Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Knowing one's roots

This blog was triggered by my recent visit to an online friend's blog, Blogusvox who wrote about his grandfather.

Alex Haley, the author of Roots, said, In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our Heritage... Without this enriching knowledge, there is
a hollow yearning no matter what our attainments in life.

I have always wanted to write a book about my life with the intention of passing this on to my children and, if God be willing, probably their children and so on. Call it my attempt at immortality or just plain vanity. The thought that my grandchildren and their children would know how I lived, my shortcomings and all, excites me no end.

Anyway, my main idea is to start with a family tree of both mine and my wife's. This is the first stumbling block on my part. I, being the youngest of a brood of five, with a very huge gap of thirteen years between me and the sister before me, am not very familiar about my heritage. I have only gotten to know my grandmother, Maria, from my mother's side. All the others have died way past before I was born. I don't even know the names of my grandfathers. In short, our elders who can be the source of information are practically gone. I wonder if I can ask Ambeth Ocampo how this can be done. Maybe I will write him a query. hmmmm

Anyway, based on what I have, I know this can be interesting to my children. Here's an excerpt of how the book shall be written. This will start the second chapter which is about my mother. And it goes like this:

Aling Minyang

I would like to start my mother’s story from my grandmother, Maria Alquiroz, as told to me by my elders. Maria was a very beautiful barrio lass in Angat, Bulacan. It would not be surprising that she had a good number of admirers. As a teen-ager who expresses herself in a song, my grandmother was a fine songstress. When she was 18 years of age, probably around the early 1900’s, her mother ordered her to sing for the wedding of a man everybody knew as “Juez”, a 50-year-old judge. As true to the times, young ones, especially women, never argued with their folks and just did as they were told to do. Just the same, my grandmother wondered why she was being asked to wear a very nice white “terno” when all she had to do was sing during the wedding. Her mother just brushed her question aside and told her that was what the “juez” wanted. My grandmother obeyed and went to the church with her mother. It was only at the church that she found out that it was to be her wedding. She was the bride!

My grandfather was an interesting character. Somehow, his name has been forgotten even by my elders. But his story will live on forever. As I have already mentioned, he was a judge, probably in what we now call as the Court of First Instance. He was also known as a man who could play the violin well. He was a musician and a composer although I have yet to see or hear one of his compositions. Unfortunately, he died while my grandmother was one month heavy with child who was to be my mother. The story is that my grandfather was one day playing the violin with so much gusto until finally he announced to those listening to him play that he was to die that afternoon at around 3:00 pm. True enough, he did!