She was born Aurea Cachero Dumaguing in La Union Philippines the third of four children. Our Lolo was a band leader, composer and musician and I can only imagine what musical influence he had over her. When my brother Raymond was born, my mother lost her mom in a traffic accident. Her older sister Priscilla (Auntie Sally) became the matriarch figure for the family eventually introducing my mother to Celensario known to most of you as Uncle Charlie or Pops. He was a good friend and shipmate of Auntie Sally’s husband Nazario Dumpit (Uncle Sario). Mom and Pops got to know each other better through writing letters. It was love at first site as they were married after the second time they had ever met.
For those who did not know my mother well she was a fanatic music lover. She only knew one volume to enjoy her tunes and that was LOUD. Elvis Presley was her favorite musical artist. She was hip with the times bumping Diana Ross, Beach Boys and Chubby Checker in the 60’s, The Jackson 5, Queen and the Bee Gees in the 70’s. And in the 80’s Michael Jackson, Madonna and Blonde were all among her favorites. When we were going through my mom’s things this past week I found The Hits and the B’s compilation of Prince that my sister told me belonged to mom. Her music collection was so complete that our DJ Crew Classe used my mom’s vinyl’s to rock the Lawrence Welk gigs at the senior recreation center.
Music was who my mom was and growing up in San Diego us kids were forced to perform in the annual Balboa Bowl Piano recital. In grade school at National City we found ourselves in the band wagon learning other instruments to play. My sister Grace the Clarinet, Charles the Trumpet, Eddie the Saxophone, Alex Percussion, Raymond the Baritone and Francisco the tambourine, triangle and crash cymbals. We all continued into high school getting our Varsity letter in Music.
I suppose we were all lucky that Pops was a good cook learning his trade in the Navy as my mom did not cook often after pops retired. Prior to that, we ate the same thing every day. Breakfast: Eggs and Rice, Lunch: Hotdogs and Rice, Dinner: Eggs & Hotdogs w/ Rice. Mom didn’t have the middle finger water measuring technique down as almost always her rice came out as lugaw. If we ever ran out of eggs and hotdogs the natural substitute was canned sardines. The running joke I have with my brothers is my mom’s special; whenever we have food that has hair in it. We say as we pull the hair out of our mouth, “Mmmm Just like mom used to make.”
When we think back to what stood out most during our wonder years. My mom was running the family as a military wife. We remember being left in the car with Grace the eldest watching over us in the white station wagon. My mom went into the Commissary with baby brother Francisco, because she couldn’t leave him in the car. Otherwise my younger brother Raymond would steal his bottle. Mom knew if she brought all the kids in, we’d be adding more than Sardines and eggs to the shopping cart.
Back in the day everyone got dressed up for mass. Only Grace got the new stuff being the only girl. The rest of us got Charles hand me downs. The only time we didn’t get hand me downs was when my mom made us shirts out of the same fabric so we all looked like un-identical quintuplets. When we went to mass, it was always in your best interest to sit still and not fall asleep or misbehave. Freddie Kruger’s finger knives got nothing on my mom’s super pinch. She would pinch and twist at the same time. Her pinch would last for two weeks; it left a visible reminder for days.
By far our most infamous memory of our mother is when she took the door off some woman’s car on Highland Blvd in National City in front of the Winchell’s Donuts. We were stopped at a red light, the woman threw her door open, the light turned green and mom just went. She eventually stopped after realizing she hit the other driver’s door bending it forward. When my mom backed up we can never forget watching the other cars door fall to the ground. An employee of Winchell’s came out and picked the door up and put it on the sidewalk leaning it up against the building laughing the entire time. The best part of this whole incident was when the police showed up, they told the driver of the other car, “Nice Parking Lady”. Then proceed to write her a ticket because she was parked on a red curb and was obstructing the flow of traffic.
As we all grew up, some of us left the nest; as others returned and our mom could share in her grandchildren’s lives. Antuan, David, Jonathan, Barbara and Tyler spent time living with or were babysat by our parents. Mom attended the baptisms, birthday parties and other special events for all her grandchildren locally in San Diego and up North in Los Angeles and up to the Bay Area in Milpitas and Fremont. All her grandchildren are blessed to know and spend time with their Lola.
Aurea was devoted to her husband, children and grandchildren. If she disagreed with you it was only because she wanted things to work out right for you so that you would have no regrets about your decision. We love her and miss her loud music since her passing. We know Pops is in heaven watching over us and resting in peace awaiting to reunite with his bride. We just hope that when mom finds him, her loud Elvis tunes don’t disturb the peace.
Thank you, mom, for all that you are and have been for us. I’m sure your wings are a perfect fit as they will take you to your rendezvous with pops in heaven. You will forever be in our hearts on earth as we know you will join pops looking over us from above. Rest in peace because you are blessed and lived a good life, love always from your children, relatives and friends.
#Heaven bound for Elvis concert
- Date: July 31, 2017
- Location: Miramar National Cemetery
- Address: 5795 Nobel Drive San Diego, CA 92122
- Directions: Miramar National Cemetery