What are the earliest memories of the place you lived in as a child? Describe your house. What did it look like? How did it smell? What did it sound like? Was it quiet like a library, or full of the noise of life? Tell us all about it, in as much detail as you can recall.

From bits and pieces of woods, bamboo and nipa palm leaves, my father had built our small shack on his own.  I can never understand why he had chosen to erect the construction just outside the perimeter of the fishpond. In my eyes, it made our situation worse and pitiful. Overnight his status changed from caretaker to exile. Though I have my own theory as to why the owner of the fish pond where we lived for more than seven years had thrown us out, the real reasons I will never find out. They are both dead now, and even then I will not dare to ask. My father will tan my hide and my mother would just lie, like always.

I can still remember clearly how it had happened. They came one afternoon when my parents were not at home and told us to pack our belongings and leave the property. We didn’t own much. Few plastic plates and cups, two pots and one pan, homemade pillows and a couple of blankets; enough to fit in one empty sack of rice.

I was there together with my younger sister trying to cramp our meager belongings in that old gunny while the aristocratic wife of the owner was standing close looking at us contemptuously as if we were nothing but dirt twirling her big white umbrella urging us to make haste because she had something better to do she said.

Shaking under her scrutinizing gaze, trying to grasp what was happening and at the same time feeling ashamed, helpless and angry at myself for not being able to find a way to defend ourselves somehow. I wanted to lash out at her, say something back, anything! but I was powerless. Poverty is a fatal disease. It murders the spirit and the body. Then and there I made a promise to myself never to be poor again.

The house (if one can call it like that) had bare beaten earth as flooring. A big bamboo bed served as the only sleeping area. There was an overhead makeshift compartment for holding boxes of clothes and sleeping gear, there I slept together with two of my younger sisters. On the dirt floor directly opposite the bed, my father fashioned a stationary table from pieces of cast away boards and rough dried saplings; we used that piece for almost everything; from eating to preparing meals, folding or ironing the wash and doing some home works. Next to it was an elevated construction of wood on four legs. It served as the kitchen area.That end of the shanty had no walls and was open to marshy part of the bogland which my father painstakingly tried to turn into a vegetable patch and surprisingly with success. So, from our little habitat, either sleeping eating or cooking, we had the uninterrupted view of our “garden.”

The toilet was totally other matter, it was a hole in the ground few meters away from our house and made private by adding four walls made of braided coconut leaves, we had warnings from census people every time they came to visit. Life was grand.

I tried to liven up the place by planting assorted species of flowering plants using empty milk cans as containers. I put them in rows next to the front street side of the house using two bamboo poles as a bench to elevate them from the ground, therefore, more pleasing to the eye. I was already obsessed with design even then.

I even planted two sorts of ground covers with complementary colors, one in purple shade, the other green. I placed them just under the roof ends where the rain pours the most so I don’t need to water them for water was scarce. My parents taught us to cope whatever the situations are. Lessons I learned the hard way and sworn to live by.

I will never forget the time I came back from studying in the big city, the bus stopped where I asked the driver to pulled off, next to the place where I remember our little shack stood; and cannot believe my eyes when I saw a pitiful, dilapidated rambling shack with roof so thin it was gray and almost non-existent. I thought I was in the wrong place! Only when my sister came out and shrieked with glee upon seeing me that I realized: this was really my house where I belong…


24 thoughts on “Neverland”

  1. I enjoyed reading about your life. Your parents should be proud of you and of themselves. They made the best of what they had. I hope the people who evicted you so cruelly got what they deserved!


    1. yeah! their big house burned down to the ground the same year. and no we had nothing to do with it 🙂 seriously. i believe in karma. thank you for reading and do come back sometimes.


  2. I really enjoyed reading this! Everything happens for a reason, and it shapes us for who we ought to become in the future! Thanks for opening up!


    1. i want to believe that too. somehow it helps me to stay sane.
      i never blamed anyone for anything. perhaps it is my saving grace for i never become bitter or vindictive.

      thank you for reading my piece.


  3. I enjoy each piece you have written, and look forward to see what you write each new Writing 101 challenge. This particular piece was reaching out to me. I got half way through it when I was interrupted, I couldn’t wait to have a moment to myself to finish it. Great job.


  4. I’m late to this assignment as have been behind so also late on reading other people’s efforts too. From doing this challenge I have seen some blogs j like and I try to read a random selection each time a challenge is assigned. I’ve discovered a real gem with your blog, well this entry at least. You’re descriptive language was succinct, accurate and opened up the eyes to me (the reader). Although I gather It is a real situation it is still very difficult to capture the ensemble they way you did.

    The only sleight is that you did use the odd incorrect word, but I still knew exactly what you meant. The writing flowed right off the page and your prose was excellent.

    I sensed you held back a little on some sections, especially at the end. This has built a vat of suspense and I for one will be following to see when it explodes.

    Very good job, very well done.


    1. wow! i didn’t expect this. i’m a little bit overwhelmed. you’re right though about holding back a little, i did it on purpose for this narrative is part of a longer story inside a bigger picture in a much bigger frame which somehow i have to concise to fit the challenge. there is always room for improvement and positive feedback and constructive criticism are always welcome.

      i appreciate your input and thank you for the compliments.


  5. Starting to read your writings from the beginning this is from you taking this course I’m taking, but it is an earlier one.

    Where did you get these pictures? Do they only represent what you went through? I guess they would have to. Many people have no comprehension of the fortune they have and take for granted where they live and how they live. So many people all over the world have to struggle to survive. Does that make them less happy, or less able to be happy? Do we always have to have a more expensive way of life? We hear the phrase, “You can’t take it with you when you go.” The only legacy we can really only leave behind is the effect we have on other people’s lives.

    Since i haven’t read a lot yet, do you live in the US now? I can’t assume you live where I do. The world is a small place on the web. Where is your family?


    1. Did you read my post ‘It Hurts?’ That would answer some of your questions. Regarding the images I use, you can consult the disclaimer next to my about me page.
      Regarding your inquiries about happiness… I say it depends from person to person since we perceive and experience things in our own unique ways. I live in Europe. My advice when reading my works is not to get too much into it and don’t attempt to decipher what not being said because I left it out for a reason and it will only thickens the plot.

      Thank you for being here I appreciate it much.


    1. They say life is what you make it and it’s up to you to overcome hindrances. Those who believe it clearly never been in that situation. For every Cinderella out there, there are thousands who never make it, and that is not from the lack of trying.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is beautiful. You showed much of your soul with this piece. I could feel your anger, sorrow and finally shock to realize where you really lived when you came back from studying in the city.

    You are a very talented writer and have much to teach others. I will definitely be following you!


    1. I’m glad you like it. I tried as much as possible to tell my stories the way they were/are without embellishments and dramatization. I can’t and will never dress up the truth. Thank you for joining us.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] From my youth, where else you might say, but I don’t think so. We were poor and every meal we considered a feast back then. I grew up on a diet of seafood being born and bred in a fishpond. Meat was scarce and so hard to come by we only had them once a week on Sunday. If you want to know a little bit more about how my life was when I was growing up, you can read some of the painful details here and here. […]


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