Mom has a sister（大姨）who is 3 years older than her, two younger brothers and a younger sister. The younger sister （小姨） was not even 2 years old when both of the parents passed away. 小姨 had to be sent away to be adopted. To some unknown reason, 小姨 was returned and sent out again to a different family because there were no adults in the family to take care of 小姨. Probably because this traumatizing experience at such an early age , 小姨 was diagnosed as 神经病 when she was in her twenties and had to be hospitalized several times. In order to help her sister and brothers, 大姨 joined the army at the age of 15 so that she can help her younger sister and brothers. Then she went to Heilongjiang in 1958. 大姨和大姨父是1958年10万官兵转业开垦北大荒的成员。Mom followed them from 四川 重庆（her hometown）in 1959 to seek for better life。
In a small village农垦建设兵团的连队 near the border of Soviet Union, my Mom met and married my father. There they raised four children. Mom is well known for her sewing talent in our 连队. Every year, a month or two before the Chinese New Year, Mom was always busy making new clothes for us, neighbors and neighbors’ kids. She never got paid for doing so and never complained. When everyone started their own business after 1976, I urged her to open her own sewing shop, she refused. She was not going to charge people for the service that she had provided free of charge all her life. Pooh, 真是老脑筋.
Mom is very good at knitting as well; she can knit sweaters with any new pattern as long as she saw the picture. We always have new sweaters(尽管毛线是拆了又拆的) to wear every year and we were the envy of our friends. Mom made us shoes as well, the image of her 在煤油灯下纳鞋底仍然深深 地印在我的脑海里。俗话说：巧妈妈笨姑娘。
Unfortunately, I am one of them. I never learned how to sew and knit because mom always provided us what we needed. We had long winters in 黑龙江 (about 6 months of snow every year)。Every fall, Mom preserves lots of vegetables for the winter. 腌酸白菜，咸菜，晒菜干， 做大酱(soybean paste)，豆付乳。 I like to eat at Korean restaurants, because it always reminds me of mom’s soybean paste. Mom raises chicken, ducks, geese and pigs, so that we always have eggs and meat to eat.
Several weeks ago when my kid asked me whether hens can lay eggs without mating with cocks, we had to call mom to get the answer. My kids were amazed that grandma can tell whether the little chicks are male and female just by looking at the chick’s anal area when the chicks are just hatched. The female chicks/ducklings/gooslings will be raised to lay eggs and male chicks/ducklings/gooslings will be slaughtered in the fall for our meat supply during the winter.
With no market, refrigerators or restaurants, each family basically has to 自给自足。 However, we never felt deprived of anything. Mom 能变出很多花样的食物出来；葱油饼，花卷，包子，面条，酸菜贴玉米面饼，油条，麻花,馄饨，饺子，还有一咬一口汤的汤圆。不能再说了， 直流口水。
Thanks to mom, we always felt we are the richest family in that连队.
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