Great-aunt Muoi was a widow; she lived with her son, uncle Thuan. He usually spent time with his friends and did not pay attention to me. I knew him through the conversation of Great-aunt, as the best student in his class. From time to time he gave me a few candies or some small change.
I also had various occasions to stay on boats or to travel on them. Hoa Hao Village was surrounded by rivers. I often came to the boat of Mr. and Mrs. Doc to go fishing. They were Northern refugees who had settled in the village, and they had a small boat parked at the dock of Mrs. Tu Can Duoc. I had a small fishing cane to catch little fish. Most of the time, I just sat on the boat to watch the fish swimming in clear water. I liked it best during hot summer afternoons, because it was so cool on the boat near the water, and I felt as though I were being caressed by the gentle wind. Now and then the boat shook strongly when some bigger boats went by and made big waves shattering on the boat's bulwarks.
During that period I was so close to my mother, who took me with her everywhere to visit relatives and friends. Most of them were war refugees who lived on small boats so they could move easily from one place to another during times of crisis.