QES,GRADE 6, BATCH 1966
Call it what you may but for a bunch of us in the above picture (courtesy of a classmate- Ms Fe Paca-Taduran), it sure is a great (in my own personal view) spot in memory lane. This is proof that we once had a wonderful moment called youth, blissful, innocent, exciting and delightful. How I wish I could put a name on everyone, identifying each of my classmates, but I had this so called artist syndrome (I just invented this ailment though hoping that it could find a niche in medical journals) on poor recall of names and anything numeric. I know their faces even how they stand and move, but I could barely remember their full names.
I would just start with what I have. Our class picture, the graduating class which pride itself as premiere composite group or Section One has five rows. If I would blindly believe what my mother used to tell me about Section One, it is according to her the composition of the best and the brightest in the graduating batch of Qurino Elementary School. Hence, I never even thought that, for once, I had that chance to belong to an elite company! Next time around, Deped abolished the sectioning because it is discriminative. Instead, names of flowers and plants, whatever, were used to designate groupings.
On the basis of the above class picture, I occupied the front row with Efren Barba. I had a minute recollection of Efren except that he was scion of an Ilocos prominent clan. He used to be a champion soap box derby contestant that time. In my case, at that time, I used to watch and follow the series of Lagalag and when it was serialized in movie starring Eddie Fernandez (father of singer Pops Fernandez) I copied everything he projected. Since Fernandez was an action star and I was the non-violent type, I merely imitated the way he puffed his hair!
Second row on the picture, from the left seated, I could only identify Belen Maglalang, the class valedictorian. How she made it on top, I was not aware. Could be that I was busy creating noise at the back while she was reciting. Second to the left, followed by Flourdeliz, my seat mate in Grade 1, and Eva, whose mother Mam Sabares, our class adviser beside her. How I wish to recall the names of my classmates onward up to the last row, I know them for sure but their names are at the tip of my tongue! My apologies to my classmates whom my memory skipped due to, perhaps, incompetence.
Third row standing, oh my, memory gap once again. I could only remember Irma Navarra and Fe Paca.
Fourth row standing, boys turn. The elder guy must be the teacher aide. Beside him is Elmo Abad (a practicing lawyer.) Once I contracted his legal services, ayaw ng court na ako mag defend sa sarili ko kasi. All the lawyers I sought do not like the idea that I would prepare the legal brief at sila na lang pipirma. They want that they would do it. I disagreed. I got Elmo because I was able to convince him to just sign on the defense that I have prepared. We won. Fourth boy after Elmo was Elmer Gloria. I forgot the two big guys kasi they were the class bullies that time although I could count on few instances when they bullied me. It was okay though since I never felt I was bullied at all. I was small but my grip was strong since my hands are dexterous in Arts, besides I am also ambidextrous, kaya I can squeeze any neck with little effort on any hand. And of course after them there was Gilbert “sonny” Miranda. He departed a couple of years ago. Sonny was one of my best friends. Next to him is another friend from Pajo street and another from the same street is Alfredo Tabayoyong, a feisty kid and already masculine in his deportment.
Last row were the bigger girls, the leaders, our conductors. Here comes my memory gap again. Sixth from the left, there was Azel. For me she was more of a teacher. I reckon her warning more than our adviser when I find myself noisy and listless. Third girl after Azel was Lorna, my crush since Grade 2, the apple of my shy eyes.
In all, we were 39. There were 28 girls and 11 boys. The girls were more studious and intelligent than the boys, well, all boys except for Elmo whom I would look up to at that time as a model. He was very active on all fronts, be it on boys scout, extracurricular, gardening, everything. In my case, I was oftentimes reserved preferring the company of my mother at home, helping in the kitchen and tinkering with paints in our back yard.
And then we graduated and went separate ways. How I wish to recall all the names of my classmates.