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March 25, 2013

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Sketches of a marriage bring tears to the eye

SKETCHES by a 91-year-old illustrating his long and happy marriage have circulated on the Internet, reducing many people who saw them to tears.

Rao Pingru, a native of eastern Jiangxi Province and now living in Shanghai, has spent the past four years creating 200 pictures in 18 albums about his wife Mao Meitang, who died in 2008 in her early 80s.

They were married for 60 years.

The albums, titled "Our Stories," are due to be released next month, but by yesterday morning excerpts had been reposted around 260,000 times on China's microblogs.

Rao, who fought in the Anti-Japanese War, recalls via a colored drawing his first meeting with Meitang in 1946.

"I walked into her house, and saw a 20-something girl, pretty-looking, sitting in front of a mirror putting on lipstick. Such was my first impression of Meitang," Rao, a former magazine editor, wrote in the caption.

"How beautiful the first encounter was," wrote microblogger Zhimatangsu in a Weibo post.

Using pencil and crayons, Rao has recorded all the details he remembers about his life with Meitang.

He has sketched their dates, wedding ceremony, the first meal Meitang made and his wife's toiling to support their five children.

He even sketched their first fight.

"I was reduced to tears while skimming through the drawings," Chenfang wrote online.

Yezi commented: "While reading about their lifetime love, I could not stop crying."

One illustration shows the pair on a date in a park, during which Rao was too shy to say "I love you," but instead sang a then-popular English song "Oh Rosemary I Love You."

He also sketched Meitang's last tear on her deathbed. It was on March 19, 2008, when the family paid their last visit to see her in hospital.

"Around 10am, I saw her right eye moisten, with a tear from the corner of her eye. In the afternoon, Meitang left me for good," Rao wrote in the caption.

She died of kidney disease.

Love that never gets bored is the most beautiful in the world, Xiaomigezi commented.

"We shared life and death, weal and woe. I am now drowned in memories of you, which are deeper than the sea," Rao has written in the title pages of the albums.


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