Reading reviews and eventually watching the movie “Grapes of Wrath” has made me realized how America as a nation and a country progressed to this day, economically and politically. A family and all their material possession inside a small wagon, moving from one farm to another looking for jobs, food and house. Migration has been a natural and inevitable social pattern, for mans’ constant search of a better life.
One of my uncle on the paternal side was able to trace our surname all the way coming from Spain. Although somewhere in our history, our people adopted Spanish surnames since our conquerors had trouble remembering our native names. This ancestor supposedly came from Spain, settled in the Philippines, particularly in one of the island called Dumaguete City, a small and peaceful place, millions of miles away from the capital city. He became the Cabeza de Barangay, a title equivalent to a governor back in the old days. Eventually and much later in the 90’s I would hear of my paternal grandfather running for vice governor in his 80’s in that place probably in a bid to regain some of the familys’ name.
My paternal grandmother has three sisters, two stayed and never left that place, one married a soldier and lived in Manila, the countrys’ major economic center, while my grandmother and grandfather together with their 8 children moved out from this island which has nothing to offer to a more prosperous and progressive place, Zamboanga City.
A growing family consists of 5 girls and 3 boys, my father was the oldest. Apparently, I had an absentee grandfather (another interesting story, maybe) such that my father stayed with the family. One of his brothers (the one who traced our family tree) stowed away, meaning he jumped ship to get a free passage to Manila, the capital city, a place with plenty of promises for those searching for a better future. Another brother had a charitable scholarship who in turn helped younger sisters to go to school.
When my father had his own family and after six children he had this opportunity to work in Vietnam for two years and for some reason we all had to move to Manila. Working overseas was one of the economic program by the infamous president we had. Back when the exchange rate to dollar was only 1 is to 5, and as the rate went higher overseas working was one of the most sought after jobs.
When he came back home, as with all other overseas contract worker, a few thousand pesos in their bank, with children to feed, no stable job, compounded by our leaders’ inability to lift our ailing economy, our life was like the movie, “grapes of wrath”.
Aside from my own experience I would hear of almost impossible stories of what my ancestors went through especially those who left and seek out greener pasture. Whatever they’ve gone through I could say unequivocably that all their efforts paid off. As I try to reminisce whatever I could from memory I feel like watching a movie.
I don’t claim monopoly of whatever successes and victories our families have or where our ancestors came from, but, everybody has their own stories to tell. The young generations are in a much better condition, thanks to the generations before us. I am just sad when I see young people wasting all their lives and energy away.
If I have the power to time travel I’d like to go back to the past and write the history of all my ancestors for the consumption of new generations. This is to open up the eye of the young and, just like their forefathers who made history, they too, will realize the need to leave their own footprint.
Speak in different language, time travel, make two people agree? <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/a-bird-a-plane-you/”>A Bird, a Plane, You!</a>