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The Magical China Trip 2012

We found it!

CHINA | Wednesday, 3 October 2012 | Views [791] | Comments [5]

Shanghai Myers House front street plate

Shanghai Myers House front street plate

Saturday afternoon Gloria and a native Shanghainese friend named Tree took me to the old French Concession area.  Here all the streets have been renamed, but Tree, who has been researching the old tobacco industry in Shanghai, knew about old maps.  She and Gloria used the old maps to find Rue de Lafayette and then matched it to the modern map.  Fortunately, because it was an important street, it was only renamed, not destroyed; and the house numbers pretty much remained the same.

Thus, we arrived at 1462/10 Fuxin Road.  Based on the layout of the little alley, we are almost sure it is the same building that existed in 1937, though perhaps rebuilt/repaired after the war.  As we were standing around taking pictures and excitedly chatting, a man walked out the door of #10.  We explained the situation and he graciously invited us to come in.  The apartment, which once took up three stories, has been divided into smaller living spaces (that are very small, indeed).

Initially, we only snapped pictures of doors, but then he allowed us to go into his apartment on the second floor.  His wife and mother-in-law were already dressed for bed (it was about 4:30 or 5 p.m.), but the mother-in-law insisted on getting dressed and inviting us into the sitting room, which doubles as her bedroom.  She was very excited about meeting us.  They think the building was built in the early 40’s, probably a repairing of the original building.  Her family has lived there for at least 50 years.

Although the third floor belongs to a different family, our hostess did let us into the first floor bedroom and sitting room which they rent to a calligraphy student from Taiwan.  The place seems very small, but I can see that if it had three open floors, it would be something like a townhouse.  I think the first floor room could have not had the divider and could have been a dining area, convenient to the first floor kitchen.

It seems very plausible that it is where my brother and his mother were living when the Japanese attack on Shanghai occurred – on August 13, 1937, my brother’s 7th birthday.  My father and my sisters were all in the US at the time, and it was many frantic days before he was able to determine the fate of his wife and son.  They had been evacuated to the Philippines but were not reunited with him until November when the two of them were able to sail to Los Angeles.

So, Bill, if anything in the pictures looks familiar to you, let me know.  It would certainly confirm our finding.

I apologize for the quality because I am not the world’s best camerawoman.  My son, Daen, gave me a fine Android phone whose camera functions much better than my little digital camera, though.  As I discovered on the train to Nanjing, it snaps pictures so quickly, that I can just point it at an object outside the window of a high-speed train and click the shutter.  It mimics a camera noise, and catches in fractions of a second clear, focused images.  I love it!

Tags: myers, shanghai

Comments

1

That is so cool!!!

  Terry Macinata Oct 4, 2012 2:54 PM

2

what a treat, thank you for sharing your adventure.

  Ta E Tay Oct 5, 2012 6:07 AM

3

I'm looking so forward to following your adventure! We will miss you at book club, have a fine dinner and think of us.

  Ginger Fields Oct 8, 2012 11:59 PM

4

When did your family ,oved to the Rue Lafayette?

  erik Oct 11, 2012 12:06 AM

5

My father moved his family (1st wife and my brother) to the house at 1462/10 Rue de Lafayette, Shanghai, shortly before January 6, 1935, when he sent a letter to Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Wang in "Peiping, China."

  emacinat Oct 11, 2012 11:04 AM

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