Thursday, October 24, 2013

Coffin Hop Day 2

Welcome back to day two of Coffin Hop. Grab your cuppa and sit back for part two of seven of our tale, Herbs, Spices, Tea and Ghosts of a Chinese Tea Shop. Thank you for all your lovely comment. At the end of this tale all of your names will be put in a bowl and Princess will pick one of you for two books and a few bits and bobs and a second winner will win al book. All signed to you and pawgraphed as well.

Part 2:

During the war Wong’s family had keep me while my parents were in consideration camps as enemies of the country. Wong and I have always been close he was always like a brother I felt and I was right to feel this way. Our first night at sea we talked all night. He was as shocked as I. We decided not to tell anyone until our parents had passed. We both had siblings and were not sure what they would think. Wong had a younger bother and sister, I had three younger brothers who would go to University in England like father had. I am only 18 and I feel so alone and scared.’ Mom had written this so long ago. 

I took a long look out the window as I sipped my tea. All I could think was Oh My God, Mr. Wong is my uncle. Did my Dad know about this? Did Mr. Wong’s kids know we are cousins? I had so many questions. Mother and I were so close I thought. When my husband died two years after we were married she was the first one to care about me. She and Dad set up accounts with me to keep the money straight for my old age. They took care of everything for me. I couldn’t have contended with difficulties if they hadn’t been there. Mother mostly she held my hand and kept the in-laws at arms length. They had wanted all his and my money. 

The life insurance was in my name yet they felt they should have most of it. Odd people. Mother said that because they were not Chinese and had ideas that we were second class citizens was why. I don’t know, but they didn’t keep in touch when the lawyer told them, they were not entitled to any of the money or belongings. I did return all the pictures of him they had taken and the ugly dinner service that was their family heirloom. When I brought it over they never said thank you. Just go to hell you... Oh dear. I am sorry I thought about this today.

I took a big gulp of tea and felt a soft pat on my back. I looked up nothing. I best just get back to work. 

I took all the books from the back cupboard. All were journals of my Mother's. I saw the dates 1949 to last year. I had reading to do. I wondered if my brothers and sister knew about Mr. Wong? The shop books were in front from the day it had opened in 1950. My mother was so young when she opened this shop with Dad. Dad was five years older and half Chinese. My Grandfather was an American from New England and Grandmother was born in Vancouver. They had meet when my Grandfather was looking for work in Canada after the first world war. That’s all I knew but I remember how much fun they were. I saw nothing of my Dad’s in here. He could cook up a storm. I really miss his cooking and him. I put all Mother's journals in my boxes, just in case. In case of what I wasn’t sure now. I do know my older brothers and sister have no idea about this.

I packed things that were to be given to my brothers and sister and set them on the counter in neat stacks. It was an easy day after all so little needed to be done. All the spice drawers were empty and clean, the tea drawers empty as well. It was lunch time so I headed to the Wong's restaurant for some lunch and information. 

I loved the Wong’s restaurant it always smelled so good. As I walked in I was greeted by Alice, my cousin. I wondered if she knew anything about us being cousins. 

“Joy, I am so glad to see you. So take out or in?” Alice asked?

“Well, as I soon won’t be dining here daily I say in. I could use the company it’s kind of sad in the shop,” I said.

Alice gave me a big hug. 

“I am sure it is. I can’t imagine having to clear it all out. Thanks for giving Dad so much tea he loves it. You know his brother in China sends him that tea too. He lives in Hong Kong I visited him a few years ago. He had tales to tell of our parents,” she said.

“Really do tell. I have never meet any of the family in China. I wish had met my Grandparents,” I said. 

“I met my grandmother. She looked like a tiny Chinese doll. She wore silk dresses in so many gorgeous colours. She had very tiny feet, and I think may have had them bound as a child. I am not sure on that, but she kept saying I looked like my Dad’s side of the family. Now that is odd isn’t it?” Alice asked.

“Maybe not so odd. What do you know about our parents coming here?” I asked.

“OK, lets see, they were put on ship after WWII to Canada as young adults for a better life. My Dad met my mother married had us. Your mother met your dad and thats how we are here” She said.

“It seems there is a bit more to the story. I found Mothers journals and read a bit of the one from 1949. I am not sure if I am to tell you about it. Lets order lunch and tea, maybe a stiff drink. It’s 5 O’clock somewhere,” I said.

“That sounds bad. I will put our order in and would you like Bloody Mary with it?” asked Alice.

“Sounds good to me, make it double please,” I said.

I am not drinker in the day time. Today has been one shock after another, first the dirty drawers and dust, then Mother's journals and the stress of dealing with the shop on my own. After all it was my brothers and sister who said I had to close it. Not really my idea but I knew they were right with so little money coming from it. If we hadn’t owned the building it would have closed a year ago.

Alice set the drinks down. She brought us egg rolls and the good mustard.

“Well, It’s all in here.” I set the journal on the table.

“That looks like ledger not a journal,” Alice said.

“I know that’s what I thought, until I opened it and begin reading. She started it after she arrived here. Seems she and your dad had a real shock as they left China. They were brother and sister, so you and I are cousins. Which is fine with me, but how about you?” I asked. 

This all came out in one breath. I took a huge drink of the Bloody Mary, it will hit me soon on an empty stomach. Alice read the journal as we sat there. She just looked at me, dumbfounded as I was.

“So they knew all these years. Wow I am not sure what to say. Having you as a cousin that’s great,” Alice said then took a huge drink too.

“I haven’t told my family. Well, as the baby they treat me as if I was 10 still,” I said.

“You and I are both the babies and the only ones to keep the family businesses going. Look at my brothers fancy doctors and I stayed here after Mom died. My husband and I work hard here. I have my kids doing deliveries too.” 

Alice didn’t sound bitter, she sounded like me.

Now hop over to one of the other great Coffin Hoppers for more thrills and chills.