the Bowlings from Ohio

Since I was a kid, I’ve always sought out people. People fascinate me, you know. I’m always excited to meet new people. There’s just something faintly romantic about getting to know someone. Of course, some turn out to be duds but more often I get lucky.

There was one time in Bontoc – I was prolly around 7 or 8 that time – when a family of Baptist missionaries from Ohio came over to do God’s work. It’s a small town and I’m layas so it was inevitable that I would stumble upon their first ‘public appearance.’ I was smitten by these fair-complexioned people with their blonde hairs and all and so I decided to follow them home – talk about being a stalker. They saw me of course (how I must have looked then – a scrawny little girl with adorable pink cheeks and curly top – my lola’s words not mine hahaha) and bless their souls, invited me in to their homes and their lives. Later they will move to the apartment near where we were renting and their house sort of became my second home, among many. Though we lost all contact when I was 11 and already living in Manila, they hold a special place in my heart. In fact, one of my earlier ambitions was inspired by Mrs. Linda Bowling’s prowess at the typewriter and I resolved that when I grow up I will become a typist. O di ba?

It’s through their youngest daughter, Becky that I learned to ride the bicycle. Some Sunday afternoons were spent playing baseball at the town plaza. Often times, there’ll be just four of us – Becky, Becky’s 2 older brothers and me. I don’t think anyone whoever became my team mate under these conditions ever appreciated having me as one. I’m so useless. Every time it’s my turn to bat, I’d complain that I don’t know how and so my team mate – who will most likely be at the second base will switch with me to bat. I in turn will do the running until it’s my turn again to bat and it will start all over again. Pathetic but it was still fun.

For Christmas, Mrs Bowling will bake a huge batch of cookies which we later on decorated. After they’re cooled, we pack them into clear plastic bags and secured them with colorful ribbons. We then proceeded to give this away to the people we see on the street. I never knew if there was some criteria as to who gets the cookies but distribute it we did.

Some nights are spent playing with other neighborhood kids inside their home. They had an assortment of board games and a piano but my favorite activity by far are the quasi-bump cars. Since their apartment is at the second floor, they had wooden floors which were always buffed and really shiny. For our bump cars, we’d clear the living room – put chairs and sundry to the side. Then someone brings out blankets and each kid, squealing in delight will chose an adult and sit down on their respective blankets. When every child is settled, the adults gently but firmly pull the blankets around while we kiddies happily anticipate bumping into each other, making sure that we have a firm hold of the blanket. Controlled chaos. Those were the days, man.

Every now and then I think about them, the Bowling family from Ohio. I wonder where they are now and what they’re doing. I wonder if Linda has switched to PCs by now (I bet) and whether they still make pumpkin pies for Christmas. I wonder how Becky looks like and whether she has a family of her own. I wonder if they still think of me – this scrawny little kid who just wiggled her way into their lives – and if they ever wondered how I turned out.

I have found and ‘lost’ so many beloved friends and people in my life. After a brief spell, we all move on. These people carrying small pieces of me – scattered all over. Won’t it be grand if I get to collect them in one room? I wonder what picture of me I’ll be able to construct.

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Blogger waltzang said...

this entry is so nice!

11:50 PM  
Blogger miranila said...

Thanks :) I really do miss them sometimes.

8:18 PM  

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