Friday, April 22, 2022

Putting an End to my Youth

Today, April 21 2022, I literally put an end to the memories of my youth. I sold the house I grew up in as a teen ager, the house my parents built with their blood, sweat and tears. We moved there in 1971, a brand new, 140 sq meter house built from the wages of my father who was the sole bread winner of the family while my mother kept house. I was a freshman in high school at the time. It started a new decade as we embarked on a new experience, living in a house we can call our own and not having to transfer from one apartment to the next. During this time, we had moved about four times.

It is needless to say that this house has seen better days. Allow me to reminisce the good old days and pay homage to the place and my friends. I have forged friendships with my peers, my neighbors, my kababata until I got married in 1985. There were the Vergaras, the children of my Social Studies teacher at La Consolacion in Caloocan, Mrs. Vergara whose family moved to Marikina several years ahead of us. I have befriended her children, Alex, Edwin and my then best friend, Rodney. Then there were the De La Fuentes, with Atty, De La Fuente, being the brother of Mrs. Vergara, who were our neighbors in Tugatog, Malabon. I believe it was them that gave my parents the idea of purchasing the lot and building our house in Marikina. Later on, I would be friends with the Cruzes - Candy, Bobot, Intoy, Cynthia and Willy. Rodney and I would hang out in their home until it was time for supper practically everyday. Their house would also be the party place nearly every weekend and teenagers from nearby subdivisions and elsewhere would come and party with us. I would always be there even if I never knew how to dance. I would just enjoy the company, drink a lot and chow on the food. Another house that we would frequently rummage was that of the San Juans with siblings Rosy, Nita, Becky, Dory, Helen and my drinking buddy, Jun.<

It was also in this house where I learned how to make the guitar cry by bending the string. I also learned what we used to call broken chords, which turn out to be more complicated chords like 9’s, diminish, sus and all that. I have broken many records trying to figure out how to play a certain tune. We tried to form a band but the lack of funds to purchase a complete set of instruments prevented that. We settled with the next best thing. We formed a singing group with Bong Navarro as our leader and Boy Requiestas as our manager. We did several gigs and even auditioned to then very famous noontime show, Ariel con Tina. My interest for music would progress from pop and rock to jazz and classical music later. I learned to further my painting skills in this house. My very supportive father helped me in stretching canvasses and encouraged me much. He was even able to get several commissions and I happily obliged. Marikina housed several paintings I did starting from copying Readers’ Digest covers that my father read until I was already making my own when I enrolled and finished Fine Arts at the University of the East.

This was the house where I had experienced my lowest, too. During my third year in Mapua, I learned to hate my teacher and started playing hooky everyday until the end of the year. As a consequence, I had to repeat the year and no school in Manila would accept me. My father then sought the help of a relative Mabini del Carmen, then professor of English in St. Paul San Miguel, Bulacan. I was given a another chance there and learned how to stand up from my stupid educational stupor. It would be smooth sailing from then on. I could not thank my Ate Bini enough. I would later on learned about her and her family in Facebook and got to meet her everytime I went to LA.

Unfortunately, when my father died, my mom had to close down the store managed by my father when he retired from the American President Lines. Tthe Marikina I grew up in has changed and it changed a lot! It is now full of houses and I would not know the people there except for the friends of my siblings, Renie and Becky , who congregated in our home, playing either mah jong or tongits. All my friends have moved on now. Some of them have even passed on. To my regret, I can only get to communicate with the Cruzes, especially Cynthia. They helped form who I am today. I would not have enjoyed my youth as much if it were not for these great friends.

As we counted the money as payment for the house, I can’t help but be emotional. This is my entire youth that I have sold. I have sold the legacy left by my parents but I could not help it. Nobody would be able to take care of it as it is close to collapsing after fifty one years of existence and practically decades of neglect. Rather than seeing it be ruined by time, I had to let go. So, all I can do is lament its loss, and feel the agony of a part of me die!

thirty seven years!

Alabaster is a soft mineral or rock used for carving sculptures. This is also the stone for a 37th anniversary that me and my wife are celebrating today. It also happens to be my wife's birthday!

As I have said, today marks our 37 years of married bliss. Well, a blissful relationship is ideal and I cannot say that our marriage is truly blissful. Sometimes we get to argue and argue we do to our heart's content. No marriage is without squabbles, true, but we never fought like we hated each other. More often, it would be the usual spat between couples but we always made up and we will be laughing at each other again. A professor in college once told our class that we only live once. Why would a couple choose to live in hell with the spouse rather than going their separate ways? That makes perfect sense to me. Hence, i vowed to myself that if my choice for a wife would turn out to be the wrong person, I will not make it hard for myself or for her to live in misery our entire lives. It turned out that I have been very lucky. I have picked the right one and I try hard for her to think that she also made the right choice.

An alabaster to represent our years of togetherness is verry apt. It is a material that is soft enough for a well crafted artist to turn it into a fine work of art. That describes our marriage. Our relationship is founded on trust and faith in each other like we have been forming this strong, beautiful relationship until we have made our marriage into a priceless jewel of the highest kind, a true work of art! I love this woman to the moon and back! I love you, Nitz Delos Santos!