In his memoir entitled “Colors of the Mountain,” author Da Chen wrote a short dedication to his grandfather which says: “To Grandpa, for your smiling eyes.”
These words ring true, with the joy that shines through when Lolo looks at you and that hint of smile when he closes his eyes. To Lolo, for your smiling eyes.
Though Lolo was a man of few words, the depth of his knowledge would probably surpass the stories of many generations. At a glorious old age of eighty-eight, Lolo has lived through several chapters of a book. And his is a life worth reading about, remembering and celebrating. He was born at a time where the circumstances of life would seem so foreign for most of us now. After the war, before he finished high-school, Lolo embarked on a journey of self-discovery. Although, it probably produced more questions to the answers he was looking for. The grey skies that loomed over the seas and cut his journey short did not weaken his resolve to better himself despite of the circumstances.
A few years later, after the Americans granted us our independence, Lolo had the opportunity to cross the sea and experience life in Guam. Despite not having a college diploma, Lolo was recruited and employed by the Marianas Stevedoring and Development Company (Masdelco) as a machinist for the Guam Naval Supply Depot. What he knew, in order to work as a machinist, he learned through rigorous reading. Thus, giving truth to what a learned man is and should be. He later became a teacher with TESDA, passing on the wisdom he learned through years of hard work.
As young kids, we marveled at stories of him and his love of books. As adults, we listened intently and asked repeatedly for his stories of days gone by, teased him until he smiled and learned from him things only a man of his age would know.
We will always be grateful for the many Sunday’s we spent at their house by the beach. Influenced by the events of his time, Lolo was a very simple man, not very fuzzy. He found joy in the little things: a bowl of his favorite oatmeal, a pack of prunes, a bottle of jam, a bar of chocolate, a good book to read while surrounded by the rhythm of the trees.
Dearest Lolo, we will always remember with great fondness those days when you lived with us. I could still see you during siesta time, sitting, contently reading, while being surrounded by the silence of the afternoon and the music of the birds singing. I guess you’ll have more time to read now. By God’s grace, we are blessed to have grown up listening to your stories, learning from you, hearing you laugh, and seeing you smile. Because there’s nothing more we (as grandchildren) can ask for, than to have had you as our Lolo. Every book we will read will always remind us of the wisdom you have passed on to us. Every growing tree will always remind us of the love you have for creating new things and giving new life to old ones. As the waves gently splashes on the shore, we will remember you silently chuckle on the sides and urging us on to live, laugh and be with joy.