New Day, 1991, softcover, 100 pages, ISBN 971–10-0424–0
Nostalgic and Insightful
For several years, Cecilia Brainard wrote a bi-weekly column for the Philippine American News. The short essays touched on her musings as a Filipina living in California as well reflections on current events. She collected some of these essays into this book.
Praise by Bienvenido N. Santos (Author)
These essays are a hoard of delights from the pen of a blithe spirit who refuses to be touched too deeply by the harassing demands in this bewildering country … She is all here. What a treat it must have been for the readers of her column to read each one of these essays and wait for the next.
Now they are all together between the covers of a book to read and reread and pass on to others the glow these pages evoke. The bits and pieces are now a complete portrait, a running story of her life and introspections she is willing to share with her readers, starting with a ‘A Beginning Remembered’ in which we have a first glimpse of a determined and confident young woman in a beige suit, braving the rain in a strange ‘gray wet world.’
This is followed by a series of more essays, laced with narrative, deep with insight, nostalgia, and hope, everything there is that sums up the life of a young immigrant now the wife of a former Peace Corps Volunteer whom she had met earlier in the Philippines; later the overworked housewife and mother of a growing family. She writes of the common frustrations and prejudices that decorate a brown people’s life in America. Resourceful and inventive, she seeks to impose part of her own culture, such as the art of haggling and the dubious satisfaction that it brings into the American culture.
Nothing relevant and human escapes her as in what she calls the truth about Filipino old-timers. One marries a Filipina in his hometown in the Philippines, who refuses to go to the States with him, so he leaves. Coming full circle, the collection ends with a coming to terms with the contours and shades of life she has chosen, without resignation but a bold acceptance and a final self-discovery.