I’LL NEVER forget long ago, during the early 90s, our mom and my aunt once owned a novelty boutique located beside a neat row of ukay-ukay stores inside the Diaz Arcade along Ponciano Street. Whenever the ukay neighbors informed her new stocks had arrived, she’d happily come over to check them out.
To the delight of tinderas, my mom would unashamedly “plunge” into the huge square bins filled with relief clothes, sometimes with feet dangling, just to snatch whatever piece of dress she had fancied. I had not known about this until I visited the store one day. Two ukay sales ladies I encountered narrated in delight and wonderment, “Yan si mam, mo-dive gyud na sya (Your mom, she’d dive without a care.)”
Truly, the lone image of a supposed prim-and-proper, bespectacled old lady (and uni professor at that) flinging her frail body straight into a heap of ukay-ukay like a lithe athlete can indeed be a wholesome source of awe and entertainment and a sight to behold.
It’s almost like the same feeling one gets at witnessing kids jumping delightedly into mud puddles or watching them disappearing into a recently-raked pile of leaves, as in the old days. Without a doubt, I’ve a soft spot for this kind of devil-may-care attitude. Not to be taken in as a quirk or an oddity, mind you, but considered an innocently-childlike and admirably-brave asset when present in anyone.
I could say that the same outlook showcased in those ukay-ukay episodes was also common in other aspects of mom’s life as well. Just on the subject of love, she’d easily get a ten for loving boldly as she’d ‘dive’ head first when loving fiercely, especially when it came to family, children, especially apos. In this realm, it had been just as easy as how she skimmed through her ukay: devil-may-care, straightaway, and no roundabouts.
Thinking back, generations through the ages may have always had something to say about the attitude of those that preceded them. Even now, we’ve often referred to their ways as “old school”, not realizing that in a short span, our ways and thinking will likewise be regarded as exactly that by those who come next. Let it be said, however— in their case who’ve survived hard times such as wars and the extreme conditions that followed—they’re just wired differently from the rest who’ve relatively lived through much better times.
Even as what is constantly put on the table is this trope or allusion that those who’ve come thereafter are therefore weak, it cannot be refuted that their perspective on life, especially love and their value, is largely molded by what they’ve endured. Thus, there’s always something to be had from these generations where our parents and grandparents belong. In a sense, they’re survivors of fearing the unknown. From that is born determination and valuing each day of existence as a divine blessing. As to loving fiercely, it’s merely the fruit from where this all springs from. So, dive lang.
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