Plucking Leafs from My Tree of Memories Ch.8
I with my Tito Renyboy in his late teens; in the early 70s, in Baguio, Philippines. I was about four years old.
My Family's Keeper
Tito Renyboy (Renato A. Vera) is my mother's fourth brother, born on July 16, 1955; married to Tita Lucy (Lucina Bacay-Vera). He and his wife and children—Tita Lucy, then eight-year-old Ivan and four-year-old Davin—immigrated to Manitoba, Canada, in 1989.
Their departure gave me much sadness chiefly because, among my mother's siblings, Tito Renyboy with his family was the closest to us—they having lived with my family in the same house for almost ten years, from the day the couple got married through the births of my cousins till their last months in the Philippines. Add to that the fact that it was during the years Tito Renyboy's family was with us when my parents finally separated, making Tito Renyboy by default my family's keeper.
Like my uncle Bobby, Tito Renyboy was a lover of pets; he tended dogs, parrots, and monkeys. I still remember the names of some of them: Pikoy and Pikay, the parrots; Champagne, Scotch, and Snow White, the dogs; and Kuruga, the monkey. I even remember naming one of his cats Tusing because of the feline's fondness for tocino ('cured pork').
During my first year here in Canada, in October 2003, I was able to visit Tito Renyboy and his family in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Grandfather and I stayed with them for about two weeks. This made me feel I was home, certainly because being with them transcended me back to the Philippines in the days we were all still living under the same roof; especially that Tito Renyboy was the same jolly person and Tita Lucy the kind and doting aunt I knew. Ivan and Dave, on the other hand, despite being already grownups, never lost their childlike disposition.