F.G. David/Mrs. Ethel David
214 Alden Park
School House Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19144
08 July 1989
Vey, Bryn, Ferri, Xenia and Avril
dear vey, bryn, feye, xyn and aving,
since the arrival here last 29 june of your mama and ucron, there hasn’t yet been a letter sent here by any one of you. i’ve told your ma, i’m wondering why anyone of you hasn’t yet broken the silence. must all of you be very busy in school? or is there anything the matter? no, your ma contends. it’s just most likely that she has suggested to you all, first to wait for words from her here, before you may write to her or uc, in particular. so, i suppose, your writing to me is also being put in similar abeyance. in which case, i can see your silence as okay.
how have each of you five, as well as the two big boys, been faring since last june 29th? how’s the home been, too? who has taken the lead to manage everyone and everything, including everyone’s schooling and the regular marketing and maintenance or sustenance? are you all managing to fare well within our budget? i know that prices there are now much more than they were last year, when i was still at home, and that despite some increase in my pay last december, our budget barely squares with the most basic expenses. yet, i like to advise, whoever is managing the budget must try to set aside a small percentage of it for any unforeseen expense or, happily, for eventual saving. were it possible, and the possibility must be allowed, budgeting must be carried out always to accommodate a little saving. i suppose, sound budgeting partly means that by sheer definition. but of course, where saving isn’t possible or is unsound, in the face of necessity, then it can only be carried out as soundly as possible.
over here, your ma, uc and i are living as tightly as possible, even as we aren’t really sacrificing basic needs and health. in fact, just last night, uc whispered to me in delighted wonderment, how come we’ve dessert every meal over here! and he jokingly quipped, he liked to be an american citizen and to stay here for good! he wouldn’t like to go back there to the philippines! but, i said, it’s not a simple matter of his liking to remain here. and staying here for good is beside the point, in my time and under my visa term. perhaps in the future, in his case, if he were a good man, successful, prepared and a pride of any place, he could well opt to stay here. i was a little bit touched by his wishes and innocence. how could even a boy feel that way about his country and home? sad. and he’s even making his wishes and judgment in the light of our modest day-to-day budget. still he misses home, too, especially avi and his playing in the yard, even the bad jokes and pokes of buch’s.
yesterday, the 27th anniversary of your ma’s and my wedding, i went home from school earlier. by 4:30 p.m., i was already at home. your ma and uc were already dressed, awaiting me. we went out to the stores on chelten avenue in germantown, a walking distance from alden park, to buy ucron a set of lego-type toys and a bag of kisses for your ma. we didn’t exactly celebrate the day, in the sense of preparing a special meal. but our ordinary meal was enough for a kind of preparation. and we held our anniversary quietly and happily. at least, your ma and i are thankful that we’ve made it well to 27 years, with you all growing up very well, as a good pride for the family. bob and vey are already being addressed as doctors in the hospital and are doing well in their studying towards their profession. bryn is finishing her b.s. mathematics, cum laude at least. buch is getting to be dedicated and responsible, on his own volition. ferri has made it to the philippine science high school. and xyn and avi are doing extremely well. so, we’re very happy. thanks!
08 july 89
Ef and Guid
dear bob and buch,
i hope the two of you are sharing the male responsibility over at home, including the sort of reminder and protection of your sisters in school. a home is a sacred abode for a family, no matter how bare or small it is. it houses every member’s secrets and personal developments and histories. for the children, at time from birth until they respond to the call of nature to spin off and gather their own home. it may even house viruses and minute organisms, with which the members already live in a sort of adaptation or immunity. it’s a niche, an ecology where a unit of social human life finds viability. and one meaning of being a male, at least in the evolutionary so-called chauvinistic social set-up, is the building of a home, which the man must protect as part of himself or his dominion. who is a man, who hasn’t built and maintained a home, protect it as his natural share and rightful territory? to be a man, he must be ascribed such a character.
how’re the two of you doing in school? i understand, you, bob, will again conduct a review for the entrance examination to the u.p. i can’t really admonish you against the matter, as i know you need the income to supplement your small allowance for school which is all i can afford. but i like to remind you, even if needlessly, considering your age and known self-reliance, not to sacrifice your schooling. you’ve always to square up your activities, in accordance with the priorities and hierarchies of your main track and goal. even as incidents may force you to stray or cut corners, always try to keep to your main path. if the entirety of one’s life has a kind of meaning, in that it’s a story with a beginning, a middle and an end, and that it moves dynamically from part to part, then it’s up for his possessor to write the story, as it were, within its logic and sort of necessity. concerning the review, which you’re but set to hold, may i suggest that you get buch to take part in the mathematics portion. after all, he’s a b.s. mathematics student. he was one of the five who represented the country in the mathematics olympiad in australia last year. and he’s been doing excellently at least in mathematics. so, he’s qualified well as a reviewer in mathematics. i’ll be most happy and pleased, if you can imbue in him a feeling of being useful and practical, as well as appreciated by you. it’s time that you and buch come to take each other as your brother’s keeper to share burdens of life, which once in a while may befall in weight too heavy for just one of you.
you, buch, inasmuch as you’re the one studying on diliman campus, try to stay home as much as possible. for now, while your ma is here with ucron, do your studying at home and cut your outing a little bit. i known you’re inclined to enjoying friends and to getting lost in the hobby of music and guitar, an inclination which is normal and positive. so, i’m asking you to sacrifice a little of the positive sources of joy. i’ll appreciate your understanding. also, even as i know you do your studies well and responsibly, although you tend to hide the matter from me, maybe to maintain your freedom of movement and avoid making yourself look too normal and straight, i still like to remind you not to neglect it at all at any moment. if you can, volunteer to be one of the reviewers of bob in the area of mathematics, so you can hone up your competence and be of help at the same time. and don’t neglect your health and hygiene.
i close talk-shop here. once in a while, find time of aloneness for some self-reflection and a sheer feel of being alive and well.
3 A. M., 15 July 1989
I understand that Ati Bryn had treated you to dine outside. I feel very glad she had done so. I am sure you had enjoyed the treat. I hope, though, that you eat mostly nutritious food, and avoid soft drinks which are high in caffeine and sugar. I am cutting down any food for Uc, which is high in these ingredients. I notice Uc to be a bit overactive physically, and tend to lack attention and to leave mental work always unfinished. I feel concerned for him.
Uc is enjoying his going to the library with your Mama. He seems to look forward to learn to read a few simple books. This pleases me. I hope in your case you are able to go to the library, too, to read extra books for fund and knowledge.
Please try to write to Uc about your school and your subjects, teachers, and classmates. And ask him to reply to you. Also write to Mama and me.
I miss you. We miss you. Take care. Sleep very well.