This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The Folger Coffee Company. The opinions and text are all mine.
Remembering my childhood in the 80’s
“Kleng Kleng! Where are you? Do you want to eat a snack with me?” I had arrived in the United States at the age of four and had been living in Grand Prairie, Texas for over two years. My real name is Daisy, but my family nickname has always been Kleng Kleng. It’s a Filipino nickname, and up until now, I still have no idea what it really stands for (and neither does my mom haha).
My grandparents moved to the United States in 1979 when my grandfather, Javier Abadilla, was granted U.S. citizenship due to his military aid during the Japanese invasion and occupation of the Philippines. During this time Javier and Alejandra assisted in the transportation of weapons for the U.S. military.
At six years old, I always knew when my grandfather arrived home from his day at the naval base. I would hear him pull up to the driveway and hear his heavy footsteps walking into the garage and the garage screen door creak open and shut. I would run out of my room and into the kitchen to find my grandfather having a conversation with my grandmother as she prepared his “merienda” (which means snack in our Filipino tagalog dialect).
I remember each afternoon as if it were yesterday — my grandmother would brew my grandfather a hot cup of Folgers coffee, and spread smooth peanut butter onto a pandesal cut in half (Filipino sweet roll) that my grandfather would dip into his Folgers coffee. He did this every day for many, many years – and we all knew it was his happy place. My grandfather liked his Folgers coffee with 3 teaspoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of creamer, and every time he would call my name at his post-workday snack time, we’d talk and have a conversation of how my day was and how his day was.
After he was finished with his snack, my grandmother and I would proceed to watching soap operas like “As the World Turns” or game shows on our tube television like “The Price Is Right.” My grandfather would sit on the couch with us as he read his daily newspaper.
It was 1988, and back then, it was customary in Filipino cultures to live in a blended home along with our relatives. My grandparent’s one-story, three bedroom home would oftentimes house my mom, aunts, uncles, and cousins. As a child, I was raised thinking that my cousins were my siblings and the holidays were amazing because we would all be together as one big, happy family.
Eventually my uncles also left to serve in the military and followed along my grandfather’s footsteps, while my mother (who was a single mother at the time) and I were left to tend to the house and keep my grandmother company (she was a stay at home wife and mom) whenever my grandfather was at work at the military base. My mother was also attending the University of Texas Arlington (UTA) and studying to finish her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
My grandfather passed away when I was twelve years old and to this day, I still hold so many fond memories of our time together close to my heart. And now that I am an adult with children of my own and living in a blended family, I too am a huge fan of afternoon meriendas. Want to know what my afternoon snack consists of? A hot cup of Folgers coffee, and a pandesal spread with smooth peanut butter cut in half that I too dip into my Folgers coffee, from Walmart! My husband may think it’s strange, but it’s my all-time favorite snack that holds priceless memories.
I want to thank my veteran grandfather for the sacrifices he made for the Philippines and for serving in the United States military, and for bringing all his children and grandchildren to the United States so that we too can live a life of freedom and liberty. And I want to thank my grandfather for paving the way for me to grow up in this amazing country as a United States citizen where I have been able to raise a wonderful family of my own.
If it wasn’t for my grandfather’s serving and good deeds, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And if it weren’t for those moments of quality time he spent talking to me, teaching me, and molding me – I wouldn’t be the open communicator I am today with my own children and spouse. My grandfather taught me how to live in the present, enjoy every moment, love, be disciplined, and communicate well. Thank you, Grandpa! You are the reason I am here successfully living as a wife, mother, and daughter.
I will forever miss our Folgers with peanut butter pandesal meriendas together.
My grandfather, Javier Abadilla, and grandmother were married for 44-years during which they had 9-children, however, 2-children passed away at a young age. Out of the 7 surviving children, they created 27-grandchildren, in turn their grandchildren produced 52-great grandchildren, and then great-grandchildren conceived 2-great great grandchildren.
My grandparents have both passed away, but I am so blessed to have witnessed them fulfill the American dream as immigrants and travel across the U.S. for their children and grandchildren. This year, I’m saying more than “thank you” to my veteran grandfather, and you can too! It’s all about sharing your story and your experiences over a cup of Folgers coffee, from Walmart, together with the veteran in your life. With the Folgers and Walmart’s “Share a Cup & a Story” program, you can do more than just say thanks – please reach out to someone in your life who’s served and listen to their stories and experiences.
Folgers wants you to share stories about a veteran in your life, as a way of saying thank you. And with Veterans Day coming up, this is the PERFECT time to give the veteran in your life recognition. Something as small as listening and spending time with a veteran is something that anyone can and should do to really say thank you.
Be sure to shop for Folgers coffee at your local Walmart!