Because of my name change, many people think I re-married. No, when I divorced I dropped Hudson so I dropped my married name of Hudson and was left with my middle name as my last: Rizal. Yes, I am a direct relative of Jose’ Rizal, the Filipino martyr who inadvertently led the Phillipines to independence of Spanish rule. Jose’ was uncle to my grandmother Patricia Rizal.
Patricia (Rizal) Lampe arrived in Seattle in August 1945. By the U.S. Army, she was guaranteed her husband, Fred Lampe’s West Seattle home when she arrived with their remaining five children. To their surprise Fred’s siblings sold the house as soon as they discovered the news that their brother had died in the Japanese concentration camp in the Phillipines; they did not want the house to be left to the “mucks” or dark-skinned. My grandfather’s family was left homeless.
Eventually destiny would have it that a house in the Capital Hill district was up for sale. Taking pity upon the family, a benefactor friend bought the house for them under contract which the Rizal family eventually paid off.
Though I only visited my grandmother, all my uncles and aunts and cousins and 2nd cousins and other relatives of the Filipino Jewish side on the average once a year since I was 14, I have had many memories in this home. And most recently I spent my last two nights with my 69-year-old cousin and her husband amongst the boxes and boxes of memories.
I witnessed the aged walls cracked as if desiring to speak of all the secrets held within about to be completely demolished and refurbished by the new tenant. The floors creaked at the light weight of my footsteps slipping past the bedrooms of my cousins and my cousins and my cousins. We talked until the wee hours of the morning reminiscing of our parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins over food; always over food we discussed politics. (My father’s side of the family is very political and quite outspoken.)
Letting go of a home due to the inability to keep up with the rising taxes is a real shame. I noticed that many of the older couples who once lived next doors and across the street are no longer; a new generation of kids have shared the block. They are the ones who can afford to pay the mortgage AND the taxes. It is a shame the western culture does not provide a tax break with the consideration to the elderly because many would like to remain in their homes until their death.
My cousin was born and raised in this home 69 years ago, just a year after my Grandmother bought it. Last weekend, with her brother, husband and son, she moved into a 2-bedroom condo on Seattle’s south side. As usual with the Rizal/Lampe/Villaflor/Edwards’ traditional hospitality, she extends an invite for me to come stay whenever I come through Seattle. That hospitality is part of the way things were way before the legacy of the 17th avenue home, and no matter what town or country we live, no matter what house, and no matter what age, or what time in history, it’s the way that hospitality will remain.