Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Tribute to Mila Maynigo Denton Goldberg

 by Judy Miguel Yoro

As a little girl growing up, there was no doubt Mila showed signs of self-assurance.

As a young girl and a young lady, she demonstrated traits of a leader. She led her classmates and girl scouts teammates in Provincial Meets and numerous competitions.

A lady of intelligence, she excelled in school and graduated Salutatorian both in elementary and high school and earned an MBA degree.

A lady with dreams, with action, with detailed layout of goals, it is no wonder why Mila accomplished so much, why she achieved fame and why she prospered financially.

A lady of generosity, it is no denying that she shared her blessings with individuals, groups, organizations and political affinity, which she unwaveringly supported.

Focused and committed, she was among pioneers and promoters, assisting Filipino accountants to be employed and established in San Diego County.

On the lighter side, she was a lady full of surprises, humor, fun, creativity, and talent.  I remember a week before she remarried, she called me and said, “cousin, I’m getting married this weekend...I need you here...I need your help...I already booked you on the train for Thursday.”  At least she was considerate enough not to steal me from my work for that entire week!  That Thursday afternoon, she was waiting for me at the train station with her signature hat on, dark shades and floor-length mumu dress. Can you picture her with those? The minute we arrived at their condo, she and I put our working gears on, fused our minds and talents together, and can I say more? We whipped everything up with speed, from floral arrangement to table setting to entertainment and later proudly claimed success by turning their San Diego downtown condo into a heavenly and intimate wedding venue.
Mila's Most Precious Gift
A very persistent lady (“makulit” to me anyway), she tried so hard to match me with a number of men.  She just couldn’t wait for me to have a boyfriend to marry. The fourth time, she finally succeeded. I got married two and a half months AFTER she introduced me to this man whom we both knew nothing about, a cousin of her comadre.  When I broke the news to her over the phone she screamed with joy; she must have been the happiest human being on this planet that day. You see, Mila’s list of vocabulary words did not include words such as “defeat, loser, or failure”. I must admit that my marriage was one among her huge accomplishments.  All I could do was to concede and say, “okay you scored again”.  Thirty years later, this year, my husband and I are still together and I might just hang on to him forever, for he is my most precious gift from my cousin Mila.

Full of energy, life, adventure, we dared in our mid-twenties, to drive to Las Vegas in the winter time just to see Frank Sinatra perform at the Flamingo Casino/Hotel, one of the only couple of existing hotels then.  With no available room, we were forced to spend the night crunched in her car, in the hotel’s parking lot with neither a blanket nor pillow to comfort and protect us from the freezing temperature. Getting out from the car that morning was another challenge when we discovered the snow around us was over a foot high.


Relatives and friends, in the year 1948, two loving sisters, my late mom Trinidad and Mila’s mom Flaviana (one short, the other, tall respectively) gave birth to two cute little babies, Judy and Mila.  Surprisingly like their moms, one is also short, the other, tall and as they matured, they even resembled each other that at a glance, some people mistook them as real sisters.  Born 5 months apart, these babies grew up like sisters, played together, laughed together, cried together, fought each other, at each other’s throat and nerves, disagreed, made up, hugged and kissed, consoled each other.

Though in later years, they lived hundreds of miles apart, they stay connected, and lived different lifestyles. Judy kept a low profile, Mila was the celebrity of the clan.  But they kept tapping each other and maintained this cord, so flexible, that whenever they needed each other, all they do was tug and they would be there for each other’s rescue.

Cousin, losing you causes me so much hurt and pain, but I am consoled that you leave me with many memories that I will treasure forever.  Now I ask that you keep your end of the cord, would up so tight around you, that I, your cousin Judy, can easily tug it whenever I need you.  You have left us with so many legacies, more than already mentioned, but the best is your unconditional love for Art, Eugene and Claudia.  

We all love you and we all miss you!

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