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Random Childhood Memory: Cousin JF

weather: partially cloudy
outside: 20.3°C
mood: cheerful
When I was back in Guangzhou in 1998, we visited my father's sister's family in the apartment where we used to live. It's no more than about 600 sq. ft., if that... it's a 3 bedroom unit (bedrooms the size of closets). We used to live there with my paternal grandmother, my Aunt L, her husband, their four kids (two boys, two girls), my parents and me.

Currently, it's down to my Aunt L, her youngest son JH, his wife and their (now) 15 year old son. My paternal grandmother passed away in early 1986. Uncle L had passed away in the mid 90s. Both the girls have married and moved out.

Aunt L's older son JF, was left blind from a surgical procedure he had when he was very young. I don't know much more, no one will talk about it. He adored me when he was alive and I loved him. I was so pissed when I found out he had passed away "quite a long time ago" (early/mid-80s?) and no one thought it mattered enough to tell me. No one thought I would even remember my cousin JF, but he was the one I remembered the most. I remember that I loved being around him and everyone tells me that aside from my parents, the next person that I wanted to hang around was JF. So, for them to think that I wouldn't remember him was the biggest WuThuFu!!! ever.

I was about two when we left China, but when I went back, I could still point out the spot where he used to sit. He was blind but his other senses were incredible. The family says that he knew who was at the door by the way they knocked. And he would know where you came from by the feel of your hands.

He would save his White Rabbit candy every time he got one. White Rabbit candy is a dime a dozen now, but back then, to get one was a big deal. He'd put it in his pocket until the candies half melted sometimes for the right moment to sneak me one. For some reason, back then, Aunt L was insanely jealous of any contact her children had with my Dad, Mom or me and would get upset at whichever one of them talked to us or did anything with us. When I happened to walk over to his chair and Aunt L wasn't around, he'd slip a candy into my pocket and go, "shhhh". =)

I didn't quite grasp the concept of blindness at that age. I knew he "couldn't see", but I thought he just didn't want to open his eyes or something. I used to stick my foot under his feet when he was walking around, to the dismay and frustration of my parents. They didn't have the heart to be upset at JF because it truly wasn't his fault that he couldn't see the little meatball zooming around his feet. But as a parent, you can't help but be defensive when you think your baby is hurt.

And I don't remember it hurting me at all. My reasoning was, if he can't see me, then if he stepped on my foot, he'd feel it and know where I was.

Yeah. Not. Terribly. Bright. =}


Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
ducks
Jul. 9th, 2005 11:31 pm (UTC)
What a great story. I love hearing a bit about someone's past.

White Rabbit Candy... MmMmmmMmmmmmm!!!!!
fianna
Jul. 10th, 2005 04:56 am (UTC)
This was a really wonderful story. I am glad you shared this.
karinakarina
Jul. 10th, 2005 05:42 am (UTC)
white rabbit was soo good!

my parents would buy a bag and divide it into 4 so we wouldn't fight over it.
cloganese
Jul. 11th, 2005 11:31 pm (UTC)
Too precious. Thanks for that, Bride. There's something about old memories and the lessons learned from them (especially from my peer group) that just yields some kind of magic power over me. Again, thank you.

When I get my writing druthers together (Hah! When?!) I will document moments from my early childhood, too.
bride
Jul. 12th, 2005 02:36 am (UTC)
Kinda off-topic: What's your opinion of Josh Groban's voice and technique?

He sounds a little... "blunt" to me, but I like his voice better than Andrea Bocelli's. His North American English accent when he sings in Italian, is very noticeable... =P
cloganese
Jul. 12th, 2005 07:19 pm (UTC)
I must confess that I don't know much about him, mainly because I unfairly classified him into the Russell-Watson-Andrea-Bocelli-Annoying-Cross-Genre-Tenor category in my mind without really giving him a chance. I have heard other classically trained people say that he's not really all that. I guess I just haven't gotten around to paying any attention to him yet.

And I'll probably wait longer, now that I know he has a noticeable English slant to his diction ... alas, I probably do, too ;)

*wants to study abroad*
bride
Jul. 12th, 2005 07:40 pm (UTC)
I must confess that I don't know much about him, mainly because I unfairly classified him into the Russell-Watson-Andrea-Bocelli-Annoying-Cross-Genre-Tenor category in my mind without really giving him a chance.

Completely understandable. I was *pfft*-ing him at first as well, but someone popped in his CD (the one with him and Charlotte Church singing The Prayer). I said out loud, "this guy's not too bad, but who's the chick that can't sing?!"

I probably do, too ;)

I'd suggest take an introduction to Linguistics course if you can as a prep for studying abroad. It might help you to understand where your accent is coming from and how to make the correct sounds if you understand how the human voice apparatus works.

It's all in the vowels. With Josh Groban and many others, the vowels are much too open for European languages and that's what makes it sound all wrong.

This is one thing that amazes me about Ben Heppner. He only speaks English and a little German. But when you listen to his Italian, German, French and Swedish pieces, there isn't a lot of English-ness to it. =) That isn't saying much though, because I only took a few years of French and don't understand many other Romance languages. But still, if I notice the English accent, it's gotta be pretty bad =D =D
cloganese
Jul. 12th, 2005 09:49 pm (UTC)
I'm very interested in linguistics, particularly Japanese and Italian. A long time ago, when I coached Japanese students here in Seattle, I realised that there was a problem not so much with speaking the correct vowels, but the ability to *hear* them in the first place. I like to think that I have sensative ears, but I remember a friend of mine from Hiroshima saying a word and then one that sounded exactly like it. I listened to see if there was any inflection change, any emphasis on a different syllable, and lengthening of the vowel, and colour change ... nope, I couldn't detect anything. Yet apparently, it was a completely different word.

Unnerved the hell outta me!

Incidentally, do you still link to squeechie? I just posted some cool news there, and since you're my Number One (and only! LOL) Fan, I thought you'd get a kick outta it. :D
bride
Jul. 12th, 2005 10:11 pm (UTC)
I'm very interested in linguistics, particularly Japanese and Italian.

Oh, nono, linguistics is not learning a specific language. Linguistics is "the study of human speech including the units, nature, structure, and modification of language". It's the science of language and it applies to all languages.

http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/3920/

Incidentally, do you still link to squeechie? I just posted some cool news there

Ooo, cool! =)
cloganese
Jul. 12th, 2005 11:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, you mean like Chomsky linguistics! Hehehe, he made sentences look like calculus equations ;) Yeah, I've been curious to know just what that's all about, too ;)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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The Bride of the First House

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