Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"My father in the morning is mine."

Since I started reading the book, I feel remorse for Malachy, the father, for not being able to be the father to Frankie and his siblings.  Oftentimes, I had to put down the book and stopped reading - even if I still want to read - all because I feel angry with their father.

But that is only half of my feelings.  Because half of my feelings go out to the kids.  Pity, pity and more pity.  Especially when Malachy the father left for England to work.  He left with a promise of sending money to his family, but up to this point, they haven't gotten anything and I feel and I fear that they wouldn't get anything at all.

In the middle of all these, Frankie finally expressed his feelings.  He said he know when his father has done bad things.  I know that young as he is, he does know these things.  But I felt sad with how he felt towards his father, bad as his father was.
"He lights the fire and makes the tea and sings to himself or reads the paper to me in a whisper that won't wake up the rest of the family.  Mikey Malloy stole Cuchulain, the Angel on the Seventh Step is gone someplace else, but my father in the morning is still mine."
I wish there is a way I can tell Malachy his father about how Frankie felt; about how much he love his father, after all those things that he had done and didn't do.

Initially, I felt like questioning Frankie about how he felt about his father.  But who am I to do so?  I grew up with a father that is far different from his; in an environment more convenient that his, and in a life that is way more comfortable than how he lived.  So, who am I to question his feelings towards his father?

But, still, I feel sad about all these.  How I wish I could sit down with Malachy his father and tell him how his kid feels about him.  How I wish I could tell him how lucky he is to have a child like Frankie, who loves him in spite of.  But I could only with and write it down here.

Then, I begin to wonder.  Frankie is still lucky tho have a father.

How many children whose wish would only be to have a father?  A father like Malachy who builds fire in the morning to make their tea and read the paper.

A father even if it's just in the morning.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Girl Next Door

Her name is Patricia.

They never really met.  But Frankie had conversations with her while they were both confined at the hospital.  Frankie stayed in a room next to Patricia's, where she stayed in isolation because of cholera.

She recited a poem to Frankie, but never got to finish it.  Patricia died several days later in the lavatory.  She was to use a bedpan and didn't.

They were not supposed to talk to each other in the first place.  That's what the nurses told them.  And I asked why?  Are they going to communicate the disease to each other just by talking while in two different rooms?

I can relate to this.  There are a lot of things that our folks thought and thought wrong.  In our child's minds, we question but never really asked.  Because asking will lead to something else that, as children, looks like a punishment for having questioning minds.  We shouldn't question them adults and their ways.

I said Patricia did not finish the poem for Frankie.  So, Frankie asked the room cleaner if he can find it out for him.

Will Seamus find out?  Seamus doesn't know any poetry at all in the first place.  So, how would he?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Things Became Even Harder

Malachy didn't send anything at all.

Now, my fear came true.

Angela can't get the dole because Malachy wasn't there.  And besides, who would give the dole to the family whose father is in England?  They argued that they can't give money, and Angela almost begged them to consider since Malachy didn't (and I think wouldn't) send any money at all.

Life became even harder for the McCourts.

Frank had to be in the hospital because he had typhoid.

Should we thank God that it wasn't pneumonia?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fortnight came and went...

I asked the question:  Would the change of environment totally change a man?

Apparently not.

The mailman came and went on the fortnight.  Them neighbors already had their groceries, their coal for the fire, and spent the afternoon at the cinema.

Frank and Malachy (the son) were still waiting.  The mailman had no news for them.

They asked again.  And the mailman was irked.  But, he said he understood, and that he'll ask his office just in case their mail was misplaced.  But, there weren't any.

They don't have tea nor bread, and the fire is losing coal.

Malachy (the father) did not send money from England.

That's why I didn't like Malachy going to England.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

He left and I didn't like it.

The McCourts' neighbors have their fathers leaving for England.  Because England needs people to work for their factories.  To make guns and munitions (as Mc Court said it) needed for the war.

Most of the families in the lane have more than bread and tea.  On Saturdays, when the mail arrives, they have money from their fathers to buy food and watch movie at the cinema.  And the McCourts don't have tea and bread, not even coal to warm their home.

Suddenly, Angela asked Malachy if he wanted to go to England.  And Frank seconded the idea.

Then, he left.

It would take a fortnight before he can finally send some money through the mail.  That's because he would have things to pay there like rent and all.

I don't like this.

Would the change of environment totally change a man?

I couldn't wait until the fortnight comes.  When the money is supposed to be on the mail.

Friday, November 12, 2010

From The North

If you read about Malachy, you'll probably hate people who came from the north.  Because that's where he comes from.

He is Frank's father.  Full of pride and shit.

He lets his pregnant wife pick up the coal from this street because he can't do that.  He could sit down and have tea while his sons suffer from fleas in the bed.

He doesn't want to stoop down and do something that the poor does.  But, aren't the poor his equals?

He lets Angela ask for charity from St. Vincent de Paul.  Aren't the poor their equals?

He depends on the money given by the government.  Aren't the poor their equals?

When he gets a job, he loses it a week after fortnight.  Why?  Because he spends the week's salary drinking pints at the bar and wakes up late in the morning for work.  Misses his work, and loses his job the following Monday.

This is why I fear when Malachy gets a job.  This means that it will be the end of the dole from the government.  And this means that all his salary will be spent in pints at the bar, leaving nothing for even just bread and tea for his three sons.

Instead of praying for a job, I pray that he doesn't get any.  For without the job, Angela can always go the St. Vincent de Paul and at least ask for some of the things they need, like the boots for their sons.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Knock and...

They went back to Ireland.

But no one wants them.  There was no space, no spare money for food.

To top it all, even Frank's Aunt Paggie is not happy.  She can't even let them have porridge in their house when they were so cold and hungry.  But Frank's Grandma showed her way around Aunt Paggie's house:
Jesus, says Grandma, 'tis a good thing you didn't own that stable in Bethlehem or the Holy Family would still be wanderin' the world crumblin' with hunger.
The doctor says Eugene died of pneumonia.  Angela says she didn't know.  Malachy says he didn't know, too.  The doctor says, see that's the problem, you didn't know.

But what the fuck?  All Malachy knows is to drink the pint.  He drinks when Eugene is dead.  He drinks while Frank waits for him outside.  He drinks with the glass on top of Eugene's coffin the day they were supposed to bury his body.

What kind of life is this?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Four... No... Three... No...

After Margaret, I thought it was it.

But no.

Frank didn't know, and I didn't, too.  But there was another one.  Another one that we didn't get to see, didn't get to know.

Then Oliver.

Then, six months after, it was Eugene.

That was so many... gone in only within a year.

How do you take this kind of life?

I want to learn from Angela.  I need to learn from Angela.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Then There Were Four

Margaret was only seven weeks old.

And for that entire seven weeks, Malachy remained sober.

After that day the doctor took Margaret, Malachy was gone for several nights.  Angela stayed in bed, lying down facing the wall.

Frank took charge of his brothers.  He tried to feed them.  Tried to changed their diapers.  But Frank was so young.

Good thing they have such kind neighbors.  Mrs. Leibowitz gives them soup and Minnie MacAdorey gives them potatoes.  Also, Minnie taught Frank how to clean his twin brothers' soiled diapers.

But things can't go on like this.  No, not in New York.

Angela's cousins came and talked to Mrs. Leibowitz and Minnie.  This just can't go on.  So they borrowed the fountain pen of Mr. Leibowitz and wrote to Aunt Margaret.

The next thing Frank knew, they were on the streets of Ireland on an Easter Sunday.  They got to the McCourt's house and were able to get some sleep.  But Malachy's parents told them they don't have an extra room for six.  They told Malachy he can get something from the IRA in Dublin and can start something there.  They gave him money for the bus ride to Dublin.

But his service wasn't in the book so he didn't get anything.

Where She Came From

Angela came from a family that's poor.  Before she reached the age of seventeen, she tried several jobs back in their village but she just couldn't hang on.

So, one day when her mother couldn't take it anymore, she pushed her to ride one of those boats and get to New York where she can try other jobs and work for someone other than the Irish.

But, just fresh from the boat and into a bar, she met this charming man and ended up doing it with him that same night.  It didn't take long before her two cousins learned about it.  They looked for Malachy and insisted that he be responsible for what they did.

A wedding took place.  This is a day like any other for Malachy because an ordinary day for him is when he's had some whiskey flowing down his veins.

Malachy never stopped his drinking even after four kids.  He also never held on to a job for a long time.  He said that he lost one of his jobs because Angela went there and wondered if she can have part of his salary so that he won't spend it all buying whiskey.  But the company said that they don't care as long as their workers come to work sober.

Then came their fourth child, Margaret.  This is the time he stopped drinking.

For how long?  I have yet to know.

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