[Photo at left shows the art illustration which is emblazoned on the first page of Chapter 1 of Daddy Max’s bio-book captioned as ORIGINS IN OPON; while right photo shows the front cover of the bio-book with Daddy Max’s half-tone image reflected at the extreme right portion of the hard-bound cover.]
As I was thinking of another topic for my BLOG, my sister-in-law, Amy Gillera-Young, prodded me to write about my completed venture of having written a biographical book for my Dad, Daddy Max Young aka Maximo Purisima Young. Amy jestingly told me that I have in fact earlier done what Anderson Cooper recently did, coming up with a documentary about his Mom, Gloria Vanderbilt. I believe the HBO documentary movie produced by Anderson Cooper himself, entitled “NOTHING LEFT UNSAID: GLORIA VANDERBILT & ANDERSON COOPER”, will stand out as a cinch for a movie award. An accompanying book of the same title is reported for publishing before the end of April 2016. This was Amy’s email earlier message to me:
“Dear Kuya Wally ,
“Here is a blog idea which occurred to me as I was reading about the latest HBO documentary released on April 9- Nothing Left Unsaid – produced by Anderson Cooper on the life of his Mother Gloria Vanderbuilt , who turned 92. It occurred to me that you actually did a similar thing when Daddy turned 92 – remember we launched the book ? Parents will not be always there to tell their stories – and you did that for Daddy . So much parallelism that Anderson Cooper did for his Mom. Well , mayaman sila [English translation: They are RICH] – the Vanderbuilt has vast fortunes . Also like us — the Young family has also vast fortunes – vast love , vast memories and vastly supporting each other through thick and thin.”
Indeed, when Daddy Max aka Maximo, was nearing his 90th birthday, almost 4 years ago, I was summoned by him one day. Daddy Max told me that Gabby, Amy’s youngest daughter, who was then schooling at Singapore American School requested him to send some materials via email. I learned that Gabby per a school assignment, was tasked by her English teacher, together with all of her classmates, to write about their respective grandfathers. As Daddy Max was not much into tinkering with personal computers, I was tasked by him to answer the long list of questions that Gabby prepared which Gabby earlier emailed. As I myself was unaware about most if not all of the information needed by Gabby, I initially scheduled a series of one-on-one meetings with Daddy Max and I even bought a high-tech recording gadget.
Eventually, it all boiled down to one-on-one meets. At times, Daddy Max would scribble some notes and I would decipher them all. Thereafter, I would do a draft of what I made out from the notes and would confer with Daddy Max if the deciphering was accurate and precise.
Ultimately, I noticed that the materials that have been generated have grown into hefty tomes, enough to complete a biographical book. Thus, the bio-book which got entitled: “FOREVER YOUNG: A WALK THROUGH THE LIFE OF MAXIMO PURISIMA YOUNG” was born.
For a brief summary of major contents of the bio-book, it started off with the unraveling that Daddy Max got sired by a former American serviceman, Sgt. William B. Young, who fought during the 1898 Spanish-American War in Manila Bay. Daddy Max’s mother, Emilia, young, unmarried lass who got so enamored with Daddy Max’s debonair looking Dad, eventually gave up Daddy Max for informal adoption to a distant relative. As Granddad William already had a family of his own, Grandma Emilia felt that she alone cannot competently raise Daddy Max up, thus the informal adoption which led to Daddy Max’s being taken care of by his adopters, Lola Genia and Lolo Julio Marinas, who were both auburn-skinned and long-time residents of Opon, Cebu in Mactan Island.
When about 16 years old, Daddy Max finally tried to reunite with his real Dad, Granddad William, whom Daddy Max found to be then living in mainland Cebu particularly in what is now, Cebu City . But as Daddy Max was virtually rebuffed by his Dad, he ran away from home (never returned back to the fold of Lola Genia and Lolo Julio), and landed a job as shipping clerk of MV Legaspi. World War 2 broke out and Daddy Max got enlisted into the USAFFE (i.e. United States Armed Forces in the Far East), after the MV Legaspi got commandeered by the USAFFE authorities, and he earned a Silver Star Medal for his daring war feat.
When liberation came, Daddy Max topped a scholarship exam given by the US government which brought him to schooling at Fort Knox, Kentucky, USA. Upon his return to the Philippines, the Korean War erupted. Daddy Max was among the members of the 10th Battalion Combat Team of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (“PEFTOK”) which were to defend freedom and democracy on a foreign soil. Daddy Max was awarded the Gold Cross Medal for gallantry in action when he killed 42 North Korean soldiers via continued burst of machine gun fire, as Daddy Max trained the machine gun atop the turret of his armored tank unto the NOKOR soldiers, in what is now known as the Battle of Miudong.
Looking back, things could have changed. If not for the virtual rebuff that Daddy Max received from Granddad William [as Granddad William explained to Daddy Max that he cannot take him in, to his Cebu City house as his (i.e. Granddad William) wife will surely raise hell], Daddy Max would have not become a member of the USAFFE.
But the thought which impelled Daddy Max to ran away from the home of Lola Genia and Lolo Julio,was Daddy Max’s perception then that he was sort of deceived. Upon hearing rumors early on that he was not in fact the biological son of the Marinas couple, Daddy Max then a little lad of 12, asked Lola Genia in the Cebuano dialect: “Mama, anak ba nimo ako?” [English translation: Mama, am I really your son?] And to this question, Lola Genia irritatingly replied: “Simo, ayag tuo tsismis, gilihi ka nako sa gata ng lubi mao nang puti ka kaayo!” [English translation: Maximo, do not believe on those rumors, when I was conceiving you in my womb, I was so much fond of coconut milk, that is why you are so pearly white!”]