Growing up small town. Living in a small town. There are advantages and disasvantages. I have lots of thoughts lined up for the latter. But one of the advantages of living in a small town is the gift of living simply. In relation to that, is to have the opportunity to know people of different backgrounds which in effect keeps our spirit grounded.
Since the fish market is far from the old business park, some vendors walk around and visit store by store to sell their catch of the day. We’ve known Manang Lita for years now. We initially called her Lola Lobster, since she always came with her basket full of lobsters.
This is Manang Lita. Her real name is Julieta, nicknamed Diding. I asked her why she was named Julieta/Diding, to which she answered- ay ambay kay nanay ko. 😑 – Me.
Since I didn’t get any interesting tidbit from that question, I asked her how old she was. She’s 66 yo. Lightbulb! I continued asking her… Ti kaabot kaw tyempo hapon? She was only a baby. BUT! Her dad and uncle were part of the US led- Filipino forces during WW2. How did your dad end up with the army? Did he undergo formal training? Apparently, young men were rounded up and sent to Luzon for training. I’m thinking maybe this was in the beginning- middle of the Japanese invasion. Her mom was only 16 when she married her dad, but her dad (who hails from bugasong, or was it her mom?) was already with the army at that time.
Ti si tatay mo nadakop ka hapon? Yes, her dad was taken by the Japanese and was imprisoned for a year. But her uncle, she said, was made to join the Death March. (Before the Death March) Fortunately for her dad, a kind-hearted Japanese took pity on him and let him out of prison and let him do other chores instead. For obvious reasons, she doesn’t have personal war memories. But she said they walked from here to Barbaza, about 5 (or 8 — correction pls! Haha) towns from San Jose. And her mom lived up to 90+ years old. Oh the glorious age of 90.
Note: Red eyed Manang Lita while reminiscing.
Classic L sibs, we like to tease her. Bwahahaha
Interesting WAR story!!!!!
PS. Sometimes I wish I knew old Karay-a words to better phrase my questions and get better answers. Hehe
PPS. These are Q&A exercises good for the brain. Practice.
Thank you for your story Manang Lita!