Tet the holiday were everyone ages another year. they stuffs their face with the sugary foods and calibrates with new clothes . But they must always behave as well as possible" foretells the hole year ." "No one can sweep for why sweep away hope? No one can splash water for why splash away joy?"
Inside Out ( page 2)
Their lives are becoming inside out says a fortune teller mother go's to every new year. Ha believes that their will no longer be a wise being blown. Or that she could jump rope after dark. " The war is coming closer to home " . Their lives will literally be turned inside out.
Kim Ha ( page 5 )
The name of Ha is related to a river her mother said she strolled with her father. Ha is called " Mothers Tail " by brother Khoi . The why Ha came to her story of her life
Papaya Tree ( page 8 )
It all started with a seed Ha had flicked on to the cold dark soil. as she watched her papaya grow past her brothers heads and past her own. Has brothers would wake up at dawn observing the growth of the tree . Has brother discovered a youth papaya when Ha was told she said her mother would be the first to own her first papaya.
TiTi Waves Goodbye ( page 10 )
Ha has lost a best friend do to the war they are fleeing to a different country. Titi hands Ha the seeds they would plant in the fall yet un none if their ever going to rejoices . Ha wants to stay and wave good by to Titi but her brother grabs her hand well telling Ha" they flee to Vung Tau were the rich go to leave Vietnam war".
missing in Action ( page 12 )
The missing of her father before she, Ha was two . Nine years had past today when he was captured. The thought of peacock tails light up Ha and her family faces reminding them of their father they had no clue to were he had gone.
Mothers Day ( page 14 )
Has mother designs clothing for the youth trying to make an desirable salary. " One year ago she made enough money to consider buying a car." Sometimes tacking Ha to drop of the items Has mother sewed. They do this monthly to get money from the navy.
Egg ( page 16 )
THEIRS A HEN THAT BROTHER KHOI ADORES. THE HEN LAYS AN EGG EVERY HALF A DAY. THEIR MOTHER TAKES A EGG AND COOKS IT THE EACH SHARE DAY TO EAT ONE BUT BROTHER KHOI REFUSES TO EAT IN HOPE TO HAVE A CHICK . MOTHER THEN GOS ON A RANT
Current news ( page 18 )
Every Friday theirs current new for every one to her sometimes bad and some good. its held in the miss xinhs class . every week they here something bad but lately on Fridays all has been good . even knowing they have nothing to say
Feel smart ( page 19 )
HA is feeling smart . after a afternoon day at school. after her mother trusts her to go to an open market and give her money to by food . but ha dis obeys her by buying fried dough and she feels smart for dis obeying her mother .
tow more papayas ( page 21 )
Ha spots the first papaya on the tree . She says they look of thumbs . " Middle between a mango and a pear. " and as soft as yams and only taking three chews to eat the delight
unknown father ( page 22)
Ha doesn't know much about her father only the thing her mother slips. She knows that her father loved stewed eel and Pate chaud pastries but she also new what he disliked like the after noon sun and so on. Ha would repeat the words tuyet sut a french word meaning right away . But no one say this word so mother wouldn't be sad.
tv news (page 24)
Brother Quang comes home from a long day of school. "Unbelievable" brother Quang says turning on the TV. A pilot had just bombed the presidential palace he was a under cover spy working for the communist. Ha stood stun the communist captured father brother Quang started talking in big words Ha trys but mother pats her hand as a sign to calm down.
birthday ( page 26)
Ha has turned a year older although she turns a year older on Tet. since shes the only girl mother spoils her buying her favorite food and pastries. But this year mother was only able to buy Banana tapioca and black sesame candy. But Ha persuades her mother to tell her child hood story's.
birthday wishes ( page 30)
Ha has wishes she keeps to her self mostly sad ones. She wishes her father would come home and her hair would grow long. Hoping the chubby ness of her cheeks go down or even to stay calm as her brothers mess with her emotions.
a day downtown ( page 32)
Ha and her mother make their way down town every spring that is a long seromony for war wive. as they walk down the market to get their goods Has mouth water as she sees all the delicious treats. Every year they give her mother a small jug of oil,a bag of rice and sugar. As they give a speech mother clicks her tongue the sign of grief
Twisting twisting ( page 37)
Mother shakes her head with sadness . She knows that theirs not enough rice to last for payday. She watches her children eat as poor fill the kids stomachs.
closed too soon ( page 38)
Has come school has to close a month sooner than usual. Ha get mad and pinches a girl next to her she will tell on her because Has mother and the girls mother are friends. Ha wants to finish the riddle before she goes to win a plant but she has no time.
promises ( page 41)
Has papayas have been growing. Their all different sizes. One the size of her head other of her elbows, knee and one of her thumb cling to the tree trunk.
bridge to the sea ( page 42)
Has uncle Son short and smiley her fathers best friend. Goes to their house straight to the kitchen to talk to mother. theirs a door leading right to the sea. mother wouldn't risk to to vanish Vietnam and get caught by solders on a small boat.But what if it was a Navy ship.
should we ( page 44)
Mother calls a family meeting. Should we leave our country. No brother Quang says " How could we scramble away like rats." Then brother Khoi say " what if father comes home to see his family gone." mothers eyebrows twist and they hush.
sssshhhhhhh ( page 46)
Brother Khoi wakes Ha before dawn. " No matter what mother decides we are not to leave. I must protect my chick and your papaya".He hold out his pinkie until i extended mine and they hook.
quiet decision ( page 47)
Diner time comes and Ha helps her mother cut potatoes. Ha cuts a small bit of the raw end and then another slither. Mother stars to tear "You deserve to grow up were you don't worry about saving half a bite of sweet potato."
early monsoon ( page 48)
They pretend the monsoon has come early. Because the sound of bombs and rain with thunder lashes. But then to remember it not that far away.
the president resigns (page 49)
Their president is gloom . he no longer has a tan and no longer can be president mothers brow rises.
watch over us (page 50)
Uncle Son comes to tell mother to be ready to go they could leave any day now. Only navy families can board. Mother says she knows how to find father close to the house by the north.
crisscrossed packs ( page 52)
Mothers feet pedal fast. to finish one out of the five bags. brother Quang says " Make only three." mother is disappointed they wont go without him. Ha fells his eyes sink into the back of her head.
choice (page 55)
Ha and her family has to make a choice on what to take only a few pair of pant and tops and something valuable.
left behind (page 57)
They all had to leave something very important to them. Like almost every thing father brought back for them. Even brother Quangs report cards he adored and a cow boy belt brother Khoi sewed on mothers machine.They must not leave any evidence of their life nore fathers.
wet and crying (page 60)
the biggest papaya is yellow with green speaks. Brother Vu says lets cut it down so communist cant have it. Black seeds spill as the silver blade goes through.
sour backs ( page 61)
So many found out that the navy were coming. There were lines and lines of people. brother Vu took leader ship putting his mother in front , brothers on the sides and Ha on his shoulder all you saw was wet sweaty backs.
one mat each (page 63)
They start off with two mats by afternoon they only had one. they were crammed not having no room they know the ship could sink but dont tell any one to stop.
in the dark (page 65)
They switched ships but ended back on to the same one now with two mats. The ship now sails far into he sea in the dark.
saigon is gone ( page 67)
Everyone is below deck although they take the safe rout. mother is sick with waves in her stomach theirs a sound of a helicopter circling the ship every ones yelling its not helping mother.
floating ( page 73)
The boat is floating in the sea so dark and quiet. no one is allowed to use the bathroom. Or drink a lot of water. But Ha cant help her self going to the wight captains bathroom.
s-l-o-w-l-y ( page 75)
Ha has just finished the last of her food. She wants some of the peoples food that are siting next to her but mother sternly shakes her head looking sad.
rations ( page 77)
Everyone makes their way up to the deck. to get a clump of cooked rice according to their height and a cup of water. commander says their are ship from every country looking for them.
routine (page 79)
Mother isn't allowing thing to happen. everyone must follow a routine . brother Quang has even started English lessons. Ha wishes every thing would just stay the same.
once knew (page 82)
Ha is wondering if their will ever be land. Maybe every thing could go back to the way it was.
brother khoi stinks (page 83)
Brother Khoi stink everyone is complaining he stinks. finally they grab him down and see the broken chick brother Khoi is in shock kicking every thing off the mat.
last respects (page 85)
Now it being two week at sea. capten call everyone to the deck Saigon is gone holding up the flag no longer having a country.
one engine (page 87)
other clung onto Ha. The communist caught them its going to bee two times worst then staying home. The commander then says no worries were just down to one engine and not knowing if their going to make it to tialand.
the moon (page 89)
women go up deck when its night. Ha and her mom wait in line for a sponge bath. As they wait mother looks up to the moon and says " At least the moon remains the same".
a kiss (page 91)
An american boat appears out of the blue . They were in wight uniforms the boats touch or capten gos over. They hand us loads and loads of food . There sharing because their free of hunger mother says but shouldn't they share because their is hunger.
golden fuzz (page 94)
The boat came to an end although their was still water all around. But their was one small dot out of the blue. twenty at a time lined up in a row to bored a motor boat. Ha stands right next to a man with gold arm hair and pulls a hair mother scolds her smacking her arm. Brother Quang translates quickly the guy smiles and walks away.
tent city (page 96)
Their on a island that they cant say only brother Quang who then becomes a translator for everyone.their are already people their not sleeping in tents but on coats. brother Vu is now a chef for the refugee.
life in waiting ( page 98)
They have been settled in their tent. watching Disney movies, hearing brother Vu speak sadly and breaking the wood the girls tell him to.
nuoc mam (page 100)
Ha says the food is plan but the nice people get them bottles of fish sauces. i makes their nasty plain food better. they may had fishy breath and a dry mouth but they didn't care. people started to cook only if they had fish sauces.
amethyst ring (page 103)
Mother wants to sell the ring father brought back before Ha was born. To buy needle,thread and shoes from the refugee market. Everyone disagrees on letting her sell it.
choose (page 105)
Every one must decide on were they want. They only have tonight to decide. Mother wants to move to pairs but then hears the people behind her say " choose america more opportunities there especially for a family with boys ready to work".
another tent city (page 107)
Ha and her family have been transferred to another tent city in Florida. they must all have an American sponsor. but every one wearies with worries well Americans try to cheer them up.
alabama (page 109)
They reached the gates of Alabama. Theirs a man who wants to train a young man mechanics first he puts his finger up before choosing brother Quang. mother doesn't care what he came looking for but a tear ran down her face.
our cowboy (page 111)
Their sponsor look just like an american. Ha thinks hes nice and owns a horse he has a big tummy and rose cheek with a big black cow boy hat.