A Rural life in the 70s-Chapter 1
February 4, 1975. The beginning of spring.
At 19:36, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake occurred near Haicheng City and Yingkou City in Liaoning. Even North Korea could feel it.
The northern part of Huizhou, which was only separated from Liaoning by Bohai Bay, was almost destroyed. The earthquake was strong and destroyed all the local adobe houses.
There were still five days before the Spring Festival. It was snowing in the morning, and the wind was cold.
On a small square in front of the Taiping Town Health Center, dozens of tents were set up on the ground. Two high-hanging street lights were still alight, producing a pale brilliance. In the cold air, only the hot air at the entrance of the canteen could bring some warmth to the world.
The eight-year-old Autumn was standing on tiptoes to look at the front of the group. There were three or four people in front of her, and it would soon be her turn.
In order to get a patient’s food ration to her mother who just gave birth prematurely, she had been standing in the cold wind for more than half an hour. Her cheeks were frozen, and her hands and feet felt no pain because they had been completely numbed.
When she returned to her tent with a bowl of corn paste and two pieces of cornbread in her hands, Aunt Yuhua, who lived in the same tent with her mother, hurriedly walked toward her. She put an infusion bottle full of hot water in her hand and said, “Hey, Autumn, come in, take this to warm up…”
Aunt Yuhua’s Mother, Grandma Wang was hospitalized because of appendicitis. She had gone through surgery the day before the earthquake happened. She could not go home, so she had to live in the same tent ward with Autumn’s Mother.
Hearing this, Autumn felt warm. She went to Grandma Wang and stuffed the bottle beneath her quilt with a smile.
Grandma Wang stopped her and said, “It’s for you.”
Autumn smiled and said, “I can warm myself up later. You should keep it for the transfusion.”
Grandma Wang’s eyes were full of appreciation and admiration. She said to Aunt Yuhua as soon as she saw the frostbite on Autumn’s face, “Yuhua, Autumn’s face has frostbite. It should be rubbed to ward off the cold; Autumn is so pretty that she should not wear any scars on her face. You go to bring me some snow…”
Aunt Yuhua answered and was going to get snow before she was stopped by Autumn. “Aunt, don’t bother. I have to feed my Mum right now. I will get snow by myself later.”
Grandma Wang smiled appreciatively and praised, “What a good girl…”
While speaking, the two women looked at each other and sighed, “Although this little girl is only eight years old, she is so sensible and reserved… I don’t know how such a weak mother could raise such a good daughter!”
Looking at her mother who was sleeping, Autumn thought of her family. Strangers like Aunt Yuhua treated her better than her family members.
She smiled and murmured, “Grandma Wang…” She looked so sad even though there were no tears on her face.
Grandma Wang sighed and pulled Autumn in front of her, patting her red hands and said gently, “Good girl, don’t be sad. It’s a good thing that your mother and brother could survive this. Everything is going to be fine.”
Autumn’s mother was Song Xiulian, the eldest daughter of Song Guangyou, who had run a snack shop in Taiping Town. Their business was very large. They had a workshop in the town and a snack shop in the county. After the liberation, the government took over the business and turned it into a county food factory. Song Guangyou served as the director of the factory for several years until he was relieved of his duties. He had to return to his home and reflect on the issue. Thanks to Song Guang, who had taken the initiative to support the army before, and he knew some people who helped him get rid of this trouble, he survived this ordeal and was classified as a small owner, which was better than a capitalist.
Even so, they still had rough lives. Song Xiulian, who should be arranged to work in the county after she graduated from junior high school, had to go back to the town and do farm work with her parents. The son, Song Xiucheng, who had an excellent academic performance, had no chance to continue his studies after high school. The young daughter, Song Xiuju also had excellent grades, but she only finished her second year of high school…
So many years had passed, and the Song family should have been safe. Unexpectedly, someone revealed the so-called crimes of the Song family. As a result, the old couple was criticized and punished, even Song Guangyou’ legs were broken!
Song Xiuju, who was about to give birth in the past life, learned of this and went back to see her father. She tumbled into the trench beside the road because of the earthquake and delivered prematurely. In the next day, when they were discovered, the mother and son were already frozen! Autumn’s little brother was dead just after he was born.
In their previous life, Autumn’s grandmother gave her sister Summer to her Elder Aunt who had no child after Song Xiulian left…
Every time Autumn thought of this, she would feel a chill. She looked at her mother, who was sleeping safely in bed and said to herself, “It is good to have both mother and brother back alive this time.”
As for her little sister who was taken away by her Elder Aunt, and… she would not let the tragedies happen again since she was reborn.
“Hey, don’t be afraid; don’t be afraid…” Grandma Wang noticed Autumn’s shudder. She thought that the little girl was timid, so she clenched her hand and sighed softly.
Aunt Yuhua was also comforting her. She said, “Autumn, wake your mother up. She has to eat something!”
Autumn came back from her moodiness before she came to Song Xiulian’s bed and whispered. Song Xiulian heard her and slowly opened her eyes after a long time. She said, “Autumn…”
“Hey! Mom, I got you some food. Let me help you eat!” As she said, Autumn took off her cotton jacket and folded it. She reached out beneath Song Xiulian’s neck and forced her head up. Then she stuffed the folded jacket under her neck to support Song Xiulian’s head higher.
Song Xiulian was very weak, but her mind was very clear. She asked, “Autumn, have you eaten?”
Autumn put a spoonful of corn paste into Song Xiulian’s mouth. She said, “Mom, I have gotten a few cornbreads. When you finish eating, I will have some. Don’t worry; I am not going to starve!”
Song Xiulian felt relaxed, revealing a smile. However, she really had no appetite. She only ate a little until she shook her head and refused to eat.
Aunt Yuhua made a bottle of sweet water to feed Autumn’s younger brother. Autumn cleaned Song Xiulian’s mouth and put her down on the pillow. Seeing Aunt Yuhua feeding her younger brother, she quickly got close to see him.
The baby was more than half a month premature, so he looked so weak that he only weighed four pounds. He curled up in the quilt like a kitten, crying weakly—but he was alive. When he was fed with the sugar water, his small translucent mouth actually started to swallow.
Autumn’s eyes misted up, and she almost shed tears. As long as he could eat, she believed that her younger brother could live well and grow up into a healthy and strong young man!
“Mother, my brother can eat…” Autumn cried out with joy.
Aunt Yuhua also said with joy to Grandma Wang, “Oh, mother, the little boy can eat!”
“Good, good, let him take some sweet water first until his mother has milk. After that, he will be fine.” Grandma Wang smiled cheerfully.
Song Xiulian’s head was faint, and her eyes were closed. She only knew that her daughter was with her, and her son was very healthy… She finally had a son!
However, the little boy was too young, and he could not eat much. When he was full, the little boy didn’t cry or make trouble. He moved his mouth, and then fell asleep.
“Mom, my brother is sleeping again…” Autumn suddenly lowered her voice and turned back to report, only to see that Song Xiulian fell asleep again. …It seemed that her mother’s skin was a little hot when she touched it.
Autumn touched Song Xiulian’s forehead, and the temperature scared her a lot. Her mother really had a fever!
Autumn had no time to eat. After telling Grandma Wang and Aunt Yuhua about this, she ran out of the tent and rushed toward the one where the doctors and nurses worked in…