When he woke up the next day, there were no voices in the room. A long life of nine to four had changed Chen Yuanming’s biological clock, and he could no longer get up from bed at 6:00 am in the morning. However, he did not expect to be able to sleep so heavily that he did not even hear his parents leaving for work.
The table was still placed in the middle of the room with several dishes on it as well as a note which said that both had left for work, the brazier was still burning outside, and that on getting up he should eat the food in the pot. In this short sentence, there were two misspelled words. Chen Yuanming smiled, put down the note, and opened the door.
January in the north was completely different from Zhuhai and Shanghai. Some days were cold and windy.
As the cold wind stirred, Chen Yuanming shivered. He took his towel and toothbrush and walked towards the public bathrooms. At this time, morning rush hour had passed and there was no one in the corridor. The smell of cooking smoke in the morning had also dissipated, leaving only the inexplicably stale smell of the old dormitory. Though the water from the tap was cold and numbed his fingers, it was sufficiently refreshing. After washing up quickly, Chen Yuanming straightened and was about to return to the room when unexpectedly a figure appeared in front of him.
“Doudou? It’s really Doudou!” An old lady, wearing a flowery brown cotton padded jacket, exclaimed in admiration, “When did you come back? Your mother told us that there was still two weeks left!”
“Grandma Wang, I just returned home last night, I haven’t had time to say hello to everyone …” Chen Yuanming responded with a smile.
This Aunt Wang lived in the first apartment at the west end of the corridor, next to the public bathroom, and was considered an old resident. She spent this period living with her son and daughter-in-law and this floor belonged to their family.
The people here were not bad except for a little tendency to gossip. In this era, neighborly relationships were not like those of future generations where, when the security door was shut, no one would know anything. On the contrary, the residents were all employees of the factory and mine. Half of their meals and drinks were consumed publicly and there was no entertainment at night. To go out was to head out with a stool to play chess. Within this sort of overly close neighborhood relationship, the big and small details of each family was easily known.
“It’s good to come back! It’s good to come back!” Aunt Wang praised repeatedly, “At such a young age, how could anyone go out to work? You don’t know how hard it was on your mother at the beginning. People from the school came to look for her twice. No one can afford to raise a child at this time but at least they will still finish junior high school. How many people criticized her behind her back? Your mother couldn’t lift her head in the courtyard for a few months. Later when they found out you made money, it got better. Who would have thought that such a young child would be so prosperous…”?
Her words were full of compliments, yet her eyes were full of gossip. Chen Yuanming’s eyebrows wrinkled slightly, but the smile on his mouth did not fade. “It’s because I’m young and ignorant, that I worried my family. Thanks to Grandma Wang for your care. Though I am not at home because of the neighbors’ help …”
“Well! Where did you go?!” Aunt Wang waved her hand heroically, “Your parents just live in the courtyard and do not rely on the neighbors in the community! It’s just that, Doudou, you won’t be leaving this time, right? Since you can do business like this, you can make money at home, why run so far…?”
Faced with such exhortation, what else could Chen Yuanming say? With a smile and a few perfunctory words, he turned around and returned to the room. Putting down the towel in his hand, Chen Yuanming looked at the room, which was still narrow and cramped, and looked at the corridor, which was full of clutter making movement rather inconvenient, and gave a bitter smile.
Over the past two years, every time he sent a letter with money home, what was in the reply he received?
At first, he was scolded with fear, then he was scolded because he was suspected of being on the wrong path, then it was a mix of slight concern and slight pride. When he started stock trading and had no more financial constraints, a bank card with a total of 40,000 yuan completely blocked the mouth of the family. Sending home nearly 60,000 yuan in two years, what kind of figure was this? If it was not stolen or robbed, then it was enough to prove that you could really make money and successfully fulfill your commitments. Although they may have still been uncomfortable with novelties such as stock trading, his parents had gradually opened their hearts and accepted his actions.
However, though the family no longer questioned his ability to make money, it did not mean that others will not. Becoming wealthy overnight was too much like a fairytale and easily caused envy in others. Just like everything that had happened in this small staff dormitory, as long as one stepped off the tracks, there were countless people who will ridicule, question and criticize. Could one dare to leave home rashly without one’s parents suffering any pressure? Of course not, but in this small dormitory building, in particular, there was too much resistance.
This place was still too small.
This dormitory, this factory, this city … Staying in this well, what you can see is always a small piece of the sky. If you wanted to completely change all this, you could only go further and walk out. But now did he not have the ability to take his parents out? He did. However, could his parents let go of everything and venture out themselves?
Chen Yuanming sat at the dining table and sighed deeply. He couldn’t do it yet. The stock market was only duckweed. It was rootless grass. Despite making a lot of money, he couldn’t tell his parents directly, as they would fall into a meaningless panic. And for workers of state-owned enterprises in their 30s and 40s, who had spent all their lives in this city and in this factory. How could they be separated from their hometowns?
In the end, the time was not yet right. Chen Yuanming shook his head. There were so many things that he had not even considered clearly. How could he make such a decision right away? He had to go step by step. Nevertheless … looking around at the furnishings in the room, a smile appeared at the corner of his lips, there was still something he could do.
After returning home that night, Chen Jianhua and Wang Juan were both taken aback. They saw the neighbors, who should have been busy cooking, standing around the door of their dormitory room, whispering and talking about something with each other. From time to time, there were a few excited screams from the children. What had happened? Despite the New Year’s goods in their hands, the two walked hurriedly towards their door.
Unexpectedly, when they arrived at the door, an awkward voice came from the room.
Alongside this strange voice, the children screamed, and many of them clapped their hands. Their excited voices overwhelmed the discussion of the adults. Startled by these screams, the two couldn’t help being impolite and walked away from the crowd and into the room.
As soon as they entered the house, what rushed into their eyes was a big thing they couldn’t ignore. They saw that the clutter that had originally been arranged on the chest of drawers had been removed and replaced with a square box. The front screen was lit, and several villains were being beaten on the screen for whatever reason. The room was full of children, and even the bed was occupied by people. One by one, they were each staring at the screen and shouting cheerfully.
Was this … a color TV? A big 20-inch color TV set!
Wang Juan swallowed her saliva, and started looking for her son’s figure but sister Ma had squeezed beside her and was gabbling
“Ah, big sister, your Doudou is too good. He just arrived home yesterday, and today he has returned with such a big color TV ~~” As she spoke, her eyes had drifted to the middle of the room, and she looked at him at the big and bright color TV with envy. Changhong was still a famous brand! When she had bought a TV the year before last year, it was a beautiful moment, but the small 14-inch black and white TV couldn’t be compared with this stuff!
“That’s it!” Sister Li on the other side also assisted. “Doudou is different. He is smart and competent. Others say he’s not doing business but look at them now! A red envelope from his boss is enough to buy a TV. Can they do this? “
A group of half-aged women chatted, and Wang Juan only felt dizzy. Unexpectedly, a voice came from outside the door.
“Come on, the apples are washed. You are welcome to eat them all.”
Was this not Doudou’s voice?!! Wang Juan turned her head fiercely, and saw her son walking over with a large pot of apples smiling.
“Are these Red Fuji apples? It’s crispy and sweet, and delicious.”
“Ah, Doudou, you don’t have to be so polite!”
Suddenly, a humble voice exclaimed but the action of taking the apple was not slow at all. If it was someone else’s house, she would have given way, but old Chen’s family was now so well off. Wasn’t it natural to eat this apple?
In just a blink of an eye, the apples in the basin were snatched and dried, and a chewing sound filled the room. Wang Juan drew the corner of her mouth up with some distress. Was this not half a box? These old ladies were really not being polite!
After almost half a day of jokes and laughter, the neighbors said goodbye and left with their children who had been unwilling to leave until that animated cartoon was finished. Wang Juan and Chen Jianhua had heard so many compliments that their ears were buzzing. While Wang Juan felt that her face was stiff from smiling, Chen Jianhua, on the other hand still had a rigid expression as if he did not know whether to cry or laugh.
When the guests were sent away and the door was closed, Chen Yuanming smiled and walked towards his parents. “I went to the department store today. It just happened that there was a color TV still in stock, so I moved one back …”
“Moved…” Chen Jianhua’s lips trembled. Buying such a big TV was a big deal because it meant he could afford to move back home!
Wang Juan also frowned bitterly, “Doudou, you are really … You should have discussed such a big matter with us. This is a 20 inch color TV! How much did it cost? How could you afford it?”
“I might as well.” Chen Yuanming smiled, “I brought back 5,000 yuan this time just to add something to the family. I have sent so much money back, but you don’t spend it well, how can I feel at ease?”
“Five thousand!” Wang Juan exclaimed in a small voice, “Why so much! You should save some money for your own life? Besides, even if you have spare money, it can be saved and used when you get married in the future …”
Chen Yuanming’s eyebrows drew upwards slightly, and then he immediately began to smile again, “Money will depreciate if not spent. Besides I can continue to make money so what is there to fear? Moreover, these days people dislike the poor and love the rich but since you are always withholding your money, you are looked down upon for no reason. As long as I am here, no one can look down on our house! “
The words were powerful and loud. Wang Juan felt a burst of enthusiasm and tears rushed into her eyes. She quickly put the things in her hands down, turned her head, and rushed out. As she left, her mouth was still whispering, “Your father is also waiting, I’ll make dinner right away …”
Chen Jianhua’s lips were still trembling slightly, but in the end, he didn’t say a word. Rather, he just reached out his hand and patted his son’s not-so-thick shoulder twice. He then immediately turned around and studied the TV manual and the remote control on the table.
Looking at the two elders who appeared to be at a loss, Chen Yuanming suppressed the bitter smile on his lips.
With the new color TV, the meal was much quieter. Although Chen Jianhua and Wang Juan were eating, their eyes could not help but continuously be attracted to the TV program. Even a simple advertisement could be watched for a long time. In fact, in recent years, a TV was really not a rare thing, but where would the old Chen family own such a large, high-end piece? Usually, even the radio is rarely turned on. Now with such a beautiful color TV, who wouldn’t want to watch more?
Looking at his absent-minded parents, Chen Yuanming smiled and asked. “Dad, mom, do you have any plans to apply for a new apartment from the factory recently? The bigger unit type …”
As soon as these words came out, his parents were both stunned. Wang Juan thought about it and said, “Yes, yes, but they are assigned by job title and length of service … This time a new building was built in Xiyuan Park. It is said that each apartment has an area of 50-60 square meters. Several leaders of the leaders of our branch plant are waiting in line. “
Hearing this news, Chen Yuanming couldn’t help frowning. He had wanted to move them to a larger house, but the biggest problem now was not money, but that there was no such thing as a commercial housing in 1993. At this time, housing reform had not yet begun, and all housing for state employees depended on availability, length of service and professional titles. If front-line workers wanted to get a suitable house, they needed to wait till at least after the housing reform in 1994, when a large number of plants will build their own housing. Then, at least if you can line up and pay, you can live in a new house.
However, in his last life, even though their family qualified, they were still unable to move into a new house. At the time, in his absence, the purchase price of more than 10,000 yuan for a home was not a price that the Chen family could pay. After missing that opportunity, the whole family only moved out of this staff dormitory in 1999, when he made some money after moving North.
Yes, it was not the right time … In the first few years of the 1990s, it was impossible to live without money, but even with money there was no guarantee that you could live unimpeded. At this time, China had not yet transformed into a capitalist society, and power and status were still more important than money. But now, what could Chen Yuanming offer other than money?
Sighing softly, Chen Yuanming shook his head. “Forget it, I’ll go around to Aunt Liu’s house tomorrow. Isn’t Uncle Sun working as an office director in the branch factory? Maybe I can get some information from him …”
As soon as this was said, the room suddenly went quiet, and Chen Jianhua and Wang Juan both stopped their chopsticks. Perceiving that the atmosphere was not right, Chen Yuanming also put down his tableware and acted as if was making a joke, “What? Now , am I still not allowed to interact with Aunt Liu and their family. I probably earn more than she does …”
“Doudou.” Wang Juan interrupted Chen Yuanming abruptly. Her eyes nervously glanced at her husband and she said, “Your aunt Liu has moved away, so I don’t think you will be able to see her …”
The author has something to say:
Dead from writing.
The Family Line section would be as large as possible so that it why it seems to be moving slowly. But there are not many chapters after this. Don’t rush, after this period of transition, things will reignite immediately> _ <
The house problem will be solved, and the family will settle temporarily. All things that are officially on track still have to wait for adulthood. There are too few things that minors can do.
And there is no need for me to explain the animation in this chapter, right? Shenyang TV Station was the earliest to introduce the cartoon. It happened in 1989 and it was also dubbed in Mandarin. Later, it was broadcasted by various local stations after a few years. At that time, most just watched it after work and dinner. It was enjoyable.
I like the knight of the Zodiac. Naked men are great!
Lmao at the author’s last line from the author notes. Let me know in the comments if you like having the authors note translated or if they are too “spoilery”. I will leave it out if most don’t want it 😀
 The word used here is Tianma. Tianma （天馬） is a divine pegasus that is part of the Chinese divines. Tianma literally means ‘Sky horse’ or ‘Heavenly Horse’.
 The cartoon being described here is Saint Seiya, Knights of the Zodiac, a Japanese anime series written and illustrated by Masami Kurumada … The 114-episode-Saint Seiya had a huge influence on Chinese people born between the 1970s and 1980s. The protagonist had unique skills such as “Pegasus Meteor Fist” and “Diamond Dust” which was imitated by Chinese children at the time. See https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/culture/2016-11/02/content_27245708_4.html