Saturday, June 19, 2010

A father's legacy

In 1957 he married the woman of his dreams. He was 33 and she was 21.They had two sons and two daughters.

He married at an age quite late than was customary at the time. It came to light that he postponed marriage as he prioritized being a major moral and financial supporter of his younger siblings, all six of them - as their own father died soon after the war. He supported himself through college as a working student, even as he supported his siblings' education. At the time of his marriage he was already able to see their youngest and only sister through medical school.

He worked as an accounting manager for a private home appliance firm, while his wife devoted full time to being a housewife. He was dedicated to his job, and often regaled the family at dinnertime with challenging yet amusing incidents at his work. He would also share his experiences at the local parish where he is active as a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was by nature a jolly person and would punctuate his conversation with a lot of jokes, at which the family all laughed heartily. His wife was his number one fan and joke appreciator, and it also shows when she laughs the most - even at most of his corny ones.

In the mid-seventies, at about 50 years of age, he lost his job. The private company he loyally worked at for many years folded up due to the folly of its owners, as is bound to happen with private, family-controlled businesses. It was not a good time to lose a job. The children were all privately schooled in the primary and secondary grades, jobs were scarce due to the 70's oil crisis, and 50 years of age was far from being an ideal employable age. He took on all sorts of odd jobs to tide the family over, even selling used clothes and shoes. His wife resorted to doing part time sewing job at a measly rate for a local factory. With the help of one young son, the mother also bought and sold pineapples to neighbors and acquaintances at a meager profit - 20 centavos per piece. Earning enough just to feed the family became extremely tough. Eventually, they loaned a small amount to open a small eatery business in the Blumentritt area, a modest affair catering to mostly low-income jeepney drivers and pedestrians. The couple would rise up every day at 4am to prepare for the day's business, and close store late in the evenings. It was tough and the small business was hard-pressed to support a family of 7 (his old mother was also living with them), but somehow as if miraculously... the family was able to scrape by and make both ends meet. No child was forced to stop their education, and they all went on to finish their college studies one by one.

In all this time, he remained active serving at the local parish. He became a 4th degree KofC, and was eventually elected Grand Knight. When things like this happen, usually the entire family follows suit. His wife became active in the Catholic Women's League, and their children became active as altar servers and parish choir members. He would goad the entire family to mass every Sunday, lead the rosary every night, and adorn the house with religious images so much so that the house already resembled a chapel of sorts. He was an industrious, all-around, do-it-yourself repairman around the house, and sometimes he inadvertently broke things even worse while he attempted to fix them. He never had a vice. It is an example of spiritual headship that brought the family together, in spite of the hard financial problems and the usual family difficulties which they were not spared of. It helped that he never lost his sense of humor. It also helped most of all that he never lost his faith. He was not perfect, but the entire family and his colleagues witnessed that he strove to be. His two sons also learned the hard way of his capability to be a tough disciplinarian, and it is something that they now concede much gratitude for. The children now look back at their juvenile years and its dangers which they were able to surmount - thanks in large part to heavy doses of fatherly tough love. Thanks also in large part to their mother, who proved to be a steadfast support and a joyful ray of light for the family.

Today, the clan has now expanded with 4 married children and a total of 13 grandchildren - the eldest of whom is now 22, about to finish college and become a father in his own right. They are all doing well, and owe their legacy to a (grand) father who kept the faith and strove to be a perfect one, even in an imperfect way. That is all it takes, and that is all that counts.

This piece is a tribute to my father, who joined his creator in August of 2002.

Happy Father's Day!


Anonymous said...

Lucky to have a father like "our Daddy". As far as material matters are concerned, I did enjoy most of the fruits of Dad's labor including my siblings earnings being the youngest in the family and I believe that is also one of Dad's legacy.. that he is always there to share everything he has and he has passed this virtue to all of my brothers and sister.. Thank you!
Happy Father's Day to you Dad and to my brothers Noel and Willy!

WillyJ said...

Thank you. Enjoy your vacation there in the U.S. with mama. Take care of her I know you will. Huwag kalimutan ang pasalubong ko. God bless.

WillyJ said...

Here's a great video from CMR