my autobiography 4 – Bud Impressions

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 🙂 .

Source: nordicsublime, Tumbler
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my autobiography 2 – “Where Exactly Is Papa’s Home?”

The age gap between my parents was 20 years. My father had already had eight children before with his lawful wife — yep, my brother, sister and I were in point of fact illegitimate. But that didn’t weigh down on my core even if illegitimacy was then frowned over. My kind couldn’t care less regarding neighborhood whispers and other people’s judgment.

I remember the era of Martial Law and strict curfew hours from 12 to 5 a.m. The country had started to grow restless under the Marcoses and freedom of speech was kept highly suppressed. Malls and gadgets were nonexistent; the computer age was yet to burst forth. Filipinos could find leisure simply through Luneta park strolls, single department store shopping, or from listening to their hi-fi stereos. The late 70’s kindled my love for contemporary music. I’d lug my tiny cassette radio around the house, settle in a vacant room and wait endless hours for radio stations to play my favorite songs. I was Kacey Kasem’s American Top 40 baby and heavily patronized scores of Billboard hits.

A couple of times my sister and I were sent away for a two-week stay to a rich paternal relative’s abode in the exclusive village of Magallanes. Except for the comfort of airconditioned bedrooms we shared with our cousins, nothing within that span of 14 days emerged interesting. Affluent surroundings slightly pleased me. The city might’ve raised me into the quintessential urbanite, but my very marrow kept yearning for country life and authentic rural backdrops. Nonetheless, acquainting myself with my aunt’s several pet dogs helped establish my soft spot for four-legged animals.

My father would come home intermittently at 9-10 p.m., retire by midnight, only to wake up promptly at 4:30 in advance of sunrise. Many a time I’d be lying in bed awake and could hear my parents’ conversations — which normally preceded Papa’s setting out to the dark dawn of the day.

Early childhood fun with my father consisted of him picking up each child to sit on his shoulders as he proceeded to walk around our small house especially along dark sides to give us a merry scare. And I’d squeal in victory as well every time my hand could reach the top of every door frame. He would narrate tales of goblins and giants — the usual stuff small kids wanted to hear — while we were all lying down under a big mosquito net during bedtime. He must’ve been exhausted from working the whole day (I’d seen his tired eyes water which slowly trickled down like tears while telling the stories)…yet he managed performing said fatherly tasks for the amusement of his three kids. Papa would also drive us his children to the movie theatre; we’d watch mostly action and thriller films. It was Roger Moore’s stint as agent double OSeven — nevertheless we’d join altogether in concurring Sean Connery played James Bond best. Eating out was one more casual tradition in strengthening the family bond; with Papa, we could eat anything and as much as we want because he unfailingly had money to pay the bill.

Oh have I mentioned a big bottle of Coke on the dining table would be enough delight for us all at family mealtime? 🙂

Because I saw him irregularly, my longing for my father’s love and physical presence was a mainstay throughout my long youthful episode. His constant absence at home probably intensified my devotion to him. Papa’s actual residence became an enduring mystery to me…as much as his whereabouts which I felt sure nobody really knew, not even his first family. “Where does his heart sincerely find shelter?” Perhaps I had been partially carrying the notion there was a third woman in the picture — another woman whom my father trusted could provide the right cushion for a full rest down of his body and spirit after the night had fallen. A notion of mine which the years to come would prove to be true.

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my autobiography 1: Remembering Isn’t That Easy

Although still tentative, I may have to embark somewhere far again this year. It’ll be my last — and once more, I’m feeling the need to finalize my autobiography — plus add in an outline of who I am, what I am, you know, just in case… Several of my posts have already covered some of my stories — still, I hope to expand on my chronicles and personal constitution. Failing to keep a journal in my earlier years, only memories that have survived in my consciousness are making it here. Hence, the random mode series and disordered form— as everything depends on my recollections and what I can manage to put into words.

Take heed: If I sound so much like a loser, well, because I actually am. Endure with me. Anyway, if there’s anyone who should complain about it, it could only be me. And yes I’ve long been deserving of a WordPress Shameless Award.

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Born in Manila, middle of three children. My family wasn’t exactly poor but we hardly belonged to the well-to-do bracket either.

My father had always been a businessman and identified for his industrious manners: he’d been a car dealer, a club owner, and managed a funeral parlor once. I guess he also liked dipping into the construction business because the houses we dwelled in were always undergoing renovation, some repairs or full structuring.

My mother worked as a barmaid in his club — that’s how they met. Both came from big families. Papa had an authoritarian demeanour; mommy was melodramatic. A particular blend of those traits were undoubtedly passed on to me. Because neither of them were introverts, they must’ve been puzzled that one offspring grew up to become socially passive, a dreamer, a bashful misfit. Having a beautiful outgoing elder sister and a similarly gregarious younger brother didn’t help. Lacking in good looks and ideal height in addition to being painfully shy and quiet solidified my status as the perpetual outcast.

When my father built a basketball court in our garage for my brother, I played the sport during my teens. I like the sense of motion so physical games and activities were among my childhood pleasures. I could fair adequately at running, skipping, roller skating, bicycle riding etc.; jumping (chinese) garter has held a spot as a memorable girlhood recreation.

I’m no mental heavyweight yet I’ve spent most of my time as a ponderer, mostly fantasizing of another realm where I’m regarded by others for my perfection. In another sphere, I am taller and a gorgeous svelte actress who can do drama or comedy or musical and who’s been going steady with this clean-cut very handsome action star from the 70’s. I’m not kidding.

These days my regret not having labored harder toward academic achievement is palpable. Why? The Internet has exposed me to diverse minds who’ve got bright, intelligent things to say about a whole world of topics. And my role has remained as a bystander…or a mere reader who pathetically has nothing to contribute to such elite conversations. My family used to marvel at my good reliable memory, though specifically after they’d sought me to name out actors and movie titles they couldn’t recall.

I can never consider myself a good person; not being a people person has got something to do with it. My acute sympathy and affection for animals in general, however, make me feel not normal at times. That explains my fondness for white Americans– their compassion for these less fortunate creatures (excluding peeps who have concern only for their pets) is touching. I’d loved and taken care of a number of pet dogs. Losing each one was crushing to me beyond words. Poor street cats and dogs and animal sufferings equally break my heart. I’ve been a cat lady for the last 14 years, btw.

At this stage, I’ve been doing my best to be ruthless in discarding stuff; not easy for someone like me who’s got attachment issues. As I make my transition to an old woman, certain measures have become valuable: being organized, simplifying my life, letting go.

(To be continued….)

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You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to romantic love, back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame, back home to exile, to escape to Europe and some foreign land, back home to lyricism, to singing just for singing’s sake, back home to aestheticism, to one’s youthful idea of “the artist” and the all-sufficiency of “art” and “beauty” and “love”, back home to the ivory tower, back home to places in the country, to the cottage in Bermuda, away from all the strife and conflict of the world, back home to the father you have lost and have been looking for, back home to someone who can help you, save you, ease the burden for you, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time — back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.
Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again