Inexpensive but Nice

The Little Yellow House

Little yellow dollhouse in the country…

Yes this is the home, Claudia, found for us in Bauang, La Union and there she is on the porch.  The place was small, but how much room did we need?  There were two bedrooms; a shower and a (flush toilet) not all homes in the Philippines have those sanitary commodes that we (Americans) take for granted. There was only Claudia, her son, and myself living there and this place was fine.  Just as the exchange rate was in our (foreigners) favor the low rents add to the draw of the Philippines…the little house in the country was only php 4000 (roughly $100) per month.

Our neighbors were fantastic! Fe, the wife of Larry and both the proud parents’ of guitar strumming, Sheeba, little playful, Idelle, bird catching, Jefferson…  I watched quietly and in amazement from my porch at how tactfully and without sound he caught a bird with bare hands; I was mightily impressed.  He stood in one place, very still and then Jefferson made a cupped-hand whistle and got down on his knees and the dove appeared.  He dove at it and actually caught the bird. His brother, Glenn, is remembered for coming to the house with his friend’s, Christmas caroling.  That act of kindness came in October and caught me totally off guard.   The Fernandez family treated me with such kindness, and even their lola (grandma) and lolo (grandpa), as did most Filipinos.

I can recall one time when Claudia was stung by a centipede, and you will never forget the pain if it happens to you.   Anyway, Fe brought Lola over (because she was also shaman like) to have a look-see.  I was in the next room and the crying of Claudia turned to giggles from Lola, Fe and Claudia.

Lola also came over one time because I was having flu-like symptoms and she tried to work some of her magic on me, but she decided that I would just have to wait out the affliction.  “it will be gone in seven days” and do you know that it did disappear in exactly seven days.  I wish I could remember the name of it, but I can’t, maybe someone who knows of what I am speaking will tell me, thanks.

To be continued…

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.


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