TET AND GRANDMA

I remember my Grandma even more each time Tet (which is Vietnamese New-Year) comes. She had resettled in the South with the one and only son, my Pop. And, when he died, Grandma gave all of her love to us, her grandchildren.

We'd love to visit Grandma when we were young because her house had a big back-yard with lots of fruit trees. Not only could we eat as much as we wished, but we also froliced until we were dead tired. Still, she didn't rebuke even when we broke something off. And, we always had our own favorite dishes at the dinner table whenever we came.

Anyway, my family became poorer and poorer after 1975. Although Mom worked harder and only had a few hours to sleep a day, she still did not make enough to feed a bunch of grown-up boys whose name was "eating machine". We finally had to move to our Grandma's House as the result. At the time, the Boys also started working away from home; therefore, the two-bedroom house seemed to be OK for three; Grandma, Mom and our youngest sister.

However when we all came home for Tet, the house was too small to fit everyone in. Our Grandma's Convenience Store which was attached in the front became the bedroom for all the boys and we fought one another almost every night to get a good spot to sleep. And, the store was already crowded with people in the morning way before it opened for business.

As a result, Grandma had to make the house bigger and two construction workers were asked to start on the Third Day of the second Tet at Grandma's. Of course, all the boys gave them hands to get it built faster. However, the new house was not complete when I had to leave for work. Grandma used to walk me to the front gate and I still remembered her words that morning. "Though you boys still don't have your own room, the new house should be large enough so that each of you can have your own bed and never have to sleep on the floor again", she said.

Perhaps I never forget her words because that was the last time I saw her. I had never wished to live far away from relatives, especially Grandma. But I had to leave the Motherland and might not have a chance to come back. And, of course, I would never be able to visit Grandma again. What I still could do was to write her a letter and she never failed to write back.

Anyway, we were even farther when my family left the country to reunite me in the USA right before the New-Year of 1991. Grandma decided to stay with her newly found son who'd apparently survived for years under communism and moved to live with him in the North, where I have never set my foot on. Although, she still wrote me a letter from time to time, her letter became shorter and shorter and my uncle had to fill it up with his words. She once wrote me that she was then getting old and no longer liked the cold weather in the North.

I finally got her last letter around 1994 Tet. The letter was pretty long with my uncle's words but none of hers. He informed us of Grandma's Death. She, however, had managed to awake for a few seconds during her last day of unconsciousness and said her last words. "Anyone knows where Hung goes without coming back for a visit", according to my uncle. "Well, even if Hung does now, I'm not sure I can recognize him because he's been away for so long".

Tet once again comes. Could you tell me where you are and would you still want me to come for a visit, Grandma???

In remembrance of Grandma who passed away at the age of 85!

Back To Stories