Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Life’s Low Point!

1949 was the low point for Chiang-Kai-Shek and for a lot of people following and depending on him. My Father was one of them, one of literally thousands. Communist army rolled down from north to south faster than they could run. While Mom was happy that Father got away from under the communists’ hand, the reality was very cruel and immediate. How to live with four children, one who was very sick, without any income possibility and under an extremely high inflation condition?

First, Mother went out at night and carried with her everything that could be sold, which included some jewels, cloth, glasses, china, etc. A few days later, it was clear that the monetary rewards were not worth her effort. Then Father, with the support of Yauyau, started a soy milk business. They would get up before 2:00 am in the morning. First they ground the soaked soy-beans with a hand stone grinder, and then they would boil the raw milk in a big pot until the oily surface could be removed. They bought 400 bottles and a push-cart to carry them. Filling the bottles with hot soy milk took some time; a specially hired young man would push the cart to deliver the soy milk to the Navy apartments nearby. I remember getting up a few times to watch them in action. And I even walked with the young man once to deliver the soy milk from 5 to 7 am, just in case I would be needed to substitute for him and take over that delivery job. I do not know if it was fortunate or unfortunate that the business failed after only a couple of months. The customers complained that the soy milk was not hot enough. Quite a number refused to pay as they said that they did not get the milk on some days or that the bottles were not full enough. The excuses people used to take advantage of this small business made Father realize that he would not be able to count on this as the family income source at this tumultuous time.

At the end of two months, more or less, Father found that the total profit for the period was what was left of the 400 bottles!

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