By NIMROD NL QUIÑONES
My sister, Naika Luz (she hates it when I include her second name…mean brother mode) Quiñones-Addington recently posted on her Facebook page an old picture, I believe taken sometime in 1979 or 1980 of us four surviving siblings.
There are supposed to be five of us, but the third in our brood, Nadezhna Paz, died when she was only 10 months old. So there are only me, the eldest, Nereus David, Nino Paolo, and Naika.
Growing up with three elder brothers must have been very tough for my baby sister. Add to that two more cousins – Carlo Jann and Harlie Kenn, children of our father’s younger brother, who we grew up together with as one big family.
The pictures of our younger days remind me of those things we did as kids and all the games we played.
Then, we never heard any of us say that we were bored. We only had one television set at home, we didn’t have too many toys, trips to the city didn’t happen very often, and there were only department stores, which we did not get to visit regularly.
There were chores to be done in the morning like making sure our home was clean and the floors were shiny. In the afternoon there were plants to water and we also helped set the table or even prepare dinner.
For leisure, we made our own toys. Toy stores didn’t exist yet and those sold in department stores were just too expensive.
But we had the hills near our abode and the nearby stream to enjoy our leisure time. I also had a guava tree that grew in the empty lot beside our home. I spent many hours there as it did not only provide a cool place to hang out, sometimes literally on its branches, but it also bore fruit, which provided me with an instant healthy snack without going to the neighborhood’s sari-sari store.
We also had a basketball ring near our home where I played with my brothers and cousins. We played rough basketball, but despite the trash talking and all the aches and pains afterwards, we still enjoyed playing a lot.
There were times when we just ran around our village or played with used motorcycle tires that we pushed around.
We also played with kites, slingshots, the native luthang or whatever was the fad of the moment. There were also tops and the popular game of shatong that helped develop our lungs from shouting shaaaaaaatong and our speed in running from one point to another as well as hand-eye coordination in trying to catch the small stick to beat the opponent.
There were days when we would be crouched around a four-hole course to play marbles or play with rubber bands or kick around a takyan.
So much has changed as the years passed. The stream is almost always dry and the nearby hills have been made into subdivisions and houses now stand there.
Many of the trees are gone including my favorite guava tree. Kids now don’t play the same games and they easily get bored despite all the gadgets and toys available.
But then, I haven’t lost hope. One thing different now is that we have parents, who try hard to spend time to play with their children if not get them into sports. I have met many of them and my wish is for their tribe to flourish.
I still miss those days playing with my siblings and cousins, but then life goes on and the memories will always be cherished.
MILESTONES: Happy birthday to my uncle, Tatay Cipriano ‘Jun’ Frasco Quiñones, Jr.
Belated greetings also go to my doctor and long-time buddy and high school classmate Dr. Vicente B. Avanzado, Jr., who celebrated last Wednesday.
Congratulations to my newly-promoted mistahs Air Force Col. Ting Malinit, Col. Eric Nicanor of the Marines, and Capt. Rommel Labrador of the Navy.
More power to all of you!