[NTLK] Frank's still here, although but barely

tonykan at xtra.co.nz tonykan at xtra.co.nz
Sun May 19 17:44:21 EDT 2019

Hi Frank

Back in 2008 we went back to China to find my grandfather's ancestral home.  

He had left it in 1902 after a drought-led famine drove the adults to send their children away.

When we found it, the neighbours allowed us to inspect the house which turned out to be a sizable estate, with courtyards, and servants quarters.

They said it hadn't been inhabited for nearly 90 years so we were surprised to see that it was in amazingly good condition.

We asked the 80-year old lady who had been looking after it.  She said, why, we have been.

But why would you do such a thing?  

My grandfather, said the elderly lady, told us to look after it because one day you would be back.  He was right, for here you are.

My cousin burst into tears.

We felt guilty that they had spent their own money to keep up the house over nearly a century with no guarantee of payment.  

We offered to take possession of the house and take up our responsibility.

They said that our grandfather had two siblings who would have a claim over the house.  Where were they?

We had no idea.  No contact had been had with them for maybe fifty years and no surviving family members had their contact details and we were unsure what part of the world they were now.

My father passed away back in 2015.  

He didn't hoard throw much away either.  

There were stacks of old invoices for utilities going back fifty years.  

Alone in the house, being the eldest it fell on me to tidy the estate.  Like you, no offers from the other siblings to help.  

It was tempting to throw them all away but there was a risk that a valuable document might be falsely filed in one of the piles of paper.  

So I set to work and amongst the power bills of 1972, there was a scrap of paper with a Chinese name and a north American telephone number on it.

It dawned on me that with a smartphone in my pocket, I could solve the mystery by immediately dialling it.

It turned out to be my father's long lost first cousin and through this discovery we have since re-connected with the descendants of both my grandfather's siblings.  


Tony Kan
New Zealand

-----Original Message-----
From: newtontalk-bounces at newtontalk.net <newtontalk-bounces at newtontalk.net> On Behalf Of Gene beaird
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2019 4:42 AM
To: newtontalk at newtontalk.net
Subject: Re: [NTLK] Frank's still here, although but barely


Hang in there!  There IS light at the end of the tunnel.  I ‘enjoyed’ disposing of my parent’s estate after my Dad suddenly passed while visiting his siblings out of state.  While not a hoarder, he didn’t throw much away.  We had a 8-place dining room table in his house that was under 2 feet of old mail.  A dumpster took care of most of that, then the estate sale fixed the rest.  After the house was emptied, we spent money getting it completely repainted, and new flooring installed on the first floor.  We still got almost nothing for the place.  Although it was big, it was the biggest house in a neighborhood of small houses, so that bit us hard.  

But as others have said, take care of yourself first!!  And it’s not a sin to take a day off from it every now and then.  That process is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, so don’t knock yourself out up front.  


Gene Beaird,
Pearland, Texas

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