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The search for identity

published: 2010-11-09

Hello Jaliya,

Your email has touched me. I remember "Patty" very well. What her room looked like, and how we all lived together. For some reason I always remember one last image of her: I see her standing in the door of a somewhat sullen apartment building, close to an industrial territory? She waves but it's a contained wave, not a very outgoing one. This was the last time I saw her. I also recall grey skies, smoke billowing up from above a factory behind the apartment building. And a curtain that was tied together at the bottom by a knot. I think it was when my Dad and I once drove by her new place, early in the morning on my way to school. It was always a long drive to school and he took a small detour. Perhaps he needed to give Patty something? I stayed in the car. 
Or maybe I simply remember this from a picture she may have sent us, I once saw a photo of her and an African man in that same doorway. It felt like an entirely foreign world to me.
Why did my father not make a point of us saying proper goodbyes to her? I have never really known the full story as to why she left. I only picked up on a few casual sentences here and there between my parents. 
It's wonderful that your mother remembers us and has passed on her regards. Will you tell her I still think of her sometimes? We are all well. My sisters are in good health, as are my parents. 

On Nov 9, 2010, at 5:01 PM, Jaliya Ba wrote:
Hello there. First of all you will have no idea as to who I am. Before I tell you though I feel its appropriate to give you a bit of a backstory as to why I am writing to you. I'm currently writing various pieces dealing with life events, personal musings and such and I felt that it would be important in order for me to garner a certain sense of family and self, I'd need to know some of the life stories and experiences of my parents in a little more detail. Basically the other day I was having a chat with my mum, she was in a rather nostalgic mood, speaking of the various things that had happened to her and intricately told me the story of how she came to be in the UK from the her birthplace of the Philippines. She worked for a Dutch family under the name of 'Bijlsma' in the embassy in London. Through the powers of the internet I typed in the various names that my mother gave me and the only prominent findings were of your website. If you are the person who my mum thinks you are, then my mother used to work for your mother and father and subsequently used to look after yourself and your siblings. My name is Jaliya and I am writing to you on the behalf of my mother Patricia Ba née Mercado. Hardly the big reveal and you probably won't remember her. Basically because your parents employed my mum and fulfilled a wish she had to go overseas. I am alive, as is my sister due to the fact that my mother met her husband, my dad, within the Embassy also.
As the internet is a powerful tool, she just wanted to say a simple hello and to see if all are well within the family.
Much appreciated for reading this.


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