Tuesday, May 31, 2005

thus spake the oldies

So I started interviewing my parents two weeks ago for the first stage of my fossilization project. Writing a book about your own roots can be really fun, especially if your parents were as colorful as mine.

Armed with my tape recorder, I blurted out the project to them. As soon as my father saw the recorder, he immediately said yes like a child offered a balloon.

“Let me sing. You have to record my singing,” he said.

“We already did that four years ago, remember? We used up one whole cassette tape just to record your singing voice.” [It was a humid afternoon in our old, now-demolished living room. I accompanied him on my off-key piano as he sang Kundimans (traditional Filipino love songs), Frank Sinatra ditties, and some religious standards.]

“Yeah, I know. But I’ll sing again. I want to sing again.” So I let him have his way. He can be stubborn at times. Only after his robust rendition of Frank Sinatra’s (or was it Nat King Cole’s?) When Somebody Loves You was I able to start firing questions.

It was hard to keep them focused because their musty memories were just bursting into a deluge of trivia, painful images, vague recollections, vivid snatches of conversations, and hilarious anecdotes.

My father rambled on about teachers and farmers being heroes of the world and Jose Rizal having been taught by his mother to read and write and all that shit about honoring lowly, hardworking people when all we were talking about was the balangot (woven native leaf) hat he was wearing when he first met my mother. What Rizal had to do with his hat was something that really boggled me.

And my mother, who was busy preparing lunch, was incessantly shouting to my father “Hey, that’s not how it happened,” or “You’re exaggerating,” or “You suck at story-telling!” until she, herself, joined in and recounted how her conservatively virginal posturing finally gave in to my father’s request for their first and only movie date that immediately led to their wedding.

Back then, if people so much as see you go home at ten o’clock together, and in a stormy night at that, they would quickly assume that you just came from some marathon-fucking spree. Such a crazy time, the fifties!

I briefly touched on their childhood too and brought back some nightmarish memories of World War II when my mother watched warplanes fight (she called it “dog fight”) through the coconut leaves covering their dugout. My father recounted how he endured those chilling nights in our ancient house (which still stands, by the way) as agonized wailings wafted from our backyard where suspected traitors were being lacerated, whipped, or drowned in our stone well.

I felt odd to be talking to them about these stuff. I’ve always known them as the oldies. I never imagined them to have been young and wild and scared and flirtatious. It’s like, they were already 60 when I was born and they had no past whatsoever. Which makes me all the more interested to push through with this project.

I guess I should start stocking up cassette tapes. I’m sure there would be more Frank Sinatra songs and war stories; Rizal trivia and balangot hats; flirting and elopements just waiting to be unearthed.

15 Comments:

At 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Galeng! hahahaha! riot! pakilala mo naman ako sa oldies mo! masayang kasama't kausap sigurado!

iba na talaga panahon ano? ngayon, pag ang magkasintahan galing sa isang "fucking spree", iisipin e pumunta lang ng Enchanted Kingdom o nag-Malling. hehehe.

write on!

 
At 8:45 AM, Blogger slim whale said...

jaybs (kaw nga ba to?),

hehehe, exactly! pero pwde din mag-fuck sa enchanted kingdom and sa mall, if you're creative enough.

dapat may "bring your oldies" day sa office! heheh.

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger transience said...

if i interviewed my folks, specifically, my mother, it would be diatribe upon diatribe on how sucky i turned out, LOL!

 
At 11:48 AM, Blogger slim whale said...

trans,

lol... i don't need to interview them to get that kind of shit, they harangue me everytime they see me.

 
At 4:31 PM, Blogger bullish1974 said...

this is so interesting. is this going to be a series?

 
At 6:15 PM, Blogger weng said...

mall huh! didn't think you're that wild, haha!

 
At 4:05 AM, Blogger jenjaded said...

i think it's Nat King Cole (yung kantang When Somebody Loves You ha).

patawa ka talaga kahit kailan! I'd never think to do this. nakupo... baka kung ano pang malaman ko na hindi ko gustong malaman. he he he!

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger rmacapobre said...

> jose rizal

hes one of my favorite heroes. he was intelligent, a naturalist, a linguist, and a humanist (maybe even an atheist).

 
At 11:48 AM, Blogger slim whale said...

bullish,

might be. it's just something i do to honor them. trying to erase the 'prodigal son' image.

weng,

you have no idea what else i'm capable of doing!

jen,

you're right. unearthing their fetishes and other sexual eccentricities might not be such a nice thing. ewwww.

macapobre,

he hated the church but he wasn't an atheist. agnostic, perhaps, but not an atheist. though, it would've been cool if he were.

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger transience said...

excellent! we have one thing in common then.

 
At 8:26 AM, Blogger markus said...

wow. interesting.

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger sky said...

You know, when they are gone, that's the time I really wished I did that.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I did some research and, I'm still not sure if it's really you. Chris Cruz? Yakalite? Whatever. Thanks again. I'll link you.

 
At 3:19 PM, Blogger slim whale said...

trans,

it's in their nature. Ahhhh, parents…

markus,

yeah, very.

sky,

don't wanna feel that someday. that's why i'm starting early.

yup. that's me. but i'm not a yakalite (are you referring to the dormitory?). i know some yakalites, though.

 
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