1st Generation of Female Tractor Drivers Reunite after 60 Yrs

December 28, 2018  Editor: Liu Yanmei
1st Generation of Female Tractor Drivers Reunite after 60 Yrs
The first generation of female tractor drivers reunite in Yueqing City, east China's Zhejiang Province. [Zhejiang Online]

 

Surviving veterans of the country's first generation of female tractor drivers reunited in Yueqing City, east China's Zhejiang Province, after almost 60 years on December 15.

In the 50s, local authority in Yueqing organized 10 outstanding local women to learn to drive tractors.

Those women included Chen Songmei, Fu Yuying and Chen Xian'e. As they came from all over Yueqing, after the training class, they went their separate ways, and gradually lost touch with each other.

On November 10, a member office of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) committee in Yueqing launched a large-scale public welfare activity in a city square. Chen rushed to the scene, with a hope to find more female tractor drivers who had lost touch with each other for 60 years and gather for a reunion before it is too late.

Chen was still in touch with Fu and Chen. As for the other members, she tried to look for them, but failed.

This incident was reported by Yueqing Daily, which inspired widespread public concern.

The training in the 50s lasted for only 20 days, and no records were left. Therefore, it was difficult to find people after 60 years with limited information.

The office first contacted Yueqing Women's Federation and Yueqing Archive, but found no relevant historical data.

A woman surnamed Ye, from Hongqiao County, offered the clue that Ye Zhonghua was her aunt who used to be a former tractor driver.

Following from this lead, the office traced Zhu Zhifeng, another female tractor driver of Hongqiao. Sadly, both of them had passed away for years.

Based on information offered by the public, Jin Dongling of Dajing County was found. Meanwhile, a woman surnamed Jin knew another member, Chen Dongmei, a native of Wuhu County.

Moreover, Jin had kept a photo of all the members standing beside the tractor for 60 years. This precious photo appeared in the Yueqing Daily on November 21 and played a key role in the interviewing and searching process.

After discovering one of the members was from Shiling Village, the office immediately contacted the former village women director and finally found Tang Jinmei, who died years ago.

With the efforts of all parties, the last member, Huang Youhua, was found in Liushi.

The reunion event has also received strong support from the municipal CPPCC committee, the municipal women's federation and the municipal archive.

The activity was scheduled in the afternoon. In all, five people attended the scene. They looked at the photo and recalled the unforgettable experience together.

"I joined the Party at 17. I was once a provincial model worker and was recommended to learn to drive a tractor at that time. I was the youngest of the 10 sisters," Chen said proudly.

She also thanked the office to make so much effort to contribute to the reunion.

Jin donated the precious photo to the municipal archive and Kong Wansheng, deputy director of the municipal archive, issued a collection certificate to thank her.

Wang Jianle, vice-president of the Yueqing Women's Federation, and Jin Longjiang, director of the office, issued commemorative certificates to the five surviving tractor drivers.

Zhao said at the event that it was a meaningful event. The group participated in the construction of a reservoir and the cultivation of much land.

Their story reflects the importance attached to women's work and the improvement of women's status in those years, said officials.

 

1st Generation of Female Tractor Drivers Reunite after 60 Yrs
The five tractor drivers [Zhejiang Online]
1st Generation of Female Tractor Drivers Reunite after 60 Yrs
The first generation of female tractor drivers in Yueqing City, east China's Zhejiang Province [Zhejiang Online]

 

(Source: Zhejiang Online/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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