I started going to school when I was six and a half years old. Both of my parents worked, so I had to take care of my younger siblings during the day. I went to night school until 4th grade. I walked 500 meters or one-third of a mile to school by myself for first grade. The following year my sister reached school age, we walked to school together. I enjoyed going to school. The teachers liked me and I liked the teachers. I even had a crush on my fourth- grade teacher Mr. Wu.
The best thing was that when I was in first grade, my teacher said I was bright, and that made a big impact on me. I did well at school throughout elementary school years. Each class had about forty students. At the end of school year, the report card showed our performance in terms of their places among the forty students. Throughout elementary school years, I didn’t get the first place. I was in second to ninth places. That means I was at the top twenty-three percentile of grade points. It broke my heart when I got the ninth place that year! I gave credit to my dad for my good grades. He checked my homework every night and quizzed me every week. It was a blessing to have a dad who cared so much about my education.
All the subjects were taught in Chinese. My dad wanted me to learn English, so he sent me to English tutoring when I was in fourth grade. By this time, my mom stopped working so that she could take care of four little ones. Since my mom was home, my dad decided to send me to day school. It was in Wan Chai, half an hour tram ride from home. We had school five and a half days a week. I made friend with the music teacher’s daughter, Shirley. We became lifelong friends.
Shirley played piano and I often went to visit her and just listened to her practicing piano. We continued to be friends and correspond throughout the years. She was married and moved to London. When we traveled to London on a tour, we arrived in London prior to the tour group. Shirley and her husband took us sightseeing for five days.