Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dear Auntie Leoning

In memory of my aunt, Leonila B. Castillo, Jun 1942 - Jan 2008.
Auntie Leoning (in the foreground) at my parents' wedding, May 1962. Another aunt, my godmother Auntie Pina, is right behind her, with my grandfather and mom following.

Dear Auntie Leoning,

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to really know you as I grew into adulthood, but I do have fond memories of you from when I was little. You were stern and quiet, always neat and commanding of respect. I'll always remember your apartments, your stuffy, skyblue Oldsmobile, and your petite-ness. A highlight when I'd stay with you was the drive to Holy Angels for Sunday Mass, followed by a Big Breakfast at McDonald's on Serramonte Blvd. at Gellert.

The trees that overlook your old apartment balcony have grown really tall now and the Chinese Cemetary on Callan has been filling in over the years. I can't help but remember the little slices of my past spent with you when I pass those old apartments on Clarinada and Callan. It's a shame we didn't get to spend more time together. Now that I'm older, I think we have quite a bit in common.

With love,


Richard Ballesteros said...

I am in the same boat with you on this one. When my father was a police officer - Auntie Leoning used to baby sit me in those old apartments and she was always kind. I used to eat the whole box of frosted flakes at her house and then watch starblazers on channel 36. She had that crazy bearskin rug, a stuffed pirana, a model navy airplane that she would constantly remind me was not a toy, and white leather couches. I am going to miss Auntie Leoning.

I think this is an important lesson for me to get more involved in archiving the family history.

Your Cousin

Rich B.

Christina said...

Yeah, it was sad to hear how her health and mental well-being deteriorated so quickly over the past year. My dad has photos from her wake and she just doesn't look the same. Not at all the Auntie I knew.

I totally remember that rug and the piranha! She also had a Japanese doll in a glass case... I guess my attention was drawn to that and not the airplane.

I hear you about archiving the family history. My dad has some crazy stories about your dad when he first got over here with our grandfather. *giggle* But I like listening to my parents tell their stories of growing up, the war, their siblings, even if it's sometimes sad or unexpected.
It's definitely an eye-opener and explains a little bit about how/why I am who I am.

Maria said...

I strongly feel that it is time for all of us to go back to Angeles and visit our ancestral home, our past, our roots! I promise you will feel the presence of our Incong, Apo, Apong Goring, Mammay and Auntie Leoning. Not in a scary way, but a loving way. Of course we want to spend time with Auntie Perla too! Tin, I know you vaguely remember cause you were only a baby when you left. But I think once you get there, you will feel something... a warm feeling coming from within. It's hard to explain. You have to be there.

Your Ate M.