(1) My Hometown
My hometown is a remote but very beautiful place.
A small hill named Dongshan is located in the city center covered by lots of lofty trees reaching the sky. Several pavilions and temple are shaded by those trees. When a gust of wind is blowing over, they are eagerly showing their beauties at every possible moment.
Just the downward of Dongshan Hill there is a vast lake named Shihu where endless bluish waves are surging and hundreds of seagulls are as flying as singing.
The lake firmly holds the hill just like a mother affectionately embracing her baby into her broad breast.
In between the hill and lake, there is a street spreading from east to west.
One day in May of 1949, the PLA (People’s Liberation Arm) liberated our town and set up new administrative organizations. This street was divided into 3 portions and named after Democracy, Liberation and Victory respectively.
Among them, Liberation Street was in downtown area with commercial prosperity. Lots of smart business men and artificers were gathering there.
My family was settled down there too and accompanied by our neighbors. Most of them were skillful craft masters, who had promoted the booming of our community with their hard work and wisdom and had composed an arduous chronicle of our society.
(2) Mr. Li’s Incense Shop
Contrary to the flourishing environment in the middle part of Liberation Street, there was a dilapidated shop, as someone put it ' with the height of a dog’s jumping'. It was extremely unusual in this so-called golden area, but, it was the reality.
This store named Mr. Li’s Incense Shop and owed by my father. “No, it wasn’t as humble as this.” my father always explained to his customers loudly, “It was a spectacular building with 3 storey height before the damnable Japanese Invasion.” he said over and over again.
It was true. My father and grandfather had successfully run an incense business for decades. At that time, Mr. Li’s Incense Shop was so well known that a few people in my hometown knew nothing about our brand products and neither any family nor temple ever burned the incenses other than ours.
However, a fire set by Japanese invaders had wrecked it in this way and completely terminated its business prosperity ever since.
After Japanese surrender, my father and his neighbors got a relief. Some of them had rebuilt their shops. The street got its booming again.
(3) A Fallen Misfortune
One day morning, an administrative official dropped in father’s shop and announced a governmental decree: “No incense business is permitted since it is for feudal superstition.”
Just like a lightning bolt, my mother and father were shocked because our family life had immediately been driven to a corner. Without this self-support means how could a 9-folk family with the majority of the elderly and little kids make its life?
They had no way to survive but selling their possessions gradually.
After a while, some of our neighbors felt pity to our situation and asked my father to assist them in const