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2021年三八婦女節念母親 (中英文) 王克難3-8-2021
2021/03/09 05:09:15瀏覽543|回應0|推薦1
2021年三八婦女節念母親 王克難3-8-2021

 

       八十多年前在一個美麗的初夏,離南京不遠常州的一個安靜古

老的小城裡,有一條安靜古老的巷子,巷子裡有八幢古老灰色的大宅,

在第八幢大宅中第二進房子的天井裡,此時牡丹花正盛開著,

白的、粉紅的、大紅的,一片燦爛。有一對年輕的夫妻在天井裡,他們

並不在欣賞牡丹,而在焦急地找一個合適的地方挖地窖來埋藏他們的書

籍及其他重要東西,因為他們知道中日戰爭馬上就要開始,這些東西絕

不能被敵人看見。那年輕的丈夫是特地從南京趕回來跟他年輕的妻子道

別的,他馬上就要隨著政府到重慶去,而他的愛妻卻不能同行,她馬上

就要生孩子。那對年輕的夫妻就是我的父母親。而即將出生的嬰兒就是我。

在那四年以前,當我姐姐一出生,我的父母就雙雙到日本去。他們懷了年輕

人想將來為國服務的那份熱忱,勤奮出國深造。父親學的是法律,母親學的

是教育。但是戰事在前,他們不得不放棄即將完成的學業,告別在日本交的

好朋友回到中國,他們不能相信那些朋友會變成敵人。父親對母親說,“局勢

已經發展到如此地步,中日戰爭勢不能免的。國家需要我們每一個人出力,

為了工作我萬不得已要離開妳,先跟政府到後方,留下妳跟著爸爸媽媽。

他們會好好照顧妳。妳腹中的孩子,不管是男是女,生下來就叫他“克難”吧,

這名字會給我們帶來希望。等他生下來,妳一定要帶著兩個孩子到重慶來會

我,我會在那邊等妳!答應我。

父親與母親擺脫家中給他們安排的婚姻自由結合。結婚之後還從未分離過。

如今國難當前,母親又要生產,她說她當時已驚慌已極,但還是勇敢地答應了

父親。父親也許諾他將寄錢到母親去重慶沿途將經過地方的朋友處,使母親

旅途上經濟不遭受困難。當天晚上父親就趕回南京去了。

一個月後,常州在日軍瘋狂轟炸中,父親已隨政府去了重慶。

外祖父在外縣。家中只有外祖母,舅舅。母親難產,失血過多,我又是

早產,在垂死的情形下被抬到了常州的教會醫院。醫院的人員已經被撤走了,

只剩下一名傳教士醫生。外婆說我們王家已經有一個女孩,假如我是女婴,

就要先救母親。

傳教士醫生謊稱母親母親懷的是個男的,讓14歲的舅舅簽名。然後用雙重鉗子

把我活生生拖出來。母親仍昏迷不醒,生死不知,我又是个女孩子,外婆大為失望,我被放到了

母親房間隔壁被日軍炸掉一角的房子。經過一番救治,母親終於醒來而且看到了

我,她的二女兒。

   那時去上海和重慶的陸路已被日本人封鎖。母親只好坐小船,先逃到長江北部水鄉

濕地,千方百計,避過日本人,還有當地要搶截外地來的土匪,千方百計到了上海

再設法乘船去香港、越南,再折回雲南、貴州入川,去重慶會父親。

     到了上海,母親要等去香港的船。她沒有別的地方可以落腳,只有去找從小與她一塊

長大的堂兄姊們。那些堂兄姊們拿了家產,當時在上海過著無所事事的日子。他們一致

不贊成母親帶著兩個小女兒和一個年輕女傭人去千里尋夫。

    “太危險了!跟我們在上海住好了,萬一打仗還可以到租界去避。 他們想說服母親,

母親只說她答應了父親,便快快設法買船票去香港。

     那豪華的油輪上,滿是外國遊客與有錢的中國人,母親幾乎不能相信她在逃難。

母親還遇見了一位家裡認得的老朋友,他是外公好友的兒子,一度兩家都曾想撮合

母親與他成婚,但是母親一定要嫁給父親。

     那位朋友見到母親很高興,但是對父親一人先去重慶,還要母親帶孩子去會他大

不以為然,他認為那太冒險了。他告訴母親,他這次去香港就是準備將家移居香港,

他勸母親也在香港住一段時期再看動靜,他會以老朋友的身分盡量照顧母親。母親謝了他,

仍只說她已答應了父親。

     到了香港,母親馬上轉船去越南,這次是法國遊輪,母親覺得她再一度到了國外,

但是幾年前去日本是跟父親一起,如今卻是她一人逃難,當她踏上越南的土地,

四面都是她不懂的越南話與法文,她更覺孤單,但是她知道重慶也近了一點。

     父親有朋友在河內,他安排了我們搭卡車去昆明,沿途卡車走走停停,到處是想到

後方去逃難的中國人。

     到了雲南邊境,前面是壘壘高山,為了避免日軍轟炸,卡車必須找不容易被偵察到

的小山路走,速度也愈來愈慢,雖然風景是那樣的迷人,母親的心情卻愈來愈沉重。

父親匯的錢要到昆明才能取到,那天幾輛卡車走到天黑還不見宿處,只好在荒郊過夜,

司機先生卻嫌車內太熱,要到外邊去睡。到了半夜,母親聽見有狼嘷聲,她不敢出聲,

只好盡量將車窗搖上。

     狼嘷聲越來越多,她聽見司機詛咒然後大叫的聲音,周圍其他卡車誰也不敢下來

搭救。第二天早上,司機身首異處被狼啃吃的屍體在附近山溝裡找到,幸好同行另一輛

卡車讓我們搭他們車子,母親說我們才能繼續去昆明。

     經過這次嚇人的經驗,母親到了昆明之後,便請父親的另外一位朋友替她物色一個真正

有經驗的司機送我們去貴陽,因為這段路不但山路驚險而且還多土匪。

最後那朋友找到一輛卡車,但那司機要的價錢卻貴得驚人,母親考慮之後,終於決定將

我們臨走時外婆縫在我們衣服裡的首飾變賣而雇了他。

     果真車路愈開愈險,步步是峭壁斷崖,有的狹處只能行一輛車。那天,車子正在迂迴前行時,

前面突然冒出幾個大漢,他們招手要車子停下來,司機馬上叫母親埋下頭來,然後把車速減慢,好像要停似的,但當他開近那些人時,他突然踩了油門,快速開過,這些土匪在後面開槍。

後來後面沒人了,司機叫母親探頭到窗外向絕壁下看。深淵中有卡車殘骸,這些卡車司機沒有經驗,常常在車子被劫之後,又連人帶車被推下峭壁,有誰能在那樣情形下生還?母親除了謝那司機,更慶幸自己選擇他得當而保了生命。

     母親手頭開始拮据,錢都花在租卡車上。但她對我們孩子的營養絕不馬虎,她自己就拚命省著吃,母親從小生活優裕,從沒有吃過這樣的苦,但是她說一想到在重慶的父親,她覺得什麼苦都可以忍受了。

     車子開到烏江大橋時,橋被炸燬已近一月。數百輛逃難的車都在等,等沒有月亮的晚上一輛輛偷渡。一星期又一星期地過去,我們仍過不了江。父親匯的錢在江對面,母親去了幾次求救的信也沒回音。而我們連吃飯的錢都快沒有了。母親手邊只剩下她結婚山盟海誓時,父親給她的那枚結婚戒指,這金戒指與母親一天也沒分離過。這天,姊姊無端發起高燒,必須馬上要看醫生,母親說她只有問郵局管理員當舖在那裡了。這時排在母親後面一位要到後方進大學年輕的女學生聽到,她竟然自將學費的一半先借給母親。母親含著淚接受,但她一定要把爸爸給她的這枚金戒指先留給那女學生,約好過江後還錢時取回。

     兩個星期後我們終於過了江,也拿到父親匯來的錢,姊姊的病也好了。

母親聯絡到那位好心的女學生,取回了戒指,她帶我們去了一家小食堂,叫了兩菜一湯,但她發現她自己每天餓著,能嚥下去的只有那碗湯。以後一路上到處轟炸,還好母親知道重慶就快到了。

     我們到的那天,重慶正遭受到二十四小時不停的轟炸,而父親卻在車站上等我們,他天天在等已經等了幾個星期。

     母親常向我描述:“車站上慌成一團,有一個人站在那裡,

我一看就知道是妳父親,他馬上也認出我來。

     母親說:“妳面目變得消瘦黧黑的父親對我的第一句話是 ‘妳終於到了! 然後他摸著妳姐姐的頭,蹲下身來將她一手抱起,他再看我懷裡的妳說:‘這一定是我們的小女兒克難了!’他伸出另一隻手來抱妳,從來未見過妳父親的妳,居然馬上就讓他抱過去,我們擁在一起,又哭又笑,我們一家克服了千山萬水的困難,終於又團圓了!”

 

Remembering My Mother on International Women’s Day 3-8-2021 Claire Wang-Lee

 

    It was early summer more than eighty years ago. In the old town of Changzhou near Shanghai there was a quiet lane. On one side of the lane ran an ancient canal. Green willow lined its banks. There were eight large old houses all built in the same style. The houses were connected by a long gray wall. Only a pair of solemn stone lions guarding each of the eight closed doors indicated that the residences were related. Behind each door was courtyard after courtyard surrounded by rooms.

    In the eighth house at the end of the lane, in the second courtyard, peonies were bursting out in white, red, and pink. A young couple in their late twenties was looking in the courtyard, not at the glorious blooms, but for a suitable place to bury their books and their valuables. They knew that soon there would be a war, and it would not be safe for the enemy to see those things and find out what kind of household it was.

    That big house belonged to my grandparents. The young husband and wife were my father and my mother.

    My father had just returned from Nanjing where the last group of government employees would be evacuating in the next few days to Chongqing more than a thousand miles to the southwest. He had to go with them and had come home to say goodbye. My mother, who had been staying with her parents was in no position to travel. She was very pregnant, and the unborn child was me.

    Four years earlier, right after my sister was born, my parents had gone abroad to Japan to study. My father studied law and my mother education. They had made many friends there but the Japanese government was set to invade China. My father and my mother left their studies behind, said goodbye to their Japanese friends and returned home. They could not believe soon they and their friends would be enemies.

    My father said to my mother that she must be brave and take care of herself. They decided the unborn child, be it a boy or a girl, would be called Ke-Nan, which meant “overcome difficulties.” The name, they felt, would bring them hope to the future. “Promise me that after Ke-Nan is born, you’ll bring the children and join me in Chongqing,” my father said to my mother. He promised her that he would be waiting for her there. And he was going to send money for my mother to his friends in different cities on the way, so she would not have financial troubles when she made the trip.

    My father left for Nanjing that evening. A month later I was born amid Japanese bombings. It was a difficult childbirth—I was dragged out by double forceps and named Ke-Nan.

    Right after I was born, my mother took my sister, a distant relative, and me on the long and dangerous journey to join my father.

    We had to go to Shanghai because the land route to Chongqing had already been cut off by the Japanese. The road to Shanghai was also under Japanese control. My mother took us first to the wetlands north of the Yangtze River. There were also bandits trying to get money from the refugees. Finally, we were able to escape to Shanghai.

    We had to wait for a ship to Hong Kong. Then we had to go as far as Vietnam to re-enter China, and then go on to Chongqing. In Shanghai we waited for the ocean liner to Hong Kong, my mother had no place to stay but with her cousins.

    The cousins had taken their share of money from home and were living idly in Shanghai. They knew the war was coming, but deluded themselves by playing mahjongg, visiting dance halls and smoking opium. The cousins couldn’t imagine that my mother would leave her comfortable life behind and take two young children to Chongqing. They knew that Shanghai would not be safe after the Japanese invaded, but to flee to southwest China was far more dangerous.

    “I promised my husband that I would join him,” my mother just said.

    We boarded the ocean liner and sailed for Hong Kong. The ship was luxurious, catering to foreigners and rich Chinese.

    On the ocean liner my mother met an old family friend. Their families had been friends for generations and had both thought it would be ideal for him and my mother to get married. But my mother had insisted marrying my father, an outsider. Her friend who now was going to Hong Kong to see if he could settle his family there. He considered it safer than his hometown or Shanghai. He was happy to see my mother but astonished that my father had asked my mother to join him in Chongqing.

    “Stay in Hong Kong and let me help you,” he said to my mother.

    My mother thanked him. “I have promised my husband,” was the only thing she would say.

    From Hong Kong we took another ship to Vietnam. After we arrived in Hanoi, a friend of my father’s arranged for a truck to take us on the long journey to Chongqing. As soon as the truck crossed the border, the bombing started. Often the trucks had to travel on narrow, winding poorly built mountain paths, and many were lost.

    Our first truck ride was a disaster. The driver was good-hearted but foolishly daring. One night it was hot and he decided to sleep outside the truck. In the middle of the night, my mother heard wolves howling around our truck. She could do nothing but shut the windows and try to keep the rest of us quiet. The howling did not stop and my mother heard the driver curse and then scream. The other truck drivers did not dare to come down and rescue him. No one had guns in those days. Only soldiers and bandits had. The next day they found the driver’s gnawed body in a nearby ravine. Fortunately, another family offered us a ride to Kunming on the back of the truck they were riding.

    In Kunming my mother met with more of my father’s friends and they arranged for another truck to take us to Chongqing. By that time my mother’s financial reserves had dwindled. She had only a few pieces of jewelry which my grandmother had sewn into our clothing. My mother sold most of the jewelry and paid double the fare to engage an experienced driver. It turned out to be a lifesaving decision because our truck had to pass through a dangerous winding section of road where bandits were known to rob and kill refugees. One day, my mother saw a group of people on the roadside waving to stop our truck. The driver told my mother to duck, and slowed down as if to comply. As he drove near the people, he suddenly sped up. The bandits fired from behind. We were able to escape. Later the driver showed my mother the remains of several trucks deep down in the canyon below the cliff. No one could have survived such a fall.

In the next city my mother could not get in touch with my father’s friend. There were air raids every day and the friend had left. The journey continued. At many truck stops my mother had to buy meager food because she didn’t know whether she could reach my father’s friends anymore.      

When our truck driver saw us eat so frugally, he offered us food. The truck transport had made the drivers rich overnight. My mother who had never suffered hunger in her life, was too proud to accept and said she was not hungry. But the driver would feed my sister and Ah Lan, our helper, behind our mother’s back.

    We arrived at River Wu in the province of Guizhou. The bridge across the river had already been destroyed by Japanese bombing. Hundreds of vehicles carrying refugees had crowded the river bank. They could only be ferried across one by one on moonless nights when Japanese planes could not detect them.

    The crossing was delayed more than a month. Food became scarce and expensive. My mother would eat last and most of the time she had hardly anything to eat at all. Days dragged on. She had sold all the jewelry she had except for the wedding ring. My father and my mother had both broken away from their intended arranged marriages and chose each other. The wedding ring had never left my mother since the day they married.

    My mother went to the post office every day to see if any mail had come from across the river. One of my father’s friends was there. My mother sent S.O.S. letters asking him to send money. Then my sister got sick and needed a doctor. That day my mother stood in line for hours but there was still no answer. She started to ask around for a pawn shop. A young female student who wanted to go to Chongqing to study was behind my mother in line. She offered to lend my mother, a complete stranger, part of her tuition money. My mother accepted the loan with tears in her eyes. She gave the student her wedding ring as collateral.

    We finally crossed the river. Money my father sent was waiting there. My sister got well and my mother was able to get the wedding ring back. She took us to a small eating place to celebrate. Suddenly my mother found that she could not wipe away the tears fast enough to prevent them from falling into the soup. After weeks of hunger, soup was the only thing her stomach could hold.

    A month later, our truck arrived in Chongqing. A massive bombing had preceded us. The city had almost burned to the ground. But my father was there waiting.  He had come to the truck stop every day to look for a young woman and two little children. My mother often told us of the reunion. She said among the chaos she saw a thin and weary-looking young man. He couldn’t recognize her either. Then he said, “You’ve finally arrived.”

    My mother said he then bent down and reached for my sister. He held my sister in one arm and said, “This must be Ke-Nan.” He reached out his other hand for me. And I, a one-year-old who had never seen my father before, let him hold me.

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