Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My grandmother, Dona Maymi, died recently. She was 86 years young with such an amazing sense of self. In a way she was my runner-up idol because Maymi raised Rita, my mother, and taught her to be the most wonderfully positive person. She used to tell me tons of stories about her life. Most of them detailed the funny things my mother did as a child, others belied the truths surrounding the realities of being an Ambassador's wife, and while these accounts were always wonderful to hear, one always stood out above all the rest. And it had no pomp and circumstance to it. It was the time she was single,20, and living in New York City. She had lived in a cramped apartment with four or so other girls, one, she adamantly declared never showered to her recollection. Maymi found herself as a receptionist in one of those tall New York skyline buildings. Everyday she would run downstairs and buy a sandwich form the vending machines for a nickel. "Can you believe that?!," she would say, "A Nickel!!" And that was it. That was the gist of the story, the idea that a meal back then would only cost her five cents. But of course I clung to that story for very different reasons. Because you see, in my mind that defined the woman that she was, a positive, self-assured lady who went to New York because she wanted to and ate sandwiches because she like them. To this day this is who I want to become.

The last time I saw her was five years ago but my image of her is greater than the gap. I can still picture her reading Danielle Steele with a magnifying glass, her hair perfectly coiffed, her nails red or coral perfectly manicured, and her cheeks peach by way of two perfectly round splotches applied by eyes that could barely see. Maymi was always impeccable through and through. I'm really going to miss her; her existence made the world a more optimistic place. So now, all I have left to say is, Adios tita, te quiero mucho.


PAOLO CRUZ said...

My condolences. And I mean that as sincerely as some random person who stumbled on your blog can be.

I know it's probably *zero* consolation to you, right now, but that's a beautiful eulogy you've written here.

Also, it gave me an interesting sociological tidbit: I hadn't realized that other ex-Spanish colonial cultures refer to women in positions of authority as "Dona". (The honorific is used among bourgeois Filipinos, as well.)

Incidentally, my late grandmother was also an Ambassador's wife. Honest to blog! (Although she insisted on *not* being referred to as "Dona Lucy".) But I missed any chances of hearing memorable anecdotes from her.

I really wish I could write about my extended family as articulately as you do.

ximena said...

Rest In Peace Tita. We Miss You.

That was really nice Mo. Tita would have loved that.

rita said...

I am sorry about Tita.