The childcare where my sister and I would spend the next four and half years after returning to Beijing, respectively, was a boarding school privately owned and run by a family of a former member of Kuomintang Party (Party of the Republic of China) who was now considered educable by the Communist Party. Later, during the Culture Revolution it was taken over by Beijing Radio Manufacture where my mom worked in the Planning Office and moved to the factory location. All its staff members got the same benefits as all other workers of the factory and itself remained as the boarding school. There were about 30 kids before the takeover and its size expanded dramatically afterward.
Before moving, it was located at the deep end of a long alley in the area of Lantern Market Entrance (deng1 shi4 ko3). The one-story buildings were huge and of the traditional style of typical old Beijing houses, separated into two courtyards by one long room completely across in the center, forming the shape of digit 8. A heavy, wooden double door with a tall, thick wooden doorstop across at its foot guarded at the building entry. On the left-hand side of the front yard was the dividing wall shared by a family of four. Crossing the courtyard on the other side was the office, then the recovery room for sick children to stay. Next room down toward the backyard was the kitchen where was also the home of a kitty that ate fish bones. The kitchen expanded to the back courtyard, neighbored with the playroom, the last room on the right-hand side of the building. The big room in the center served for multi purposes, attaching to the wall at one end and forming a narrow alley between the other end and the kitchen to serve as a pathway between the front and back courtyards. It was the place where we would often play and sing, watch puppet shows and cartoon movies, have hair washed by teachers, wait to be picked up on Saturday evenings and dropped off on Sunday afternoons. Two connected bedrooms shared one entrance, occupying the entire back row of the building. Kids who slept in the inner bedroom would have to make a trip through the outer room either to get to their beds or to get out their room. One of the bathrooms, the most favorite bathroom of all, was in the corner between the dining room and the outer bedroom with a door opened out to the bedroom. It contained two bathtubs at two corners, with two squat toilets between them against the back wall. Two narrow, horizontally placed long windows were not far apart from each other, high above the spaces formed between the bathtubs and toilets. The highly located windows would prevent people from peeking in as well as kids small like us looking out, but never be able to stop us trying because the noises beyond them were too encouraging and alluring.