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老乡---

我童年的美好回忆Pleasant Memory of My Childhood

 
 
 

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Grandma’s Cranes  

2015-03-19 08:03:13|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Allow me to use my grandma’s cranes once more for inspiration. Upon retirement, my ex-courtroom judge grandma adopted traditional Chinese painting as her newfound passion. Out of all the paintings that Grandma had conjured with her magical brush, one especially caught my attention. It depicts two red-crowned cranes perching on a pine tree. One fully extends its graceful neck and wings, calling, ready to fly, while the other in the background looks down quietly with its wings folded. I always marveled over her brush strokes; a casual flick of the wrist and, poof, shading of the feathers appeared.

The summer of third grade marked my first attempt to doodle the cranes, simply for their beauty. A year later, I took off like the crane, leaving the pine tree and Grandma behind.

Throughout middle school, preoccupied with blending in, I tucked away the cranes and fully plunged into “Americanism”. Unsure of the proper way to behave, I sank into the muffled background. At once, I am at a disadvantage when compared to Caucasian immigrants; because of my Oriental features, no matter how well I know English grammar, how much I dress like the “all-American girl,” my slant eyes and flat nose will always reveal the fact that I am an “alien.”  Still, at the age of ten, I set out to be like “one of them.” Quickly, I grew my mushroom cut out into the more common shoulder-length hairstyle and replaced childish prints with denims. Dreading the request, “Can you speak some Chinese?” I would brush aside the question with a sheepish smile and an inaudible mumble of a few words in Mandarin. An inexplicable shame crept over me whenever I was linked to my roots. In truth, I abandoned one culture though not accepted into the other.

Grandma’s Cranes - 老乡 - 老乡---

 

Without a definite culture to draw my ideas from, my artwork inevitably became impersonal. In high school pottery class, because I chose the conventional route of decorating pots with leaf and flower carvings, my work not only blended in with others but also lacked substantial meaning. Then, an opportunity came.

For a school-wide sculptured and painted plate exhibition, each participating student decorated a plate, using the medium of his choice. Fumbling though my past, searching for any decoration that could make my plate unique, I came across a photo of the cranes. Surprised that the favorite painting of my childhood had been forgotten, I decided to borrow my grandma’s idea once more, just as I had done in third grade. As the only Asian in the ceramics program, I was pleased with my plate’s distinctiveness –it was the only piece that centered on an oriental theme. At the award ceremony, I was thrilled when the teacher announced, “Best of Show, Yan Wang!” Grinning wildly as I strode toward my pottery teacher to accept my certificate, it was at that moment I felt grateful for my heritage and its rich inspirations.

Her art now hangs in the living room, corresponding naturally with mine. On my plate, the sole crane standing on the branch sings ever so proudly. I titled my plate as “Grandma’s Crane.”

 

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