Showing posts with label the daddy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the daddy. Show all posts

Saturday, May 19, 2018

From the Archives: Going to Church with the Daddy

Hi ya! Hey ya! Hope all's well with ya. All is well with us. I'm reaching into my archives for the next several days so I can play catch up around the house. "I'll do it tomorrow." has finally reared itself into today.  Such is retirement. :-) Have fun out there.

Today's post (edited) was first published on February 13, 2013. Warning: Cursing ahead.
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One of the last times I went to church with the Daddy was a Good Friday. The Mama scored big that day as she got both the Daddy and me to go with her. I don't know how she did it. I did daydream through the service. That is, until the Daddy caught my attention.

It was a struggle for his old cartilage to do all the physical activity that takes place during a Catholic mass, especially at the much longer Good Friday service. You stand, sit, and kneel a lot.  I don't think the Daddy realized he was protesting out loud. I still wonder if God and I were the only ones who heard him. 

Stand.
Sit.
Kneel.
"Shit."

Sit.
Stand.
Kneel.
"Fuck."

Kneel.
Stand.
"God damn."
Sit.

Stand.
Sit.
Kneel.
"Shit. Fuck. God damn."

The Husband loves this story. After all, what's not to like: An old man swears in church.

How I miss the Daddy. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Daddy on the Mainland


This faded photo of the Daddy was taken in 1946. That's all I know about the photo because the Mama had printed the year on the photograph. Technology has finally allowed me to see the image a bit more clearly.

Until today, I thought the Daddy was standing in a desert or someplace in Los Angeles. Now, I think the photo may have been taken somewhere nearby Hollister, soon after he moved here. The Daddy had been living in Hawaii for 18 years or more. He said that after the war, he was homesick for family. He had no idea if the family in the Philippines was alive, but he knew Uncle Frank was in Hollister, so he bought himself an airplane ticket to California. While serving in the Army during the war, he became a U.S. citizen, which I suspect made it easier for him to travel without questions.

In a year, the Daddy would go visit his mom and siblings in the Philippines. He told me that if his girlfriend was still unmarried, he would propose to her. I don't know know if he was kidding because he left his home in 1928 or 1929. He always did like to tell a good story.


Monday, March 19, 2018

El Camino Paraiso


In Fall 1962, the family moved into a brand new house on a brand new street a couple miles east of town. Lucky 711 was the street number; El Camino Paraiso, the street name. Translation: Paradise Road. Myself, I prefer "The Road to Heaven" because the cemetery, run by the Catholic Church, sat next door.

I thought a ghost lived in my bedroom closet. Every now and then, until I left for college, just as I was falling asleep, I experienced old hag syndrome, a kind of sleep paralysis. The only way I felt safe was to sleep in a fetal position on my left side, facing away from the closet.

Cute yellow house, don't you think? It had a huge back yard, enough space for the Daddy to grow a good-size vegetable garden, as well as plant fruit trees and raise chickens, pigeons, goats, and pigs. Fortunately for us we lived in the county. With all that, the Parents still were able to put in a patio, some lawn, and a flower garden. 

The Mama sold the yellow house in 1987, a year after her retirement and several years after the Daddy died. I wonder if ghosts still live in that closet.

The Mama in 1970.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Blurriness


My eyes, even with the glasses on, are still seeing blurry images. The ophthalmologist dilated them about four hours ago so she could see clearly into them. And, what did she see?

Sufficient level of cataracts to merit surgery for which the health insurance company would be willing to pay. The cataracts are worse in my left eye.  On my arbitrary scale of 1-10, the doctor says 5 or 6. My right is 4, but a 5 when she factors in the glare of lights I see when I drive at night (which is the reason I don't like to drive at night). I've known for seven years or so that cataracts have been developing, but I thought I would be in my 70s, maybe 80s, before I had to start considering cataract surgery. Booo. Hisssss. Bummer.

The Daddy had cataract surgery in his left eye when he was. . .gee. . .about my age. He hated wearing the contact on his other eye, which either the Mama or I had to insert. That was always an ordeal. Blink, blink. Eventually, he went back to the comfort of wearing glasses, but the left lens was tinted so he looked like a pirate. Arggghh.

Technology is better, the doctor said. She would only make a two millimeter incision, barely one-tenth of an inch. Out pops my cloudy lens, in slips an artificial one.

The doctor said it was up to me. My prescription can no longer be improved. Cataracts are progressive, although mine may stay at this level for a while. But, there may (she said "will") come a day when I won't be able to pass the eye exam for my driver's license. Booo. Hissss. Bummer.

By the way, that's the Daddy in 1974 when he and I took a month-long vacation in the Philippines. The parents wanted me to learn about my heritage and where they lived. I look at this photo with new eyes (maybe blurry vision is good). The Daddy looks very happy posing with the carabao, holding the animal's rope just so. I wonder if he was thinking back to his younger days before he ventured out into the world beyond his island, with 20-20 vision.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Cheers to the Daddy!


Today is the anniversary of the Daddy's spirit passing into the Heavens. I didn't realize that until I checked the calendar to write the date for a journal entry. Must've been why I didn't feel like getting up this morning. The Husband said, "You were dragging yourself down the hall."

The memories are strong. Here are a few moments that I recall about the Daddy: Him handing my five-year-old self a pear that he picked from the orchard where we sat. It was the Daddy's smoke time. No matter where he was in the tomato field, where he kept watch of the water flow in the irrigation canals, far away or near by, he walked back to the car and sat with me until smoke time was over.

The Daddy taking me to my first day of school, my first day of first grade, and my first day at my new school. Nothing was ever said between us that I can remember. I scurried beside and a little behind him swinging my lunchbox. He walked up to the teacher or the principal and confidently introduced himself and me, then after a brief conversation with the adult, he looked at me, as if saying 'You're a big girl. I know you can take care of myself."


The Daddy saying to my 19-year-old self, "Don't be a hippie." If you're interested, click here for a story about that incident.

The Daddy climbing three flights of stairs to my new apartment in the City. I came out to the hallway to see him lean against the wall as he looked at the last flight of stairs.  Breathless he said to my 26-year-old self, "Are you trying to kill me?!"

The Daddy and I walking on Geary Boulevard in search of a liquor store.  The Daddy wanted to buy a pint of whiskey to celebrate the family all being together.

The Daddy making one of his rare, and always important, phone calls to me. This was his last phone call. He asked my 28-year-old self when I was coming for a visit. "Don't wait long," he said, signing off.

The Daddy standing at the doorway to my old bedroom on the last night of my visit, simply looking at me as I did whatever silly thing I was doing. "What?" I asked. "Nothing." He smiled. I went back to doing whatever silly thing I was doing, feeling him look some more, then left. Two weeks later, while I sat at my first lunch out with the colleagues at my new job, I felt a long cool flush go through my chest. Later, I learned that was about the time the Daddy died.

That was 36 years ago. I am so fortunate to have had the Daddy in my life.


I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh and her meme. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!




Friday, October 27, 2017

Sizzle, Sizzle. Sizzle.


Yesterday I fried chicken for the Husband's and my main meal, which some may consider a very late lunch or a rather early dinner. I've been wanting to taste fried chicken for the last several days.

Fried chicken is one of my comfort foods. Nibble, nibble.

The best fried chicken I've ever eaten was cooked by the Daddy, perfectly crisp on the outside and moist inside. It has been over 35 years since I ate the Daddy's fried chicken.

Recently I decided it's not worth buying already-made fried chicken from any of the options in our town. It's too disappointing. Too greasy. Too dry. Too salty. And so forth and so on.

So, this Missus Lady (as Molly the Cat calls me) cut chicken thighs into bite-size chunks; shook them in a bag of flour, paprika, turmeric, mustard power, garlic powder, black powder, and salt; and fried them in olive oil. Sizzle, sizzle. 

The result was quite tasty. Nibble, nibble.

The best part about eating fried chicken yesterday was remembering how I liked to watch the Daddy make fried chicken. Sizzle, sizzle.


Starting today, I'm posting daily for the next 365 days. I'm hoping to re-discover my voice. La, la, la, la. 



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Feast Day of Santiago


Today is the anniversary of the day that we celebrated the Daddy's birthday. He would've been 112 this year.

The Daddy was born on July 15, 1905, but most of his formal papers show July 25. This is my theory for the discrepancy: His baptismal document, the only legal paper he had about his birth, was in Spanish, the primary language of the Philippines back then. Spanish was not the Daddy's family's first language. And, I suppose nobody cared when the Daddy signed a contract in 1928 to go to Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations, nor when he joined the Army during WWII or he became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

When the Daddy was born, the Philippines was in transition from being a Spanish colony to a United States territory. The Daddy said that when he was a baby his parents ran him up into the mountains to hide during the war. The Daddy was surprised when I told him that it wasn't Spain the Filipinos were fighting, but the United States. I'm not sure if ever believed his "rebel" of a daughter at the time.

The Filipinos helped the Americans kick the Spanish out of the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, with the promise that the Filipinos would finally govern their own country.  The Americans lied.  Nothing new about that when it comes to one country invading another. The Americans called the war an "insurrection" and said it ended in 1902. Nope.

Anyway, the Daddy's baptismal paper stated that the baby Santiago, who had been born 10 days earlier, was baptized on July 25, 1905, the feast day for St. Santiago, also known as Saint James the Apostle, in the village of Santiago, Ilocos Sur.

I still wonder if the Daddy was named after the village, the saint, or the fact that it was the saint's feast day.

Happy Birthday to the Daddy!












Sunday, June 18, 2017

Always, the Daddy


I imagine it going this way:

"Susie. Susie, hold still."

"You can go play in the water after I take the picture."

"Susie! Stop moving."

The photographer, who was probably the Mama, sighed. She most likely turned to the Daddy who knew what to do.

He crouched behind me, holding me in place.

"Susie smile at the camera."

Click.

No doubt the Mama sighed when she saw the photo. Oh, well.

Throughout my life, the Daddy always had my back.


Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!

I'm hooking up with Seasons, a meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from JeshStG. Click here to check out other participants. Toodle-ooo.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Crybaby Me.


The Mama used to tell me a story about the time that the Daddy carried me on his back while they picked tomatoes one summer day. I was maybe two years old. "You cried and cried," the Mama said. "You kept saying, 'Go home, Daddy. Go home.'"

The poor Daddy! And, all those other poor workers around us who were forced to listen to a tiny, fat crybaby of a girl piggy-backing on her poor Daddy's back. The poor Daddy!

How did the Parents ever get me to stop crying? Did the Daddy take the Mama and me home and go back to work? Did I eventually calm down, get off the Daddy's back, and find a way to entertain myself so the Parents could work in peace? I don't know. The Mama never told me what happened. She simply laughed after telling me.

Why am I telling you the story? I don't know. I find myself tearful all of a sudden lately.

C is for crybaby me. Not pitiful me though.

C is the letter for this week's ABC Wednesday, a weekly meme that is keeping me centered. I thank the ABCW team, lead by Roger Green, and started by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt, for giving me a place to share my words. To keep me going. Maybe next week, I'll be more cheerful.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Four Weeks Ago


"Mama's gone."

Four Fridays ago, in the early evening, I walked into the kitchen to let the Husband and Molly the Cat know that Mama's spirit had slipped into the ever after.

I had started making dinner. As I put the frying pan on the stove, I had a feeling and I didn't want to know. The Husband and I had been sitting at the kitchen table, talking about the house. How we needed to replace faucets in the kitchen and in the Mama's bathroom. That one day we would need to replace the linoleum and maybe it would be better to take out the carpet and put in a wooden floor. House stuff that neither of us had ever done or been interested in doing. But, at that moment, it all seemed natural for us to do.

With the frying pan on low, I went to check on the Mama. She was warm, but she no longer breathed. She looked quite content. I like to think that the Mama heard us talking in the kitchen and she felt assured that her house would be in good hands and that the Husband and I would be fine. She could now let go of her physical shell.

Four weeks later, the chirping birds, the neighbor's noisy grandchild, another neighbor's barking dog,  lawn mowers, the wind, the passing cars, and nearly everything sound different to my ears. Is it because the Mama's breaths are no long part of what I hear?

Okay.

Okay.

I was going to write that it's probably time for me to start writing about other stuff. Perhaps. I have not completely thrown the blanket over my head, although there are moments that I want to just close my eyes and not think about things that need to get done. There is so much. Today, I told myself everything doesn't have to be done right away. "It'll work out, right?" I asked the Husband. "It'll work out," the Husband said.

Yes, they do.

Four weeks later, the Mama's name is etched on the gravestone that she shares with the Daddy, and the picture of the two of them is already up. I did not expect all that to happen until later in May. For that matter, four weeks ago, I had no idea if the Mama's name would fit on the marker in letters almost the same size, if not the same, as the Daddy's; who would engrave her name; and if I could afford a photo of them to be put up. So, yes, things work out.

I love the photo of the Mama and the Daddy. That was how they looked in 1976 at the Daddy's 71st birthday party. As you approach their grave site, you can see the Mama's smile from far away. I love that, too.



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Warm Hearts


“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
~Anonymous, Greek proverb

I read that Greek proverb this morning on Facebook. It reminded me of the Daddy when he planted peach, pear, apple, persimmon, cherry and fig saplings around the backyard of his and Mama's house. "These trees are for the grandchildren," he said. I recall thinking how lucky those kids would be to climb the trees. The Mama moved before the Only and Older Brothers' kids were old enough to try them out. I like to think that other kids did.

The proverb also had me thinking of the Mama and her wonder of planting the apricot and avocado seeds from the fruit that we've harvested from her trees. This year two of the second generation apricot trees bore fruit. I have no doubt that all the other apricot and avocado trees will do the same one day. It'll be one crazy fruit forest out in the backyard when the trees grow up.

I love that my parents are among the people in the world who have the heart and vision to plant trees for the future. I shall continue on the tradition.




Heart Warm Wednesday
is a new weekly meme hosted by the kind-hearted Jenny Matlock. Click here to read posts by other participants. There's still time to link up, it you'd like.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Watching TV with the Daddy


Yesterday, Georgy, of Jubilee Street and Remember Freedom, wrote a post on her former blog that sparked a memory bubble. (Thanks, Georgy.) That's watching "Bonanza" with the Daddy on Sunday evenings. It came on after "The Wonderful World of Disney." I can't recall if the Daddy watched that with me. If he did, that was nice of him to let me watch it.

We watched TV nearly every evening together in our favorite spots. The Daddy sat on his recliner while I laid on the floor with my legs on the couch.  I had a good excuse for being near the TV. I was the Daddy's channel changer and fixer of the horizontal line on the TV screen.

P.S. I'm linking up with Art Every Day Month Day at Creative Every Day.

P.P.S. Monica, hostess of the NatureFootstep Digital Art Meme, invited me to link up. So, I shall.  Thanks, Monica.



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cheers!

Is it coincidence that there are dates in both the Husband's and my family that are common? Or, is it synchronicity? I prefer thinking it's the latter. I also prefer not figuring out how it's so.

That said, November 15, for example,  is special for both the Husband and me.

November 15 is the Husband's Dad's birthday. Jim would've been 97 years old today. Happy Birthday, Jim!



November 15 is the Mama's and the Daddy's wedding anniversary. They would've celebrated 68 years together. Happy Anniversary to the Mama and the Daddy!





Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Daddy's Loving Support

Several photos in our family albums show baby or toddler me perched on a big log or rock at the beach as the Daddy held me securely up there. But, you can only see the Daddy's legs and a bit of his torso in those photos. One of my favorite photos is of him crouched behind a three-year-old me on the shore, with his feet and hands visible. In that photo, he seemed to be keeping fidgety me still for the camera. It's not until I'm 21 years old that you can find a photo of the Daddy and me together. And, that, too is one of my favorite photos.

I have wonderful memories of the Daddy. Playing out in the tomato fields while he irrigated them. . . being taken to my first day of school. . .riding in the back of his pick-up. . .seeing him in the back of the room at all my important presentations. . .watching TV with him. . .holding poles and boards as he hammered them in place. . .being taught how to drive a stick shift. . .traveling to the Philippines with him. . .going mushroom hunting in the hills. . . frying biscuit doughnuts for him for an evening snack. . .noticing a candy bar inch up on my pillow when I was sick. . . walking to the liquor store in San Francisco for a celebratory pint of whisky. . .overhearing him talk to his goats about the Mama. . . .

I remember the advise he gave me, some of which still cracks me up today, such as "Don't go fucking around (on the day of the prom)." "Don't go to any other church while I'm alive." "Don't be a hippie." "Don't trust anyone. Not even Filipinos."  "Be nice (when he knew I was going to turn down a chump who was courting his and Mama's hands for a chance at me)." Some I heeded. Some I did not.

The first white butterfly I see on any day, I think of the Daddy saying hello to me.

I miss seeing him in person.

This was taken at Daddy's 70th birthday party.
Sitting beside us is my Ninong (Godfather) Danny.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

From the Archives -- The Daddy and Religion. Kinda


Today's archived post is from my second blog, This and That, Here and There, Now, Sometimes Then.
 
What Daddy Told Me
(originally published May 7, 2010) 

My dad didn't advise me much when I was growing up. When he did, they were humdingers, and usually they were one-liners.  For instance, on the day of my senior prom, he told me rather placidly, and unexpectedly, "Don't go f***ing around." The idea hadn't even entered my mind.  And, when I was attending community college, Daddy pronounced suddenly in his usual unruffled way to me, "Don't be a hippie." Nothing more.

Probably the most profound guidance Daddy gave me was when, as a teenager, I decided to check out different churches. Not because I was looking for a church to join but because I was curious about how different churches worshiped. I didn't know that Daddy had noticed what I was doing. Even if he had, I didn't think he would've cared since we were not avid churchgoers. But before I went on my fourth Sunday outing, Daddy said, calmly, as always, "I don't want you going to any other church as long as I'm alive."

Huh? Daddy only went to church (Catholic Church) on Christmas and Easter, with an unspoken sigh and a quiet damn each time he had to rise from his seat or bend down on the kneeler. Still, I honored his wishes, being the good daughter that I was. Years later, I figured Daddy was hedging his bets in case the priests were right about heaven and hell. He wanted to make sure that all his ducks were in a row, and one of those ducks was seeing that his daughter didn't stray into other religions. At least until he was dead.

How I miss my dad!

By the way, if you'd like to know what I meant by the "quiet damn," check out this post, Going to Church with the Daddy. Be forewarned, the Daddy did cuss in church. 

 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vegetable Garden


My earliest memory of the Daddy's vegetable garden was floating a pea pod in the water rushing down one of the narrow vegetable ditches. I was about four years old. I remember the garden being tall, green, and wild-like.

Every year, the Daddy put up a vegetable garden for the family, growing many Filipino vegetables that we couldn't buy in the grocery store. We ate a lot of long beans, bitter melon, Japanese eggplants, tabongaw (a type of gourd), Kabocha squash, saloyat (okra leaves), parda (a hairy, bigger, and thicker pea), and kabatiti (a kind of squash with ridges) during the summers. Also into the winters, after the parents bought a big freezer.

When the Daddy came home from a long day of irrigating vegetable fields, he went straight to the garden to see what needed tending. The Mama went into the garden to harvest vegetables for the evening's meal.  The Daddy was always getting after the Mama for picking the bitter melon leaves from the top rather than the bottom. Guess who tells me not to pick the bitter melon leaves from the top?

The Mama continued growing vegetables after the Daddy died. It was tough, as she was still working. I suppose being in the garden helped her deal with being a widow.

Today, as some of you know, the Mama works a few hours hours nearly every day in her vegetable garden. Along with the Filipino vegetables, the Mama plants green beans, peppers, tomatoes, chives, and Filipino green onions.  Her garden doesn't yield as much as it used to, which is fine with me. There's only so much bitter melon I can eat. The Husband won't eat it and the Mama eats only a bit of it.

Growing vegetables is a fun challenge for the Mama. Her satisfaction comes from seeing other people eat the fruits of her labor.



Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for Nighttime Snack


"Let's have a snack," said the Daddy. He sat in his Lazy-boy recliner, while my teenage self stretched out on the couch beside him. It was a summer night, with the doors and windows still wide open for the breeze. A rerun show played on the TV, at which I looked up now and then from the book I read.

Without doubt, that scene took place around nine o'clock, the usual time the Daddy called for a snack when he was in the mood. The Daddy's favorite nighttime snack were the doughnuts without the hole that I made from canned biscuits. They were quick and easy to make, about 10 minutes, if I recall correctly.

As the oil heated in the iron skillet, I opened the cardboard can of biscuits, the best part of making the doughnuts. Pow! A satisfying blow against the edge of the corner. Pop! The eight (or was it 10) small, soft, slices of dough smiled between the cardboard.

Carefully, I dropped the round slices into the heated oil in the skillet. Sizzle. Sizzle. Sizzle. I quickly stirred cinnamon and sugar on a plate.  When the doughnuts were a golden brown, I transferred them to the plate and tossed them in the sweet topping. Voila! Cinnamon doughnuts.

The Daddy already sat at the table, ready to dig into his nighttime snack.


Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for Foul, Fowl!


The Daddy bought several live chickens at a time from a local chicken farmer, and he and the Mama would slaughter them in the backyard.  I was 11 or 12 when the parents decided it was time for me to help with the slaughtering. Like I really wanted the experience. I suppose they figured a day would come when I would need to slaughter a chicken for survival. Yes, it would definitely be an asset if I were to be chosen for Survivor, the reality show. But, that's if I didn't get kicked off before my team won a challenge that rewarded us with chickens. I digress.

My part in the slaughter was simple.  I only needed to hold a chicken firmly down on a block of wood while the Daddy slit its neck. On the day of my rite of passage, I watched the parents do the process a couple of times. Then it was my turn. I kneeled behind the wood, and the Daddy put a chicken beneath my hands, face towards him. He did not let go of the chicken until he was sure the bird could not get away from me.

"Ready," said the Daddy.

"Okay," I said, leaning forward a little more to maintain a better grip on the bird.

The Daddy did his thing quickly. The chicken squawked and fidgeted madly under my hands, but I kept it steady so its blood drained into the pot beneath it. Then, it happened.

SPLAT. SPLAT. SPLAT.

The chicken performed it last (to put it politely) bathroom act.  All over my face, arms, and body!  Yeah, go Eeewwwwwww because I'm sure I did.

I was good helper though. I held that chicken until its spirit completely left it. The Mama took the chicken and I ran into the house to clean up.  The parents were good. They waited until I was in the house before they broke into laughter.

Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.






Thursday, April 2, 2015

B is for Turning Blood into Pudding


I bet that title caught your attention. Maybe you shivered and thought I must be a vampire. Of course not!  Or, maybe you went, "Ewwwwwwww!" Well, turning blood, pork blood, to be precise, into pudding is definitely not for the squeamish.

I was ten years old when the Daddy gave me the task of turning pork blood into pudding. (If I could, I'd put in a sound effect like Dum da da dummmm!) Okay, let me give you some context. Back then, every now and then, the Daddy and his friends would purchase a pig from a local pig farmer, bring it back to our house, and slaughter it in the backyard. We lived in a small neighborhood two miles out of city limits so that was okay, and, as far as I know, the neighbors did not care.We lived in a rural area after all.

This usually happened on a Saturday morning. The men would be out in the backyard partying it up with a bottle of whiskey as they butchered the meat. The pig's blood would be brought into the house to turn into a thick-like pudding.

You beat the blood with an egg beater while someone poured vinegar into the pot. How much vinegar? I don't know. Whoever poured it always knew when was enough. You stood there and turned and turned the handle of that egg beater. Eventually the bright red blood changed into a foamy mixture and finally into a thick rich chocolate colored pudding.  It was like magic to watch it thicken.

By the way, if you ever go to a Filipino party and someone asks if you'd like to try the Chocolate Meat, know that is pork cooked in blood. I think it's tasty. But, then I'm a vampire. Bwah-ha-ha-ha. 

Click here to check out other challenge participants.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Reunited


If you were physically separated from your significant other, for whatever reason, would you still want to get back with him or her after a year? Five years? Thirty?

About a month after the Only and Older Bionic Brother was born, the Daddy, a naturalized U.S. citizen, returned to the United States. He realized that there would be more and better opportunities for his children in America than in the Philippines. This was in the late 1940s. He worked hard and within a year, he made enough money to book ship passage for the Mama and their son. The Mama did not want to leave her home and family. The Mama's mother told her that once she married, her life was with her husband's. She, the Mama, no longer belonged to the Grandmother. Thirteen months after the Daddy left, he and the Mama were reunited in their new home in California.

The stories of my two ninangs (godmothers) were different from the Mama.  They waited much, much longer to reunite with their spouses. The story of the ninongs (godfathers) and the Daddy, were similar, and to put the godparents' separation in context, I'll tell you a bit of that history. In the 1920s, the Philippines was a U.S. territory, which probably made it easier for Filipinos to travel as U.S. nationals. Throughout that decade, many of the young Filipino men, from all over the country, decided to go to Hawaii and the United States for the many jobs and good pay they were promised by agricultural recruiters and bragged about by friends and relatives who were already abroad. Most of the young men planned to work for a few years then return home with plenty of money to marry and start a family, if they had not one already. The Great Depression foiled their plans.

Ninang Deling and Ninong Mariano

She was 21 years old and he was nearly 24 when they married in 1924.  A son was born two years later. In 1928, Ninong Mariano and his brother sailed for the United States where they worked the farms for meager wages. Said Ninong Mariano, "The first time I came here, the wages were 35 cents an hour. During Depression, fifteen cents an hour. That was the best I could get. Some places it was twelve-and-a-half cents an hour."

He sent money home when he could. Ninang Deling made money for the family by taking vegetables from the province where she lived and selling them in Manila, then before returning home, purchased products to sell back home. She also made a living for her and son by sewing clothes. She said, "I was a seamstress. I sold clothes when I could. Sometimes I make five dresses for someone to buy. They used to pay me three pesos."

Ninang Deling and Ninong Mariano reunited in 1950. She was 47 years old. She had no conflict about leaving her home when her husband told her to come. Her son and her brothers were already in the United States. Ninang Deling said, "This is where my family was, so I come here. . . I (have) a good feeling."

Ninang Maxima and Ninong Vicente

They married in 1925 when she was 19 years old and he was 27. They had two children before he took off for America in 1929.  Over the years, he found jobs as a farm laborer and house boy. For 10 years, he worked in a Navy yard in California. Ninong Vicente said, "I liked to go back to Philippines, but no money. So I stay here. If you go there, you need lots of money to spend for the plane."

With the money her husband sent and the earnings she made from her sari-sari store, Ninang Maxima  managed to make a living for her family and send her son and daughter to school. Ninang Maxima said, "I am homesick to see my husband. When wartime, about five years, he didn’t write us. (There was) no mail to the Philippines."

Ninang Maxima finally reunited with her husband in 1959. "I didn’t recognize him when I came here. I didn’t know his face because it’s different. When he came here, he was young yet. When we got together, he’s old. I (was) 53. He was 60."

I'll do the math for you: Ninang Deling and Ninong Mariano were separated for about 22 years, while Ninang Maxima and Ninong Vicente were apart for 30 years. Amazing, isn't it?
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