Local Legends: A Lonely Heroine

Fang, this old lady, is 86 years old now. She used to be part of the third and fifth division of the N4A, also known as the New Fourth Army. Unfortunately, since the age of sixteen, she moved to Wangxiangang Village following her marriage arranged by her parents. She then lost connection with the third and fifth division alliance. After the establishment of the PRC in 1949, she worked for the Women’s Association of the Village for three years. She is very proud of her children, but a big family also led to financial crisis. She gave birth to ten children, and at the beginning of 1960s, the family regularly experienced food shortages. In despair, she gave three of her sons away to families in Ningbo when they were only two or three years old. Although she has visited her sons, she does not get along with their adoptive parents. Her other children were obedient, but Fang still prefers to live in her ancestral house, instead of living with her children. She is an extroverted woman who likes to perform Shaoxing opera in front of her house in her spare time. (Wangxiangang Village, Yinzhou)

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The experience of this old lady seems so far away from me because I have never known anyone evolving directly in the New Fourth Army. This time period of history is only talked about in my history book so that I have never realized that we could meet them in real life if we want. These kind of photos and stories really brings ourselves into a different place and time period other than modern urban Ningbo, and we can be closely connected to them and their experience.

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