My brother Daniel is married to Wilfreda, and they have three children--Pamela, Cynthia, and Daniel, Jr.
Daniel joined the Navy shortly after graduating from High School. He retired from the Navy and is currently working as a building contractor with his son.
Daniel is the oldest in the family, and he remembers some things that happened during the Japanese invasion and occupation of the island. He was five or six years old at the time. I remember him telling us about going to school which was ran and operated by the Japanese. He told about learning the Japanese language, songs, etc. One telltale sign of the Japanese Occupation on Guam is the almost dime-sized vaccination scars on our upper left arms.
Daniel remembers vividly the time when my father left our baby brother Joseph wrapped in a blanket and laid by a metallic water barrel close to where my father was doing some needed chore. Out of the blue, Dad was impressed to move the baby away from the water barrel. Moments later, a bomb exploded by the water barrel where my baby brother was previously laid. It was a very close call. We thanked God no one was injured during this incident.
When my brother Daniel was little (probably around four years old) he was allowed to help my Dad weed the cornfield. The cornfield was at least ten acres, and it was weeded manually. This task was tedious and laborious and took forever to finish. My Dad would start at sun-up and end at sundown, taking breaks intermittently.
To weed the cornfield, he used a garden tool common in Guam called fuseenos. The fuseenos is a long wooden pole with a flat metal thing at the end that is sharp, and this is what cuts the weeds. Dad was busy weeding, and my brother was right behind him busy pulling out all the corn in the row that my Dad had just finished weeding. I didn't remember how long this went on before Dad realized what little Daniel was doing behind his back.
I remember that my brother had a small chicken farm located deep into the woods. He cleared a big enough area for his farm. He built a chicken house for the hens to lay their eggs. He would go there to feed, water, and cleanup the place.
We, the younger ones did not go to his chicken farm because it was scary to go into the deep, dark jungle. We believed that there were bogeymen (aka taotaomona) in the jungle. One time my Dad took us to see the chicken farm, and when we got half way there, I started crying because I saw a bogeyman, a real scary-looking man with a beard staring at me. Nobody else saw him. Later, however, they told me that it was Eto that I had seen. Eto was the funny old man who lived in a rundown shack near our home.
Our family raised cows, pigs, and chickens. We also had goats and ducks. My father, Daniel, and David were pretty much the ones taking care of the livestock. The chickens were fed grains. Sometimes they were fed with grated coconut and leftover white rice and bread. The pigs were fed breadfruits and boiled green papayas which grew in the wild. Occasionally, someone would give us barrels of leftovers and uneaten foods from various eating places which we fed the pigs. We called this pig food slop.
The younger kids were responsible for cleaning the big water pen for the ducks to swim in. This was fun because we would be in the water playing more than working. I remember the time when we were playing in the water with the inner tube of a car tire, and the water turned black from the inner tube. It was fun playing in the duck pond. It was also fun playing in the deep gullies by our house filled with swift running water after a heavy tropical downpour. God was gracious for nobody contracted diseases playing in the water like we did back then.
In high school, my brother was involved with a Youth for Christ group. One of the things I remember him doing was roll up and wrap in beautiful multicolored cellophane wrappers pamphlets and other material containing the message of salvation. The ends of the rolls were tied with matching ribbons. They almost looked like Christmas gifts of candies or something edible, so attractive and appealing. I asked him what he was going to do with them. He said they would place them in conspicuous places for people to hopefully pick up and take home with them to read.
I remember also my brother being involved in various school projects to raise money for some important school event. One time, he planted a vegetable garden and he sold the produce. The proceeds went toward an important school project. I remember helping wash some of the vegetables.
Also, I remember when pigeons were first introduced in Guam. I think we were the first ones to have a flock of these birds. I thought they were the most beautiful creatures in the world. My father, with Danny and David helping, built a large bird house for them to lay their eggs.
It was fun to go check every morning to see if there were eggs, and if there were, it was fun anticipating when the eggs would hatch. Every morning I would check to see if there were new baby pigeons. It was fun to see the mama pigeons feed their baby pigeons. It was also fun to see the pigeons fly all over the neighborhood. They would land on people's rooftops. Then they would fly right back to their home.
One other thing that I remember about my brother (How could I forget it; every time I did it, I got a whipping from him). He had this chest box (aka cowhow) that he put his special things in, i.e. cards, letters, pictures, etc. from his girlfriend. Every now and then, I had this urge to open this chest, look at the beautiful birthday cards, special cards, and read the contents therein. I never left stuff the way they were, and Danny, sooner or later, would find out that his chest had been messed with.
Oh, the things we did when we were little. We look back and we smile. Life is made up of the good things and the bad things as well. What's important and what counts is love in the family. If there are love and bonding in the family, it can handle whatever life has to offer. We love and care for each other. As we love and care for the welfare of each member of the family, immediate or extended, I pray that we love and seek after God with the intensity of that of a deer that is thirsty and panting for the streams of water. "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." Ps 42:1.