Thursday, August 22, 2013

Grape Juice and President Ramon Magsaysay

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.

Read also:
Death of a Carnival Queen
Lola Remedios and her Sayas
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


Boyet Damot said...

Hi Cecilia.

I first heard about your blog in our TAU ALPHA FRATERNITY egroup and learned that you were the daughter of our fraternity's first faculty adviser at the UP College of Engineering.

This is a nicely written article...makes me think about my own carefree childhood days. You remember Welch grape juice...but I remember the "dirty" ice cream (sorbetes) sold in those classic wheeled ice boxes pushed around Manila's streets by a sorbetero. In my childhood years of the late 70s, sorbetes cost only 25 centavos...but my frugal mother could only be pleaded upon to buy us these Filipino-style ice cream on rare occasions...mostly after Sunday mass. I don't think there's still sorbetes being sold in the streets in Manila now...the way it used too. Now...Pinoy kids would probably ask for the ice cream variety sold in supermarkets or convenience stores. Times have changed.

By the way...the photo you posted with former Philippine President Magsaysay was cropped for some reason and he appears to be 4th from right rather than 5th from right as you described in your article. Maybe its just how the blog appears on my laptop...but worth checking.

Boyet Damot,
BS Civil Engineering '91

Cecilia Brainard said...

Thank you for your comment. I also don't know why the picture is cropped, but I changed the picture reference so it's not confusing.