Saturday, October 12, 2013


...finding out who your relatives are.

Sometimes very close relatives!  Ahem.

Grandma says one day,

"Fan minagago hamyo!  På'go gi alas nuebe guaha bela gi gima'yu'us ya debi de en fan man asiste sa' parientes-miyo i matai."
"Put on clothes!  Today at nine o'clock there's a wake at the church and you have to attend because the deceased is your relative."

Says one child, "Haftaimano?"  "How?"

Grandma says, "Tåtan-miyo i matai!  Famatkilo ya na' fan listo hamyo!"
"He's your father.  Keep quiet and get ready!"

The child asks, "Lao håfa para in che'gue gi gima'yu'us?"
"But what are we going to do at church?"

Says grandma, "Fan matå'chong ha' ya mungnga manguentos solo man kuinentuse hamyo!"
"Just sit down and do not talk unless you are spoken to!"

"Ai adei nåna," says the child, "håfa na solo an esta måtai na in tingo' na tåtan-måme?"
"Oh my gosh grandma, why is it only when there's a death that we know who our father is?"

"Ti siña ma kuentuse esta!"
"He can't be spoken to already!"

As one person said in English, "At a funeral you hear the unheard."

Illegitimate births were considered very shameful in traditional Chamorro culture.  One never ever asked who one's father was.  Asking that could get you a slap or a spanking.

But the moment a father or grandparent died, sometimes the truth would come out and the children were sent to the rosary or funeral. 

Sometimes the illegitimate child/children were acknowledged and brought into the circle of mourners.

Other times, the illegitimate child/children were not acknowledged and sat there quietly, while people spoke about their presence under the breath.

It would be considered brazen for the illegitimate child to dress as a mourner without the permission of the legitimate children or widow.

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