Their wedding was a combination of the old and the new. The wishes of the parents were observed in the traditional way. In the new tradition they chose to wed because they truly loved each other. Lao She asked Bao Leshan [also known as Bao Guanglin], the humble Christian preacher and revolutionary, to perform the ceremony. Xiao Boqing was the best man.
Lao She and Hu Jieqing's first home was at number 54, Cheng Li New South Road, Jinan, Shandong province, not far from the university. Hu Jieqing taught school nearby and often took classes at the university. One of her many memories is how often the students and friends visited their home. They loved nothing better than to have friends in for conversation, exchange of ideas, fun and fellowship. When people left their company they were always the better for it. They brought a smile to faces, young and old.
No one understood Lao She as well as did Jieqing. She felt as he did when he wrote: "I will always be a child, I love children. They bring an innocent brightness, they are the new pages of history, impressing on us what we do not know --things we can only hope for. Children are our joy. They are our hope."
After Lao She's sudden death at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, his widow continued her painting as well as efforts to see that Lao She's works were once again published and his name cleared of the Red Guard's false accusations. Now his works are published by many publishers in China and Taiwan as well as in languages around the world. A book of her paintings was published in the 1990's and there have been many exhibitions of her work shown in China and the western world.
She leaves behind a son, Shu Yi, three daughters, Shu Ji, Shu Yu and Shu Li and many grandchildren.
The last time I visited with her was at a performance of "Teahouse" in Beijing, February 3, 1999, honoring the centenary of Lao She's birth. She was a gracious lady and my memories of her are of a kind and gentle person that was open to new ideas and helpful to all who came to her. Hu Jieqing's art work is among the outstanding innovators of twentieth century Chinese art.
In September, 2001, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, held an exhibition in honor of Hu Jieqing's life and work. The Towery-Lao She Collection and the Asian Studies Program of Southern Methodist University are sponsoring the event.
For more on the lives of these outstanding artists get the only book in English about them: "Lao She, China's Master Storyteller," published in 1999 by The Tao Foundation.