Journaling Reads: UNFORGETTABLE ... that is how I describe the time spent with my paternal grandparents. *I first met my grandparents in 1986. I had just graduated high school and my parents and I went to the Philippines on vacation. We flew into Manila and took a bus to Naga City and the village in which my grandparents lived. Their home consisted of two levels. The first was the living room, dining room, and kitchen. The floor was compacted dirt, the kitchen consisted of an open fire stove and no refrigerator. The second floor was a bedroom with rough wood floors and wide open windows. They had built an outhouse especially for our visit. Water was brought from the village well to bathe and operate the toilet. I treasure our visit to the Philippines to meet the relatives I had never known and experience another life. That life no less valuable than my own.
*In 1989, my grandparents, Virginia and Albino Legaspi, moved to the United States from the Philippines to reside with their oldest son, my father. Things I remember during their visit are: their amazement at our grocery stores, shelves and shelves full of food with refrigeration; department stores, everything in one store, and tons of varieties; telephones in every home; air conditioning, they just about froze in mid-summer heat in Florida; indoor plumbing, while they had seen this, they had never lived anywhere where this was a convenience; owning your own car and one family owning more than one car; and the lottery, my grandpa fell in love with playing the lottery.
*All of these material amazements paled in comparison with the amazement I felt when for the first time my grandparents met their great-granddaughter, Maegan. The world revolved around Maegan according to her great-grandparents. During their 3 month visit, I don't think she ever walked anywhere on her own, she was always carried; she never asked for anything because it was always given before she knew she wanted it; and she never cried for attention because they doted on her every waking minute.
*I was able to spend time getting to know them. Although communication was a struggle since they spoke broken English and I spoke no Tagalog, we managed with lots of love and smiles. They welcomed Charlie into the family and became very attached to him during their visit.
*This was their first time away from their other children, my aunts and uncles, and their other grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It was very hard on them. They missed their home and the rest of their family. After lengthy discussion and consideration, my grandparents decided that they would move back to the Philippines.
*We celebrated my Grandpa's birthday before they left. I baked him a cake and Charlie and I bought him a Timex watch. When we gave these to him, my Grandpa started crying. I was stunned - did I hurt his feelings, embarrass him? My dad told me that my Grandpa said that he had never had a birthday cake in his entire life and he had never received such a grand present before. This was a heartfelt occasion for all of us.
*I have not seen my grandparents since their visit to the U.S. but I think of them often. My grandmother and one uncle have since passed away. I miss them and think of them often. I regret not being able to spend more time with them and I especially regret that they never met their great-grandson Daniel or see both of my children grow into adults.
*For all these reasons and more, they will forever be UNFORGETTABLE.