| Photo by Willie Jose
By Willie Jose
In some nook and cranny of our home, we find those few prized possessions we’ve been keeping through the years. These are the little things we have that we could not quickly get rid of, but at times, they have become our comfort zones.
Every time we see and touch these possessions—old books, photos, letters, cards, children’s and grandchildren’s sketches, drawings, CDs, plaques, souvenirs– so many memories come to mind; these mementos seem to have a life of their own. They have their own stories to tell.
Sometimes friends and even our family consider these little possessions as “trash” that we can easily throw away, but it’s easier said than done.
Well, what more could we say except “c’est la vie. “
When I’m lonely, I will go to my mini library to while away my time reading those books, away from life’s cares and problems. These books are balm to my weary soul.
Seeing my old passport, I remember some of the travels, memorable experiences, and places I’d visited. As a journalist, I have met our compatriots in different parts of the world, interviewed them, and shared their struggles on how they survived living abroad away from their families.
Finding my old telephone directories, I could see not only the phone numbers of my news sources but also the faces of my close friends, the “good times” we had at some watering holes, staying up to the wee hours in the early morning.
At the corner of my bookshelf, there stands an old Underwood typewriter that reminds me about my life’s vocation, being a journalist; in short, it’s a good reminder that always tells me to keep writing “till death do us part.”
Of course, there are so many photos of my family–seeing how my children have grown up, pictures of them enjoying themselves at the playground, graduating from elementary up to college, and getting married. Numerous photos show university alumni friends during a get-together, reunions with my former Times Journal and People’s Journal office mates, and having a tete-a-tete with journalist friends. These are the photos I treasure and keep.
I’m also the repository of my grandchildren’s kinds of stuff. Take, for example, my grandson Josiah’s poem “Summer Makes Me Think of,” written most probably when he was in grade school in Scarborough; it says, “Summer makes me think of swimming. Bar B Q’S make me think of Burgers. The Bench makes me think of sand castles. Grass makes me think of flowers. The ending of school makes me think of a vacation.”
My grandchildren’s handwritten note in 2001 says, “dear Lolo(grandpa) and Lola(grandma), here’s a little something for both of you. I hope, we hope, that you like them. You can both have them while you have your afternoon merienda (snack) and every time you take a bite, you’ll remember us, Have fun and relax. We love you.”
I have a book given to me in 1977 by Tony, a close friend; he wrote there, “No one has the monopoly of what’s good and bad. What’s good and bad will depend on which side of the coin you are on. Glad that you’re on the opposite side of the coin. Otherwise, I’ll see to it that I’m on the other side if only to justify at least, your kind of existence!”
Because of the pandemic and other problems confronting the travel industry these days, I have decided to stay home, and maybe someday, I will have a chance to visit the Philippines.
When I feel the itch to see back home, all I do is look for some Filipiniana books on the bookshelf,
Right there and then, these books are in front of me, the likes of Agoncillo’s History of the Filipino People, Prose and Poems by Nick Joaquin, Victor Sollorano’s The Naked Woman With No Name, Pete Lacaba’s Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage and Sa Panahon ng Ligalig, Ricky Lee’s Para Kay B, Carbonnel’s Beyond Forgetting, Fanny Garcia’s Sandaang Damit.
So, my friends, it’s not the material possessions that we have today that can make us feel rich and content but those little possessions that we have been keeping all these years that connect us to unforgettable memories.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Willie Jose is a graduate of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. He now lives in Toronto, Canada.