She Was Basically a Slave in America And Never Married or Had Sex
This was a very long, sad, and interesting read.
The woman who was basically kept a slave her whole life in the United States never married, never had sex – she had those choices taken from her, in a round-about way. Her name was Eudocia Tomas Pulido, but the family that used her as a full-time, live- in domestic help called her Lola.
(Link): My Family’s Slave
She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized who she was.
by Alex Tizon (who passed away in March 2017)
….During the 12 years she [Lola] lived in our house, I asked her questions about herself, trying to piece together her life story, a habit she found curious. To my inquiries she would often respond first with “Why?” Why did I want to know about her childhood? About how she met Lieutenant Tom?
I tried to get my sister Ling to ask Lola about her love life, thinking Lola would be more comfortable with her. Ling cackled, which was her way of saying I was on my own.
One day, while Lola and I were putting away groceries, I just blurted it out: “Lola, have you ever been romantic with anyone?”
She smiled, and then she told me the story of the only time she’d come close.
She was about 15, and there was a handsome boy named Pedro from a nearby farm. For several months they harvested rice together side by side. One time, she dropped her bolo—a cutting implement—and he quickly picked it up and handed it back to her. “I liked him,” she said.
“Then he moved away,” she said.
“Lola, have you ever had sex?,” I heard myself saying.
“No,” she said.
She wasn’t accustomed to being asked personal questions. “Katulong lang ako,” she’d say. I’m only a servant. She often gave one- or two-word answers, and teasing out even the simplest story was a game of 20 questions that could last days or weeks.
Some of what I learned: She was mad at Mom for being so cruel all those years, but she nevertheless missed her.
Sometimes, when Lola was young, she’d felt so lonely that all she could do was cry. I knew there were years when she’d dreamed of being with a man. I saw it in the way she wrapped herself around one large pillow at night.
But what she told me in her old age was that living with Mom’s husbands made her think being alone wasn’t so bad. She didn’t miss those two at all.
Maybe her life would have been better if she’d stayed in Mayantoc, gotten married, and had a family like her siblings.
But maybe it would have been worse. Two younger sisters, Francisca and Zepriana, got sick and died. A brother, Claudio, was killed. What’s the point of wondering about it now? she asked. Bahala na was her guiding principle. Come what may.
What came her way was another kind of family. In that family, she had eight children: Mom, my four siblings and me, and now my two daughters. The eight of us, she said, made her life worth living.
None of us was prepared for her to die so suddenly.