We all have a reason as to why we say or do the things we do… some will understand and some won’t.
Hubby asked me, “Why ‘A Heart’s Beginning’?”
Why? Let me tell you…
Part I: All About Me: Mom & Dad
I was born in the Philippines to two young parents in the city of Angeles. My mom was the third eldest of nine children (8 girls/ 1 boy). She often told me that she was a ‘tomboy,’ always playing with other boys, hating dresses, and climbing up walls. She also told me that she worked hard and helped her dad as much as she could, so that she could help raise her brothers and sisters. She stopped going to school in 3rd grade and worked almost every job you can imagine – babysitter, maid, and cook are a few. At 16, she met my dad.
My dad was known as “Boy.” I think most ‘Uncles’ back then were nicknamed, “Boy.” He was also called, “Jephrox.” Did I spell that right? Ha, ha, ha… probably not. Anyways, that’s another name for “Pretty boy…” Nowadays, it’s “Player.” So mom and dad met at about 16. According to my mom, he was courting and would not leave her alone. (I don’t think anyone courts anyone these days…)
One day, my dad decided to make a move on her. On his attempt to give my mom a kiss, my grandma walked in. She was outraged! She told my dad that if she really wants to be with my mom, they would need to get married. So, on December 25th, 1976, the two said, “I do,” and kissed.
My mom was 19 when she had my big brother (a.k.a. Kuya). He was a small fellow. He got sick the first year he was born and my mom thought she was going to lose him. She couldn’t forget the time when she took him to the hospital and prayed that someone would help. She had no money to pay for medical services, but desperately needed the medicine to make him feel better. (Sorry, I don’t remember what the medicine was… but I’ll ask…) Anyways, on her way up to the doctor’s office, a stranger in the elevator handed her some money. It was more than enough for the medicine. Enough to even start a business.
My mom used to sell sugar canes, while my dad built furniture using leaves. He would string them together and tadaaa… you’ve got a chair! Their success allowed them to open up a little store in the market place. My mom loved to cook, so she set her self up in a “Palenkeh.” The family had a small place and lived right under the market place, enough for a family of three.
It was 1980 and my mom was 20 years old. She had her own store, raising two children, and married to a hardworking man. Unfortunately, business was slow. I was born that year and often times, she and my dad did not have enough money to buy milk for me, so she would resort to bottle feeding me ‘rice-water.’ Rice water is the white part of the rice when it is washed, but cooked and warmed in a rice cooker (in this case… the wood-pit). I was a heavy child. My mom would say (with a Filipino accent), “Youh wah so phat, I do-nut know if youh wah stahnding or sitthing.” (NOTE: Her english is better now… more stories to come about that.)
Cute… I don’t have many pictures of me when I was a baby… I’ve only seen a few and I don’t even remember where she’s put them… but I believe my mom… She described me as a chubby-curly haired ‘baloogah…’ (in other words ~ “fat dark girl”) =( She would tease and say that she found me in the trash can or say that I was accidently switched at birth. I know… how mean, right? Ha, ha, ha… I laugh at it now… my mom has a way with jokes… most would get offended (I know, cause I did), but there’s a reason to why she does that, too.
At two years old, my dad decided to join the Navy through the Filipino Military Recruitment. He figured that it was going to be the best way to provide for his family. Little did he and my mom know the changes that were to come.
My dad was first stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. He packed the family up and we all left the Philippines. We were the first generation from both sides of the family to leave the country and build a new generation in the United States.
We moved to Virginia in the middle of winter. It was cold and my mom got to see snow for the first time. Though she was excited to see the “white stuff,” she hated the freezing cold. Money was still tight. I remember having to eat rice with coffee cream and sugar on top for dinner.
My dad wasn’t home very often, but when he was, he slept. Mom eventually gave birth to another baby, a girl. My sister was born four years after I was in the cold season of December. She was the first Filipina baby girl born in Norfolk’s General Hospital. Details of her birth was in the local newspaper. I hope to get a copy of this one day.