A MINI REUNION
It’s not a usual fare for anyone to have the privilege of meeting elementary classmates after 50 years but there I was in front of them, well, some of them actually, exchanging pleasantries. While half a century ago, this group would have ignored me, this time around I felt a certain degree of importance. And why not? When I joined them in a mini reunion to discuss the plan for a bigger batch get-together, I felt the rush of their adrenaline when they saw me walk towards their conference. I was flabbergasted to say the least. Finally, these bright kids who were grown ups already had accepted me as theirs.
We tried to reminisce those days during a pristine period of our youth and tried to connect dots and determine where we were at present and sought updates on those we were closely associated with before. There were joyful revelations, exciting disclosures and sad commentaries. Some were amusing, others quite distressing.
We have as yet to agree on how many we were in the batch. Belen Maglalang says we were around more than 300 graduates then. Elmo however doubted. We could probably be only around 120 thereabouts. Anyway, we still could check the whereabouts of the correct figure. Once in a while Facebook would give us a run down on a number of them.
Most of our peers are abroad and found greener pasture. Those in the country have already settled considerably well. The top kid of the batch, Elmo Abad, is a practicing lawyer and still active in his profession although he has slowed down and picky as far as taking cases are concerned. He is however active as consultant in several firms including local government offices. Accordingly, Elmo never left his ancestral house (48 Marang St.) and stayed the course, sustaining a circuit of selected clients mostly peers. And he never take any intervention medicine. He was still that hale and healthy at 63. I didn’t realize that he was older than me by two years. The other top kid, our First Honor, Belen Maglalang, is in US and has settled down with her family and a brood of grandchildren. She is still connected with a private firm involved in computer business.
Lorna Diaz assumed as presiding officer and secretary during our meeting. She has just retired as a corporate officer in a multinational pharmaceutical company and has spent adventurous days travelling locally and abroad. She looked as if time froze. Her complexion is still flawless, her smile very youthful and her mind is agile and perceptive. For someone who remained single, the stress of domestic life has exempted her appearance from any damage.
And there was Maria Lourdes Santos. She could recall the minutest incident during elementary days. She even confirmed that instance in our elementary days when Elmo who was called by our Science teacher, Mrs. Aguilar to discuss flower pollination, was scolded in front of class for discussing the plant process of reproduction in a manner as if it was a pornographic procedure!
We were all there in the class but I have forgotten, well, all of us have forgotten it except Maria Lourdes. Unlike most of the girls who went to UP and Quirino High School, she enrolled in a nearby private school, Roosevelt Memorial High School. I was her classmate there before I was expelled and moved to FEU Boys High. She never remarried after her husband met an untimely demise several years ago. She was widowed early in her married life and chose to concentrate on nurturing the kids who are all established professionals already.
There was Bella Sabares, a classmate whom we defer mainly because she was daughter of our class adviser, Mrs. Encarnacion Sabares. She has retained the youthful smile, soft hands and girly giggles. Natz Antonio, although not from our Section but a part of Batch 1966 class was there in attendance too. She is still in the academe and very active in school activities. She volunteered to check the entertainment and program side of the planned reunion on January, 2016. Later in that afternoon, we were joined by Carmen De Leon from the same batch.
For those in their senior years, I found my batch mates still keen, sharp and witty. We never had any moment of lapses. We still could remember who our favorite and hated teachers are. However, we have a different individual fixation on who the worst teacher that ever graced our classroom.
Comes the revealing “off the record” rumors about some of our classmates. Although no one ascertained and confirmed the news, it gave us quite amusing and petrifying goose flesh having noted some instances. Elmo and I were shocked to hear that Elmer Gloria has changed his name to “Emerald” already! We swore that it was impossible. Elmo would recall accompanying Elmer during our elementary days when he was courting one of the most beautiful girls in school. To think that Elmer was doing that during a time when I never even knew what gender means!
I tried to locate Elmer and went to his former address. According to those in the place, Elmer has transferred already. Elmo swore to look for Elmer in the days to come.
It does not pay to be absent when friends converge. One cannot contest the rumor one is charged of and those matters alleged with.
We were saddened with the departure of Gilbert Miranda. He never reached 60. Elmo however confided that he would not be surprised if Gilbert would pass on later as transgender because as a kid, Gilbert was behaving like an effeminate. Although, Elmo would discard such notion learning from his relatives who were neighbors of Gilbert that he was actually some kind of a playboy.
Lorna volunteered the information that Boy Tabayoyong is still employed in the Federal agency of US and has settled grandly with his family there. Facebook is one medium we could check and indeed, Boy was having a grand time interacting with classmates who are also US residents.
I learned that Edmundo Rebagay is based abroad too. The same is true with Azelvita, Cora, Susan, Manuel Palafox, Me-Ann, Elmer Moreno, Minerva, Rod Espanol, Sonny Salvador, Edwin Caluya, Antonio Villardo. There are more but I failed to take note.
Those in town and quite active in cyberspace are Art Galindez, Oscar Careon, Henry, Angie, Rowena, Benjamin Velasquez, Edgar Javier and more.
Natz Aquino likewise confirmed that Efren Barba is a resident of Cavite already. I knew Efren as scion of the Barba clan, a prominent family associated with strongman President Marcos of solid north. Efren was a child prodigy then winning one competition after another in Soap Box Derby, a renowned car racing circuit during our time.
Judith Andres and Nickie Parayno were not around although they were very active whenever there were calls for their attendance. Judith has retired from an Auditing firm, still unattached and recuperating but Nickie is still in the academe.
In my case, I just retired from government service and savoring the new found freedom.
On the whole, the mini reunion was an exciting date for most of us. It was a time for memories. It was also a realization that we are fond of rumors. It was indeed an occasion to be young again.