Sunday, February 10, 2008

Reflections of the Past

This is the house where Le Ly Hayslip's parents settled in 1927 with her older sister Hai, a baby in arms. Hai still lives here and it was Hai we visited as honored first guests on Tet. Hopefully we brought luck through the door that day.
As we celebrated and worshipped the ancestors the history of this house and the family did not escape us.
The peaceful green rice paddy is where Le Ly saw her first American helicopter as a young child and where she stood as a sentinel for the Viet Cong, changing her shirt to different colors to signal ARVN or US activity.
The mound behind the house is where the family hid, from all sides of the conflict. It did not save Le Ly from either rape by the Viet Cong, or imprisonment by the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN).
The kitchen remains much the same in the old house, except for the gas stove. but it is here that all the cooking is done, sometimes for 40-50 people as on Tet.
Standing in the small garden, dominated by shrines, it was almost unfathomable.....the ghosts, the history, the miracle of survival and the tenacity of this one family.

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