We were moving from a smaller to a bigger place, so my mom made me and my brother go through our stuff, call dibs on which things we wanted, go to arbitration when there was an item in dispute, and draw up a contract which we would sign so that it would be one less fight that we had. We fought A LOT, so she always tried to make sure things were equitable and peaceful.
My Balboa Park passport. All students in the 5th grade go to Balboa Park instead of school for a week. I don’t remember much except that I got to hold a boa constrictor on one those days. What are the benefits of such a program if I can’t even remember anything that I learned? Same thing with 4th grade in Old Town, and 6th grade in Palomar Mountain.
This is the kind of meaningless crap I’ve held onto!
This letter, written some time in 1993, is one of the only things my father has ever given me, and the only thing I still own. Well, that and my knack for making poor decisions.
He was banished from our house, demons and all, when I was barely two. I was seven when we last saw each other. He took me to a carnival, just me and him, to celebrate New Years. I left the Philippines a year later.
- Sorry for not writing more. I am shy because I messed up, you know that.
- Thanks for remembering my birthday.
- It made me happy to hear about your studies and honors.
- You and your brother continue to do well, it’s a consolation to your mom.
- I wish you and your brother wouldn’t fight like you did here.
- He is your brother and if he does something you don’t like, tell your mom.
- I’ll stop here.
- Regards to your kuya and mom.
I feel like I should think about him and the relationship we didn’t have more than I do. I hardly ever, really. His absence is so profound and touches every aspect of my life that it is not this big, loud pain that I face everyday. It’s more like a deafening silence throughout my awareness, so that every move, every feeling, every decision just kind of fills in this space where his presence and influence would have been.
My first pair of glasses. My mom didn’t believe me when I said I couldn’t see the board in class. Had to tell my 4th grade teacher who sent me to the school nurse, who informed my principal, who then told my mom. Our lines of communication are not much different today.
During the holidays, I had a generous two weeks off which allowed me time to sift through my memory boxes and get rid of things that no longer mean that much to me. Why was I keeping a half-eaten package of Sweet Tarts from the 5th grade? Oh, because a cute 6th grader gave it to me.
There were some things that I did want to keep in some way, so I scanned everything! I spent the entire first day of the year holed up in my apartment, digitizing my analog memories before throwing them away. It hasn’t really freed up that much space, so I’m dubious of whether this was a worthwhile project, and I’m not entirely sure what to do with them now except post them on a blog and make them available online so that if someone, someday, searches for “chester cheetah 90s”, my little holograms might help them with what they’re looking for.
So, right, on with it.
These are holographic cards of Chester the Cheetah, the Cheetos mascot. They were a giveaway that came with the snack. This was before I began eating hot Cheetos so they are stained a normal, nuclear orange rather than diabolic red. You can kind of make out the movements he is making: one moment, he is a fierce animal predator wearing RayBans® and engaging in some extreme sport, the next, he is stopped in his tracks by a delectable bag of processed cheese puffs. God has never made a better junk food. The end.