Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Fender T-bucket in a sunset orange color
Fender T-bucket in a sunset orange color

Picking up an instrument twice my size and plucking its coarse strings, 7-year-old me knew little about guitars. With my mother’s first paycheck in America, she purchased a guitar–a Fender T-bucket in a vibrant sunset orange color, burnt black edges, rough brass strings, and a worn-down strap. This guitar was passed down from my mom to my brother and me. Although my family was rarely close-knit, our guitar symbolized our connection through music. Since the age of three, I remember my brother playing the guitar sitting on our dark chocolate colored couch while my mother would sing beside him. We would do this during Christmas and New Year's Eve. The smell of lumpia filled the air as their music played. The unity of the strings embodied my family’s immigration journey. Coming to America, my parents barely knew anyone and had to leave the only known life and culture they had. They moved to a plethora of countries. Once they reached the U.S. they were far from financially stable. My parents had to take the bus and my brother was constantly left in childcare. Regardless of their obstacles, music served as a beacon of hope. Two years later we moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. Since then, my parents have worked tirelessly to live a comfortable life and continue to play the guitar to remember their journey. The ideal “American Dream” is not always guaranteed. Realizing how lucky I am to have a family willing to sacrifice everything for my future fills me with gratitude. A couple of strings and a beat brought my family closer together and serves as a reminder of my parents’ dedication. 

Place(s): Philippines, United States
Year: 1999

– Hermoigne Simone Sarmiento

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant