She did not turn the pain she experienced into a shackle that destroyed her; instead, she turned her life’s suffering into a “treasure”.
Fifty years were like water, and a thousand grudges had become ashes.
In 1935, Xu Dishan was recommended by Hu Shi to be the head of the Chinese Department of the University of Hong Kong, and was the benefactor of the famous and talented Eileen Chang.
At that time, Xu Yanji was three years old, and the family was living in Hong Kong, living in a small two-story building, the first floor was rented to the British for business, and the family had a car. Such a life in a time of war was beautiful, but it was not sustainable.
In 1941, Xu Dishan died suddenly of heart disease. The University of Hong Kong held a funeral for him, and Song Qingling was the first to send a wreath, when Xu Yanji was only eight years old.
Calamities followed, and the Japanese occupied Hong Kong. His mother took the family on the run, moving through Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan and finally Nanjing. With the help of her father’s close friends, Xu Yanji enrolled in Nanjing Mingde Girls’ High School, while her brother Zhou Zhongling attended Hongguang High School. The brother’s surname was Zhou, from his mother’s surname, because there was no male child in his grandfather’s family.
In the early 1950s, Xu Yanji was admitted to the Department of Animal Husbandry at Beijing Agricultural University. In his sophomore year, he fell in love with his classmate Wu Fuyong. With the consent of the Party organization, the two got married after graduation in 1955, and Xu Yanji was successfully assigned to work. This was a good start for Xu Yanji; the book was finished, the person was married, and the job was available.
In the blink of an eye, in 1957, the whole country, like an avalanche, launched the “Anti-Rightist Movement”, and Xu Yanji was branded as a “rightist” and dismissed from public service.
Mr. and Mrs. Xu Dishan and Zhou Qisong with their daughter Xu Yanji and son Zhou Lingzhong
Father and daughter Xu Dishan and Xu Yanji
Ms. Zhou Qisong with her daughter Xu Yanji and son Zhou Lingzhong
At that time, many people were inexplicably associated with the Right Sector, especially people like Xu Yanji, who was a “talkative” person and whose outspokenness was inherited from her father’s family. “The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of products and services to the public. …… either, he shut up; or, in jail!”
When Xu Yanji was arrested, she was pregnant. The child in her belly was stillborn before she was born, and when she learned it was a girl, Xu Yanji wanted to take a look, but the doctor advised her not to, so as not to cast a shadow. “If I had known at that time: she was my only child, no matter what, I would have looked at her.” For the rest of her life, Xu Yanji never gave birth to another child.
That same year, Xu Yanji was sentenced to six years in prison and five years of control. Two months after her imprisonment, Xu Yanji received a piece of paper from her husband, Wu Furong, complaining about the purpose of divorce. In just one year, she went through prison, her child died, and her husband filed for divorce. It was as if all the hardships in her life had come crashing down on her.
The next day, Xu Yanji wrote a long letter to Wu Fulong, begging him not to divorce her for the sake of the couple’s three years of affection, and if she was released from prison, she would spend her life to repay him.
The most difficult time in life is how to beg. “I am like a helpless drowning man, grabbing a small grass by the rotten pond, wanting to salvage the love that still has a temperature, wanting to stay and the social connection ……”
The resultant judgment came down and the divorce was approved.
In 1954, Xu Yanji (front row, first from the right) and college classmates
In early 1960, natural and man-made disasters, many people died in hunger. Xu Yanji once stared at a piece of blackened sweet potato for five minutes, difficult to eat, and then ate it anyway.
In 1969, after 11 years in prison, the Sino-Soviet “Jumbo Island” incident broke out and the whole country entered a state of war. Xu Yanji was evacuated to a poor mountain village in Hebei. She tried her best to do hard and tiring farm work, but still could not feed herself.
She could not hold on any longer and decided to look for her brother, whom she had not seen for 17 years. Zhou Zhongling, who works in a horse farm in Meixian County, Shaanxi Province, is also under control and is in his 40s and still celibate. The brother, who can’t take care of himself, wants to help his sister but is unable to do so. In order to earn a living, Xu Yanji finally listened to his brother’s advice: marry someone, the only way to live!
Heard that a foreign girl to marry, the village bachelor all ran to match, and then know that the background of the problem, all scared away, leaving a ten-year-old Xu Yanji, illiterate, called Wei Zhaoqing farmers, the family has a nine-year-old son.
Before the marriage, the two had a conversation.
“My composition is not good, married to your family, your son’s future military recruitment are in trouble, I hope you consider carefully ……”
“Join the military recruitment is not important, I have such a son, I still expect him to stay around to retire!”
“I can’t cook, I can’t do needlework, you don’t mind.”
“It doesn’t matter, you just need to take care of your son!”
“You squat to eat, I have to sit to eat, you can not ask me to squat to eat like you.”
Before Xu Yanji got married, his brother Zhou Zhongling was extremely tormented; he couldn’t imagine his sister, a college-educated intellectual, marrying an old farmer who couldn’t read or write. “People living in our time, I can’t tell you how many people are not in their own hands. Life was cut to pieces by the giant blade of history, like a clay doll that fell to the ground and couldn’t even stick to it.”
Xu Yanji, who has never liked to cry, admitted that she shed tears on the eve of her marriage to Wei Zhaoqing! Perhaps in Xu Yanji’s heart, she wants to cry out: Why can’t time stay on that day, Daddy don’t go! I also never grow up ……
In this way, in Wei Zhaoqing dry tobacco bag baking smell, Xu Yanji became a loess plateau on the authentic farming women, every day sunrise and work, sunset and rest. Xu Yanji described her life’s fate as twisted twine; “originally two smooth flour strips but was twisted down the frying pan, I see everywhere is a tragedy, everything I feel is pain, but I do not moan, because this is fate!
The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of products and services to the public. The teacher realized that there could not be a peasant woman in the countryside who knew English, and if there was, she must be an intellectual. So he declared to his superiors, and in 1979, Xu Yanji was rehabilitated after eight years of marriage to Wei Zhaoqing.
Wei Zhaoqing and Xu Yanji in their later years
When she returned to Nanjing in 1981, Xu Yanji’s status changed dramatically, and her husband, who remained in the countryside, became the subject of discussion among friends and relatives. People urged her to hurry up and end the ridiculous marriage. “Give him a sum of money and get a divorce!” A few months later, Xu Yanji returned to Shaanxi, the village thought she came back to do a divorce, but she did not expect to drag old man Wei to Nanjing and do the account.
One is a celebrity, busy picking up customers; one likes to squat on the side of the road, smoking a dry cigarette and watching cars run around. Xu Yanji believes: we have a high or low level of culture, but the personality standards are the same. I was kicked at first, now I can not break his heart ah! After his son Wei Zhongke graduated from college and started a family, he also went to Nanjing to settle down with his mother. Xu Yanji said: My family is what I have worked hard to earn.
Xu Yanji helped Wei Zhaoqing find a job in the delivery room, but within a week, because he could not read and write, he could not do it, so he had to go home to continue squatting. Xu Yanji also does not care, and later helped him in the Agricultural Science Association, found a job raising sheep, this Wei Zhaoxing is an insider, raising more than a hundred sheep, all fat, the old man is very happy.
This old couple who have walked through more than 30 years of storms, in their old age, you fetch water for me, I dress you, the natural care flowing from the blandness.
In later years, Xu Yanji
In 2004, Xu Yanji’s college classmates called for a 50th anniversary reunion of graduation. In order to avoid the awkward scene of her ex-husband Wu Furong afraid to see her, Xu Yanji specially called Wu Furong: “If there is a party you come, do not avoid me, others still think I give you pressure.” Wu Furong attended the reunion and presented the classmates with a book of their own published poems, and also gave Xu Yanji a copy, with the title page reading, “Corrected by old classmate Xu Yanji.”
Xu Yanji wrote a small poem back on the paper on the spot.
Fifty years are like water
Thousands of grudges have been ash
Why do we need to be so secretive about our gathering?
The birds are scattered and no sound or shadow returns
In 2006, Wei Zhaoxing passed away, Xu Yanji began to pick up the pen, detailed description of the vicissitudes of the years, the number of years, wrote “I am the daughter of peanuts. This is a book without “kings and generals”, “heroes and beauties”, and “spring and autumn righteousness”; but it is a sobering and heartfelt memoir, a big It is a sorrowful and heartfelt memoir, a history of the drift of small people in a big era: an irreplaceable footnote to the centuries-old history of a nation.
Xu Yanji once said, “My father raised me for only eight years, but he gave me a spiritual treasure that I can enjoy for the rest of my life.” On her 81st birthday, Xu Yanji ended her legendary life in peace and tranquility. In accordance with her wishes, the funeral service was kept simple and her body was donated to medicine. She used her last wish to once again adhere to her father’s teachings and bring into play the spirit of “peanuts”: to be a useful person.
The precious thing is that she did not turn the pain she experienced into a shackle to destroy herself; instead, she turned her life’s suffering into a “wealth”.