30. May 2013 · Comments Off on Manna from Heaven · Categories: L.. 13 to 15 years, Out of the Blue

My sister reveals another bombshell that blows apart my neat explanations of what happened with Titi.

After my uncle told me that I was going to America, he calls my sister to his home.  Out of the blue he tells her that my mother has left us money.  It is in the form of a demand loan to a Chinese businessman.   Before she died, my mother signed over this demand note to Titi along with her jewelry.

When did he discover this?

Instantly, I remember seeing my mother at her wardrobe handing a necklace to a young Chinese woman.   The woman was weeping that her father suffered from tuberculosis and they were desperate.    We were in the middle of the war.  Did that incident have anything to do with this loan?

Another thing sprang to mind.   When I came back after my year with my father, Titi went out of her way to let me know that money was tight, at least when it came to me.

Complaining that a book I needed for school was too expensive she borrowed it and typed up a copy.  It was The Pilgrim’s Progress.   Her copy was full of mistakes.  It didn’t matter because I read the original before she finished typing it.   She never copied another book, but she made her point.  I dreaded asking her for money.

As a practical matter, I had everything I needed.   My school uniforms were custom made, as were my shoes.   Titi provided me with enough clothes.   My uncles gave me pocket money.

My sister knew how to bargain with local tailors in Hong Kong.  She had a keen eye for quality.   She sent me custom made clothes copied from the latest fashion magazines.

To me, money was abstract – I didn’t think about it.

In my excitement about going to America, it had not occurred to me that I needed money for the voyage, a deposit with the U. S. government for the voyage back, suitable clothes and all sorts of other expenses.

My mother’s demand note is for much more than I need.

My sister says that it took three telephone calls from my uncle before Titi sent over my mother’s jewelry and the demand note.

With Titi, was it always about money, then, as my sister claims?

It weighed on me.  Why?

MotherMy mother

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