Mr. Lu, born in 1952, is from Weishi, Kaifeng. Nine years ago, another beekeeper from the same town as him told him that he should go to Ningbo as soon as possible because of a better living for a beekeeper. Mr. Lu traveled to Jiangshan with his beehives. He found a small piece of land along the road facing the sun, built a shack, and housed a dozen of beehives. He has been staying in the shack for four years. There is no electricity nor water to the shack. It is hot in the summer and cold in winter. Once it turns dark, he goes to sleep. His three meals every day are all pancakes, and for dinner he would reward himself with a little wine. He has been a beekeeper since young, and he is illiterate. His father and grandfather are both beekeepers. Mr. Lu, whose wife passed away long time ago, has a son and a daughter. His son also makes a living as a beekeeper, traveling across the nation with his beehives.
Mr. He is almost 70 years old. He is from Zhubu Village, Ninghai, and his skill to catch snakes is inherited from past generations. Besides planting, he often goes into mountains to catch snakes at night. Zhubu village is located in the remote mountain area, and many villagers have the skill to catch snakes because it is a great part time job for them. However, selling the snakes is not easy. Mr. He has had the snake for half a month for now, but he is still unable to make a good amount of money. His nephew lives with him and his wife. When the nephew was 7 years old, his mother got cancer, while his father got cerebral hemorrhage. The responsibility of caring for him comes to this old couple.
Dong Guochang was born in 1934 in Fenghua. At the age of sixty, he builded a huge grave for himself in addition to two pavilions for future generations to rest when they visit him. The township head discouraged him from taking so much land for his grave that even the mother of Chiang Kai-shek did not own such a huge one. Dong, with rulers in his hand, went three times to compare two graves. Finally, he agreed to dissemble the two pavilions. Now, he becomes a famous painter in the village.
Aiju Wang was born in 1918 in Maoyangtou, Fenghua. The picture is all her family members at the birthday celebrating her age of 100 years. Right after she was born, her mother lost conscious and was unable to feed her. After a year later, her biological father sent her away to the Zhangs. He was a child bride for their adopted son.
The biological son of the Zhangs died 18 years before (ca. 1900). They adopted a son who used to be an orphan. Life was hard for the Zhangs since they had to feed both their son and the child bride. A hundred years later today, she says that she survived because she drank lactic of the mother. Wang is lucky to have more than a hundred members on her family across five generations.
Historical background: Socialist Construction
Li was born in 1937 in Tongjiao, Yinzhou. On the evening of 4/4/1970, he, as a member of the Communist Party, was helping build the house of the last family near the Jiaokou reservoir. The house suddenly collapsed, and he was buried alive. When the villagers saved him from the ruin. He became paralyzed because his waist was struck by a beam. A tractor carried him to Ningbo, and the hospital saved his life. He was even able to walk after the surgery. However, twenty years after the surgery, his right foot started to fester. Till now, his right heel is almost gone, and the entire foot has lost senses. He thought it was about that accident twenty years ago, but his doctor said his disease was osteomyelitis, which had nothing to the accident. Without walking stick, he is unable to move.
Historical background: The reversal of social classes- the end of “private ownership”
Hong Shengheng, born in 1927, is from Xiashao, Beilun. Orphaned at an early age, he, at the age of 10, came to Xiashao from Lianjiang, Fujian on a boat that transported sugarcanes. He came for his uncle who worked at the Baolaixiang candy shop. After he was adopted by his uncle, he also inherited the candy shop. Baolaixiang, being a famous dessert shop, makes candies in autumns and winters and bakes in spring and summer. After the establishment of PRC, all the private retailers came onto the communist way. Hong and his wife thus turned from shop owner to staffs working in the collective shop. In 1980, Baolaixiang stopped runing, and the shop becomes the house that the couple lives in.
Historical background: Chiang Kai-shek resigned from the political arena for a short period during the Republic of China
Jiang Xiaochang (in the middle) was born in 1921 in Xikou Fenghua. He is from the same clan as Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi). In 1949, Chiang Kai-shek lived in Xikou for half a year, visiting Xuedou Temple and Miaogaotai often. The Siming Mountain is steep; a sedan chair was the best means going up the winding roads. He was the bearer who carried Chiang Kai-shek uphill. Chiang was a very nice man, as he recals. He also considers it an honor, and his family takes delight in talking about it. He is 96 years old now and still healthy besides deafness.
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, gangs were active in the Siming Mountain. He was once abducted by a gang, and his parents borrow money for four days in order to save him. According to him, during the four days, although he had to be tied at night, the meals were not bad at all.
Historical background: Wartime Turmoil before the Failure of the Kuomintang
Zhang Ahua was born in Nanpu, Fenghua in 1937. On December 3rd, 1948, his father brought him and his three brothers from Shanghai to Ningbo by SS Kiangya. At night, the overloaded steamship that was destroyed in an explosion near the mouth of the Huangpu River. Under the leadership be his father, the four family members rushed to the up end of the steamship. They were then saved by the cargo ship “Jinyuanli” and survived the disaster.
Zhu Dexing was born in 1922 in Xizhou, Xiangshan. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, he joined the local armed organization. He defended Xizhou from Japanese invasion and killed a Japanese soldier. He became deaf during the war. After the war, he went home and served as a forest ranger. Zhu has been single his entire life. Now he lives in a nursing house, subsided by the Xiangshan government. When talking about the Japanese army, Zhu, who lay on the bed, lifted his arm and made a shooting pose with fierce stare.
Historical background: Second Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese Civil War
Jiang Fufang was born in 1920 in Tang’ao, Fenghua. His family, belonging to the merchant class, provided him with great living conditions. After graduating from Ningbo High School, Jiang went to Republic of China Military Academy, determined to serve the nation. He joined the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1943. During the Chinese Civil War, serving as a major, he was shot at abdomen when fighting against the People’s Liberation Army. He went home after being cured. He faced discrimination due to his social classes and rebelled successfully in the 1980s. Now he lives in a nursing house for old people and is subsidized by the Academy Alumni Foundation.