In Memory of Louise Dangeli

Louise Dangeli weaves Chilkat -- 1991

Louise Dangeli weaves Chilkat — 1991

Every late night

He would take himself down

off the cross

tucking the nails neatly

into the chambers of creation

breathing in the earth

through His feet

a tender smile

accentuated His grace

as He touched what She touched

as He saw what She saw

as He heard what She prayed each day

for the love and safety and peace

for Her family, friends and all She knew

near and far

He answered with His blessing

and presence

by dawn He would climb back up

to His position

though with a lighter heart

knowing fully well Her world

They created

was good

Louise Dangeli “walked into the woods” on Valentine’s Day.  She was one of my very first Chilkat weaving students 25 years ago in 1991, with her daughter Arlene and Carol McCormick (grand-daughter of the McCormick herbs/spices).   She was one of the most outspoken women I have met who did so with soft-spoken, firm grace, so when I found out that one of her clan emblems is the Beaver, that said everything.  I have noticed that grace is a trait of those born in the Beaver clan.  We will miss you, Louise, though many of us are learning your grace.

Helen Watkins “Walked Into the Woods”


Subsistence gatherer Helen Watkins’ – the photos to her right are her relatives including her mother, grandmother and an image of the cabin off of Mud Bay Road in Haines, Alaska where she would spend the Summers gathering the abundant variety of indigenous foods — April 2011

Almost a year ago, I began weaving a Chilkat robe for Tlingit elder Helen Watkins from the Shungukeidi Thunderbird Clan; the robe is called “Egyptian Thunderbird.”  She was going to dance the robe this coming June during opening ceremonies of the biennial gathering of clans in Juneau called “Celebration.”  Looks like she will be dancing the robe in spirit; Helen “walked into the woods” last night.


The “Egyptian Thunderbird” Chilkat robe by Clarissa Rizal (June 2016) commissioned by Susan Hunter-Joerns in honor of Helen Watkins — modeled by Helen Watkin’s niece, Rhonda Mann

Helen was the happiest when she gathered foods from the land and sea with her big family and friends.  Back in 2011, I attended one of her presentations on the Native subsistence foods and posted a blog about it.  Check it out at:

Her obituary is at:!/Obituary

You’ve got a lot of family, relatives and friends who are going to miss you greatly, dear Helen!


Ships At Sea

I think this is the first time I have posted a writing by someone else here on my blog.  A friend emailed me this to me today and I felt compelled to share it.

These words are from Clarissa Pinkola Estes  (American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.)

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.


You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.


I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.


Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.


In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.


We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?


Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.


What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.


One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.


Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.


The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

Remembering John Trudell


John Trudell – photo courtesy

The year I discovered the word and meaning of “Native” I was 15 years old.  It was then I discovered there was such a thing as racial discrimination and oppression.  I could not believe there was this concept that caused such turmoil and grief in the world.

Reflecting back upon my school years with certain teachers, I felt shock and hurt that certain instructors looked upon me as “lesser than”, which then led to anger because I realized that even though I was a bright, intelligent, fast learner that wondered why I wasn’t placed in the same academic category as my upper classmates, it was the discrimination of my race that kept me from advancing and being an equal!

When I realized this, I tempered my anger by getting educated about our First Nation’s people’s history across this continent.  I subscribed to the famous Mohawk newspaper from Cornwall Island Island Reserve in New York called “Akwesasne Notes” (1969-1996); it is there I read about many atrocities committed in the past and present day against the First Nations across this continent.  The historical accounts committed against the Native peoples near and far broke my heart.  I also read several books that had been recently published by First Nation’s authors as “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.”  I read anything I could get my hands on regarding the U.S. Government and the Native peoples no matter what tribe and, I kept up with the exciting news about A.I.M. (American Indian Movement). The newscasts on the TV  is where I first heard of Leonard Peltier,  Russell Means, and the legendary John Trudell.

Yes, believe it or not, I was politically involved in my own small way with the American Indian Movement.  It’s hard to imagine that I was so caught up in the politics that I remember times where I put my fist to the television image of our state capital in D.C.!

By the time I was 18, I made a distinct decision.  I made a choice to be an active politician working for our Native people, OR I was going to become an artist.  (Obviously, you know what I chose, otherwise I would not have a website about this work I do.)  I decided that I was going to keep the politics out of my art; there was no room for political art in my life.  I chose being a “clean” artist because I already knew politics caused me to be ill all the time.

I saw John Trudell once, in person.  He gave a lecture at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM in the spring of 1989.  Our poetry class instructor, Authur Zhe required us to attend John’s lecture.  We were in a small lecture room.  Though I was in awe, I felt extremely intimidated; there he was just 10 feet away sitting in a chair before us, in his long brown hair and tinted glasses.  I listened and hung on every word but I do not remember a word he said.  I just remember the feeling.

To me, John Trudell was legendary way before he passed because he represented the truly free man.  When a young man, he survived a huge tragedy; he became that caged bird that kept on singing!   He was the grey wolf scouting the caverns and valleys!  He was a common man walking amongst all peoples carrying a big heart.  Though I quietly kept him in my shirt pocket my entire life and never spoke of him and his work, I felt he represented one of the first Native men of our generation who broke free from the cage of oppression and wanted to free the rest of us!  Like Crazy Horse, Geronimo and Chief Joseph, I kept the representation of what these men meant to me close to my heart.

So when I heard that John Trudell passed away yesterday, the silence inside my shirt pocket above my heart ceased.  The silence wailed.  Who is going to be our spokes person to speak in defense of our Mother Earth, of our un-civilization, of the need to come back to our human being-ness?   Who? WHO!?

That’s up to the rest of us.  It’s up to the rest of us to carry our torches higher!  Let’s see how the last few days, months or years of my life pan out.  Let’s see what happens now that our Trudell Crazy Horse Geronimo Chief Joseph continue to manifest the intent of their lives within this world!

Please, I invite you to read up on the legendary John Trudell from news article from Indian Country Today.  There are also about 79 videos you may watch on You Tube.  And about 10 years ago, the actress Angelina Jolie and her mother produced a documentary on John called “Trudell” that is also available on You Tube.

He led a remarkable life in his 69 years.  Remarkable. — Rest in Peace, JohnJohn…take as long as you need for a little while, and like your wife Tina did for you all these years, help us from the other side!

The Human Race: Growing Up A Mutt

It is my father’s birthday today; he would have been 86.  Happy Birthday Dad!

I reflected back upon my childhood growing up with men who were straight out of Japan, China, the Philippines.  Many came to Alaska the past 100 years, like my maternal grandfather who was Filipino/Tibetan, and directly after WWII, a flood of Filipino men came to Alaska, my father was amongst them.  These men married the Native women; they rarely married women who were not indigenous.

Most of the Asian men spoke broken English, though there were a few who knew no other language but their own.  A few learned the indigenous languages though everyone, including the indigenous people like my Alaskan relatives, were forced to learn English; and we were not allowed to speak our own.  So English was the “common” language that we all had to learn in order to communicate and “get along.”

Like I said, it was not until a friend mentioned his experience in Korea most recently where he was not even looked at, not acknowledged once they saw that he was a foreigner — that got me to thinking and reflecting back.  I wanted to “see” his viewpoint.

It is true.  They don’t look at you when they see you are a foreigner.

Basically, no matter what country in Asia from which they are from, they generally do not acknowledge foreigners.  Why is that?

It has been my experience, Asians tend to “stick to their own kind” — even in modern times.  Why make relationships complicated with cultural differences?  Relationships are already complex and we make it complicated when we inter-marry.  Even in the Alaskan Filipino communities, now that their own women come to the United States in this modern day, they stay away from any other nationality, they associate only with one another.

I remember how in my childhood, those of us who were “mestizos”  felt awkward being amongst the “pure-bred” Filipino kids and their families whenever there was a Filipino community event.  They didn’t really “look at us.”  At the time, we did not understand why we so-called “half-breeds” felt “funny” in their presence.   it wasn’t until many years later as an adult that I came to understood what that was all about.  While the indigenous people of our land were wide open yet cautious of the foreigners, when they gained our trust, they became a part of our communities.  Yet the Asians always tended to keep themselves apart.  Even though it was the Native women (who were married to the Asian men) who worked hard to raise funds to buy a building in downtown Juneau for a Filipino community to host their events, there is little to no acknowledgement from the Filipinos.  Asians have a very strong sense of pride.  It’s that strong pride that is a strength and it is the part that sets them apart.

Part of why they tend to “stick to their own kind” is because the Asian communities tend to be very tight.  They are community-oriented.  They take care of one another; they think in terms of helping one another excel, to help support one another, and to help rejoice.  If one grieves, they all grieve; if one has achieved something, they celebrate as if each individual achieved the honor.  They speak the same language.  They have the same sense of humor, their foods tie them together, they enjoy the familiarity.  They tend to steer away from the “different.”  If you are different, they are shy of differences, they are cautious.  They cannot relate, so why force relating?

My father was the youngest of the Filipino men who came to Alaska after the war and married an indigenous woman.  Although he became friends with the indigenous men, he continued his life-long friendships with all of the Filipino men.  Over the years, one by one, he buried his comrades.  Pretty soon there were only the offspring of these men he could relate to if any of them spoke the Filipino language.  He missed being able to speak his language daily.  He felt very alone and as each year passed, he buried himself in his gardening.  And although there were more Filipinos migrating to Alaska, they were young, arrogant men and women who he took no interest for whatever reasons.  He could not relate to them.   When my father died, an era died with him; he was the last.  None of his friends were there at his memorial, though all of his friends’ children and grandchildren were in attendance.  We all knew we were the offspring of a by-gone era.

Even though my nationalities are comprised mainly of Asian blood (Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian), I am not fully accepted.  They will glance at me and wonder what I am and once they find out that I am indeed part Asian, they rejoice that I am part Asian blood, but only for a brief moment am I acceptable;  still there is that arms-length distance because my blood, in their eyes, has been “tainted” with indigenous blood, and Jewish blood and Norwegian and Finnish blood.

And of all the Asian nationalities, I have found that the Filipino people are more accepting than any other.  The Filipino are more joyful, playful and not as harshly judgmental.  Though they still keep to their own and rarely “stray” to inter-marry, at least nowadays they will look upon you.

There is no way around it; I find that Asians are hard-core when it comes to identity.  It’s just in their blood.  And I understand them.  That hard-core identity is also in my blood.

I have no judgement about the way things are or were; it just was and it just is.  In my mind, combined with the awareness of simultaneous lives and if we go back far enough, the fact that we are a mixture of bloods, I figure we are all mutts, so when it comes right down to it, there is one human race, THEN there are nationalities of cultures.

Chuck Pyle: Colorado’s “Zen Cowboy” Passes at 70


Musician, singer, song-writer, Chuck Pyle

I am saddened today to hear of Chuck’s passing.  While I was still in Alaska last weekend, I happened to be telling a friend about Chuck, and I thought that when I would return to Colorado, I would give him a jingle and see where he would be playing and maybe if the timing were right I could go hear his new songs since it’s been about 10 years!  Obviously, I am just a bit too late for that opportunity.

The first time I heard of Chuck Pyle was in 2003 when he sent us his Press Release packet and latest CD’s to review for our Whistlepig House Concert gig in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  I remember the afternoon very well:  my (then) husband was just recovering from appendix surgery enjoying the afternoon sun in my studio while listening to Chuck’s recently released album “Affected By the Moon.”  Grinning, after listening to his first cut, we immediately said simultaneously, “Let’s book this guy!”  After his first performance at our house concert, we hosted him to play our house concert again a year later.  The last time I saw him was during a house concert he was playing near Seattle, Washington in 2005.  Surprised to see me in the audience he grinned, and like any of us who met Chuck, we will say “he treated you as if you were one of his best friends.”  Chuck had a pure spirit.  My condolences to his wife, son, relatives, concert hosts and all his friends!  We’ll be missing him!

Click here to read the Denver Posts’ obituary and the video clip of Chuck Pyle singing one of my favorites of his:  “Colorado.”  Starting off with his car crossing the New Mexico into Colorado border, the scenes in the video are from my neck of the woods in downtown and surrounding areas of one of the most beautiful places in Colorado:  Pagosa Springs.

Traditionally, as any of you who know me personally, I am not a fan of cowboy music.  However, I became wide open to the sounds of the West after hearing Chuck’s music.  Please do yourself a favor and introduce yourself to Chuck Pyle and his music, please visit his website at:

You can listen to a few of Chuck’s songs on You Tube.  I just listened to a sweet “growing older” song called “Now Everything Does”  Click here.

A Celebration of Life honoring Chuck Pyle will be held on Saturday, November 14 beginning at 11:00 AM at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Hwy 105 in Palmer Lake, Colorado 80133

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Chuck Pyle Memorial Fund. Donations can be sent to:

Chuck Pyle Memorial Fund
PO Box 726
Palmer Lake, CO 80133

“Sharing Our Knowledge” Clan Conference 2015

In the opening ceremonies, Bob Sam places Chilkat robe over Ed Kunz's shoulders

In the “Warming of Hands” opening ceremonies, Bob Sam places Chilkat robe over Ed Kunz’s shoulders

On the evening of Wednesday, October 28th, clan leaders welcomed participants in the “Warming of Hands” ceremony to kick off another Clan Conference of Tsimpshian, Haida and Tlingit Tribes and Clans.  The audience included academics and artists from throughout Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.  For the third year, Chilkat weavers, Ravenstail weavers, cedar bark weavers and spruceroot weavers gathered together to demonstrate and present their work in the lobby of Centennial Hall in Juneau, Alaska.


Yarrow Vaara and her mother Suzi Williams attend the opening ceremony “Warming of Hands” the night before the Clan Conference 2015 begins

During the four days that followed, nearly 100 presentations and workshops were staged, with a Thursday luncheon to honor philosopher, actor, clan leader Walter Porter, and evenings dedicated to traditional music and dance, oratory, poetry readings and a Friday-night dinner honoring the late scholar, writer and poet Richard Dauenhauer.


Chilkat robes and one Ravenstail robe (woven by none other) await the time to dance

The Clan Conference was the latest in the series of what has become the premier scholarly gathering for historians, academics, elders, clan leaders, artists and youth who are involved in the study and documentation of Southeast Alaska Native history, culture and language.


Elder carver Nathan Jackson (R) and his right hand man, Steve Brown

Earlier Clan Conferences were held in Haines & Klukwan (1993), Sitka (1995), Ketchikan (1996), Sitka (1997 and 2007), and the last four in 2009, 2011, 2013, and this year were all held in Juneau.


Master of Ceremonies Harold Jacobs tells a humorous introduction of elders Percy Kunz (L) and Marie Olsen (R) — Notice Harold’s Chilkat top hat!

Previous gatherings were organized by the late Andrew Hope III.  For the 2007 conference, Hope was joined by curator Steve Henrikson (University of Alaska/ Alaska State Museum) and anthropologist Sergei Kan (Dartmouth College), who served as co-organizers.  Since Andy Hope’s passing in 2008, the most recent clan conferences have been spearheaded by his brother, Gerry Hope, along with a couple of his best friends Dick and Nora Dauenhauer, and long-time friend Peter Metcalfe, collegues Alice Taff and Sergei Kahn, and Andy’s son Ishmael Hope.


Hans Chester lends support to elder Selina Everson giving the closing prayer at the “Warming of Hands” ceremony

For more information:


Norma Shorty, Florence Sheakley, Emma Shorty and Connie Munro


Ricky Tagaban, Clarissa Rizal and Suzi Williams discuss the differences of using the traditional mountain goat wool (in Suzi’s hand) as opposed to the merino wool


Scholars Aldona Jonaitis and Eric Holzinger visit a couple of the weavers who are demonstrating at the Clan Conference including Suzi Williams, Yarrow Vaara, Ricky Tagaban, Jean Lampe, Lily Hope and Clarissa Rizal


Yarrow, Suzi and Ricky share their knowledge of weaving and spinning techniques


Yarrow Vaara shows the side braids of “Copper Child” 5-piece Chilkat ensemble (woven by Clarissa Rizal)


Lily Hope has had a long day at day one of the Clan Conference


Ricky Tagaban tugs at a piece of mountain goat hide and tells us that it is easier to spin short pieces of mountain goat wool than longer pieces of merino wool for our warp


Irene Jean Lampe tells a weaving story to local weavers Karen Taug and Catrina Mitchell


Suzi Williams gives a presentation on the spiritual aspects of Chilkat weaving


Buddies Tong Tengs (maker of Chilkat cones) and Preston Singletary (glass blower)


Eric Holzinger and Bob Starboard examine the original carving and the digital 3-D replica of identical dance staffs


Two up-and-coming-elders Harold Jacobs and Fred White


Deana Dartt, Native American Curator at the Portland Art Museum presents the outline for PAM’s first Tlingit art exhibit slated for 2017 — other Museum staff panelists also include Steven Henrikson, Kate Bunn-Marcuse and Barbara Brotherton


Ricky Tagaban and Michael Hoyt discuss the latest cultural presentation at the Clan Conference while “Little Watchman” and “Chilkat Child” listen up!


At the Walter Porter Memorial luncheon held on the first day of the Clan Conference, Byron Mallott talks about his childhood growing up with Walter in Yakutat


Lance Twitchell gives an introduction of the film he directed/produced on Nora and Dick Dauenhauer


At the Richard Dauenhauer memorial dinner held the second night of the Clan Conference, the audience watches the film about the Dauenhauers by Lance Twitchell


Long time friend and collegue of Dick Dauenhauer: Walter Krauss provided some humor of the courtship of Dick and Nora Dauenhauer over 40 years ago


Ishamel Hope recites a poem written by Dick Dauenhauer


With Clan Conference organizers Peter Metcalfe and Gerry Hope, and presenters Ishmael Hope and Lance Twitchell, Steve Langdon remembers Dick Dauenhauer


Sergei Kahn remembers Dick Dauenhauer


Dick’s beloved wife, Nora Dauenhauer takes a bow


In her partial Halloween costume and make-up, Clarissa Rizal stands between two Alaskan scholars: Father Michael Oleska and Sergei Kahn


Clan Conference organizers (?, Kathy Ruddy, Alice Taft, David Katzeek, Harold Jacobs and Sergei Kahn) allow Ishmael Hope to give the the closing speech during the Clan Conference wrap-up


Artists’ Booths at Cherokee Art Market


Clarissa Rizal’s booth at the 10th Annual Cherokee Art Market at the Hard Rock Casino ballroom, Catoosa, Oklahoma

On Friday night just before the Saturday/Sunday Cherokee Art Market, directly after my assistant Emily and I set up my booth, we walked around to take a look at the works of other artists in the show.  Sure I was interested in the creations of the artists’ work, but I was more intrigued with HOW each individual artist displayed their work.  I was drawn to the professional image each one had created within the use of their 10’x10′ space (though others had a 10’x20′ space).  Out of 150+ artists’ booths, the following are a few of that I made note:


Jackie Sevier’s booth used custom-built, wooden print racks whose carpeted stands also served as the travel containers. Take note of the curtained space; a place to keep the portable “office” and storage of packing material


Bill & Traci Rabbit;s double booth features brilliant paintings. I took note of what I think is their “storage unit” front center stage!


The pottery of Carolyn Bernard Young is beautiful and simple displayed on carpeted shelving with a “front counter desk” flanked by a set of shelves on both sides which housed her packing and shipping supplies, additional stock of pottery, and of course her snacks for the day!


Sculptor Uptown Greyshoes Ethelbah’s free-standing columns defined the perimeters of his 10’x10′ booth. His vertical banner to the left telescoped into an aluminum frame


Straight forward like his work, Jerry Ingram mounted long bough branches from his walls from which hung his satchels, beaded garments and accessories to help create a semi-circular feel to his booth


Kimberly G. Bugg’s booth felt like I walked into a traditional trading post.  By hanging the leather war shirt crossing the corners, she also softened the corners of her 10’x10′ booth


Daniel Corey’s leather masks hung from grey carpeted walls. He defined the perimeters of his 10’x10′ booth with a “desk” covered with black cloth and the most cushy director’s chair I’ve ever seen



Elizabeth and Michael Kirk’s color scheme in their light-weight shelving, desk, vanity, and director’s chairs are black and turquoise. Touches of silver and turquoise are even in the stuffed display of shopping bags


Ron Mitchell’s booth was ultimately my favorite. Why? He defined his space by the rack of prints (under the red cloth) next to his small portable drafting table with a clamp lamp and director’s chair


I just loved Karen and Martha Berry’s line up of three director’s chairs to define the right side of their 10’x10′ booth


A 70-Year Rizal Legacy


70 years this house has been kept in the Rizal side of our family. Inflated taxes has forced my cousins to sell and move.  Not easy.

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.