My father made a decision in 1948 that would change my life forever. The family would move from New York City to Manila where we children would continue our education. My father and my American mother had come to the conclusion the we children needed to learn about being Filipino because we had already become […]
This post is about a small diary in which I recorded what I saw and lived in the year 1952. It contains entries I made in a small pocket diary from Philippine American Life Insurance Company during that year. Of course, I mainly recorded things that were important to me as an 18-year-old in the last […]
From page 188 The extent of these anomalies began to become clear to me, even at my young age, in about the second month I was in Mrs. McCormack’s third grade class when she did roll call in the morning. “Ronald Rode”, “Dolly Morris”, “Donald Stratton”, “Charles Walsh,” she would call out, rapidly checking off the Irish-sounding names as the children answered “here” or didn’t answer when absent. She would call out the Jewish names like, “Jerry Kurland”, “Robert Katz”, “Elizabeth Bauman”, and “Bernard Kolb”, with almost similar ease and at a reasonable pace. She would slow down a little as she maneuvered through the Italian names like, “Joseph Damola”, “Frances Scarlotta”, “Gina Trifolio”, and “Mario Marino”. The Hawaiian boy’s name, “George Kekahuna”, and the Greek boy’s name, “Gustave Minaedes”, also gave her a hard time and slowed her down more, but she managed. I think she was able to work out a rhythmical beat for each name, even the ones that were not that familiar to her, because almost all the children has familiar Anglo-Saxon-sounding given names that she could use like a metronome to set her pace. Admittedly, she did stumble also when it came to calling out the name of the only other “Asian” in class, a boy named David Ikefuji. After sailing through his easy first name, she would sputter through his last name, rendering “E-kay-fu-ji” as “Aye-ka-fuu-ji.” Her biggest difficulty came when she had to deal with the combination of my given name and family name in succession. This would slow her to a snail’s pace as the tempo of “Ah-ma-di-o” seemed to trip on her tongue, coming out sometimes as “Ah-may-di-yo”, occasionally as “Ah-ma-die-yo” and even “Ah-mod-di-yo”. By the time she staggered through my given name it appeared that she had become tired or frustrated and would stumble through my family name ARBOLEDA, often mumbling some thing like “Ah-ro-bo-della” or an equivocation of “Ah-ruble-leader”, or worse, “Ah-rebel-leader”, or a number of other variations depending on her disposition that day. Needless to say, I would sit there mortified with my head bowed, as if begging forgiveness for some unknown offense.