Dad taught high-school… he studied psychology, but math was his thing, so he taught math. He was a little inclined to the left, as many of the youth in his age were, but he managed to stay clear of trouble during the revolution. A few years after the revolution, not sure exactly what, but he mentioned something about communities and working together, and some student did the country a favor by reporting him to the authorities during the “cultural revolution” wave.
I remember dad and my uncle, his lawyer brother, sitting at the dining table; dad quiet, uncle talking, words about not being responsible and getting suspended. The 5-year old me overheard these, and imagined his dad floating in a glass tank of bluish goo, somewhere between the earth and sky.
Dad traded his ‘74 BMW for an old truck; he liked the car, you could tell… purple-colored 2002, with huge bumpers that were supposed to protect it, and they did for the most part, as he crashed the car into stuff every now and then. He still jokes and makes an impression of me, when I was 3, riding the car with him, and he crashed the car into a taxi: “Look what you have done!” :) The car may have been a display of his youth, the playfulness that has never left him, not even now. He traded the car for a truck and delivered goods from one factory to another… street lamps, metal rods, anything. One of his friends, offering him a little money on the side, would give him electric kettles to put together. Mom and dad would spread the pieces in the living room and put kettles together, one after another… the numbers mattered. My sister and I would sometimes join in, racing to see who could put one together faster. “Don’t screw it too hard… it’ll crack the body, and won’t stop the leak any better.”
So a few years went by, until nobody could remember why he wasn’t teaching. Someone in charge thought it would be a great idea to make him teach geography… “we don’t have enough geography teachers,” seemed like a reasonable statement. He taught geography until he retired, for almost 20 years. 16 months ago