Monday, October 09, 2006

Who are your Oracles?

It was one of those nostalgic types of evenings -- where the conversation fluttered about from one topic to the next. College days. Past boyfirends. Past husbands. Future dreams. My book was about to be released, and my closest girlfriends and I had a little get together, with the help of our other close friends: Mr. Mojito and Miss Margarita.
"The Oracles" was the title I had decided on. But the title hardly had any Filipino-ness about it. "What do 'Oracles' have to do with your grandparents raising you?" asked one friend. Funny, I had referred to my two grandmothers and my two grandfathers by that name for so long, that I had almost forgotten how it began. In elementary school, the teacher gave us new vocabulary words every week. The definitions for the word "oracle" waere: 1) a person who delivers authoritative, wose, or highly regarded influential prnouncments; 2) a divine communication or relelvation; 3) any person or thing serving as an agency of divine communication.
I hardly thought of my grandparents as divine beings, but I knew that they thought there mission from God in coming to America was to raise me the right way -- the Old World Filipino way. And so I began calling them "The Oracles -- not our of respect, but out of pure sarcasm and resentment.
I held that feeling throughout my childhood and on through high school.
But something happens when you grow up and you become a parent, as I am. You remember the lessons you once scoffed at as you try to pass them along to the next generation. You start realizing the sacrifices that were made for you, while you sat blissfully unaware, surrounded by the comforts of American life. You realize that all those years of being disciplined and nagged, and constantly watched were not rooted in spite, but in love.
The Oracles were indeed divine beings who taught me how to become a decent adult -- one who appreciates her culture and never takes for granted the sacrifices made for the lifestyle I have today.
We raise our glasses, my girlfriends and I.
"Who are the Oracles in your lives?" I ask.


Blogger Michael said...

Dear Pati:
Hello! I just wanted to say that it was nice to meet you at your reading at Eastwind Books in Berkeley on Oct. 20th. I guess I was sitting next to some of your relatives because I saw you in the corner of my eye greeting the people in my row. The next thing I realized, you were right in front of me! It was nice of you to introduce yourself and extend your hand. I heard you laughing and I too got a little laugh out of it. I really enjoyed your readings as well as the other authors. I hope your book tour was a successful one! I was a little nervous meeting you but I heard you say that you were working on a second book. I can't wait as I really enjoyed "Oracles." Anyway, good luck in Hawaii, I know that you will really enjoy it there. My mom was born and raised there so I am very familiar with Honolulu. Take care!
Michael Hinson

3:04 PM  
Blogger lgdevine said...

Wow how I remember this nite? Cheers to you Pati on the success of your book and book reading/tour (is that the proper term?) certainly did the "Oracles" good. Again, so proud of your accomplishment.

10:49 PM  

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