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If this is your first visit, welcome! This site is devoted to my life experiences as a Filipino-American who immigrated from the Philippines to the United States in 1960. I came to the US as a graduate student when I was 26 years old. I am now in my early-80's and thanks God for his blessings, I have four successful and professional children and six grandchildren here in the US. My wife and I had been enjoying the snow bird lifestyle between US and Philippines after my retirement from USFDA in 2002. Please do not forget to read the latest national and International News in this site . I have also posted some of my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes in this site. Some of the photos and videos in this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing on your copyrights. Cheers!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cloyne Court Excerpt 33


Photo credits: from lifein24.com

Cloyne Court, Episode 33
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Rated "R" by the Author.
A creative memoir about Cloyne Court in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s

Lisa, Sandy's Bunkie, quickly seconded the motion. The women of the house voiced approval unanimously. The men collectively exhaled a sigh of relief.

"Just make sure it's extra large!" Mike said, causing the men to laugh and Carrie and her lover, Sonya, to glare at Mike.

"That's not funny," Sonya hissed.

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. I didn’t know what size I was. I’d never used one.

"Next item of business," said Sandy, "is whether to build a sauna in the backyard. As you are aware, Jeff's master-thesis art project has transformed our lawn into a Calder-esque landscape. Jeff is going to remove the leg poles because he needs them for a new art work, but the mound and hole are still there.

“Gordon, the special projects manager thinks by enlarging the hole, we can build some wooden benches and have room in the middle for a water pail. We'll have to install a covering over the opening and build a fire pit outside to heat the rocks.”

Other house members voiced a general approval for the plan and some talked about a future redwood hot tub. No one voiced any opposition until Kyd Byzzarre stood to speak.

"I like the idea, but I'm against it as long as whatever we build out there is called a sauna. It's too Eurocentric and we shouldn’t be supporting this type of elitism."

It was amazing how his anti-Eurocentrism manifested itself after last week's visit from a cute Finnish exchange student. She had rejected his amorous advances and his offers to teach her Swedish massage.

Betty Sue, who had remained quiet, said, "If I propose a motion to approve the building of a Native American sweat lodge, instead of a sauna, would you support it?"

Kyd thought for a moment. "Sounds OK to me," he said.

The motion to build the sweat lodge was approved.

"Final New Business," said Sandy. The hour was late and people wanted to leave. "I nominate Derek Marston to fill the vacant position of photography manager. His job will be to take photographs of everyone in the house and maintain the Rogue's Gallery. He will also take the pictures for the house newsletter, the Cloyne Crier."

"Who?" several asked.

"Derek, stand and introduce yourself."

I stood. "Hi, I'm Derek. Photography is my hobby, and I have good dark-room skills."

"I bet you do," said Keisha, who had spoken up in my defense at the Sunday night women's meeting.

By consensus and because I owned the only 35 millimeter camera in the house, I became the official house photographer for the quarter and for the next three years. I would document on celluloid the Berkeley equivalent of the Lost Tasaday Tribe and their myopic and innocent view of the world.

As part of my duties, I also maintained and ran the basement darkroom. I spent many hours there developing the negatives and printing pictures.

For most people, standing in the dark breathing foul smelling chemicals would be considered a terrible job. However, once my eyes adjusted, the isolation brought my inner vision into focus, shed light on my relationships and enlarged my view of the world.

In that tiny room, I controlled how the prints turned out. Always perfect. Either black or white with defined graduations of gray.

Upstairs, I would never be in control and never perfect. My relationships would never be right or wrong, but fuzzy shades of gray in a world that values color.

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