Nothing much occurred that could be adjudged astounding befits as part of my early childhood and pre-pubescent memories. Father would come home at night, usually every other day or thrice a week — and right before he’d walk into the living room, his three small children would playfully hide somewhere shoulder to shoulder. As soon as they were found, they’d lovingly sing “Oh My Papa” in unison.
Some nights we’d be having drawing contests and Father would judge on the best art piece. My bond with my favorite playmate — my younger brother, who looked up to me and followed me around — I also held close to my heart. And there were incessant modern dance practice and occasionally Hawaiian hula in preparation for clan parties on our mother’s side which took up a good deal of our weekend schedule.
During our brief Caloocan city stay, there was this time Papa didn’t come home for several days that brought about a vision of my mother crying by the window in the evenings as she was worried he might never show up again. Until one night when we heard the familiar car honk and we successively, for a considerable moment, all jumped for joy. It turned out Papa had suffered from appendicitis and underwent surgery. The three of us ended up (deep inside awkwardly) kissing the stitches on his tummy — I forgot who made us do it (Mommy, for sure).
Father was forever tinkering on some particular car he had bought and intended to sell for a nice profit; several mechanics and car painters came to work for him throughout his long term as a car dealer. And I remember how any of us would open the gates of our house, without any apprehensions, to mostly total strangers whom we viewed as potential buyers of the newly-spruced-up vehicles parked in the garage — something very dangerous to do in this day and age.
The fact that two of my half-sisters had won a couple of prestigious beauty pageants here plus being the younger sibling to a beautiful talented eldest daughter of our family gave rise to a feather-brained illusion within me that if I tried harder I might grow into a lovely swan too someday. Eager to earn my father’s pride and attention, I exerted over bosom-expanding and leg-shaping work-outs, side by side with extremely stupid exercises (illustrated from a pricey pamphlet I bought) which were supposed to add inches to my vertical measurement. Alas, my height got stuck permanently at 5’1 — in comparison to my sister’s 5’3. Well, in hindsight, my early childhood insomnia could be the only one culpable for my inadequate stature 🙂 .