A Grateful Daughter’s Tribute To Her Mom – Love and Remembrance

Mom's House 4
Mom & Dad on the back terrace overlooking the backyard at the 50th wedding anniversary

My mom, Fausta (Pacing) Rosales, lovingly called Lola by her grandchildren, passed away on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. She was 96 years old, a month shy of her 97th birthday on Dec. 16. She was the last among her nine siblings to pass on.

I thank you Mom for all the years you loved and took care of my three brothers and me, our spouses and your grandchildren, for your love and loyalty to Dad, for your zest for life and the courage to tackle all adversities that life brought upon you and your family.

I remember stories you told me about my struggle with meningitis when I was two years old. You and Dad and my doctor godmother pulled me through otherwise I would have died. When I was five, all my playmates were all in school but I was too young to enroll in 1st grade but you convinced the teacher to let me just sit in class without grading me. I was admitted and ended up getting 80 at the end of the school year and got promoted to 2nd grade. As I became a teenager and through my twenties, you were my ally when I had problem with Dad about boys. When I was reviewing for my CPA board exam, you were there making sure I ate right to sustain my long days and nights reviewing for my exams. When I left home, you were heartbroken but let me go to pursue my ambition. You knew I would be OK in New York. You were always supportive of what I wanted to do. You were easy to deal with than Dad who was very strict but both of you made me the person I am today because of your strict discipline. Thank you.

Here is my family when I left home for New York in 1967, taken at Manila International Airport.

LM Left Manila 1966

(left to right) – My three brothers, Robert, Radelo, Renato, Me (Rosalinda), Mom and Dad. All four of us have the same initials – R.A.R.

Here we are again in May 1993 for Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary.

At the 50th Anniversary
Left to right: Me, Rene, Eddie, Dad and Mom with Robert’s family – Stacy, Rose (Robert’s wife) and Stephen. Taken at home in the backyard in front of the extension built before our homecoming.

After I got married, you came to U.S. for the first time, after my first child was born. You stayed for a month to be with your first grandchild and later when I decided to go back to work, you stayed with me for four years until the boys are old enough not to have a babysitter. During those days, when my kids called her “Lola”, people asked me why my children called their grandmother by her first name. I had to explain that “Lola” is the Filipino word for Grandma.

Every time, I moved to a new home, you were around to give me a helping hand on my move. Mom was a well-seasoned traveler, traveling back and forth from the Philippines every two years. Mom enjoyed her U.S. trips to visit us all, alternating her stay between each of her four children. When she got tired of one, she went to the next one. We will always remember those happy times during our family gathering at Thanksgiving and Christmas at my home. Mom could get into an argument with one of my brothers who loved to tease her and she would use a few phrases she picked up staying with my other two brothers in New Jersey. We roared with laughter. She was feisty and hilarious. She loved meeting my American friends and always with a smile on her face. The last visit was when we first came to see our new home in Charleston in 2008. Our third bedroom is still called “Lola’s room” because she was the first one to occupy it.

My mom had a good life with few hardships during the war and in between Dad’s downturn in his business. She was the favorite among her siblings as she was growing up. She was a beautiful lady and Dad fell in love with her even before they met. Dad saw her picture in a magazine. Below was the original copy and the picture that Dad fell in love with.

Their love story was the theme of my first book, “Bahala Na, Come What May”. She was also featured in my other book, “The Iron Butterfly”, her mother’s life story. The book cover is a chopped copy of Mom’s photo.

Mom's Photo     The Iron Butterfly Cover

When Dad married her after 4 years of courtship, Dad got her a maid even before I was born. We don’t consider ourselves rich but we are comfortable. Dad built Mom a nice home which has been the envy of the town. It’s made of granite, marble and steel and it has fared very well during typhoons and earthquakes.

She loved sewing and I had to have tons of sewing projects for her to do during her stay with me. Otherwise, she got bored. I still have the sewing machine she used and I was hoping for years that she would come back because I still have tons of fabric for her to do some work. She made curtains and slipcovers, did alterations for me, fixed buttons, mended things and made some of my early clothes.

One thing she was not an expert is cooking. Since she always had a maid, she very rarely cooked. But she was a big help to Dad in his business by taking care of the books. She was very organized and constantly in motion. She was a strong and confident woman. You would not dare cross her path because she would have something to say. She always stood her ground and we love her for that. Maybe that was the key to longer life.

She is now with Dad who left us in 2007. Dad must be smiling to welcome her in his arms once more.

I love you Mom and will miss you terribly. I wish I was there with you to send you off safely home to God and Dad. Rest in peace and thank you for everything

Mystery Blogger Award

I’m excited to be nominated for the MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD although I have no idea what MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD is. This is the first time I received a nomination for any award at WordPress. It was a big surprise and I want to thank FortySomethingHeyHey for nominating me. Check her blog which is about Life is a Journey. It’s nice to be recognized by my fellow bloggers but a visit and a comment are good enough for me. I do appreciate the nomination very much but for now I would like to have my blog as Award Free Blog.

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I still feel obligated to answer the following:

Three things about me:

  1. I have lived all my life in four different islands but never learned how to swim.
  2. When I passed my C.P.A. board exam, I was the first graduate from my university to earn the C.P.A. designation and earned a plague posted at the university hall for my achievement.
  3. At 23, in spite of not knowing anyone at the Big Apple, I arrived in New York as a legal immigrant with a P-3 visa (professional, took me a two-year wait) with $100 and a suitcase, landed a job as Jr. Accountant at ITT Corporation the first week after my arrival (three days actually) but told my employer I needed another week to acquaint myself with the City.

 

Answers to questions asked by FortySomethingHeyHey:

  1. How do you act if you see a big spider?

I’m not arachnophobic (fear of spider). Spiders do not bother me. A big one might surprise me. I most likely will get a broom or something and hit it. My youngest son got bitten by a big brown flesh-eating spider and ended in emergency. This one might scare me a bit for the injury it can create. It’s really a nasty creature.

  1. Dog or cat person?

Dog person. A dog named Dallas saved my life. Read this blog – “How I conquered my fear of dogs.” about Dallas.

  1. Are you content with your life?

Yes except for one thing. I want a piano and learn how to play the piano. Still a dream for me.

  1. Do you have any hobbies?

Reading and Gardening. Reading provides me an escape from the realities of life and gardening gives me a break from all the non-stop projects I seem to get myself involved with.

  1. Will you bungee jump?

No. I’m afraid of height. I want to keep my feet on the ground. I don’t even like plane ride.

 

Thanks again FortysomethingHeyHey for nominating me.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda

 

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Oldest Pearl Harbor veteran dies at 106

As reported by The Conservative Brief on Nov. 24, 2018.

Ray Chavez at the White House.
Ray Chavez at the White House in May 2018

Ray Chavez, a man who was celebrated as the oldest living veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack, died Wednesday at the age of 106 in the San Diego suburb of Poway after a battle with pneumonia.

The mild-mannered Chavez became a national figure three years ago when he was recognized as the oldest survivor of the 1941 attack by other Pearl Harbor survivors, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

When praised for his service, his reaction was often to shrug, according to his daughter Kathleen Chavez. “I was just doing my job,” he would say.

His death was mourned in a tweet by the White House: “We are saddened to hear the oldest living Pearl Harbor veteran, Ray Chavez, has passed away at the age of 106. We were honored to host him at the White House earlier this year. Thank you for your service to our great Nation, Ray!

In May, President Donald Trump praised Chavez as he attended a Memorial Day service at Arlington National Cemetery.

Chavez “doesn’t look a day over 60,” Trump said. He called Chavez “truly an inspiration to all who are here today.”

Trump pledged, “We will never forget our heroes.”

Seventy-five years after the attack, Chavez said its memory still haunted him: “I still feel a loss … We were all together. We were friends and brothers. I feel close to all of them.”

Japan’s surprise attack crippled the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet and killed 2,335 U.S. military personnel and 68 civilians.

Chavez suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder following the attack. He returned to his hometown of San Diego, where working in nature helped him recover from his symptoms of anxiety and shaking.

Chavez was not wounded in the attack, but he witnessed the aftermath in around-the-clock shifts.

Before the attack, Chavez helped identify and sink a Japanese submarine. After working through the early morning, he returned home to sleep. That’s when the bombers arrived.

In 2016, he recalled his wife waking him as the attack raged: “The Japanese are here, and they’re attacking everything,” she told him.

The harbor was in flames when he arrived.

After sifting through destruction for days, he was later assigned to a transport ship to ferry troops, tanks and other equipment to war-torn islands across the Pacific.

Chavez did not talk of the attack until its 50th anniversary. At that time, he began regularly attending anniversary events.

Chavez was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret. His daughter is his only survivor.

 

How I conquered my fear of dogs

In Chinese Fortune Calendar,  2018 is called Brown Earth Dog Year. The first day of the Brown Dog is not the Chinese New Year in Chinese Astrology. 2018 Chinese Brown Dog starts on February 4, 2018 in China’s time zone, a week ago.

Being 2018 is the Year of the Dog, it reminds me that I was once terrified of dogs. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who are afraid of dogs. Are you one of them?

Years ago, I did not want to be near dogs for fear of being bitten by them. Why was it that dogs always came to me when I saw one? They seemed to want to terrorize people who do not like them? It happened to me all the time. Everywhere I went and saw a dog, they approached me. I stood frozen on the spot. I was totally petrified.

I was so afraid of dogs until . . .

When my two sons were growing up, they wanted a dog and I always said, “No. You may not have a dog.” My husband grew up with dogs. I’m sure he wanted a dog too. His father used to train hunting dogs. But I did not want a dog.

One day, my youngest son came home with his girlfriend and two dogs. One was a Dalmatian.

Alex said, “Mom, can we adopt the Dalmatian?”

I emphatically said, “No.” He turned to his father. “Dad, can we?”

“Your mother has spoken.”

A week later, Alex came home with the dog again. My son begged again. “Mom, they are going to send him to the animal shelter.”

“I don’t care. I don’t want a dog!”

“Can we try him for a week?” The dog approached my husband. He licked his hand. That did it for him.

“OK, just for a week on condition that you will take care of him,” my husband said.

“Good. I will,” Alex said. “We’ll call him Dallas, after my favorite team.”

I was furious. I did not want the darned dog. I kept a distance from him. Alex kept on pushing his luck. “Mom, just pet him.”

“He’ll bite me.”

“He will not.”

“Yes, he will.”

“Just try it.”

I petted him reluctantly. I was still afraid. I tolerated the dog. One week led to two weeks and guess what? The dog stayed.

I never walked the dog. I never fed him. I did not want any part of him. I wanted to lock him in the kitchen but I got vetoed out by my husband who said the dog could go anywhere in the house. He was part of the family.

“OK. But I don’t want to be near him. And he better not mess in the house,” I said. The dog must have sensed my disapproval of him because he tried to avoid me except . . .

 

 

Dallas 3242010 Can you share some of your lunch
Here is Dallas as if saying, “Can you share your lunch with me?”.

 

One day, I came home before everyone did. My son usually walked him. Sometimes my husband walked him too. But not me. Never! But on this particular afternoon, my resolve went out the window. For reason, I could not fathom, I did the unthinkable. I walked the dog.

The dog greeted me by the door and wanted to go out badly. He was wagging his tail furiously. I did not know what time my son or my husband would be home. I was afraid he’d pee in the house or even worse.

So I dropped my briefcase on the hallway (I was an accountant at that time), grabbed the leash and we went out. It just stopped raining. We just stepped down the steps of the front porch and he bolted across the lawn. The ground was slippery and I fell. Luckily it was late winter. I had an overcoat and my boots on. I was holding that leash for dear life not wanting the dog to run away. He was pulling me and I won’t let go. The dog dragged me across the lawn and across my neighbor’s front yard. He was a big and strong dog. My neighbor’s daughter was sitting on her front porch, saw us  and ran out and rescued me. She grabbed the dog by his collar and scolded him.

“Bad dog. Bad dog,” she said.

She turned to me. “Are you OK, Mrs. Morgan?”

I had a tough time standing up. I tried to catch my breath. “I’m fine, I think.”

Limping, I took the dog back inside my house. He looked contrite. He knew he did a bad thing. Whether he peed or not, I had no idea, By this time, I did not care. I could not breathe. I closed the door and leaned on it. My chest hurt like hell. I sat down on the nearest chair.

My husband came home a few minutes later. I was still in my business suit. I have not moved from the chair. I was breathing hard and my face must have shown the pain. I was holding my chest.

“Are you OK?”

I told him what happened. I was aching all over. I told him I just wanted to go to bed. He made some tea. I drank a little of it and went upstairs. I could barely move. I changed into my nightgown and tried to go to sleep.

By 3 AM, I was still in agony. I had a hard time going to sleep. I tossed and turned. I could not find the right position. Everything hurt. I was in terrible pain. I had a hard time breathing. I woke up my husband and told him I wanted to go to emergency.

He took me to Glen Cove Hospital which was closer to my home. They took some x-rays and gave me a shot to ease the pain and told me to take a couple of Aspirins or Tylenols. Tylenol never does anything for me so I took aspirins every four hours. I bruised my ribs and they could not do anything about it. It would just take time to heal by itself, I was told. I just had to take the painkiller.

Three weeks later, I got a call from the hospital. She said they were checking my file and found out I had walking pneumonia.

“Pneumonia?”

I was shocked. I could not believe what she were saying. I asked why she only called now. She said the hospital was contacting me before but to no avail. That was the biggest lie there was. They had my home phone, my cell phone, and my office phone. Those three phones could not possibly be busy all at the same time. I bet they never called any of those numbers. They were just covering their you know what. They told me to go to my regular doctor and get another x-ray. I was furious.

I went to see my doctor in Huntington the next day and bingo. Positive. I had walking pneumonia. My doctor put me on antibiotics. I had to see him every other week till my lungs cleared. They even took a couple of MRIs just to be sure my lungs were finally clear. I was on antibiotics for 13 weeks.

If I did not fall down, I would not be x-rayed.

Before that fall, I was feeling very tired for some time. I could hardly get up the stairs. By the time, I reached the top, I’d be catching my breath. I never thought of pneumonia. I just started a new job and was working long hours. I thought I was just tired and stressed out. When I told my boss that I had pneumonia and had to cut my hours, he told me I did not look sick. But I was. I cut down my hours at work leaving for home at 1 PM but I took some work home.

If it were not for Dallas, I could have died without even knowing what was wrong with me. Dallas saved my life.

After that, Dallas and I became close friends. I spoilt him rotten. When he died years later, I cried for three days, skipped work and could not function for days.

That incident changed my whole attitude towards dogs. I was able to conquer my fear of dogs. I began to love dogs and am still a dog lover.

Then, when I went to the Philippines in 1993, I saw a life-size dalmatian porcelain statue at a Chinese store. I bought it not thinking of how I could bring it to NY.

Here it was sitting with my father at my parent’s home’s front porch in the Philippines the day I bought it.

Lolo with the dog statue 2

 

Mom and Dad suggested I left it with them but I was determined to bring it with me to NY. We packed it carefully with all kinds of padding.

At the airport, the clerk asked what was in the box. I said, “Statue.”

“Wooden statue?” she asked. (Philippines is known for beautiful wooden statues.)

I said, “No. Porcelain.” She let me sign a disclaimer that they were not responsible if the statue break during transit.

The statue made it to NY with one scary moment when we landed in Hongkong and the plane bumped at landing. All I could think of was my statue. When we moved to Charleston, I put him in an old steamer trunk with pillows and all kinds of padding.

Here it is now in my foyer at my home in Charleston.

IMG_2826

 

For more info on the Chinese New Year, check this website: https://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/2018.htm.

Happy New Year!!!

 

Until next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda

Fifty years ago, I came to America as a legal immigrant

Honolulu_International_Airport_(6932471711)

Fifty years ago on October 14, 1967, I stepped out of a Philippine Airline flight from Manila into a new country with a third preference visa for professionals. I was a CPA from the Philippines. I arrived at Honolulu International Airport with my vanity case, my handbag with my Philippines passport and a hundred dollars in cash. I also had with me my third preference visa, my US certified medical x-ray and a form that stated I had financial support guaranteeing that I will not be a public charge in the United States. My big suitcase was checked in to go straight to New York.

It was a bright sunny day when I deplaned in Honolulu, feeling in awe of the place as a welcoming Hawaiian lady placed a lei over my head and thankful that I made it across the Pacific after a long flight. I don’t know anybody when I arrived on U.S. soil but with the grace of God and an ardent ambition to go abroad, I was on my first leg on my trip to New York.

I reached NY early Sunday morning at 6 am after traveling for almost 24 hours when I left Manila Saturday night. It did not take me long to land a job in New York. Exactly three days after I arrived in New York, I got an offer from ITT Corporation. They wanted me to start right away and I said I would rather start a week later so I could get acquainted with the city first.

I became a U.S. Citizen in 1973  after being a legal immigrant for at least five years which was the requirement for naturalization. I love my new country and have stayed for 50 years. I’ve only been back to the Philippines four times – in 1993 when my parents had their 50th wedding anniversary, in 2006 when both my parents were hospitalized at the same time, in 2007 I made two trips, when Dad passed away in May and then in November 2007 when I was able to talk Mom into coming to New York but she demanded I picked her up. So I did. It was the last time I was back.

It has been a memorable journey and will keep on going. The United States has been good to me and I am grateful. God bless America!   

Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer