I would like to introduce you to my uncle. His name is Jack. He is a well educated man. He came from a very loving family. My grandmother, his mother, was one of the most influential people I had growing up in life. My grandmother and grandfather cared very deeply for all of their sons. They loved them well. My grandfather was a pastor and missionary, and that required them to live in another country for a time. All Americans, living in a different country, they had some struggles. I asked him to share his story because I know that there are kids that are dealing with similar hunger issues in every community in the US. They are there. Around neighborhood corners and across town, kids are feeling that hunger feeling. It is a feeling they will probably never forget. I know my uncle has not. Here is his story.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Rice, no butter, no salt. Rice for breakfast, rice for lunch, and rice for supper. Not a lot of rice, maybe a half cup. Remember no butter and no salt, not a hint of sauce or seasoning. We had the same meal the next day. We had it the next day too. In fact, that was the only meal we had for a month and a half.
I don’t remember for sure, but we may have had an eggplant once. I don’t like eggplant either.
We had been hungry before, but I never realized it. Before we went to the Philippines as missionaries Mom used to make pinwheels out of dough and cinnamon and sugar. She would serve them for breakfast, and the pastor would come by before we went to school and Mom would share some with him. I was an adult before I realized that Mom gave him hers and she went without.
But the rice was different, we all shared equally in hunger and I was old enough to know why. We lived on “support;” nice people would send the missionaries money so they could serve. But support failed to come in. A check from San Francisco ($50.00, big money back then) got lost or stolen in the mail. It took a month for mail to get to the Philippines, so we didn’t know it was lost for a long time. A second check also disappeared. Hence a month and a half of rice. Just a small portion. No butter. No salt.
I still do not buy rice. When I am being treated with arroz con habichuelas by my Puerto Rican friends I take just a spoonful. I still remember being hungry. Just like it was yesterday.