Memories about my 2 youngest children
Isis then and nowClick thumbnail to view full-size
A vivid ad still rings
I can't recall what particular product was being advertized in the radio some three decades and six years ago but what is vivid in mind is a sentence in vernacular which runs this way: "Hani, pangaturog na gad kita!" [Honey, let's now go to sleep!]
Ad line becomes a by-word
Day in day out these words were being dished out in the airlanes without letup until they became part of our vocabulary. They became a by-word that even children who were just learning to talk would mimic the sentence after hearing this radio advertisement.
Daughter invites me to dreamland
For her part, Isis my daughter who was three-year old then, when already sleepy, would beckon me with stretched arms to pick her up. In my shoulder she would tenderly whisper, "Hani, yoyok na ita!" [Honey, let's now go to sleep!]
My wife had her way
DESPITE my opposition, Tita made up her mind to give birth to our fifth and last child Adam in San Isidro. For me her decision was tantamount to committing suicide because the place is remote. Not only is there a total absence of medical facilities and health personnel in the place but also of the very poor condition of the 22-kilometer dirt road leading to the barangay from Poblacion Paranas. Why it takes almost a day for a passenger bus to negotiate the one-way trip to San Isidro and beyond is no puzzle.
I was there to teach
Whether San Isidro is heaven or hell, is all ours to accept and love. I was there for a very important mission, to inculcate in the minds of the children as well as the rural folks the basic rudiments of education. It was my third teaching assignment in a period of six years.
Midwife came with knife and 'oracion'
There was no turning back. We faced the challenges squarely. At the onset of labor pangs, a kind neighbor volunteered to fetch Mana Teria, the local midwife who came to assist Tita give birth. Mana Teria was armed with nothing but a rusty knife and her oracion [a prayer said for the safe and successful delivery of a baby].
No use for disinfectant
Before the midwife's arrival, I had a potful of boiling water to disinfect the maternity equipments with. But I was taken aback. Mana Teria had no use for the boiling water. When she opened her knife to cut the baby's umbilical cord with, I saw the knife's rusty blade and I cringed at the sight. I was afraid and anticipating that my baby would get tetanus sooner or later.
Tita gave birth to 'Rusty'
On that early evening hours of September 7, 1970, Tita gave birth to a healthy baby boy. I had him tentatively christened "Rusty" because of the ordeal he had overcome, surviving the perils from dangers that might have been caused by the rusty knife.
Isis: I've no more mother, only father
When ADAN, the final name of the baby, was already cleaned and dressed, he was laid beside his Nanay. For a two-year and a nine-month old, ISIS, elder sister of Adam (his nickname), the baby was not a welcome sight. Hugging a post, with tears falling from her eyes and looking down at her newborn baby brother, Isis sighed pitifully, "Waray na ako Nanay, Tatay nala! [I have no more Mother, only Father!]