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Showing posts with the label the daddy

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-lik…

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 …

Knowing the Language

Nearly 35 years ago, a college professor, who hailed from Australia, told me if it weren't for the awkwardness of my writing, I would've got a higher score on my paper. She forgave me for some of my usage and grammar because, according to her, "English is your second language."

For once, I kept my mouth closed rather than enlighten her on how wrong she was.

English is the only language I can read, write, speak, and understand fluently. Proficiently, too, except for the lapses in awkward writing and the proper use of grammar, word choice, and cliches. I'm especially good at forgetting articles (the, a, an, and so on) and getting prepositions mixed up, which, I think is because the Ilocano language has no articles and, as far as I can tell, one preposition.

As I was growing up the parents mostly spoke Ilocano to me while I spoke English to them. I still do that with the Mama, and the Husband finds it very strange. It's really not unusual with immigrant parent…

The Zealous Army Volunteer

The Daddy lived in Honolulu, Hawaii when World War II began. He was getting his hair cut the morning that Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. (I write about that here.) In April, 1942, he signed up for the U.S. Army.

It was a Sunday afternoon. The Daddy was hanging out with a friend in Ala Moana Park. 

"Compadre, let's join the army," his friend said, seeing the army recruiting truck parked nearby. "I'm going now."

“You go yourself,” the Daddy answered, thinking about how good the wages had become. He was making a dollar an hour. "I'm working tonight."

“I’m going” his friend said.

“Go ahead.” 

His friend ran to the truck and jumped on. The Daddy watched as more men jumped onto the truck. Soon, another truck stopped and parked. More men ran and jumped onto that truck. Before he realized it, the Daddy ran and jumped on the second truck, too. 

Said the Daddy:
They took us to the camp. They gave us clothes. After they fed us, they had us exercis…

War!

December 7, 1941
Honolulu, Hawaii

Clip. Clip. Clip.

The Daddy's cousin was cutting Daddy's hair in their kitchen. They talked about this and that when suddenly they heard  in the near distance Boom! Boom! Boom!

"Hurry up," said the Daddy. "Something is happening at the harbor. Let's go see what's wrong."

December 8, 1941
Baguio, Philippines

At the same moment, thousands of miles to the east, the Japanese Navy Air pilots were bombarding the U.S. bases in the Philippines,  a U.S. territory. The Mama was staying in Baguio, a mountain town, where the John Hay Air Base was located. The town was immediately evacuated.

The Mama said it took her and her family about a month to walk their way down the mountain to their home in Pangasinan, a province in Central Luzon.

A Love Story

I never heard the parents address each other by their names.  They also didn't refer to each other by name when they talked about the other. The Mama would just say lakai which was old man in Ilocano, while the Daddy would say baket for old lady.

For many years, I wondered if they even loved each other. When I became curious about how they met, they said they had an arranged marriage.

The Daddy said, "Your grandmother said she liked the daughter who lived next door for me. 'Okay,' I told her."

The Mama said, "My mother said to marry your daddy. 'He's a good man. You're old. This may be your last chance to marry.'"

Both the Mama and the Daddy lost their fathers at a young age. So, it was their mothers who met and discussed the terms of the dowry. Several weeks later, the Mama and the Daddy were married.

It was not until I went to the Philippines with the Daddy in the early 1970s that I heard the love story.

In 1947, the Daddy, who bec…

Digging

A few months after the Daddy died, the Mama needed me to uncover the septic tanks in the back yard so that the service guys could come and clear them out. So, one weekend I drove down from San Francisco, where I lived at the time, to do her bidding. The Older and Only Brother lived a few minutes away from her, but she rarely bothered him with such tasks. "He's busy. He has to work on Saturdays. He has a family." 

The day of digging was the same day that the Mama went to Reno with the local Filipino club. Her friends had convinced her to go. It would be a good change for her, they told her. I was very relieved that she would not be home. Back then we were always on tense terms. And, if I was doing physical work, it was best to leave me alone.

There were two septic tanks in the Mama's backyard. I had no idea. I thought there was only one and I knew where it was. I dug out the tank just like that. 

The Mama had a hazy idea of where the second tank was. "Someplace b…

The Daddy, the Carpenter

"My dad was a carpenter."

That phrase is frozen in my memory.  It was spoken by the Older and Only Brother. I don't recall what the event was or when it happened when I heard him say that.

The Brother's choice of memory about the Daddy surprised me, because I don't think of the Daddy as a carpenter. The Daddy did build things. He built the tool shed and the shelters for the chickens, pigeons, pigs, goats, and occasional cow or two that he raised and butchered for our food at the far end of the backyard. We lived in the county, a couple miles away from the city limits, so he could do that. 

But, the buildings that the Daddy constructed were not of the quality of ones built by professional carpenters.  I don't know if the Older and Only Brother ever helped him construct the buildings in the backyard. When we moved to that house, he was a teenager and always doing stuff for school or working part-time.

When the Daddy died, the Mama decided to tear down the chicken…

The Aunties

Today's post starts the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I'll be going through the alphabet during the month of April. No posts on Sundays though. 

The challenge was founded by Arlee Bird. Thank you, Arlee! You can check out  A to Z participants  by clickinghere.

Now, on with the first post.... The Aunties.



"Iago?! Iago! Iago! It's Iago!"

The Daddy jumped out of the Filipino tricycle (a motorcycle cab) and strode up to the house, as the Aunties came tumbling out of it. The grey-haired women cried as they hugged the brother they had not seen in nearly 25 years. 

Then they saw me standing by the tricycle and they came running and pulled me into their arms. "Susie! Susie!"

They had never seen me before, but they knew it was me. I had never before felt so much unconditional love from strangers. Immediately, I understood what it meant to be part of an extended family. And, it turned out I was related to a lot of people in the barrio of my parents. 

The house that we st…

A Lively Spirit—The Daddy Was

The Daddy and I were both born in the Year of the Snake, according to the Chinese zodiac. Sssssssssss. 2013 is the year of the Snake. May it be a great run around the sun for us all!

Today, I'm sharing an edited post that I published on February 25, 2011 on my former blog This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then. The post is about the day the Daddy died.  (That blog is still up if you're interested in reading other posts later.  Here's the link.)

The Daddy died from a heart attack. He was 76 years old.

Maybe he didn't pick how or where he died, but I think he was happy it wasn't at home where the Mama would've come home to find him after a long, tiring day at work. He was always protective of her.

That day the Daddy decided to go to lunch at the senior center with his good friend Danny, one of the godfathers of mine. The Daddy hadn't been there for quite a long while. He hadn't been feeling well, but those last three days, I was told, h…

A Love Story that (Thank Goodness!) was Not to Be

I am very fortunate that I have met not one, but two gentle men, both of whom I married. Of course, not at the same time. When I met the current husband,  I told him that I didn't date. I went on adventures, but not dates. I rarely dated before the first husband, so why begin then.

But, today is not a story of either husband. Instead, my ramble is about the man who would not be my husband. He was the first—and last—man that the Mama and the Daddy dared try to match me with. Yes, I know. So old country. At least, they did not attempt to do an arranged marriage for me. 

I was in my late 20s, an old age to still be unmarried, according to the old ways. I lived alone in San Francisco, over 100 miles from the parents, which were two other no-no's for young women.

The man in question had a name that some women would think romantic. I thought it was just sappy. Other women would've described him as very dreamy. I saw him as looking superficially slick. One who would have noth…

Going to Church with the Daddy

One of the last times I went to church with the Daddy was to a Good Friday service. The Mama scored big that day as she not only got the Daddy to go with her, but me. I don't know how she did it. Maybe I didn't even sulk as I drove them to church. More than likely I did daydream through the service. That is, until the Daddy caught my attention.

It was a struggle for his old bones to do all the physical activity that takes place during a Catholic mass, especially at the 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.

A Personal Holiday

The other day I was doing research about Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the father of modern rocketry.  Interesting fellow that Dr. Goddard. Quite a visionary. A lot of people thought he was a crackpot. That all changed when the space program began. Ah, then the adulation and the awards came left and right for the man. Unfortunately, Dr. Goddard was dead by then. I hadn't planned on telling you that, but there it is.

What I did want to mention was that Dr. Goddard had a personal holiday that he called his anniversary day.  He celebrated the day he was a kid sitting in a tree and looked up into the sky and had an epiphany about rockets and space. Yes, I know. Pretty cool. Not to worry though. I'm not going to go into the technical stuff about rockets and space. Not like I could. The important part here is that I decided that I need a personal holiday.

When I was in my early 20s, I was influenced by the unbirthday idea and did that for a year or so. I chose July 15 because that was m…

Remembering Daddy

When I was 19, I visited the Philippines with Daddy. I saw where both Daddy and Mama came from—the barrio of Bactad in the province of Pangasinan. I, who was born in the United States, did not feel like I finally found home.

Ten years later, I visited Hawaii for the first time. Immediately, I knew I was home. The smell. The feel. The taste.

Hawaii was where Daddy lived for a quarter of his century. His youth, his coming into middle-age, his single life. There, in Hawaii, in the sugarcane fields, the streets of Honolulu. There, he lived away from family, independent and free.

Daddy was one of the many young Filipino men who signed a three-year contract to work on Hawaiian plantations. His year to leave home was 1928. A young, handsome man of 23 years. What was it like for him? I cannot even begin to imagine.

His plan was to go back home after his contract was up. But he had made little money after three years. Also, he said, his girlfriend had married someone else. There was no …

Clip. Clip. Clip.

It happens.

A loved one gets too old to cut her (or his) toenails. That same elderly loved one who can still drag a nine-foot ladder across the backyard and prune a lemon tree, when no one is looking.

In my case, that is the Mama.

I could take the Mama down to a nail salon. But, the idea of a stranger touching one's toesies is creepy. And, you never know if the stranger-who-clips-toenails-for-money really changes her gloves after each customer. That protection is more for the stranger-who-clips-toenails-for-money than for the customers. Forget about trying to convince me otherwise. Then, there is the matter of the strong smell of chemicals. I've walked passed open doors of nail salons and been hit with a big wham of oppressive odors.  The stranger-who-clips-toenails-for-money also wears a face mask, which makes me wonder why customers don't wear them either. Heaven knows what breathing in the toxins for even one minute does to your health.

Of course, there is the Mama&#…

So Sayeth Mr. L. Gatto Cat. Perhaps.

Last week, I began the tale of Mr. L. Gatto Cat, "our" cat for a very brief while.  Here are the links to  the prequel and Mr. Cat's first appearance.


I was just minding my own business. In the late afternoon, I liked to hang out under the old lady's rose bushes to grab some of the last of the sun's bubbles before it scooted over the rooftops. The old lady had a very pleasant and tidy garden. No leaves to muss me up. No rocks to dig into my body. The plants and her house protected me from the wind. And, best of all, the birds flocked to the bird feeders on the tree in the middle of the yard.

It was only right that I politely said "Thanks" whenever the old lady, the bushy-haired tall guy, or the younger old lady walked by. The guy always petted me and said kind things to me. I didn't get much of human talk until evening. As for the women—they ignored me. I think the old lady was hard  of hearing.  The younger old lady sometimes glanced at me and sai…

My Name is Death

"Hello. What's your name?" asked the young man.

"Death," said 18-year-old me. It was a late afternoon nearly 50 years ago. My answer, of course, gave him a start.

To this day, I have no idea why he even walked over to the swings where I was sitting, the only person in the park until he and his friends drove in and parked near the bathroom.  Our paths crossed once before when I was in first grade and he in second. In high school, I perceived him as being one of the "wild and tumble" guys. And, wouldn't you know it, he eventually would become a pastor.

Instead of making a quick getaway, the future pastor sat on the other swing next to me. Not really what I wanted. He seemed sincerely concerned that I had called myself Death. He probably thought I was suicidal or maybe psychotic. Far from either.  I was just going through a period of finding a name that suited me. I just didn't feel like a Susie. I truly thought the word Death sounded calm, pea…

Making My First Filipino Dish

The parents liked fresh meat and they believed it was cheaper to purchase a pig (or cow or chicken), slaughter and butcher the animal,  and freeze the parts for when you wanted to cook. Because the cost of purchasing a pig was high, the parents often bought it with one or more friends. They didn't bring the pig to the butcher though, as part of the pig-buying event was the camaraderie among the men as they slaughtered and butchered the pig in our backyard. A bottle, or two, of whiskey also figured into the festivity.

Every part of the pig was used. Everything. For instance, the blood was directly drained from the pig into a pot. The right amount of vinegar was added to the blood and it was beat with a hand mixer until it coagulated into a thick pudding. The blood was used for a pork dish known as dinardaraan, which the Filipinos would call Chocolate Meat as they served it to children or non-Filipinos.

Along with the whiskey, Daddy always  served his compadres a meal of the freshly…

Hippie, I'm Not.

This was originally published in November, 2010 at my experimental "Don't Be a Hippie" at Wordpress.com. The one and only post. Today's version has been slightly revised. I don't know why you need to know.

About 40 years ago, on a particular day, I was getting myself ready to go hang out at school. Not high school. But, community college.

I was 18 or 19 and living at home. The daddy was retired. He happened to be home on this certain day. He may have been getting ready to go out to hang out with his retired buddies.

I was in my bedroom doing whatever, when the daddy stopped at my door.  I looked over at him, and he said, "Don't be a hippie."

Before I could respond, he walked away.

I had no idea he knew there were such things as hippies.

Most of all, I didn't think I had it in me to be a hippie.  I was not very good at being part of a group that had a moniker to it.

Still.  I wonder what may have caused my dad to reach the conclusion that I coul…

29 Years Ago

Twenty-nine years ago on this day, the Daddy died from a heart attack. He was 76 years old.

Maybe he didn't pick how or where he died, but I think he was happy it wasn't at home where the Mama would've come home to find him after a long, tiring day at work. He was always protective of her.

That day the Daddy decided to go to lunch at the senior center with his good friend Danny, one of the godfathers of mine. The Daddy hadn't been there for quite a long while. He hadn't been feeling well, but those last three days, I was told, he'd been going strong, visiting, babysitting, doing so many of the things he liked to do.

So, there he was sitting at the lunch table. He was bending down for a spoon on the floor, I was told. He was there longer than he should have been.  "Hey, 'Pare (short for compadre), what you doing down there?" called a friend. Then, a scramble to get help for the Daddy. That was it.

While the Daddy was dying, I was sitting in a restaur…