Also known as, How My Crazy Grandfather Singlehandedly Destroyed My Mother's Family's Memories.
So this is what went down tonight. But first, use this as reference:
Mandarin character key:
媽媽 = ma1 ma1 = mother
婆婆 = po2 po2 = maternal grandmother, informal
公公 = gong1 gong1 = maternal grandfather, informal
So here it is. We were eating dinner at Cracker Barrel for Kevin's birthday when my mom mentioned that she wasn't going to Taiwan this summer, but was planning to go next summer. "媽媽," I said, "when you go to Taiwan, you should get copies of 婆婆 and 公公's family pictures for an album."
"Oh, 公公 threw all those pictures away," my mom said.
I don't think that single pair of question and exclamation marks effectively conveys my shock and disbelief. Here's what it should look like: ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Apparently, my grandfather threw away ALL the family photos when he thought they were going to be moving out of the apartment they had lived in for close to 40 years. He didn't want to have to lug around ALL those pictures. But the books? The books stay because those could be useful to someone! And the albums that all the pictures were in? Those stay too!
So let me get this straight. My grandfather went through the trouble of putting family photos in albums in the first place, then in some unexplained bout of CRAZINESS, took all the family photos (we're talking wedding pictures and childhood pictures of my mom and her three sisters) out of the photo albums, chucked all the photos, but hung on to the empty photo albums?
60 or more years of family history . . . gone. I'm speechless. I can't believe it. I can't imagine what my grandfather was possibly thinking when he did that. I can't decide if he was always that crazy, or the craziness was brought on by old age. He didn't even offer up the pictures to his CHILDREN. Not even the one that lives ten minutes away. And why didn't my grandmother DO something and STOP him?
If I'd known the fate of those pictures, it would have been worth it to me to make a trip to Taiwan just to get those pictures. Ugh. Makes me sad just to think about what happened to those pictures.