Thursday, August 28, 2014

Young Ester and Raul

Today’s entry is directly taken from Ken Ishikawa’s unpublished manuscript on the life of Raul M. Gonzalez.

“Family members referred to Ester as Inday because of her being a responsible eldest sister who looked after the four other children.  It was also obvious then that she was blossoming into a lovely girl.  Despite these graces, she did not overreach herself, but maintained a quiet and reserved exterior.  At first glance, people thought her to be 'suplada' – stand-offish and a little anti-social…Calm intelligence was a quality she shared with her father.  Her reserve and her intelligence combined to produce a mien that extended relatives would come to believe as a Gonzalez attribute…

“Like Ester, the boy Raul took after their father and his pensive aura.  However, Raul possessed an intelligence fiercer than his father's…It was this curious mind that would push the young Raul to constantly explore the world around him to the point that it got him into trouble with Delfin in more than one occasion.  Even when it was already time for the Angelus, six year old Raul would still be outside playing.

“One time, when Raul was seven years old, Ester garnered the honor of being the princess of their school festival and was therefore required to be in Iloilo city for a parade.  Estrella took Ester and Sergio and left little Raul behind in Jaro.  Raul, however, had other plans. With three centavos in his pocket, he rode a double-decked bus heading into the city.  His plan was to look for the family car and hope that his mother and siblings were there.

“Iloilo City in 1938 was already a large network of banks, warehouses, establishments, roads and side streets.  Raul wandered around that pulsing, concrete web until 11 in the evening, sometimes stooping and bowing his head, hoping to find coins that some passerby might have dropped.  Meanwhile in the house, Delfin and Estrella were frantic with worry.  His father was already coordinating with the police.  It was fortunate that Raul had found a taxi which brought him home.  Raul may not have found some shimmering coins but his father gave him two shiny beet red globes attached to his buttocks after the spanking was over.”

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