Remembering: A pretty house with an unhappy past

A pretty house with an unhappy past

By Vanette Colmenares

Two days ago, my son and daughter-in-law got the keys to their first home. As a mother, I felt very proud for both of them that they now have their own home to share with their two daughters.

The house they acquired belonged to a divorced architect with no children, who died two years ago. It is not a conventional shaped house, more like a semi triangle-rectangular with a retro modern ambience. As my architect husband says, “Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired.”

The house in itself had lots of character, with solid colors reminiscent of the1960s. The major furniture such as dining table, chairs and others were taken away to be auctioned or given away. The stove is electric with modern features, rarely used if ever at all. My son said he saw the original box where it came from. The microwave had seen better days. Even the refrigerator was seldom used except for some drips of hardened chocolate syrup. Fairly speaking, the house had a somber ambience yet mysteriously needing to be found. I felt a sense of loneliness heavy. But there was also good energy, good vibes.

As we were slowly moving in, bringing several boxes in and cleaning the necessary areas to make it livable, bits and pieces of information about the owner were being revealed. My son noticed that underneath the built-in sofa, when he lifted the seat cushions, was a hidden storage space. He found a stack of legal files. Apparently, there was an affair from one spouse (as revealed in some of the documents) and that divorce was in the process.

We then concluded that the previous owner was probably too busy with his job, having seen a whole chest filled with awards and plaques in the basement. We presumed the architect loved his work too much and may have neglected the wife.

Social media has turned us into spontaneous storytellers. Our new feature called “Remembering: Pinoy. Powerful. Personal” is a collection of short essays of memories pushed aside by time and making themselves apparent in the writer’s present. Some of the essays are contributed; others culled from social media posts. To send your essays, email

Finding beauty in my cracked, scarred body

By Clarissa Magno

I have a fond memory of an artist who asked me to sit for a mother and child portrait when I was breastfeeding my third child. In my innocent twenties, even as a mother of three, I was too prudish to pose in my birthday suit.

But time flew by so quickly. I gaze at my chest in front of the mirror, assessing the various scars that witness the multitude of battles to survive life challenges. My fingertips caress the textures created by wires that tied the rib cage cracked to access the heart for the triple bypass, the loss of part of a breast to cancer, the cuts and scars of several biopsies, the various devices installed.

I found beauty in my asymmetrical breast, strength in the twinge and pain from the muscles cut, life pulsing through irregular heartbeats.

Closing my eyes, I envision the angels our Lord sent to comfort me through unbearable pain.

Forever Business Owner: Nieva Quezon Burdick

© The FilAm 2021

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