Translated by Jing M. Wang
Ye Zhongyin (1912-?), also known under the penname Ye Zi,
was from Dacheng, Hebei. When she enrolled at Beijing Female
Normal College in 1928, her career in drama performance
began. In 1935 Ye studied drama at the National Drama
Training School (Guoli xiju zhuanke xuexiao) in Nanjing and
became a professional actor after graduation. During the War
of Resistance against Japan, she played a very active role in
spoken drama for national defense. She once served as director
of the Spoken Drama Section of Beijing People’s Art Theater
(Beijing renmin yishu juyuan). Ye was a member of China
Association of Dramatists (Zhongguo xijujia xiehui).
I grew up in the countryside. My family was fairly well-to-do in the county as my ancestors had been very diligent for generations. When Grandfather was a young man, he and his brother worked closely together, so the family prospered. Grandfather toiled away all year round in the fields alongside his hired laborers and eventually died from constant exhaustion.
Granduncle owned a private bank in a neighboring town. When I was a child, he brought us delicacies and pastries every time he came home. He gathered us around him, and we all enjoyed the treats. In the meantime, we watched him stroke his mustache and sip his wine with content. He told us stories from town. He was a smart man and often helped friends and family resolve difficult situations. For that, everyone respected him. Thanks to his prestige, no one disobeyed his orders whenever he chose to give any.