Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Grandpa's Life Story

My Grandpa's Life Story

by Martin Sinlao
edited by Julius Sinlao

In 1926, my grandfather was born in Kawayan Kiling San Carlos
Pangasinan. Although he was raised in the rural area and did farm work
for his family, at a young age he knew the importance of education and
would diligently attend schooling.

Grandpa would usually walk to school barefoot because they were poor.
His school lunchbox would consist of a handful of rice wrapped in Banana Leaf and a couple dried fish.

After finishing two years in high school, Grandpa headed off to the
City of Olongapo to find better opportunities. It was not easy to find
success, so he worked a series of odd jobs including shining shoes, porter for American Servicemen, He met an American serviceman that suggested for Grandpa Julian to join the US Navy.

Grandpa joined the US Navy as a Steward and worked his way up the ranks as a cook. While serving the US Navy, Grandpa was a part of the Allied forces campaign for the end of World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, and the end of the Vietnam War.

Amid his early years in the military, Grandpa started courting my
grandmother. Although he was not brave enough to try for her heart as
a young boy, he mustered enough courage through love letters every
week to her.

My gosh did my grandpa know how to write real letters
that could charm any woman. Of course he had great inspiration to pull
from. Grandma Gening could not resist the Sinlao charm and they went
on to get married.

One of the places that my grandfather was stationed
to was Guam. There, my grandparents welcomed their first and only
daughter into the world, Christine. After having auntie, they
continued to have boys: my dad Fidel, Eugene, and Julius.

In 1962, they built a house in Baguio where they raised the children. While the children grew up, Grandpa was still an active member of the US Navy in order to support not only his parents, but the family
that he was building with Grandma Gening.

After years of hard work, he retired in 1968 with 23 experienced
years in the armed forces under his belt.

Knowing the importance of an education, he went back to finish his high school and Bachelors degree diploma at the University of Baguio. He majored in Banking and Finance and got a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce. A diploma was not the only thing grandpa gained during these years however. He spent time catching up with years that he had lost with his children when he was serving in the Military.

Coincidentally they were going through school with him.

In 1979 he went back to the States where he helped my Auntie Christine start off her new life in America. In 1980 he joined the US Merchant Marines and worked overseas in a ship for four years where he saved up more. He had a great love for the seas and for that ship where he served as a cook. He returned to Baguio in 1984 and retired for good. While in retirement he then built his dream house in Baguio City.

During the late 1990s he went blind with Glaucoma. Despite this
handicap, it didn't stop him from keeping young through walking every
single day.He spared change to every beggar that he passed along
Session Road.To top off every walk, he would always treat himself to
either McDonald's or Jollibee, two of his favorites.

One of Grandpa's biggest passions was cooking. If you ever spent a
night in the Sinlao house, you would be awaken to the aroma of fresh
pancakes. Have you tried his coffee with brandy?

God played a crucial part throughout his life. He would wake up
everyday at 3 AM just to start off his day with prayer. Both my
grandfather and grandmother lived and breathed saying the Holy Rosary and Divine Mercy together.

Grandpa was an active member of Don Bosco
Parish and Church and the Holy Name Society. He would go to church every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. You could see him sitting in the front singing along to every hymn with his loud and proud voice. He was a member of the Parishe's choir.

Grandpa was an honest and firm man. He was intelligent and
charismatic. He left this earth as a sailor, a father, a grandfather,
and a very dedicated husband to my grandmother. He was truly a man to admire.

I love you so much Grandpa

-Martin Julio Cordero Sinlao

No comments: