Apr 02 2008
In 1922, my Zengzu, great grandfather served as Secretary-General of the State Council 国务院秘书长 under President Li Yuanhong (1964-1928), his third presidency. Zhang Shaozeng 张绍曾 (1879-1928) was the Premier (later acting). According to Lucy, they moved into a rental, an European villa on Songshu Hutong – Pine-tree, number 7 with an enormous garden. In 1923, Zengzu’s good buddy Cheng Ke 程克 invited his favored opera singer Zhu Qinxin 朱琴心 and his band to perform 堂会 as birthday gift to Zengzu. The front lawn was taken up by tents and filled with guests in former attires.
“At time, Lu Xiaoman 陆小曼 (1903-65) lived on the same street with us.” Grandaunt Lucy recalled.
“Lu loved opera. I was only 13 but already developed my own aesthetic standard. As soon as she walked in, I felt the entire compound was glowing, the stage lights became dim as if she brought the sunshine with her. All the wives paled considerably in her presence.”
Lucy would gleefully insisted that it was the only high point of living there – 松树胡同七号, also during her dad’s gig as Secretary-General, which was a busy and consuming position.
“Every day there were steam of people came for favors. My dad was busy at work or at social functions at night, seldom home for dinner. My mom would have to entertain them, adding additional tables at dinner time.”