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January 29, 2005

goodbye, Grandpa


Tsang (or Chang) Yun-Wei was born in China on the 11th of December, 1910. he died yesterday, as Joseph Chan, in New York, nearly a century later. different name, different language, different country – i wonder how he imagined his life would be as it unfolded. did he guess at the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren he’d have? did he know that he’d spend much of the family fortune spiriting his wife & children out of China, and then start all over again in America? did he have a clue that he would still be eating sesame balls with lotus paste until the very last days? i think it’s difficult for anyone to imagine a grandparent as a young person, with dark hair and bright, naïve eyes. it’s much easier for me to imagine him now, looking around his new living quarters, shaking his head at God and saying in his half-scolding, half-humorous voice, “Lord, why did you wait so long to take me? i’ve been ready to come home for awhile now!” and God smiling and saying, “Yun-Wei, come look at this garden plot I have ready for you to plant out back here.” Grandpa, you think you grew your tomatoes big down here? just you wait. i think you’ll like the soil of heaven.

Posted by hadashi at January 29, 2005 12:58 AM


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