When we nine grandchildren became adolescents from the mid-1970s onwards, Brother Andrew as the “paterfamilias” became increasingly concerned with our relationships because he wanted his nephews and nieces to marry “suitable” people from “good families.” He [ sanctimoniously ] insisted that he was not concerned about money, but that our potential partners should have good values, good manners, good education, and good work ethics… We grandchildren laughed because, ironically enough, they were qualities which were not possible without money in the first place…!!!
I spared Brother Andrew those concerns because I was eccentric and the only relationship I was ever concerned with was with my money and my beautiful things…
The grandsons, expectedly enough, were a randy bunch. Pretty girls were an obsession. The family witnessed a steady procession of pretty and not-so-pretty girls during Sunday lunches and other family occasions. The elders tolerated that hormonal display because it was preferable to the “alternative” happening. As a mordant friend asked the worried mother: “Would you want your boys… going out with ‘boys’???”
Brother Andrew was extremely pleased when he was told that a daughter of a “very good family” had taken a serious liking to my younger brother. She was very intelligent, articulate, and pretty and tall to boot. Because she was “summa cum laude” material, She was sent to Harvard University. In fact, She told my brother in the simplest terms that they should marry because his patrician bloodline was one of the very few deemed suitable for her own exalted ancestry. She was from a venerable old Manila family of intellectuals, lawyers, and justices that had preserved its immense fortune, mostly in real estate. The family owned building after building after building in the old but very viable commercial districts of Quiapo, Binondo, and Divisoria. Voila!!! She was exactly the kind of girl that Brother Andrew wanted my younger brother to marry. In fact, She was the kind that He wanted all his nephews to marry.
It so happened that my younger brother eagerly went on a date with what the family elders termed as an ”unsuitable” girl…
It didn’t help that my eldest brother, a well-known ladies’ man with simultaneous relationships, had, with his characteristic machismo, arranged the controversial date…
The starlet was pretty and sexy and came from the usual down-at-heel family. The show business press feasted on the frequent quarrels of the family. Her brother became involved in a neighborhood squabble and was consequently murdered. The beautician daughter-in-law blamed the family and there was a big emotional row on nationwide television. The beautician daughter-in-law then took the auspicious opportunity to market her beauty products during the interviews. It was all very, very, very amusing…!!!
Brother Andrew immediately found out from the loose-tongued household staff. He was livid. Specially because it was his godson and favorite nephew. “The heir to the throne himself.”
Brother Andrew loudly complained: “For chrissakes, Why don’t you go out with people of your own class???!!!”
My teenaged younger brother, not knowing any better, blithely answered: “But Brother, She is [ of ] my class!!!”
Brother Andrew rolled his eyes and lifted his arms to the air in surrender.
It’s a story that happens in so many families, doesn’t it???