Cecilia is front right; and that's President Magsaysay behind her
Grape Juice and President Ramon Magsaysay
When I'm sick, I hanker for grape juice. The brand is very specific -- it must be Welch's.
When I was around six, my father was hospitalized for several days in Manila. I know nothing about the details of why he was there. Now I can guess that it had to do with his rheumatism; for as long as I can remember Papa needed a cane to walk.
It must have been Mama who used to bring me to the hospital to see him. And whenever I visited, I was given some of his Welch's grape juice. That's when I fell in love with that dark purple syrupy drink. I thought it was the most delicious juice on earth -- a bit of heaven.
I have no recollection of what his hospital room looked like, but I recall the juice, and here is one vivid memory:
I am with grownups and we are walking away from the hospital. Papa is with us; he is finally leaving the hospital. When we are out the door, on our way to the car, his nurse comes running after us. She has in her hand a bottle of Welch's grape juice, which (to my great surprise) she gives to me.
That's it. That's the memory. A single image of that nurse chasing after me to give me the bottle of juice. It was a glass bottle, around a liter in size.
To this day, whenever I see a bottle of Welch's grape juice, I still remember that moment. And whenever I'm sick, I look for Welch's grape juice.
The whole thing is interconnected in my mind: my father in the hospital, sickness, and Welch's grape juice.
I tried to find a picture of me at age six and found the group picture above. I'm in the front row, to the right.
This is an interesting picture. My siblings, cousins, and I were all confirmed that day at the Archbishop's Palace. My mother's family (Cuenco) was a political family, and the godparents included Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay, the tall man behind me. Beside him is Senator Pacita Madrigal. My uncle, Governor Manuel Cuenco is on Magsaysay's left.
My father is not in the picture, but my mother is fifth from the left. My brother is second from the right; my oldest sister is far left; and my other sister is the tallest girl, center.
President Magsaysay died in a plane crash on Mt. Manunggal, Cebu in 1957. He had been president since 1953.
The picture of Welch's juice is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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Roots - Pictures of my mother and more
Archbishop Jose Ma. Cuenco and Spain's Generalissimo Franco
75 Cebuano Families of Distinction to be honored in Cebu
The Bachelors and Femina Days of Cebu - Memorabilia photos
Old Photographs and Memories
The Schools I attended, Part 1, St.Theresa's College
The Schools I attended, Part 2, UP & Maryknoll
The Schools I attended, Part 3, UCLA
tags: family, Cuenco, Manguerra, Cebu, Cecilia Brainard, Philippines, Philippine, Filipino, history, politics, Ramon Magsaysay, Pacita Madrigal, Manuel Cuenco