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Culliton Crescent, Regina, Canada

The crescent was swarming with children although ours were the only Filipinos in a gaggle of whites. The reason for so many kids is that the grade and high schools are just two blocks away.

My neighborhood in Regina is called a crescent; the street is pretty much like a crescent moon but more in the shape of a horseshoe. There are about forty homes, bungalows and two-story houses around the horseshoe with floor areas ranging in size from 1600 to 3000 square feet, not counting the basement. Every house in this city, brilliant in summer but now frozen in winter, has a basement where we have our heating, washing and drying machines, a playroom for kids and usually an extra bedroom.

I loved this neighborhood when we first moved here in 1972 as a young family with our four girls. The crescent was swarming with children although ours were the only Filipinos in a gaggle of whites. The reason for so many kids is that the grade and high schools are just two blocks away. This, by the way, led me to wax poetic some time ago with

Gentle breeze, dancing sunshine
Bring on the dewy dawn.
Yellow leaves tinged with orange
Sway down upon my lawn.

Drowsy children shuffle by
To meet the call of school
While Mom and Dad hurry up
To the waiting car pool.

In spring, summer and autumn, I look after my front and back lawns like all my neighbors do. I mow them, weed them, fertilize them and water them regularly to keep up with the Joneses so to speak. We all maintain some flowerbeds (petunias, roses, lilies, daisies, etc.) from around April to late October when it starts to get cold. This is also the time when our elm trees begin to shed spores leading me to write

Myriad winged spores float gently on my lawn
Leaving a white pattern of random frieze.
I hasten to mow them down lest they spawn
Saplings in my grass; I have enough trees.

...our neighborhood was pretty classy and upscale with yuppies and young families living in fairly new homes and well-kept landscaping.

Did we suffer any discrimination? Hardly, although my daughter Ethel, seven years old at the time, complained of little David throwing bottles at her on their way to school. After school, I took Ethel to see Mrs. Church on the far side of the crescent and complained about David. She was visibly upset with David and the incident never happened again. Many years later, David Church was even a groomsman in Ethel's wedding and also became a ninong to one of her boys.

When we moved here, our neighborhood was pretty classy and upscale with yuppies and young families living in fairly new homes and well-kept landscaping. My neighbors were a biology professor, a family physician, a real estate broker, a school supervisor, a lawyer, a company CEO, a high school math teacher, the city manager and so forth. I knew this because we had and still have a yearly crescent party at one of the houses. Today, thirty some years later, many of us have retired; some have passed away or moved elsewhere. Our kids have mostly left the nests but new younger neighbors have moved in. Neighbors on either side of our home are thirty years our junior and they have young children.

When we first moved to Canada , we were just excited to see snow. Our girls loved to play in the snow and they have learned to skate and ski. My wife and I have no aptitude for these and we take snow as part of living in this cold country. But an abundance of snowfall, up to two feet in one night sometimes, can be drudgery because I still shovel my driveway uncomplainingly. A few years back, Dr. Graham, a kind neighbor, offered to lend me their snow blower. I demurred and said that I needed the exercise to keep in shape. Later, I regretted that pasikat of mine and wished I could use the snow blower. Seeing Ethel shovel snow at the driveway of her own home one day sparked me to write this sonnet

Every time snow falls she is reminded
Of her romp in the white flakes from heaven
When she was four and saw them the first time.
She lay on the fluffy bed of snow spread-
Eagle, feeling the feather-like cotton
On her 'til she's a tree covered in rime.
Her mom would holler for her to come in
Or she would catch pneumonia or her death
Of cold but she's having her fun of day.
So memories of long ago home in
As she shovels snow almost out of breath
While waiting for her husband who would say,
"Don't you love snow as you did in your youth?"
And she'd think, "If you only know the truth."

Life in my neighborhood has been good. We have been lucky to have kind and friendly neighbors who would not think twice to help but who would not barge into our affairs and our way of living. We have in our neighborhood Jews, Catholics, Protestants of different persuasions, Moslems and nonbelievers. We put up two grottos in our back yard, one for the Blessed Virgin Mother and one for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to this day we have not heard any comment, favorable or otherwise. Thank God.

Lest you think we are walking around with halos over our heads, let me tell you that my wife and I are ardent benefactors of the greatest entertainment center in western Canada—the Casino Regina. More often than we ought not to, we get carried away and come home at some ungodly wee hour in the morning. Again, we heard no comment, favorable or otherwise. T. G.

© Eusebio L. Koh

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