I have always been a fan of HONY (Humans of New York) on Instagram and Facebook. I have always thought about what to put or write if ever I would be asked to write a post for HONY. So here my dear readers is my HONY story…
Before another lockdown was imposed, my dad and I had to go to our usual grocery-market-buy things needed at the house run. My dad is in his mid-60’s now and since I cannot drive, I need someone to be with me as our place is not very accessible to private transportation. I was in the grocery while my dad said that he will just meet up with me as he needed to buy something in the hardware section of the mall. Upon arriving home, I was checking everything I purchased and cleaning everything up because you know…Covid19 and then I saw what my dad purchased. It was a Php 3,600+ (give or take about $75USD) doorknob. I asked my dad why he bought a very expensive (for me anyway) doorknob and here is his reply, “Hindi natin ‘yan kayang bilhin dati.” (translation: “We cannot afford it before.”)
Backstory: I grew up in a lower-middle-class family. Sometimes I would even call us lower-lower middle class. We weren’t rich and we weren’t very poor either. We were 5 siblings and the only moneymaker was my dad, who is a police officer. We were all studying in private schools because my parents wanted all 5 of us to have a good education. During that time, my parents were doing everything in their power to be able to support us. I don’t know what magic my mother had but I call it “Mama Powers.” She sold everything I could think of – from selling Tupperware to selling pre-build computers to selling photocopying machines or Xerox Machines to most Pinoys to selling vegetables every weekend to selling insurance and a lot more. All five of us were able to finish college and mind you to prestigious universities not because we were rich but mostly on scholarships and courage from my parents. I remember going to school with only 20 pesos in my pocket enough for lunch money since I’m a scholar, we have a 50% discount at the school canteen and so I was able to afford lunch. As for transportation, my father would drive us to school as my older sister studies at the Ateneo and I from Miriam College. When my sister’s class would start at 7 am and mine would start at 10 am, I still need to go with them so I can go to school. I would then catch up on sleep at whatever place I can find before my class starts. I remember eating all the different egg menus you can think of because my mom would be able to get a tray of eggs from the neighbor and will pay it on my dad’s paycheck day. I remember buying one pack of hopia munggo at the grocery near my school and that would be my meal for the whole day including snacks as one piece of hopia would be enough to fill me until the next break period. I remember friends pitching in so I can go with them to Jollibee and I remember friends pitching in so I can get that much-needed photocopy of the handouts – you see instead of photocopying the handouts, I write them down instead on my notebook to save money.
Moving forward to today, we are all graduates (this is where you say Heyeheey!!!! to my parents) and all of us do have good jobs and doing what we love. My parents are in their retirement years now. My mom, spends her time planting and re-planting her pothos, her orchids, and all the plants we have in the yard while my dad would either Netflix and chill or watch videos of my nephews in rewind or watch videos on Facebook. Since my dad’s retirement, they are now able to travel abroad – see the world and experience new things. Pre-Corona, they were able to go to several countries in Asia and was planning to see Ireland where my older sister now lives.
Back to the doorknob, during my elementary-highschool-college days, we would not be able to buy a Php 3,600+ doorknob. My mom would be floored if she found out my dad bought a doorknob that expensive. I don’t think we can call ourselves rich monetarily but we are rich in more ways than you can think of. My siblings and I have a good relationship and are very close even to my brothers in law. We have a family group chat where we share random photos, videos, and thoughts about each other and members of the family but mostly its videos and photos of my two cute and handsome nephews. My parents amidst everything they have been thru during my childhood years, are still together, bickering and laughing. They are now able to afford food that they want to eat like Tuna and Blue Marlin. I think the Php 3,600+ doorknob is something that would always remind me that there would always be tough times. And it may last longer than you think or want or even wished but you would also have a good day and when that good day comes, you would also be able to afford that Php 3,600+ doorknob.
PS. I hope you and every member of your family (related or not) are all healthy and happy during these times.