Sunday, April 2, 2017

One Good Teacher Makes Difference

Retired NASA Chemist, Winifred Huo, was born in Guangzhou, China two weeks before the start of the Sino-Japanese war.  She recalls the first eight years of her life as looking for a safe place to live, and a place where her father could work. (see post one.) Winifred's highly-educated father was assigned to Guangdong to help build the impossible: the Burma Road. (see post two.) Two years after arriving, the Japanese invaded and the family had to make a quick escape. (see post three.)
When the war ended, they returned to Guangzhou. Although they had lived so many places, and spent lots of time and energy moving and getting settled and moving again, Winifred had kept up with her studies.  Her mother—although not highly educated—had insisted on it.
“She came from a somewhat untraditional family. My grandfather was against bound feet, an unusual view for his generation.  He insisted that none of his daughters should have bound feet."
The practice of foot binding lasted a millennium, from the 10th-20th century.
“She never worked. But she always admired women who worked, and always told us, ‘Look at so-and-so. She’s having a career. She’s able to be independent.’ So she was very emphatic about that.”
Winifred’s mother’s tutoring and concern paid off. For, after the end of the war, when they returned to Guangzhou, the school system tested all the children to see what grade they should enter. Winifred tested two years ahead. 
While they thought they were done with all this moving around, 1949 (the takeover of the Communists) came. So, once again, Winifred moved to Hong Kong. 
“I finished my high school in Hong Kong. The high school I went to was originally established by the American Baptist church. It was a missionary girls’ school. I had a very good science teacher.”
Winifred had discovered her passion.
(To be continued. Next: Disappointment Opens Door to Better Opportunity.)

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