Written by my mom, Lucila.
Soon after Oscar and I had gotten over our jet lag, the job search began. Although my brother, Tony, and his wife, Olive, had warmly welcomed us into their one-bedroom apartment, we were not their only guests. Bernabe Miranda (then nicknamed Bobot; now Bernie), our first cousin, had arrived in Los Angeles before us and had already been living with Tony and Olive for several months when we came. My younger sister, Carmen, (called Tita) was scheduled to arrive after us. Oscar and I knew we had to go in search of not only a job but also of an apartment. The pressure of finding a job intensified as the urgency of moving to our own apartment mounted. Without a regular source of income we could never find any place to rent.
No matter how hard the job-and-apartment search was, I could not report the difficulty we were experiencing to our family back in the Philippines. I felt that my parents would have asked us to come home, especially since we had left our three young sons behind with them. Returning home would have meant failure on our part. Besides, our two older sons knew they were to come and join us in the US; how could we disappoint them? My parents knew that we were not really having any financial problems in Manila when we left. With our joint income from Oscar’s position in the Production Department of National Insurance Co. and from my teaching at the collegiate department of Saint Theresa’s College in Quezon City, we managed to live comfortably. There was no pressing reason for us to leave home for America except for our desire to take advantage of the many opportunities the country reputedly had to offer. Any report to the contrary, any hint of the problems we began to encounter in our job search, would also have discouraged Tita who was to follow Oscar and me to LA, the land flowing with milk and honey.
Here, then, is the letter I wrote home on our thirteenth day in California:
750 Lillian Way, #3
Hollywood, Calif. 90038
May 21, 1969
Dear Tatang, Ima and everybody,
Right now it must be 11:45 am, May 22 – there. We – Tony & Olive, Oscar & I and Bobot – had been talking about you at supper which we had an hour ago. I told them that you must be enjoying the fiesta fare in Sta. Rita right now – lechon, embutido, pastel, murcon, etc. I hope Tatang is there, and Tita also, to bid good-bye. Did they take the Opel? I hope Thayer and GJ went along too.
I have been contacting schools over here for a possible opening in Sept. Although the public schools pay more, they also require more: medical examination (at least $20), fingerprints to be taken by a police officer ($4), original transcripts, credential fee ($20) and a written job offer by a school district (superintendent?). I will try to get a job in the public schools, but maybe next year would be a better time. With our very brief residency here we still don’t have all the necessary contacts for all these requirements. Besides, after a year of teaching in a private (Catholic) school, it would be easier to apply in a public school. I’ve written letters of application to Catholic colleges and universities only so far. Tomorrow I shall start with the high schools. The list was furnished by the Archdiocesan Dept. of Education which I had contacted by phone. Besides, the Archdiocesan Dept. of Ed. will include my name and qualifications (as well as address and phone no.) in its regular bulletin to these high schools. If a principal is interested in me, I shall be contacted by mail or by phone.
Anyway, since classes will start only in Sept., I applied at the Pacific Telephone Co. I didn’t say I wanted to work only in the summer. They might not hire me. After my first interview yesterday morning, I was asked to come back in the afternoon for aptitude tests. I think I got 100%in the first one because the test was just like the ones we give at STC [Saint Theresa’s College]. But the transcription of numbers was terrible! I finished only 1/2, and I’m sure I had many errors. The third test was for filing (arranging names alphabetically). It was easy. I finished 5 minutes before time. After those tests they asked me to fill out an application form while they checked my answers. Then a second interview followed. The interviewer said I might be hired to work in personnel, possibly eventually in charge of a section with 12 – 15 people. All I would have to do is check on their work – efficiency, conduct, relationship with other employees, etc. The interviewer said that that would be the closest thing to teaching, of which I have 10 + years’ experience. I still don’t know what will happen. I am to face my 3rd and final interview tomorrow at 9:30 am. If I pass that, I shall start a 6-week training program (with pay). After that — I don’t know if I should accept — a one-year supervisorship, on probation. If they like me, I am retained; if not, dismissed! So you see, what started out to be a temporary summer job might still change the course of my life. I think if I work with Pacific Tel., the 2 big boys can come. The interviewer told me that the company has great concern over the children of employees, that it looks after baby-sitting arrangements for them.
Oscar has been typing all my letters of application to schools, so he has had little time to look for work. But today he went to Bank of America, to an insurance company, and to the office of Safeway, a national chain of supermarkets. Bank of America seems to be the likeliest of the 3, but he intends to go around some more. Tony, Olive and Bobot keep reminding us that it took them at least a month to get a job — so why hurry. I think we cannot enjoy this place until we are assured of a job, or already receiving regular salary. For one thing, we would want to have an apt. of our own. This apt. of Tony and Olive has only one bedroom. Both of them sleep in one of the twin beds; Oscar and I, in the other. Bobot has his permanent “bed,” the living room sofa. If Tita is to stay with Oscar and me when she comes, I think we should get a 2-bdrm apt. Sonia Recio Mamaril’s is like that – very beautiful; but furnished only with a heater (she has hot-and-cold water), double sink in the kitchen with garbage disposal, modern range (coppertone) with hood and lights, matching coppertone frigidaire, carpet, drapes, built-in walk-in closets, colored bath and tub – all lovely! But no TV, sala set, beds, dresser, night tables, lamps w/ shades and dining set which Tony has. Sonia’s apt. is classified unfurnished; Tony’s is furnished. Bobot thinks we can easily get a furnished 2-bdrm. apt. (w/ free electricity and gas) for $150.
How is Mark? I keep dreaming of him. Can he say many new words? There are also provisions for children his age in most child centers. Right next block from here is such a center. Maybe he can come here too – with Mameng [a cousin from Santa Rita], if they take the direct flight. What Tony meant about their possibly getting lost was due to the changes of planes and overnight stop-overs. But if they take a direct flight from Mla. to LA, they stop only in Honolulu for two hours. They may not even leave the airport, and their luggage is not taken off the plane. I can understand how difficult it would be if they had to go to hotels – very confusing experience, specially in big airports where everybody is in a hurry.
The job openings for CPA’s are also abundant. I am sure Tita will have no problem. When she leaves, please ask her to bring Jockey hip briefs (size 30) for Tony. He needs a dozen. Repeat: JOCKEY HIP BRIEFS (from Manila COD). Remove the contents from the box for lighter handling. I hope Tita comes for Tony’s birthday, so we will not feel so homesick.
Thayer, be a good coya [older/oldest brother]. Gj, be good to your brothers. Pray everyday – pray for Dad and Mamma so that they may find good jobs, so that you may come to LA and Disneyland.
Dad and Mamma