Jersey City Strong

My parents met in Jersey City in the 1960s. They married at St. John's on Kennedy Boulevard. Both my brother and I were born at Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital. My mom, along with hundreds of other Filipina nurses recruited from the Philippines, worked at Margaret Hague, Jersey City Medical Center, and Pollack Hospital.

A couple of days ago, with a heavy heart I attended the wake of a childhood family friend, who is gone too soon, too young. Our parents knew each other back in the day as young dating couples, as married couples. They nurtured their children together in a familial Filipino American community. Through the years, I've even learned how some of us in that community are remotely related through connections that go as far back as our great grandparents. 

I don't keep in touch much with too many childhood friends other than through facebook. And when we meet up at these sad occasions, while much has changed, we still have that inherent closeness. I feel it in our greetings, our conversations, and our goodbyes. These are the same kids with whom I ran around and played punchball in the parking lot of Roosevelt Bowling Lanes during Saturday's Filipino Family Bowling League. We may forever see each other as the six- to twelve-year-olds who met up weekly and partied together at each other's homes when house parties were the norm. 

I am immensely grateful for my parents and the history they've established in Jersey City, as well as the deep rooted connections that I have with those who share in those days of old. 

We are undeniably part of an extraordinary tribe and will always remain . . . Jersey City strong. 

Dedicated to a new star up above. May you rest in blessed peace & stay forever young, Art. Swing on!