I took photos of my late brother-in-law s old 1960s prized possession – A Mercedes Benz that was his constant project. It was to be one of the items to be left in the warehouse that was once his furniture factory. I was filled with remembrance and sadness that I just kept the photos but didn’t have the heart to write about it. Then I received the prompt for
The Things We Leave Behind and I finally decided to write a about the Benz, my favorite brother-in-law and leaving behind another piece of my life permanently.
First, my sister married a wonderful man when I was around 8 years old and when he becomes part of your family when you are so young, a brother in law becomes a true brother in everything except name. You grow up with them as your brother and call him “Kuya”. He shares his love of guitar music, Spanish pastry, breakfast sausages, special chicken soup and old Mercedes Benzes.
On Sundays, we would ride his prize. It has no airconditioner and probably at a top speed of 45 kilometers per hour. We would sing off key because it had no working radio. What mattered was we were together : all girls. His wife, my older sister, me and his daughter and we would be so noisy in and out of the car.
Second, my Kuya Manny set up a factory with ten (10) workers after moving permanently to Pasig City. He bought a 2000 square meter in the nearby province and began selling rattan furniture. Before he passed away, the factory was employing 100 workers. My sister took over when he died and gave me what was to be my first job in marketing and sales.
There used to be 150 workers at its height. For me, this meant weight gain. With 150 workers in one factory, this meant it was someone s birthday every other day and we would have a carb fest at merienda time. : birthday noodles (pansit), white bread and ice cream or rice cakes. The factory would be abuzz with the sound of tools and loud music as if the tools were not enough. Now that the factory is closed and the property needed to be vacated this month, the silence was deafening. My heart whimpered a little.
Soon there will be nothing left of the furniture plant on Marick Drive and the doctors would have erected a modern hospital in its place.
Auf wiedersehen Kuya Manny! Goodbye Big Buggy Benz! Paalam Pabrika!