A Painting By Roy M. Ropp

A farmer guides a donkey to a farmhouse.
A farmer guides a donkey to a farmhouse.

Whenever I walk into my mom’s bedroom, this particular painting catches my eye. It was given to my grandpa, who my mom looked up to, as his infectious personality gravitated people towards him. My grandpa was from the Philippines, Leyte, San Isidro. The beauty of the island contrasted its harsh conditions. My grandpa wanted more, he couldn't see a future worth living there. At fourteen, he decided to run away to Manila, where he snuck on a cruise ship to travel the seas. According to my grandpa, when he was caught by the captain, he was able to convince him to let him stay on the ship by making him laugh. Working as the captain’s personal valet, he shined his shoes, brought food, and most importantly, told him jokes. When he arrived in Laguna, California, he was able to laze his days away on a peaceful shore. Along the way, he met a man who was an artist. They frequently spent time together as they spent their leisure by the crashing waves. What my grandpa didn’t know was that his friend was Roy M. Ropp, who established “The Pageant of the Masters”, a theatrical performance that celebrated famous artworks. The painting was given as a gift before the man’s passing. Eventually, the memories behind it faded away, as did my grandpa. My mom keeps his memory alive through the story of our grandpa’s adventures. To her, his resilience against his unfortunate circumstances and his positive attitude is something that she expects herself and our family to model after.

Place(s): Laguna, California
Year: 1950

– Arcade Encarnacion

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant