Translation of Yang Jiang’s Cadre School Diaries – Notes on Leave Taking – P5

shuangyashan_maj_lampa

经受折磨,就叫锻炼:除了准备锻炼还有什么可准备的呢。准备的衣服如果太旧,怕不经穿:如果太结实,怕洗来费劲。我久不缝纫,胡乱把耐脏的料子用缝衣机做了个毛毡的套子,准备经年不洗。我补了一条裤子,坐处象个布满经线纬线的地球仪,而且厚如龟壳。默存倒很欣赏,说好极了,穿上好比随身带着个座儿,随处都可以坐下。他说,不用筹备得太周全,只需等我也下去,就可以照看他。至于家人团聚,等几时阿圆和得一乡间落户,待他们迎养吧。

转眼到了十一号先遣队动身的日子。我和阿圆、得一送行。默存随身行李不多,我们找个旮旯儿歇着等待上车。待车室里,闹嚷嚷、乱哄哄人来人往,先遣队的领队人忙乱得只恨分身无术,而随身行李太多的,只恨少生了几双手。得一忙放下自己拿得东西,去帮助随身行李多得无法摆布的人。默存和我看他热心为旁人效力,不禁赞许新社会的好风尚,同时又互相安慰说:得一和善忠厚,阿圆有他在一起,我们可以放心。

To experience suffering, is to temper oneself: apart from preparing for this ordeal, is there anything else one can do? If the clothes you prepare are too old they may wear out, but if they are too tough they may be difficult to clean. I hadn’t sewn in many years, but on a whim I used my sewing machine to fashion a felt covering from some dirt resistant materials- it would last a long time before needing to be washed. I used it to patch a pair of trousers, the seat ended up like a globe, with lines of latitude and longitude going this way and that, it was thick as a turtle shell to boot. Mocun really liked it! He said it was brilliant, better than carrying a seat around with him and he could sit down wherever he pleased. He told me not to work so hard on my preparations, I could wait till I had followed him down to look after him properly. As far as reuniting our family, we would have to wait some time for Ayuan and Deyi to settle in the country and look after us in our retirement, as is customary.

In the blink of an eye it was the 11th, the day the advance party would be setting out. Myself, Ayuan, and Deyi went along to see him off. Mocun didn’t have much luggage, and found a little corner to rest in while he waited to board the train. In the waiting room there was a great hustle and bustle, people were coming and going this way and that. The leader of the advance party was so busy he was being run off his feet, not to mention the fact that he had too much luggage and was regretting being born with too few pairs of hands. Deyi put down his load and hastened to assist those who were overburdened. Seeing him ardently exerting himself on behalf of others, Mocun and I could not help but praise the customs of the new society, and we simultaneously comforted each other, saying: “Deyi is gentle and honest, as long as Ayuan has him by her side, we can rest easy.”

 

Translation of Yang Jiang’s Cadre School Diaries – Notes on Leave Taking – P4

shuangyashan_maj_lampa

我们到了预定的小吃店,叫了一个最现成的砂锅鸡块——不过是鸡皮鸡骨。我舀些清汤泡了半碗饭,饭还是咽不下。

只有一个星期置备行装,可是默存要到末了两天才得放假。我倒借此赖了几天学,在家收抬东西。这次放是所谓“连锅端”——就是拔宅下放,好像是奉命一去不复返的意思。没用的东西、不穿的衣服、自己宝贵的图书、笔记等等,全得带走,行李一大堆。当时我们女儿阿圆、女婿得一,各在工厂劳动,不能叫回来帮忙。他们休息日回家,就帮着收拾行李,并且学别人的样,把箱子用粗绳子密密缠捆,防旅途摔破或压塌。可惜能用粗绳子缠捆保护的,只不过是木箱铁箱等粗重行李;这些木箱、铁箱,确也不如血肉之躯经得起折磨。

We arrived at the small food shop we had agreed upon and ordered the speediest dish of clay pot chicken chunks – it was all bones. I ladled some clear broth onto the half eaten bowl of chicken but I still couldn’t get it down.

There was just one week to purchase supplies but Mocun was only given leave for the last two days.  In the end I had to cut class for a few days so I could stay home and pack his things. This leave taking was being called, “everything but the kitchen sink”——it was uprooting the entire home to be sent down, like receiving orders to go and never return. Things we didn’t use, clothes we never wore, precious books and notes; all of them had to be taken, the luggage was piled up into a great heap. At the time, our daughter, Ayuan, and our son-in-law, Deyi, were working in factories, so we couldn’t call them to help out. On their day off they came to assist with the luggage, and they even copied what others were doing and used thick ropes to tie it up ever so tight, in case it should fall and break or be crushed on the road. Unfortunately the protection those thick ropes afforded stopped at the bulky iron and wooden trunks; in terms of torment, those metal and wooden trunks simply could not match the resilience of human flesh.

Translation of Yang Jiang’s Cadre School Diaries – Notes on Leave Taking – P3

shuangyashan_maj_lampa

我们挤上了车,他才告诉我:“这个月十一号,我就要走了。我是先遣队。”
尽管天天在等待行期,听到这个消息,却好像头顶上着了一个焦雷。再过几天是默存虚岁六十生辰,我们商量好:到那天两人要吃一顿寿面庆祝。再等着过七十岁的生日,只怕轮不到我们了。可是只差几天,等不及这个生日,他就得下干校。
“为什么要先遣呢?”
“因为有你。别人得带着家眷,或者安顿了家再走;我可以把家撂给你。”
干校的地点在河南罗山,他们全所是十一月十七号走。

We squeezed onto the bus and he finally said to me: “I’m leaving on the 11th. I’m in the advance party.” Despite the fact that I was expecting to leave each and every day, when I heard this news it was like catching a thunderclap over my head. In a few days it would be Mocun’s sixtieth birthday, we had already arranged everything: when the day arrived we would both sit down to eat a meal of “longevity noodles” to celebrate. We were afraid his seventieth birthday would not arrive for us. But now we were going to miss it by a few days. He would be going down to the cadre school.

“Why do you have to go first?”
“Because I have you. Other people have to take their families, or make arrangements for them to stay here; I can leave that all to you.”

The cadre school was at Luoshan, Henan province, their entire department was leaving on November 17th.

Translation of Yang Jiang’s Cadre School Diaries – Notes on Leave Taking – P2

shuangyashan_maj_lampa

我们俩每天各在自己单位的食堂排队买饭吃。排队足足要费半小时;回家自己做饭又太费事,也来不及。工、军宣传队后来管束稍懈,我们经常中午约会同上饭店。饭店里并没有好饭吃,也得等待;但两人一起等,可以说说话。那年十一月三日,我先在学校部大门口的公共汽车站等待,看见默存杂在人群里出来。他过来站在我旁边,低声说:“耽会儿告诉你一件大事。”我着看他的脸色,猜不出什么事。

Every day the two us would queue up to get food at our respective work units’canteens. In total the queuing wasted half an hour; going back home to cook was also a waste of time and we’d be late back to work besides. Later, the Worker’s Army Propaganda Brigade loosened their hold on us and we would often meet at a cafe at midday. The food was substandard and the service was slow, but a couple waiting together could have a good chat. On 3rd November that year I was waiting at the bus stop just outside the school’s main gate. I saw Mocun slip out from the milling crowd. He walked over to me and stood by my side, he said to me in hushed tones,“I have big news to tell you, in a moment.” I looked at his face but I couldn’t guess what his big news was.

Translation of Yang Jiang’s Cadre School Diaries – Notes on Leave Taking P1

shuangyashan_maj_lampa

中国社会科学院,以前是中国科学院哲学社会科学部,简称学部。我们夫妇同属学部;默存在文学所,我在外文所。

The Chinese Academy of Social Science used to be the Chinese Academy of Science, Philosophy of Social Science Department. We simply called it “the Department.” My husband and I were both members of the Department. Mocun was in the Literature Division, I was in the Foreign Languages Division.

一九六九年,学部的知识分子正在接受“工人、解放军宣传队”的“再教育”。

In 1969, the intellectuals of the department were receiving “re-education” by the “Workers and Liberation Army propaganda team.”

全体人员先是“集中”住在办公室里,六、七人至九、十人一间,每天清晨练操,上下午和晚饭后共三个单元分班学习。

Firstly, all the staff were “concentrated” (by being made) to live in the offices, six, seven to 9 or ten per room. Early each morning we would exercise, and then all three units would separate into classes for study before and after lunch, as well as after dinner.

过了些时候,年老体弱的可以回家住,学习时间渐渐减为上下午两个单元。

After some time, the old and infirm were allowed to return home, and study time gradually decreased to just two units, in the morning and afternoon.

我们俩都搬回家住,不过料想我们住在一起的日子不会长久,不日就该下放干校了。干校的地点在纷纷传说中逐渐明确,下放的日期却只能猜测,等待。

The two of us moved back home, but it seemed that our days living together were numbered. Soon we would be sent down to the cadre school. The location of the cadre school was gradually becoming clearer through the gossip around us, the length of our stay, however, could only be guessed. All we could do was wait.