Monday, September 17, 2012

Letter to Graciela

May 6,2011 12:05 a.m.
Dear Graciela:
Congratulations for reaching another milestone in your young life. High School.
 Now, you are just about ready to step into the college before you usher in full adulthood.
I really would like to applaud your mom for really pushing for this book of wishes and memories. It is such a beautiful mommy idea.
My daughter, your cousin, Marina just turned 8 yesterday....and I also wished that I could have thought of something similar.
  As parents, we wish for you, our children, to do spread your wings and reach new heights, but, at the same time, we want for you to have developed your roots...that will keep you grounded. Memories and links and bonds to your blood relations is one way of establishing this.
Soon, I will be giving birth to another addition to the clan. I am told it is going to be another girl. I prepared the name Ana Marcelina. Ana from my name Angelli Anne and Marcelina from your great grandmother in your mom’s side.
Mama Marcelina, as we call her is one strong character. I do have very fond memories of her. I was I think, 9 or 10 years old. I was somehow, so frail and thin. Result of being a picky eater.
 One night before bedtime, she gently pulled me to the dinning room, and offered me a glass of ice cold milk.
It was such a novelty. It was such a treat. I never took milk in a glass, nor with ice and at that time of the day. Ever.
And you know what, without any fuss, I drank it. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Maybe, because, I was in a very a rare situation. My grandmother mixing me a glass of milk, giving it to me tenderly...that I could not refuse...If I am not mistaken, I somehow was lactose intolerant until that point. Milk would make me gag and throw up. Wonders of wonders in that crystal did not. It was like those milk ad moments.
Goes to show, that any small act of kindness or love....will go a very long way in making the heart...really be filled with joy. Mama Marcelina did not say much. She just watched me drink the milk. Her presence that time and the lingering memory of that incident has made me feel loved and warm. Never alone. Never forgotten.
Now, I want to share with you a fond memory of your mom’s mom...we call her Auntie Nita. I remember your grandmother, my dad’s sister, as the one who was so careful with her appearance. I will never forget her instructions to us girls...or to the teenagers among us, not me definitely that time.. on how to augment your breast size naturally. She shared to us, how to do it. And, secretly, I did it...when, bra size, started to matter to me. Did it work? I am not so sure. But, it sure made me remember her so much. And there was the time, Auntie Nita, initiated the making of Persimmons jam. I think, if I am not mistaken, she brought a big bulk of tomatoes from Baguio that time. She was raving about how it can be made into jam as similar as Persimmon jams. It was such a by word. It clicked and we all ended up trying to peel soft boiled tomatoes while they were still a bit warm to the touch. She says, it was how it was supposed to be done. I think, I was about 7 that time. All the other Aunties were there, Auntie Lily ( Cid)...Auntie Cora (Paras) and maybe ( not sure ) Auntie Nedz ( the madre)....and most of my siblings. Amidts all the oohs and the ahhs of handling warm tomatoes to peel off....we soon realized, Auntie Nenita or Nita was nowhere to be found. I think, she slipped away unnoticed to do some shopping in the nearby Barter Trade Market ( the equivalent now of bazaars in Greenhills etc.) with great bargains of imported items. People would usually go to Zamboanga City just to do shopping in the then famous Barter Trade Market. This was around the late 1970’s. When her absence was finally noticed....her other sisters were already almost halfway done with the jams, figuring out how it would be done, on their own, without the expert tutelage of the initiator.
I learned early on, that was one of your grandmother’s traits. A trait, which somehow , finds it presence in most of my ways....I start then don’t finish ....most of the time.
Don’t get me wrong, it was such a charming memory of Auntie Nita...who I noted to be a carefree spirit who loved to laugh and enjoy life. I will forever have her memory in Grandma Marcelina and Grandpa Calixto’s 50th Golden wedding anniversary, where her gown was really fetching.
It complimented her really slim and trim figure. It was a halter v-necked gown, bare back with a big rose in between her breasts. I think it was in brown. She was really beautiful in her gown. If I am not mistaken, your mom had a complimenting mother daughter gown with her.
I was still 4 or 5 at that time...but browsing through the albums....always made me so much in awe of her photo. Maybe something, I still have yet to find the guts and courage to put on something similar in the near future. Hahahaha....
I hope....I made you feel good with my short trip down memory lane with your direct ancestors. One thing is for sure, we may be separated by miles and miles of land and water....the bonds of blood will always be there. And they are as thick as we want to make it.
Again, I pray that the Lord keep you in His care, protection and mighty providence at all times. In all your small and big decisions, make your mom proud of you. She is your first and probably biggest cheerleader. I should know....I am a mom too. Do listen and keep her teachings to you in your heart. Always. It is meant for your good and nothing more. God Bless and God speed in all your endeavours. Yours, Auntie Ni-Anne de Leon- Espinoza

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