Joys and sorrows


    ‘… I know they were tears of joy and appreciation for all that had gone before, which molded me into the person I am today.’

    HAPPY happy birthday to Atty. Ma. Gabriela P. Roldan-Concepcion. To those who follow GMA Kapuso’s “Unang Hirit” morning show, she is the formal lady who dishes out legal opinion on questions sent in by listeners that are relevant to current issues.

    Me, I’ve known her for 40 years now (??) and early on I told her “You will be First Lady one day.” Well, today she is First Lady indeed – of the University of the Philippines, bringing grace and charm (and surely, steel!) to the workings of the administration of UP President (POTUP) Atty. Danilo L. Concepcion.

    Happy healthy birthday po!

    When good friends mark special days it’s a great opportunity to be human – to express one’s emotions, and share in the joy (sometimes in the sorrow) of the moment. By sharing in the joy, it is multiplied; by sharing in the sorrow, the burden is shared. Either way, things get better.

    As a member of an FB group called “Batang UP Campus” my news feed was flooded the other day with old pictures of senior ladies who we were being asked to identify. It was a heartwarming moment for me, seeing teachers from nursery school and kinder and high school, many of them gone now but all of them having been significant influences in my life.

    There was Dr. Luz dela Cruz, the diminutive principal of our high school, who almost didn’t let me graduate because I was accused of “leading” the traditional CAT graduation rite where we cadets get to pelt our officers with water laced with the juice of this small fruit whose name I forget which makes the liquid itchy. She told me she was doubly disappointed with me because I was class president and expected me to follow the rules. I guess she forgot I was a middle child? Anyway, my parents were so mad at me they sought an audience with Dr. dela Cruz, who had planned to ask me and a few others like Palamedes Lim to write on the blackboard “I will not do this again.” Which I did although it was silly because we were graduating so we wouldn’t have a chance to do it again, yes?

    Dusky (as Lim was called) kept writing on the board but was knowingly leaving out the word “not” in some of his later lines. He too got away with that.

    One of those in the pictures was Prof. Salome Miranda, a very kind and gentle chemistry whiz who was a neighbor in UP Campus and whose middle child Raul was my age. One time she surprised me by saying, in class, that she saw me knelt in prayer at the UP Chapel – adding that young men and women who spent time in church are always a good catch. (!!!). Maybe that’s why she gave me a “3” when I know I didn’t deserve to pass chemistry!

    Then I thought I espied the image of Prof. Trinidad Flores, our next door neighbor who became my mother’s best friend on campus. Another sweet lady, she was my home economics teacher which was the first subject on some days so I would try to watch if she was leaving her house so I could leave ours through the back door and race to get a ride before she did. There were times when I didn’t notice her leave!

    Also in the photos was Mrs. Lesaca, our nursery school teacher at the Child Development Center where our rights were disregarded and we were all forced to sleep on our throw pillows for a certain period of the day! I was too young to lead a protest at the UN Human Rights Commission so we did nothing of that sort and just complied.

    I was quite emotional two days ago and before I knew it tears were streaming down my cheeks. I think both Hayden and Apollo sensed something was amiss because they were looking at me with wide eyes but making no sound, as if giving me space to let my emotions out. One is never too old for moments like that and sometimes events around you conspire to make the moment ripe for the shedding of a few tears. But I know they were tears of joy and appreciation for all that had gone before, which molded me into the person I am today.

    Which, hopefully, doesn’t bring others to tears of sorrow!


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