Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Video of First Practice in Full Pads for the Irish!

Jose Castellano -- He Loved Notre Dame...

I saw this tweet (above) a few days ago -- and I reached out to the Son (Joachim Castellano) who wrote this about his Dad, Jose Castellano -- pictured below in his (ever present) Notre Dame hat on a family trip to Yellowstone in 1999.

I learned that one of Jose's sons (Ken Castellano, Class of 1996) attended the University of Notre Dame -- the school their Dad had told them all about as kids.  I also learned about a wonderful tribute to Jose -- that I asked for permission to share on the ND GO IRISH BLOG

Joachim, thanks for agreeing to share this with your Notre Dame Family!

A Toast to Lolo and Dad

If you searched Google Maps for our house 10 years ago, you’d actually see my dad, from a bird’s eye view, mowing the lawn. He was wearing jeans, a work shirt, and a well-worn University of Notre Dame hat. I often wondered what was the big deal about ND? I get it, we’re Catholic, but South Bend is far away from New Jersey, and we’re not even Irish! When I asked Dad about it, ND was much more than a football team, it was a beacon of the American Dream that helped inspire him to immigrate to this country.

Growing up in post-war Manila, on Sundays after Mass, he’d listen to ND football games on the U.S. Armed Forces Network radio station. It was here he learned that Notre Dame is an institution of excellence and virtue. The Fighting Irish helped plant a seed of the American Dream in him. After graduating from college and marrying my mom, he chose not to live a comfortable life in the Philippines, and instead go for the risky play, and start a career and family life in America.

Dad was courageous, he was bold. He wanted his children to grow up in the states and compete with the best, because he believed in all of us. Now, listen carefully, Lolo’s grandchildren: education was very important to Lolo. However, unlike a Strict Asian Dad, he never punished me for bad grades (perhaps because I earned straight A+s). I remember on every report card day, he would walk up to me, laughing, firmly shake my hand, pat me on the head, and walk away, laughing.

Dad was generally quiet. He went about life with humility and grace. He never bragged about his own life achievements or dictated what we should do. He led by example. But he did like to talk about his kids and especially his grandkids. Each one of you has Lolo in your blood which manifests through love of music, dance, education, or generosity of spirit.

Speaking of generosity, Dad had plenty to give. When he was courting my mom, I found out that he would never come to my lola’s house empty-handed. He would buy basketball tickets for my tito Boy, a record for my tita Maris, firecrackers on New Years and at the very least, chicken salad prepared by his dearest eldest sister, tita Choeling. He bought Pat his first guitar, Orchid a cat, Gerard, weightlifting equipment, Ken a basketball hoop, and me....a set of encyclopedias and math software.

Dad was a big tipper. Before going to the Philippines, he would bring a huge wad of singles that he would hand out like candy to anybody who helped him, including the Filipino immigration officer. One of my treasured memories is when my mom and dad came to visit me in Osaka. After a lunch of tonkatsu, he left a tip for our waitress, even though I told him that tipping is not customary in Japan. She chased Dad outside the restaurant to return his money, but he wouldn’t accept it back.

Dad was most generous with his cooking. He loved spending time in the kitchen, making food from back home. Photos throughout the years showed many smiling faces gathered around dishes prepared by my dad. He even built his own rotisserie in the backyard to roast lechon.

Dad lost his father because of the World War 2, at age five. So he had no reference, no father figure. I think that’s why he turned to his faith for guidance from our Heavenly Father. And throughout his life he provided us a great example of how to live. You’ve worked so very hard until the very end, you lived like a champion, now let’s toast to your victorious life, Jose Castellano!

Written by son, Joachim Castellano

Tagalog is one of the official languages of the Philippines, English is the other.
lolo - Tagalog word for grandfather
lola -Tagalog word for grandmother
tita - Tagalog word for aunt
tito - Tagalog word for uncle
lechon - spit-roasted pig

Joachim, I look forward to meeting you in person along with a number of your family members at the Ball State Game!

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