After my great grandfather passed away in January 1942, my great grandma sold the villa for 400,000 and rent the newly built Canzheng Hutong siheyuan. When the landlord wanted to sell in 1950, great grandma decided to buy. By that time, Yeye’s money was pretty much gone up in smoke literally and figuratively. His petty salary could hardly support himself. So great grandma with the help from Lucy and Xiaomin (Don’s grandma) put up the cash for the house – sorry no mortgage then. In light of Yeye’s largess, great grandma titled the Canzheng house to her grandson Jiujiu, but stipulated that should Yeye one day needed money for meals, then the house could be sold. By the beginning of 1964, Yeye was very short on cash, so he sold the southern wing to a pastor at Nantang 南堂 for 40,000 or 60,000 yuan. “I was only a 傀儡 kui lei – puppet, went there and signed.” Jiujiu said. .
My first home, inside. From L to R: by the western wing with Mom in 1961; the Main Hall or northern wing was in the right corner. By the eastern wing where 刘妈妈 and 大大 used to live; the 2nd door 二门 (festooned) was to my left in the back. By the western wing; the wall between the front courtyard and the main courtyard was to the upper left corner. . In April 1966, Yeye sold off the eastern and western wings for another 40,000 yuan. Again, Jiujiu went there and signed. Couple of months later the Cultural Revolution began. The proceed from the sales got frozen in the bank for nearly a year. During that time, Popo supported Yeye and Nainai, gave them 5 yuan from her retirement check monthly and Auntie Fu forked over 10 yuan monthly too. The illustration below is a two courtyards siheyuan 两进四合院 similar to ours on Canzheng Hutong. The only difference was that the main gate was on the southwesters corner. After Yeye sold the southern wing to the pastor in 1964, the festoon door was sealed and a new entrance was opened between the main hall and the west wing. .
10 Canzheng Hutong in 1984. Yeye and Nainai had moved back in after nearly a decade of absent. L: the northern hall; the Li family was still occupying the two room to the right. R: the street view from south – XinWenHua Street 新文化街. The main gate used to be on the XinWenHua Street. The current door to my left created after Yeye sold the southern wing which included the main gate enterance. .The m
The idiom 大门不出，二门不进 is stemming from the two courtyards siheyuan like this: 大门 damen, the big door here refers to the main gate, and 二门 ermen, the second door refers to the inner entry that often festooned, in the shape of circle, pear or calabash. The Canzheng siheyuan was confiscated in 1967. The local street committee claimed they needed the house to 接待 receive the 串联 out of town red guards. Popo and Jiujiu got the same warning. So mother suggested to Yeye and Nainai to move in with Popo/Jiujiu who were living in Lucy’s siheyuan on Qianbaihu 前百户 Hutong. I moved there with Yeye and Nainai. After Mom’s suicide, Dad uprooted me to Tianjin immediately and soon Yeye and Nainai were forced out of the Lucy’s siheyuan too, to Xi Tiejiang Hutong 西铁匠胡同, where they lived in that hole for many years. The Canzheng siheyuan was eventually returned to Yeye in 1984. While Yeye was ailing, he asked or forced Jiujiu to change the title of the deed to Nainai, a financial security should he left before her – although at the time, Beijing’s real estate had not taken off. According to Jiujiu in 2011, Nainai asked to see a notary while on her hospital bed in 1986. Jiujiu found 3 who went. She changed the deed to Jiujiu’s son, my cousin Xiao Peng. Although it was originally deeded to Jiujiu, he didn’t move in till 1986 after Nainai passed away. He got an apartment (use only) somewhere afar from the settlement of the Qianbaihu Hutong. He exchanged it with the Li family for the two rooms. Jiujiu now lives there with his wife, son Xiao Peng and his family. They have installed a full bathroom. Both western/eastern wings have built additional rooms to extend their home (apparently after 1984 .. not after the Tangshan earthquake in 1976), thus reduced the once spacious courtyard into a narrow alley. The developer/government had offered Jiujiu two apartments for the house, but he refused: too far. “All my life, I’ve never left the Inner Second nei er 内二 area in Beijing.” Guess he’s not about to move any time soon. Jiujiu, 10/28/2005:
糖房胡同是洋房；我的爷爷死去(1942) 我奶奶卖了；她拿50% 养老；另50% 分六份：2 儿子，3 女儿 加上我们三人的教育费. 糖房胡同卖了之后，婆婆带我们三人搬迁去库资胡同；我奶奶买了参政；