Chapter 52, Dadís Secret Soldier Ghost Shadow
The year before learning my mother
in lawís secrets the family gathered at Saint Josephís Church in downtown San
Jose for Dadís Catholic funeral service.
After the short Mass we followed his casket to Santa Claraís Mission Cemetery, to put Dad to rest in its sanctified grounds. Mom managed to accomplish a Catholic burial next to her future resting spot with prays and candles before Saint Josephís statue, fobbing off his religious conversion with the canonical help of an old priestís postdated baptism to overcome church ecclesiastical interdiction. There are reasons the Catholic Church has survived for 2,000 years.
While alive I asked Dad many times
if there were Alviso connections besides Val's. He never answered, just smiled.
I checked public records but it was apparent Alviso was a place dedicated to
A few secretes emerged after his death, a death from a heart attack going up the steps to the card loft at Valís. The county coroner insisted on an autopsy which Mom refused to sign for, so I did. The coroner feared foul play but mine was fear of his being in the rear annex instead of ascending the card room stairs.
The coronerís inquiry confirmed stairs not brothel and cause of death was heart attack. It also revealed some shockers. He had a second identity, was at least 10 years older than I assumed and there were left shoulder and leg old bullet scars.
We never knew his birthday let alone date of birth but I estimated he was around 65 or a little older when he died. The autopsy report hypnotized 75 or older. With death confirmed as a heart attack and lack of foul play the coronerís office lost interest. It didnít care about his revealed second identity. They accepted the name we gave, the one on his driverís license and moved on to investigate the next corpse.
The second identity was, Mr. Chew at
Valís not Lin. On death oneís most private documents can be trampled on by the
living. In Momís bedroom closet was a locked metal box. Pried open we found an
old Chinese passport with Dadís photo, (so young looking), issued to a Frank
Chew, a school certificate, military medals and photographs.
The passport, issued by some Chinese Shandong government official, was stamped with a Vancouver, BC Canada entry dated December 3, 1948. With the help of a San Francisco Chinese interpreter we learned the passport was a forgery and issued during a chaotic time of government collapse in the Shandong area. It indicated a birth date of June 2, 1913 making him 77 when he died, 35 when he entered Canada and 37 when I was born. As a forgery the dates were suggestions.
The 1925 school transcript by a Methodist Missionary school was for English language achievement. It explained Dadís reasonably good English except his struggle with ďLĒ and ďRĒ sounds. It was issued to Lee Lin, age 14, confirming Dadís surname as we knew it and added a couple more years to his age.
The military medals were common
types, presented in Chinaís shifting armies of the time and we couldnít even
determine if of Nationalist, Communist or of some war lord origin. The scars
explained my assumed arthritis which impinged on his military posture.