Still one of self’s favorite pieces. It begins:
I was last home for my father’s funeral. I say “home” even though I am an American citizen now, sworn in with a twenty-piece Navy band in the grand ballroom of the Marriott Hotel on Fourth and Mission in San Francisco. Yet, “home” for me was always that other place, that city James Hamilton-Patterson describes as “a parody of the grimmer parts of Milwaukee.”
I’ve never been to Milwaukee, so I can’t tell whether this is true or not, whether Manila really is like a parody of a city in the far north of this country (or at least what I imagine to be the far north, in a general region of the country I associate with heavy snow and Laverne and Shirley). But that it is different from here, of course. It is the differences I loved.
When I was last home, which was for my father’s funeral, I slept with my mother in the big wooden four-poster in my parents’ bedroom. This bed, handed down from my grandfather, was familiar and reassuring. It was of heavy wood, a wood that doesn’t exist today in any Philippine forest, having been cut to extinction. It may have been called “molave.” I am not sure of this, as I am not sure of so many things about my culture, which I think I received very young, too young really to understand context or value.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.