Thursday, August 25, 2011

# 28 the help

it has risen to No. 1 and has edged out the apes!!  human drama lords over science fiction.  

you have probably seen the movie by now.  this screen blockbuster features an interplay of power and emotions revolving around race issues half a century ago. in present day society,  it is not uncommon to find house helps in most households in our part of the world.  there are several names for them - nanny, caregiver, domestic help, home companion, caretaker, babysitter, cleaning lady. they are referred to as milk ladies by some of our american friends.  that doesn't sound right taken out of context but they do prepare milk for their wards until the youngsters realize they don't like milk and revolt against being forced to drink milk.  in ultra-rich exclusive enclaves, some families have a domestic workforce with prescribed ranking amongst the uniformed staff. yes, starched and crisp uniforms are required of them. there is tyranny initiated by those in the higher rung of the ladder. internal politics, the bane of any organized group, is not exclusive to the government.

they say there is an important lesson one learns from high school that one never forgets.  one that stuck to my mind over the years is the reminder that we should never be caught saying 'maid' in reference to the help.  this is a direct affront to their self esteem for their job is noble and extraordinary. 

home companions are a dime a dozen.  trusted and loyal ones are a rarity.  our family is lucky to have home companions who have been with us for more than ten years.  they were both eighteen when they first came to stay with us. tete was two then. tete is now fifteen and a head taller than one milk lady. soon, all the kids will be taller than her. she knows everyone in our family tree and our tree has humongous branches, too. the other one became gugud's nanny. when gugud was too old to need a milk lady,  she became the family cook.  she left to start a family of her own four years ago but has remained in touch with the family.  she visits to cook on special occasions.

every year, we celebrate the birthday of another veteran home companion of over twenty years. she has been with us in various capacities - cleaning lady, laundry woman, cook, caretaker, caregiver, seamstress.  over the years, she has rejoiced with us in times of joy and mourned with us in times of sorrow.  she, too, knows each twig and limb of our family tree.  she knows all our friends.  countless times, we clash and yet we make up with her in no time. when we were down on our luck and had to let go, she found work as an office caretaker.  she has remained very much a part of the family.

we celebrate the birthdays of all our home companions. they are family after all. ours is a game of give and take. tolerance takes a lot of practice. they have become stubborn and have learned to speak their minds out. oh yes, they can rattle and ramble to kingdom come.  we have learned to live with it.  we have mastered the trick - in one ear, out the other.  we just let them be.  it is a small price to pay for their years of service. 

loyalty and dedication from our home companions in this time of changing priorities and lure of greener pastures.  isn't that awesome?


  1. I would say that Sherlie is the bestest mild lady ever! I know I don't know may, but I have had personal contact with Sherlie so I think it is safe for me to weigh in on the value these wonderful people bring to our lives. So, I tip my hat to you all, Sherlie and the kenkoy's milk ladies and those who proudly and diligently work so very hard to be the very best for who they care for.

  2. Gotta love yah Nals and Manang Shirls and Manang Nance and others!!!!!! :) <3

  3. Home companions, indeed are rare jewels! Our family is blessed to have one such home companion for 50++ years(and still going)!!!
    This special lady goes by the name "Adela" - derived from Adele, meaning noble. Nang Dela as we fondly call her has truly dedicated her life to us. She has grown over the years, shared the good times & the bad, rejoiced at every momentous occasion and cried with us at every loved one's passing.
    Nang Dela is like a fine cut diamond - a rare find, value so priceless and even with the passing of time, her sparkle will forever be etched in the lives she has touched!
    Kudos to Nang Dela AKA: home companion, friend, family member...!!!
    Y O U A R E L O V E D A L O T !!!:))