I believe that in order to gain a good perspective in life, one need only to retrace one's steps, retreat from the now and reach into yesterday. I have oceans of yesterdays that I'm forever swimming in, freestyling. What keeps me constantly attuned to my past is the fact that I miss my parents so much. It's like when they left, remembrance became a necessity to being happy in my present life otherwise everything would just be in the surface, no substance, no constitution all superficial. I remember a line in the film “Amistad”, when the protagonist described himself as the only proof that his ancestors existed.
The earliest recollection I have is being hoisted up my maternal grandpa's shoulders at Aunt Ester's place. Grandpa lives in the province of Mindoro but stays with my Aunt when he's in Manila. We've always known him as Tatay (Filipino for father) and our grandma has always been Inay (Filipino for mother). Aunt Esther's place is near ours and growing up I guess I always thought this was actually Inay's and Tatay's place. We visit them everyday and the highlight of the visits was the shoulder ride. Then I recall a time at Trinity General Hospital where Tatay was confined. I remember wondering why Tatay was living in this huge house with white walls and servants all in white. But the biggest question was why the shoulder rides stopped.
Some years later I'd learn that Tatay died of stroke there or aneurysm (if they're not the same thing). What's really fascinating to me is that I have bits and pieces of memories from this time, you see, Tatay died in 1974, which makes me 3 years old. I even remember the wake held at Tatay's home in Mindoro. I distinctly remember my godfather, Tito Larry hitting the wall with his fist while crying. The toilet in Tatay's home was an outhouse, a small hut a few feet away from the main house, it is unlighted and it stank. The place where you relieve yourself is a hole in the ground. The bathroom is an even sorrier place, also unlighted with rough flooring.