纽约时报文摘 | 见证世纪风云的民国名媛顾严幼韵

2012年,曼哈顿皮埃尔酒店(Pierre Hotel),顾严幼韵(中)在其107岁生日派对上摆姿势拍全家福。
2012年,曼哈顿皮埃尔酒店(Pierre Hotel),顾严幼韵(中)在其107岁生日派对上摆姿势拍全家福。

Juliana Young Koo’s family began giving birthday parties for her in 1995, when she turned 90. Ten years later, she took the microphone and addressed the crowd.
顾严幼韵(Juliana Young Koo)在1995年迎来了自己的90岁生日,她的家人从那一年开始为她办生日派对。十年后,她拿起麦克风,向人群发表了演讲。

“I never give speeches, but I decided that at least on my 100th birthday, I should try,” she wrote in her autobiography, “My Story” (2009). “I have only one secret: That is, THINK POSITIVELY. Don’t dwell on the past; think about how to make the future better.”
“我从来没有做过演讲,但在百岁之时至少应该尝试一次,”她在自传《我的故事》(My Story,2009年)中写道。“我只有一个秘密:乐观。不要纠结于往事,多花些时间思考如何创造更美好的未来。”

It was advice Mrs. Koo followed again and again — when her first husband was executed by the Japanese in the Philippines; when she became seasick on the ship that brought her to the United States after the war (she said it had almost capsized in a violent storm); and when thieves stole her jewelry after she had moved to New York.

She adapted to circumstances as she lived a long, sometimes adventurous, life of travel, good works and glamour, moving in diplomatic circles, attending a swirl of parties, all the while witnessing a century of history.

By 2012, when she celebrated her 107th birthday, guests marveled that she had been born the year that Theodore Roosevelt began his second term as president, the year the Russo-Japanese War ended, the year Einstein worked out the theory of special relativity.
到2012年她迎来自己107岁诞辰的时候,宾客们惊叹于她居然出生于西奥多·罗斯福(Theodore Roosevelt)开始第二届总统任期那一年,日俄战争结束那一年,爱因斯坦创立狭义相对论那一年。

Mrs. Koo died on May 24 at her home in Manhattan after a mah-jongg party — the tile game became her passion in later years — and a birthday celebration for her daughter Shirley Young. Mrs. Koo was 111.
顾严幼韵于5月24日在曼哈顿家中故去,享年111岁。去世前她参加了一场麻将派对——晚年的她热爱搓麻——以及女儿杨雪兰(Shirley Young)的生日派对。

Genevieve Young, another daughter, confirmed her death.
她的另一个女儿女杨蕾孟(Genevieve Young)确认了她的死讯。

Mrs. Koo was born Yu-Yun on Sept. 27, 1905, in Tianjin, in northeastern China, according to her autobiography. Her father, Yen Yi-ping, was a businessman.

She entered the Keen School, run by Methodists, when she was 14. “At missionary schools with English-speaking teachers,” she wrote in her autobiography, “one had to have an English name.”

She added: “The school named me ‘Helen,’ but there was already a Helen Yen at the school, so I renamed myself ‘Juliana.’ I can’t remember why. I must have read it in a book.”

She enrolled in Shanghai Baptist College in 1925 and became known as “Miss 84,” for the license plate on her car, a number that could be translated as “love and luck” in Chinese, she wrote. But she found the school too strict and transferred to Fudan University, which had just begun to admit women.

Her first husband, Clarence Kuangson Young, was a diplomat who, in the late 1930s, was posted to Paris and then to Manila, as consul general to the Philippines. Mrs. Koo wrote in her autobiography that his “main mission” there was to “raise money from the Chinese community for the war against the Japanese.” She pitched in, as honorary chairwoman of the Overseas Chinese Women’s Association, organizing drives to collect jewelry that could be sold.

The Japanese arrested her husband and his staff in 1942. Mrs. Koo took in the others’ families — cramming more than 25 people into a three-bedroom bungalow.

After the war, she was told that the Japanese had executed her husband. The analyst and commentator Paul French wrote in “Through the Looking Glass: China’s Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao” (2009) that Mr. Young had “stuck to his post even after the retreat of General Douglas MacArthur to Australia and the surrender of the American troops.”
战后,她被告知日本人已经处死了她的丈夫。分析人士及评论员保罗·法兰奇(Paul French)在《镜里看中国:从鸦片战争到毛泽东时代的驻华外国记者》(Through the Looking Glass: China’s Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao,2009年)中写道,杨光泩“甚至在道格拉斯·麦克阿瑟(Douglas MacArthur)撤退到澳大利亚、美军投降以后,还坚守着岗位”。

“He apparently had the chance to leave with MacArthur’s party” but did not, Mr. French wrote.

Mrs. Koo left for California with her children in 1945, intending to settle in San Francisco. But after arriving there, she realized that she knew more people in New York, so she and the children headed east by rail on the Twentieth Century Limited. She soon heard about an opening for a protocol officer at the United Nations, then in its infancy.
顾严幼韵于1945年带着自己的孩子离开马尼拉,赶赴加利福尼亚州,打算在旧金山定居。但抵达那里后,她意识到自己在纽约有更多旧相识,于是和孩子们搭乘20世纪高级快车(20th Century Limited)经铁路东行。她很快就听说了当时刚刚成立的联合国正在招聘礼宾官的消息。

She worked for the United Nations for 13 years, until shortly after she married Dr. V. K. Wellington Koo, who had been the Chinese ambassador to the United States. They moved to the Netherlands after he was appointed to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in 1960. He served until 1967. He died in 1985 at 97.
她为联合国工作了13年,直到与曾任中国驻美大使的顾维钧(V. K. Wellington Koo)博士结婚不久后。顾维钧在1960年被派驻海牙的联合国国际法院(International Court of Justice),夫妇俩于是移居荷兰。顾维钧在那里任职至1967年。他于1985年去世,享年97岁。

One ritual at Mrs. Koo’s birthday parties was the taking of a photograph. As the years passed, there were more faces to fit in: children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Mrs. Koo was typically at the center of the frame, flanked by her daughters Genevieve, who is known as Gene and was vice president and editorial director of Bantam Books, and Shirley, a former vice president of General Motors and a founding member and governor of the Committee of 100, a Chinese-American leadership group.
顾严幼韵生日派对上的一个规定动作是拍照。随着时间的推移,照片上的面孔越来越多:子女,孙辈,重孙辈。顾严幼韵通常居于画面中央,旁边是她的女儿杨蕾孟——又名吉恩(Gene),曾任班塔姆出版社(Bantam Books)副总裁和总编辑,以及杨雪兰——通用汽车(General Motors)前副总裁、华裔美国人领导团体百人会(Committee of 100)的创始成员和会长。

Both daughters survive her, with her seven grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; four stepchildren; 13 step-grandchildren; 18 step-great-grandchildren; and two step-great-great-grandchildren. A third daughter, Frances Young Tang, who was known as Baby, died.
她身后留下了这两个女儿、七名孙辈、18名重孙辈;还有顾维钧与前妻的4名子女、13名孙辈、18名重孙辈以及2名玄孙辈。她的第三个女儿杨葸恩(Frances Young),又名巴比(Baby),已经故去。

At the party in 2012, Mrs. Koo was still quite spry, and evidently still thinking positively. She danced with Oscar L. Tang, a financier and the widower of her daughter Frances, as the band played “Moon River.” Mr. Tang had requested a leisurely tempo, but Mrs. Koo would have none of that. As he recalled, “She said, ‘Faster, this one’s too slow.’”
在2012年的派对上,顾严幼韵依然精神矍铄,其心态显然也一如既往地乐观。乐队演奏《月亮河》时,她和已故女儿杨葸恩的丈夫、金融家唐骝千(Oscar L. Tang)翩翩起舞。唐骝千曾要求乐队演奏节拍更舒缓的版本,但顾严幼韵不同意。据唐骝千回忆,“她说,‘选快一点的,这首曲子节拍太慢了。’”