June 26, the anniversary of my twin sister’s death, was the 27th anniversary of her death.
Perhaps it is because of the twin’s telepathic connection, because of the attachment I have had since my mother’s birth, she seems to be my other half. For more than 20 years, I have not been relieved, and every time I meet her in my dreams, I always see her sad eyes and difficult situation – subconsciously shrouded in the shadow of her devolution.
In a hilly mountainous area called Dai Town in Nanling, Anhui Province, there is a lonely earthen house not far from the back of the road, hidden among the weeds and trees. It was a straw house built by the commune for my mother (a devolved cadre) and sister (a devolved youth) with devolved funds, and a farmer’s old Yangtou family was the nearest neighbor about 10 meters away.
Every time my younger brother went to my mother’s place, he would bring his slingshot to shoot the turtledoves, and he would shoot one, which drew a lot of admiration from the locals.
The three of us ate and ate, and kept adding water and radish to the soup, and at the end of the day, we didn’t want to stop eating, and the fatty meat that had been stewed was sucked and sliced into our bellies, and it smelled so good! A local town bus conductor surnamed Tong, because every day to sister’s earth house waiting for the shuttle, every now and then bring their own edamame, in the middle of pouring a large spoonful of bright red chili sauce, really delicious and downright delicious. These are some of the fond memories of the hard times.
In normal days, I had to pick water from the river, burn firewood on my own, grow vegetables on my own, and pick rice to be shelled at the rice mill – life was extremely heavy and hard. Help? After picking water several times, an iron pot both to burn rice and vegetables and water, I no longer need hot water to wash my face and feet, the winter is also directly to the river to wash their faces.
The biggest problem was burning firewood, the shrubs on the nearby hills were all cut down, and people in the village often went to steal the trees in the forest, woodcutters are not a physical job that women can bear, my sister and I only went to pick the weeds on the road to dry as fuel. All the dry grass nearby was raked by the village children. Those rural children, even if they can just walk, know that the urine and feces in their own land as fertilizer, never defecate in front of other people’s homes. Even if it snowed in the winter, those children in the village were playing around with pus and snot on their bare legs and feet, and they didn’t see any sickness as a result.
Mother is a decentralized cadres, and poor health, always find excuses not to squat in the countryside, which suffered sister. My sister lived alone in the countryside all year round, and had to work every day in order to earn work credits to support herself. I also have to cut wood, plant vegetables, water and cooking, for this reason, my sister often complained, I should have known that it is better to live with the classmates under the collective life, at least take turns on duty to burn rice, not to do everything by themselves. My sister even envied the rural people, at least the farmers have a male and female division of labor, do farm work men home there is a mouth of hot soup to eat. But isn’t it? There were many female youths who could not resist the pressure of life to marry rural people, purely because they were forced to make ends meet sympathetic.
The scenery in front of the small earthen house is good during the day and at night the whole view is dark, with the occasional bark of a dog in the distance, and all is silent as if it were the end of the world. At night, a small bowl soaked in fragrant oil with a wick, like a ghost fire can barely see the room, I dare not imagine how my sister spent those horrible nights alone, so every time I went to try to prolong the time with her.
In the winter, the thin bed cover stomach and no oil and water extra cold, I helped my sister to hold fresh straw daytime to get outside the earth house sun, at night laid under the cotton wool, high enough to have a foot to thick, night smell the fragrant with the smell of sunshine straw sweet sleep, that is also a warm unforgettable memories, what modern high-grade Simmons can not replace that natural environmentally friendly straw.
I often accompanied my sister to walk 10 miles up the winding ridge of the field in the dark of the night with a flashlight to visit the homes of the commune cadres and deliver things. The soap and cigarettes that I used to exchange for tickets were from the production captain to the brigade secretary to the commune director to the militia battalion commander, and so on, and everyone dared not offend the countless cadres of all sizes. I remember once I went to the home of the brigade cadres to send something, the director surnamed Tao was so full of energy that our sisters not only had to break the bank but also to listen to his “good labor performance to clear the boundaries with the family” and other bullshit, really like people sentenced to labor reform.
Neighboring old Yang family has a boy and a girl two children, the boy is about twenty years old girl 17, eight years old, the old Yang head finely calculated in the village is considered a small population of families living conditions on the upper side. The old Yang’s daughter Xiaolianzi has a pair of tiny swollen eyes, a robust body plus a doushou – also considered 18 years old no ugly girl it. Xiao Lianzi was born in the countryside and was resentful of the fact that she had to compete with her sister, a “street person”, in every way. How can my sister’s small and thin body be compared with hers from her childhood in a farming family, and she was forced to scream in pain by Xiao Lianzi.
The girl’s brother, who was in his adolescence and not yet a daughter-in-law, ran to her sister’s house twice in three days, and entered the hall in front of the dung bucket in the corner of the house to unzip his pants and pee, while my sister picked up a stick and scolded me, and I watched in amazement.
After the rural labor exercise and eat yams (fat), sister grew more plump and healthy, fair and beautiful sister has been the object of local men coveted. Not to mention the hardship and exhaustion, but also live in a crisis-ridden environment every day.
One day after work back sister walking alone on the highway, the team of a demobilized military driver parked next to sister, must take her home, sister excused but had to get into the car, who knew that the car started the man started to fight, sister fought back, and finally jumped from the moving truck fell unconscious, parents were very shocked to learn that the mother was placed in this commune actually happened, which is related to the later This was directly related to the fact that my parents were determined not to let me go to the commune, as they could not protect their daughter.
At that time, the difficulties and dangers faced by female youths exceeded those faced by male youths. Our junior high school class president K’s youth spot was often harassed by village bachelors who either hollowed out a hole in the mud wall or lifted a corner of the grass roof to peek in, causing the female youths to be too scared to sleep at night. One stormy night, K stayed alone at the youth site (others were transferred, K could not be transferred because of family problems), a bald bachelor from the village opened the grass roof where K lived. At this point, K took a heart, she picked up a kitchen knife and stomped on the table, and said to the bald man: “I did not want to live, today you come to the right, come to a enough originally two earn a”, the bald man was too scared to come down, 2 people confrontation until dawn.
At that time, Anhui “Dajiang” magazine deputy editor-in-chief Miao Zhenya also down in Dai town, with down in the commune hospital wife gave birth to a pair of small children. In order to escape the storm of the Cultural Revolution, Miao Zhenya abandoned literature for medicine and opened a small herbal store in the area. When we chatted together, it was the most pleasant time in Dai town, when the young man met his predecessor and had endless topics to talk about. This is how Miao Zhenya described the scene when he first saw his sister: in front of the small station by the gray highway, stood a thin little girl, looked like a little girl – actually is the old Cheng (my mother) only 16-year-old daughter, actually was also devolved …..
When the nearby Zhiqing wait for the bus, they will go to my sister’s small earthen house and sit down. A group of Shanghai intellectuals are regular visitors, one of them is a white, scholarly-looking son of Wang Guangmei’s sister Wang Guanghe, because my sister and he chatted well, someone joked: “Dare to make friends with him ah? (referring to his family background)”, my sister said: “What dare not ah? I believe my sister meant what she said at the time, but at that time my family was also a “black nine”, a turtle with a king!
Many years later, I passed by that highway on a business trip, and in my teary eyes I searched hard for the earth house next to the highway, which seemed to still be there, but there were so many modern brick buildings on both sides of the highway that the earth house I saw seemed a bit unreal, and I was not sure if it really still existed. I want to grab her hand and tell her that everything is fine now and come with me, but she always wants to stop talking, and finally disappears into the haze that surrounds her, in the dream I can see her but I can’t bring her back, once I return to reality my sister disappears, how cruel!
I curse that era, it is my sister’s nightmare and my nightmare, the nightmare of millions of young people who went to the countryside!
The bad luck was due to the political trial and the “family origin”, and my sister experienced 3 attempts of “upward transfer” during her 5 years of decentralization.
The first time was around 1972, when my father’s health system had a target for health schools, and my father, the former health director, negotiated with the Health Bureau to get a target to the commune in the name of taking care of family members within the system for targeted enrollment. But never thought that the last to go is the aunt’s niece – uncle swapped the indicators to the aunt’s sister’s daughter, Ning Sheng. Ning Sheng and her sister were placed in a commune, and the commune said that they didn’t care if it was your family anyway. After learning the news, the mother was silent, the father could do nothing about the brother-in-law, and only the sister cried out to heaven and earth, vowing to fight against the aunt, but could not recover the result. Ning Sheng family is devolved from Nanjing, Ning Sheng went to the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and later studied for a doctorate, all of which originally belonged to the sister, if the sister took that path, there is absolutely no subsequent misfortune.
The second time was the Zhang Tiesheng incident.
The “college entrance examination” in 1973 was the only one in the ten years of turmoil of the “Cultural Revolution”. In this examination, the “white paper hero” Zhang Tiesheng’s appearance affected the route of university admissions that year, resulting in the higher the student’s test scores, the more no school dared to take, and those who were admitted were mostly mediocre or even low achievers. Countless intellectual youths’ “college dream” became shattered in an instant, and everything fell back into the abyss of class struggle ……
I have written an article, “The Record of Substitute Examination”, recording the experience of impersonating my sister on June 30, 1973.
In July 1973, the year Zhang Tiesheng handed in a blank paper, I had substituted for my twin sister into the examination room, unknowingly as a gunman, on the qualifications I can be called the ancestor of modern gunmen.
Although twins, my sister and I do not look very much alike, I look like my father and she looks like her mother. Unless the neighbors grew up together, outsiders can not tell. We both walk on campus or on the street, no matter what people call us Wen or non-(our two names), we both agree, too lazy to explain one by one. According to this variety, I have the bottom of the substitute test.
My sister was deported at the age of 16, and she had already been through three whole years, hoping for the moon and the stars to finally get a chance (to be eligible to take the exam), at that time our family was one of the nine categories of black, into the other book of the kind, with the body of original sin to the countryside labor reform, my sister was living like a year!
In order to be sure, the family coincidentally thought of the “proxy exam” trick. Because I was in high school at that time, my academic performance was also better, and the exam was more certain than my sister who graduated from junior high school.
I rushed to my sister’s decentralized county and quickly entered the role.
The problem was how to avoid being recognized or seen by my peers who were put together with my sister, which was a real headache, and I agreed with my sister that the only way to avoid contact with people was to enter the examination room.
On the day of the exam, I went to the exam room early in the morning and hid in a corner of the campus. There was a large group of excited devolved students wandering around, shouting my sister’s name from afar and running towards me, scaring me so much that my mouth was slurred and I didn’t know who to greet and didn’t know the name of any of them.
I finally managed to get into the examination room, knowing that I was surrounded by my sister’s youth from the decentralized commune, adding an extra layer of pressure to my heart. The good thing is that everyone is focused on the test, no one pays special attention to me, gradually relaxed, quickly do the questions.
I feel that the male teacher always stops in front of me and stops to watch me answer the questions – I have a ghost in my heart and I don’t know where I’ve been, only to hear him say softly: “You’re really good, even the molecular formula is written correctly, you’re the best in this examination room, no one else can write it! ……”
I then understood the reason why he was always hanging around in front of me, and worried, can not be too good with others too big a gap, how to take a good measure of it? So give up some topics to leave some blank, early turn in the paper to escape the examination room.
Later, the well-known Zhang Tiesheng “white paper incident”, completely shattered the sister’s dream of going to school, the thrilling examination has no longer any meaning.
For our sister and sister, this full of sisterly affection for the incident of substitution, at that time is not dare to say. At that time, there were a pair of male twins and people betting than eating, halfway pretending to go to the toilet for a brother, people talk about their anecdotes, I thought to myself, not as good as my idea to substitute for the test?!
I recorded it as a remembrance of that era, a remembrance of my sister who suffered from fate.
The third time was in 1974.
My sister had been decentralized for 4 years, and the commune finally agreed to recommend my sister for transfer, and soon after I reported to the county May 7 office, my sister was brushed off for failing the political examination. My brother rushed from Wuhu to Nanling, leading my sister to make a scene at the county’s May 7 office. My sister ran to the home of the female director of the county’s May 7 office, claiming that if she did not agree to her transfer, she would die in front of the director’s home. I couldn’t believe it when the news came to me that my sister, who had always been weak, had the courage to struggle in desperation and fight to the death. The extremely leftist director of the Nanling County May 7 Office, the sister of the desperate struggle to live without mercy (inhumane), sister at her doorstep guarded a few days and nights, sister white haunted a big injury and returned to no avail.
The political examination repeatedly failed, the sister broke the idea of transfer, the production team transferred her to a village a few miles away as a private teacher.
Sister when a child king, that is the village elementary school, the villagers referred to as “look at the water” (villagers down to shoot children fall into the pond drowned), children from 3, 4 years old to 13, 14 years old all together, about 20 to 30 children. The children were dressed in rags in the winter, many children were not wearing socks, hanging snot sucked around, but not sick.
4 rows of stools in the broken grass room, a row of a grade, a group of children listen to the next group of turn ……
In winter, my sister saw me coming, on the spur of the moment, let the children out in the sun, the hillside to teach the children to sing, they remembered a child a sentence, no one in the wilderness echoed a heavenly sound, how beautiful! My sister told me that when she is happy, she teaches the children Tang poetry, speaks of nature and geography, and that the mountains are high and the emperor is far away, so she brings up the children as she pleases.
The simple townspeople maintain the tradition of respecting teachers and education, seeing our sisters pulling up to the house is a bowl of loose eggs soaked fried rice; Dragon Boat Festival children into the house to stuff the drawer with salted duck eggs, dumplings, happy as a deer-like jump …….
It was one of my sister’s fondest memories of her 5 years in the devolved countryside.
My sister was finally able to transfer back to the city (2 younger brothers stayed in the countryside until 1977 when the college entrance exams resumed and they both went to college before leaving the countryside).
This time the policy to return to the city, sister still did not escape the political examination off. It was clear that the commune’s target was a large state-owned enterprise in Wuhu City, but when it arrived in Nanling County, it was replaced by the county May 7 office with a collective unit, and the back door was opened to someone else. The sister wanted to cry, to find who to reason with?
It took 5 years, but in 1975, my sister was finally transferred back to the city.
In 1970, when we graduated from junior high school, two of us sisters were sent to the countryside instead of my sister, who had been “drawn by the Labour Propaganda Team”. At a young age, I experienced the hardships of “face to the earth and back to the sky”, and finally returned to the city five years later. Although it is a large collective transport company, most of the workers are doing hard work to pull the cart, or drive a tricycle to repair the tricycle, but also better than the rural areas on N times, after all, become a city account with a unit, with food stamps and wages of people.
Many years after my sister’s accidental death, I met her colleague’s best friend on the street and she told me some things she never knew about her sister’s unit.
It is said that before the death of my sister, the leadership of their company is ready to be a political engineer and has a university degree in political science and engineering sister down to the subordinate enterprises as workers, and a former subordinate enterprises to replace the female workers up, the reason is that the woman had sex with the leader! This makes the sister very angry.
Looking back on the year, after the reform and opening up of our brothers and sisters units are quite good, only two brothers and sisters in the enterprise, a bus company is a foreign trade enterprises, relative to the impact of factory closures and restructuring came later. After too many ups and downs sister must have smelled the mountain rain full of wind, has been insecure, she has to lose her professional status in the blink of an eye, that is how big blow – and we are busy with their own affairs ignored sister, can not appreciate the mood of the sister, did not care about her mental condition. Her husband, a scholar, was incapable of helping her, disliking her as Mrs. Xianglin nagged the unit about those things, and the nerd would not comfort her but stimulate her, so the tragedy may have happened inadvertently.
I never believed that my sister, who had suffered all kinds of hardships in the five years of decentralization, would leave the world in the days that seemed so many times better; I didn’t believe that the beautiful woman who struggled to cultivate the land and read at night would not be able to think; I didn’t believe that my sister would abandon me and abandon her son – I hope she really was an accident (those years because the water and gas were not safe) safe, many cases of gas poisoning deaths occurred in the city) go ……