The Report of the Bloody Uprising of 1649 in Samar Province, the Philippines

  • In the bay of Carigara, in a place called Caragono, two galleons were built, one after another: Nuestra SeƱora de Guia and San Francisco Javier. The labor was paid for the first, but for the second, payment never came.

— paraphrasing from Fr. Francisco Alcina’s report to the Jesuit provincial in Manila. (Fr. Alcina became rector of Samar at the “martyrdom” of his predecessors. He later wrote a groundbreaking work: History of the Bisayan People)

Scarecrow

Somehow, the 13-year-old narrator of Hindsight manages to make a friend, a boy named Scarecrow. They meet at the shelter.

“Let’s go get pancakes,” she tells him.

His eyes widened. “You have money?” he asked.

I nodded. “Just a little,” I lied.

As night falls, Scarecrow takes the narrator to his “squat” — “over a small fence” and then through “a large, empty apartment complex” to the parking garage and “a storage closet . . . on the wall.”

“Do you like me?” he asked.

“Maybe,” I answered. I was in uncharted territory and sinking fast.

He tried to kiss me, but I started to cry.

So instead, he held me in his arms, and asked me what had happened. He somehow knew.

This story is almost unbearably sad, but the narrator’s friendship with Scarecrow has an innocence. Scarecrow takes the narrator on a tour of Hollywood: his favorite breakfast place, Tommy’s (“They make breakfast all hours of the day. Pancake special: $1.99”) and Mann Chinese Theatre. It’s a very sweet interlude.

Unfortunately, they return to the shelter for breakfast the next day and someone reports them. Scarecrow’s 19 and the narrator’s only 13. They’re both arrested and the narrator is taken to a facility in a police car.

UGH. She’s put into an orange jumpsuit and told, “You’re a 601.” She’s put in a cell and the guards are tall, beefy women.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

“Go Home, Kid”

The narrator is directed to a youth shelter by a kindly African American woman who spots her wandering around aimlessly — hurt, exhausted, bleeding. She finally gets promised a bed for the night. Horrible things have happened to her, her first night in LA. Self won’t get into it.

Hindsight: Coming of Age on the Streets of Hollywood, p. 55

“How old are you?” she asked.

“Thirteen.”

She probably heard a touch of that Southern accent on my one word . . .

“Go home, kid,” she said, and then she stood up and walked away.

My God, self thinks. All this happened to my student. At the very least, she should have received medical treatment. She should have been tested. A rape kit. Fluids. She was starving. None of that happened.

Self stayed up till the wee hours, reading.

Stay tuned.

13 and a Runaway

Self is absolutely riveted by this story about a 13-year-old runaway. She has a bipolar mother, an abusive father (who’s already gotten her committed once and keeps threatening to do it again), and an indifferent stepmother. Plus, her only other sibling at home has gradually withdrawn.

She catches a bus from her home in North Carolina to LA. As the bus winds its way through her hometown, she spots her mother’s car, heading in the opposite direction. Her mother, her frail, bi-polar mother, is looking for her. The narrator can’t get the look on her mother’s face out of her head.

Hindsight, p. 52:

“I needed to forget the look . . . I needed never to find out that my mom baked a plate of cookies and left them on the table, window open, so that I might smell them and come inside.”

This mother story makes self tear up.

And then, on p. 54, the 13-year-old is in Los Angeles.

“An older African-American woman walked up to me, perhaps seeing me in a way that no one else had ever truly seen me.”

That African American woman’s kindness saved the narrator’s life. She directed the narrator to a youth shelter.

Stay tuned.

 

 

Carlos Bulosan, Filipino Migrant Worker

Excerpt, Chapter XXIII, America Is In the Heart, a memoir by Carlos Bulosan:

When I went to the kitchen to wash dishes to pay for my food, the woman threw her hands up and said: “That is enough! Go home! Come again!”

I went again and again. But I had no home that winter. One of my companions died of tuberculosis, so Mariano burned the cabin and left town. The nights were cold. Once in a while I could hear church bells ringing, and I would say to myself: “If you can listen long enough to those bells you will be safe. Try to listen again and be patient.” They were my only consolation, those bells. And I listened patiently, and that spring came with a green hope.

I went to Seattle to wait for the fishing season in Alaska.

And that was where Carlos Bulosan died, a victim of tuberculosis.

Stay tuned.

Adolescents in the System: HINDSIGHT, p. 30

If there’s one thing Hindsight: Coming of Age in the Streets of Hollywood, by former student Sheryl Recinos, is making self angry about, it’s about the way children are treated as pawns by the juvenile system.

Recinos was one of five siblings. One of her brothers was given to foster care when he was 13 (Why? Because the parents needed money and took a German exchange student in his place). Recinos never saw her brother again.

She was sent to an adolescent psych ward at 11. The timing is suspicious: it was the start of summer vacation, when she’d be home all the time. She and her new stepmother did not get along.

The other patients in the psych ward were teenagers. A boy named Keith was kind to her.

p. 30:

Keith left. He was sent away to a boys’ group home a few hours away. For boys with anger issues. I’d never seen him angry. He probably had a fake diagnosis, too. After all, we were in the land of TV commercials showing how you could “fix” your difficult teens by shipping them off to a hospital.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Committed.2: HINDSIGHT, p. 29

An 11-year-old who was relishing the start of summer vacation and long hours of freedom instead finds herself committed to a psych ward by her father and stepmother. She lives in two rooms the entire summer: a bedroom (with barred windows) and a dining room.

Her first conversation is with a boy in the dining room, a day after she’s been committed:

The boy next to me whispered: “You should eat that.”

I looked up at him. He was older than me. In fact, everyone was older than me. I would soon learn that I was the youngest kid on the ward. Eleven-year-olds don’t usually get admitted to the adolescent psych unit. Adolescent was a big new word for me, but it meant twelve and older. I carefully surveyed the room, noticing the nurse watching me closely. I nodded and obediently ate the soggy flakes.

Group time came soon after breakfast. Keith, I learned, was fifteen. He was waiting for placement at a nearby group home, and he had anger issues.

Stay tuned.

Committed: HINDSIGHT, p. 28

Hindsight, Ch. 5 (Hospital)

I stood up, staring out the window. I was on the dreaded Seventh Floor. The place where they locked my mom away whenever she lost it. When she tore out windows and painted the walls with ketchup and mustard. When she marched her kids into the mountains and left them. Where my stepson went, when she was so depressed that her naughty step-kids wouldn’t eat her nasty bloody chicken.

The window was reinforced, and there were strategically placed screws and nails in the framework. Even if I managed to open it, I would have to travel seven floors down. My bed only had two sheets. I wouldn’t make it.

Dysfunction

Hindsight, Ch. 4 (Married Again)

I was winning. We could stop this.

My father looked at us both, disappointment heavy in his eyes. “What would people think?” he asked.

“I don’t care,” I told him.

We argued for the rest of the day. I didn’t want this woman moving into our house. Something about her was unkind, cruel. I sensed her disdain towards me.

The day of the wedding came.

 

Older Sister: HINDSIGHT, p. 13

She wanted to stay to protect us, but she wanted to get away, to protect herself.

« Older entries Newer entries »

Ohm Sweet Ohm

Adventures in life from the Sunshine State to the Golden Gate

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

the contemporary small press

A site for small presses, writers, poets & readers

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor