Cheng Shu Guo

Interviewed by Jackie(his grandson)

The Interview

My grandfather sort of grew up into a war. He was during it, and spent most of his early childhood during the war. Life then was scarce and there were no books to read or a school to attend. When he was 12, the People’s Republic of China was founded. He finally could have enough to eat, to attend school, and his entire family’s life was getting better. Also, they gave each family some farming land. But, there were still struggles. He did not have a steady food resource. A full meal followed by one not nearly as fulfilling. When there was food, it was mostly corn, potatoes, sorghum, and cabbage. All whole grains, no white flour. They used mudpots when cooking rice, and a cast iron woks to cook. At the time, each house would have a very large Kang (a heatable brick bed, heated by kitchen stove), in which the whole family would sleep on, and very little furniture. There would be a very little square table on the Kang in which dinner would be eaten. He had a simple early life, everyday going to school and doing homework, playing with his friends (games like spinning wooden tops, and slapping cards). Very simple, but my grandfather was very happy.

In 1959, at the age of 18, he moved to Baotou (Inner Mongolia but is in China) to work for the newly established BaoGang Enterprise. Many people all over China moved there to support the steel factories. He worked as an electrician to repair the electrical equipment. This job required basic wiring and electrical knowledge. It was a good and safe place. If you left your door unlocked, nothing would be stolen. Also, there were many other recreational activities.

At the age of 22, he met my grandmother, who was introduced by his friend. They met in his hometown. DongBei. After a month, they got married. 2 years later, their eldest son was born.

This is a basic run through of my grandfather’s life. It’s pretty incredible how much things have changed since then. Also, I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for a few things. Thanks for reading.