Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nothing but memories

My grandparents' two-storey house - now demolished.

I am sad. This is what my late grandparents' house looks now, a far different picture from that cozy and lovely home where I used to spend summer after summer back when I was a child. 

This used to be my playhouse. To the little girl that I once was, my grandparents' humble abode was like a house made of candy - simple pleasures that make for my once unadulterated joys. There were times when I didn't want to leave.

This was once a house that was so full of love and happiness. And that was so because my grandparents showed me love and cared for his grandchildren so much. Now nothing is left of it but memories of my happy childhood with Lolo Ating and Lola Tinay. 

Back in my childhood days, I'd wake up in the morning and rush downstairs to find lolo in the kitchen preparing my milk. He wouldn't mix it with coffee the way he did with his drink because he said coffee was bad for children.

Come dinner, he would knowingly ask what we wanted to eat. He knew we wanted him to pull out corned beef or canned paksiw from his sari-sari store, with softdrinks to boot. He'd tease me about just having sardines and then laugh when I'd wail. When it comes to food, lolo spoiled us to bits. He was an excellent cook, and I'd always finish his plate full and happy.

The sari-sari store was another favorite spot of mine in the house. It was so stuffed with goods they had to put up a bodega to stock other supplies there. My eyes were always on  those colorful assortments of candy placed in glass jars. I always craved for them; and when I'd be tempted to get some, lolo always knew when to quell it.

Whenever he was tending to something else, I'd sit at his table and fiddle with his abacus, even when I didn't know then how to use it, or what it was for. I'd get to play little cashier every once in a while too. I never liked it one bit, but it was my way of helping them out. 

They had a spacious living room as well, which could accommodate a good number of people at one time. The mood was always fun and festive whenever we'd all gather after a meal and the elders would make the kids dance while they sang in chorus. All I'd hear was laughter and happy chatter.

the shack, where we used to gather and lounge around.

Lolo and lola also had a big backyard, where lolo built a tree house for me and my sister to spend  lazy afternoons in. Their backyard was also where I would run around with the other kids, play games and even chase stray chicken too.

Lola grew a variety of plants, flowers and fruits as well, to which lolo would cut sugarcane, pick buungon (pomelo), among others, much to our delight. Lola would gather cacao for me to eat, and  then I would help her make tableya out of the leftover seeds the next day. She also often warned me not to go further out into the backyard because of the presence of tungaw or red mite which could be extremely itchy to the skin. And when I wouldn't listen to her, she'd treat my poor, rashed skin expertly without the proverbial "I told you so" remark anyway. 

Their washing area was my most favorite spot in the house. It had a tub which I loved soaking into and just playing with cool water that seemed to be running non-stop.The last time I visited their house, I'd find that the tub appeared to be way smaller than it used to - I must have become all grown up now.

The house was already barren the last time the family came to visit. I barely saw a hint of lola's once well manicured garden. Lolo's sari-sari store was nothing but an empty, dusty space; the backyard looked as if it hadn't been tamed for ages, and the tub was dry out of water. Now all that is left are just remnants of nothingness. Who knows, although I'm not sure, that maybe if the house were kept to stand still, it would have been a lot less sad for us. 

Nothing is left of it now, I know; but the memories will always live with me. I will always be thankful to my lolo Ating and lola Tinay for making my childhood the happiest days of my life and I will always remember how they helped raise me to become what I am now.

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