as close as possible
We all have them. Our childhood memories – the innocence of youth. The time when we just played or messed around, when we had to go to school or play in the street. When we were free of responsibilities and worries. We remembered our games, our playground, our playmates, the laughter, falling out with some of them but being friends again after 10 minutes and most of all, the fun.
And then they were gone. We were playing hide and seek and I was “it”. I closed my eyes, counted up to a hundred, opened my eyes and said: “here I come, ready or not.” I searched for them high and low, wondering where they could be. I first saw Beth, hiding behind the bush, then Venus and Janet chattering away, so I followed their voices. Soon I was able to pinpoint where they were hiding and the next “it” had to look for us. Before long we had to go back to our houses and ate our dinner. Other days, we’d play patintero (try to cross my line without letting me touch or catch you), tumbang preso (hit the can), piko (hopscotch) or luksong-tinik (lit. jump over the thorns of a plant). Sometimes we’d rent some bikes and circled around our neighbourhood.
One, two, three, you’re “it”
The innocence of childhood
Easter Breaks. The only time of the year when all of us cousins stayed in our Granddad’s house. The number of times we walked back and forth the house and the chapel for singing the passion plays. The afternoons we spent splashing in that creek while Granddad washed the carabao, the still warm fresh milk that morning and the mangoes we’ve picked on the way to the farm. We all slept on the floor, some snoring, some talking, and telling each other’s stories, jokes and secrets.
Dad and Tito (uncle) Pabling. They were more than brothers. They’d spent hours and hours tinkering with Tito Pabling’s recently acquired old jeepney. Just like good mechanics, they’d come home with all those black smuts from the engine. Sometimes, they’d spent their afternoons unblocking the canal in our street. They were the best hosts, too – the New Year’s Day party was always a blast – all our relatives, friends, neighbours and everyone on Halcon Street would’ve confirmed that – we had to close the street for our party!
Dapitan. Our house in Dapitan was small – for our parents, 4 children, Granny, aunts and cousins. It was constantly full of people and activities. Our cousins from the province stayed with us once they started college. There were 2 bedrooms, one for our parents and one for all of us with 2 bunk beds; the rest slept on the floor. My classmates and I loved hanging out there; doing our homework and projects; lunch and merienda (snacks) were at all times provided. When I needed to concentrate at college, I’d wake up in the middle of the night to revise or just to have some peace and quiet.
One of the earliest memories I had was the time when my sister was born. I was three, my big brother was four and we were waiting in the other room, my father was pacing up and down. Until we heard the midwife (my aunt) said: “it’s a girl!” We all rushed in the room, we saw some blood and the baby crying and my mom was on the floor. My aunt told us to “go away, we’re not ready yet.”
My sister was born
My brother and I waited
Then we heard her cry
Another memory was when our youngest brother was born, I was ten by this time and when we saw him, I thought he was the most gorgeous baby in the world. He had this massive black hair and his skin was all red, his eyes sparkling like diamonds, probably from crying. We knew we’ve got to spoil this kid.
Eyes sparkling like diamonds
Our youngest brother
I don’t know why, but somehow when someone was born, it stuck in my mind. When my son was born, I was 32. He came too early, premature at only 33 weeks of my pregnancy. I had a caesarean operation and the surgeon was telling me what they were doing as they operated on me. It wasn’t painful, I felt it when they pulled him out, I heard his cry and they showed him to me. Since he was a premature baby, they had to put him in an incubator. I fell asleep afterwards.
Our pride and joy
Born too soon but we didn’t mind
Our one and only
Other memories came and went, each one merging to another, but each one very memorable, like when I first left the country and how excited and sad I was at the same time; the first time to see snow, I was jumping up and down and we threw snowballs to each other; my first salary when I bought some ice-cream for the family; when Him Indoors and I got married in a 14th century building and that was the only sunny Saturday in June; when HRH the son first learned how to walk, how to ride a bicycle, his first day of school, his first date and when he graduated from university and we were proud parents. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. I love my life and the memories it gave or still giving me. And for the record, I’m one of the Baby Boomers, born in the Philippines but have lived in different countries, now in Bavaria, Germany. Cheers everyone!
For: Times Past: Grainy memories by Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist (sorry, but the memories were not about beaches, but some snippets of my life)