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Pieces of the past

By Li Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-20 13:44

 Pieces of the past

Lisa Findley and the students at Jietou Central Primary School in Tengchong, Yunnan province. Photos by Gong Zujin / For China Daily

My China Dream | Lisa Findley

Her father was a young American fighter pilot who crash-landed in a remote village in China. Now the daughter has revived the connection with villagers who saved her parent. Li Yang tells the story in Tengchong, Yunnan.

In July this year, Lisa Findley was in China again. The 59-year-old architectural professor from California came to Jietou in Tengchong with her students, her eighth visit to the small town in Southwest China's Yunnan province in 13 years, all in memory of her father's two-day encounter here in 1945.

Pieces of the past

William Findley was a young United States air force fighter pilot who had belly-landed his P-38 reconnaissance plane in a "rain-slick rice paddy" in Yongle village on Valentine's Day, 1945.

He was rescued and escorted back to his unit by local villagers. Later, villagers dismantled his plane after servicemen who came to inspect the crash site concluded that it was beyond repair.

The villagers recycled the parts.

Among the items they made were the school gong, washbasins, rice noodle funnel boards, peelers and candlesticks. Some even took a rubber cover off the plane that had the English word "outside" painted on it and preserved it as a family heirloom, even though they did not understand what the word meant.

All these parts and pieces still being used in the villagers' kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and school are like magnets to Lisa Findley, drawing her to visit again and again.

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