors of their homes, or remodel and add a phi building or add a ladder in the seven or eight square feet, and each home is made like a maze.

The small tiles on the roof of the old house from the Republic of China period often leaked when they were in disrepair, and every time it rained heavily the roof had to be checked for leaks, and every time there was water under the house during the rainy season; and because the ceiling of five or six houses in a row was through, the mice made a lot of noise on the ceiling at night, sometimes like a thousand horses running, and I was always worried that they would fall down.

In this house my family bought the first electric fan, the first Narcissus single-cylinder washing machine, the first sewing machine, the first black-and-white television set, the first nylon mosquito net, older colleagues came to my house to play, are very envious. Throughout the 1980s, life was on the rise and people were full of hope for the future.

As the years went by, I lost the historical opportunity to take the college entrance examination because I got married and got pregnant the year it was resumed. At that time, the country had just emerged from the Cultural Revolution and had set things right. Looking back at the early 1980s, it was a wonderful era of vigor and positivity. The whole society was full of respect for knowledge and talent, and everyone wanted to make up for the lost time of the Cultural Revolution.

In those years, I dreaded to see the teachers and classmates of my alma mater, and the main topic of conversation was not being able to go to university and famous universities. So since the resumption of college entrance exams I have been doing back to school dream of studying, and work hard for it.

I remember when television began to enter the home, Hong Kong and Taiwan movies were popular in the mainland. In the summer of the early eighties, whenever it was late at night, the sound of “Shanghai Tang” was played around the courtyard of my house, I restrained myself from watching it, I didn’t have time to watch TV, I had to study. What a scene it was: I sat at my desk with my feet in a bucket (to cool down and prevent mosquito bites, at that time did not know what air conditioning is, electric fans are considered a luxury, just popular) to read and study, next to my daughter’s cradle, from time to time to shake …..

The residents of Daqing Prison were a hodgepodge of people, from cadres of the political and legal system, former prison guards to teachers and workers and even reformed prisoners, plus a quarter of the yard in front of the cell was the dormitory of the employees of the automobile engine factory, a total of 2,000 to 3,000 people lived there. The reason is that after the abolition of the prison function in the late Cultural Revolution, the former unhoused judicial supervision cadres lived in the cells. After that, the composition became more and more complicated, and when my family moved out in 1979, the whole Daqing prison cells were already full of people.

At that time, Wuhu people called the “Daqing Prison” Section 6 (public security), and my daughter lived there from birth until she graduated from elementary school. The daughter grew up like a boy, so she naturally became the head of her buddies, and every day she went crazy with the children in the front and back yards, so it was hard to find her during meals.

The Qing prison cells in the middle of a watchtower like a bunker, extending outward there are four in the shape of a cross of 2-story cells. Upstairs and down are numbered rooms of great size, it is estimated that there are 30 to 40 rooms on each floor. Each room number about seven or eight square, the floor is very good and a window. Living in the Qing prison cells in all the residents of the first floor opened the door, so that the home looks like an ordinary bungalow. But to go upstairs is too horrible, not only to go up the stairs from the bunker, the number above only a narrow corridor and a smooth cell, the whole building is empty in the middle like a “back” character, the middle of the space is full of cobwebs and rickety boards, almost no light very dark. Most of the residents have installed ladders up and down in their own homes to avoid the horror of crossing the long corridor from the middle bunker upstairs.

The most terrifying place is the middle bunker, which is dark and eerie in broad daylight. A narrow, almost vertical wooden ladder circled up to live in the home of one of my daughter’s little friends, Little Gigi. Every time I ascended the rickety staircase, I thought of the movie “Secret Drawings”, a great place to shoot a horror movie.

A released prisoner of labor lives on the bottom floor of the bunker. His rural wife and daughter, living together in that dark, damp basement.

Once, my daughter did not go to school, I looked all over the yard she could not find, so I had to find the courage to climb from the middle of the prison that bunker “ghost building”, which is the name of my daughter, towards the bunker’s four directional stairs I went up one place to find, up to the third staircase, suddenly saw my daughter huddled in the dusty wooden corridor (I think the whole day have No one had been up there), my heart was breaking, my daughter’s face was stained with tears but no terror, because that is where she often hides.

Across the street from my house on the 2nd floor of a number lived an old man, sleeping during the day and singing Peking Opera at night, and his voice was so loud that the neighbors were upset that they could not help him. One day in broad daylight he shouted furiously from above, saying that he was locked inside his home and that he saw from the keyhole that my daughter had done it. At that time I did not believe how, because to his number only upstairs no downstairs rooms, to his house to the middle of the ghost building bunker, but also to walk to the end of the corridor, I do not have the guts. But it’s hard to say, people in the neighborhood often come to complain that their daughter let the gas out of their bikes!

The strange corners of the prison cell, the collapsed floor, the running rats, geckos and even snakes, were all a paradise for my daughter and her little friends to find their secrets. My daughter’s fond memories of her childhood, her pleasant times, were all spent in the Da Qing prison.