WEST COVINA, Dec 26, 2009 / — Where have all the years gone? In 1974, when my sister Heide and I joined my parents, Lilly and Mert Belleza and our two younger sisters, Helen and Hilda, we spent our Christmas in an apartment in Los Angeles, our first home.
There were six of us those days and photos were taken using a Polaroid camera; 35 years had passed since then. Daddy is gone; all four of us had grown up, got married and have kids. Instead of six, we are now an extended family of 20 that includes six grandchildren – Hans & Ian Winkenwerder, Kristina and Kassie Fe, Madison and Sheridan Moreno.
We left the City of Angels a long time ago, and moved to West Covina, one of its suburbs, which is still part of Los Angeles County and also nicknamed Philippine Town.
While my sister Heide and I, together with our families still live in the area, my two younger sisters built their homes in Corona and Santa Clarita.
Though far apart, we have kept the family tradition of getting together on Christmas, a custom that we hope we have instilled to the children.