Saturday, February 17, 2007

I Learned From My Father

Inspired by Mr. Donald Crowdis's blog I thought I should write about my father, too. Dolls in billowing crocheted gowns! To a nine-year-old of my time, that was Barbie! I was so excited to see my Dad that weekend - but more thrilled because his cousins promised to give me a plastic doll dressed in long gowns that they crocheted. Until that time, I couldn't remember having any doll of my own. The gown had a plunging round neckline with a tiny swirl of collar. The bodice was fitted to emphasize two pointed breasts that nothing of today's silicone implants can equal! The waistline was so tiny and almost hidden in the skirt that was so full and billowy. I couldn't wait to be by myself with MY doll. I was munching on a peanut brittle when one of my sisters, four years younger than me, came to the parlor. She saw the doll. All of a sudden I got nervous. She started touching the head, the gown, checked what's under the skirt, and then, with a smile, she asked the most dreaded question: "May I have this doll, Ate Prency?" I looked at Tatay. He was looking at me. My sister repeated her plea. I looked away holding on to my precious doll! She pleaded one more time. I was still looking away, then she started to cry. Why did she have to cry? Now Tatay would get mad at me! But he didn't. Instead he talked to me in a whisper - convinced me that if I parted with this one, he'll tell his cousins to make me another one and that I will make my sister happy and added that she will then look up to me as an ally and friend, not as an enemy. At the time I didn't see the logic of what he was saying. All I wanted was to keep my doll! But I had to do as he said. That night I cried and cried. As I grew older I saw and understood. My father hated to be late. He would always remind us repeatedly that we had to leave at a certain time and we better leave at his "certain time'! Now, I am the same. If someone told me we had to meet at 12:00 noon, then I will be at the meeting place much earlier than 12:oo noon! I always wake up before my alarm rings! Tatay introduced me to "Readers' Digest". He was brushing his teeth one morning and between strokes I noticed he was saying something. When I asked, he told me he was memorizing a poem from a tattered page of the book magazine! "Reader's Digest" is still one of my good reads! It was our wedding day. Everybody was starting to leave. Then it was my father's turn. He took my hand, walked me to where my father-in-law was and said: "Cumpadre, she is now your daughter." Then when he and I were all to ourselves, his parting words were: Everyone in Edgar's family is your family, too. If something goes wrong, you are now part of it. Do everything to make it right. See everything that is good and close your eyes to anything that isn't. Too hard to follow for a new bride, but ...... It was our barrio fiesta and I didn't go home. Actually, I forgot! The following day, I was going back to my dorm from my classes when I saw a familiar figure by the gate. My heart started to thump. When I greeted him he just said: "I am glad you are OK. I thought you were sick so I rushed to see you." He didn't give me a chance to say anything. My father? His was the first face I saw after I delivered each of my children!!!


Yvonne Russell said...

I'm a reader of the Donald Crowdis blog too. He is very inspirational.

These are very special memories of your father. Isn't it interesting how one person or event can spark your own memories?


Heart of Rachel said...

What lovely memories. I think it's a great tribute to your dear father.

May I ask who that sister was? :) How nice that as a child, you were already taught the essence of selflessness. I'm sure it was not easy to comprehend for someone so young but how gracious of you to trust your fathter's words.

Revisiting the past brings back many wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing your precious moments.