Tuesday, June 21, 2005


As early as a couple of hours after my grandmother's death last Wednesday evening, I found myself volunteered to go through her things. First it was to search for documents the system demanded from bereaved relations. Immediately. Her Social Security ID, her Senior Citizen's ID, her memorial plan certificates, and so forth.

The next day, I hunted for photographs that would be displayed at the wake.

Just this morning, I went through some more albums and boxes of pictures for a missing photo of her with a schoolmate who eventually became Senate President (um...long story, and I couldn't find the said photo).

For decades, my grandmother had been called Manang Nena by relatives, Sister Nena by her church cronies, and Lola Nena by just about everyone else.

But in those moments I spent among dusty boxes, photo albums, strips of negatives, and dozens of Kodacolor and Florofoto envelopes, I caught glimpses of her as Virginia.


The young girl who was the apple of her Papa's eye. The lass living in the Commonwealth of the Philippines. The secretary working for the US Armed Forces. The new bride in post-war Baguio with the tall young architect who also worked for the USAFFE.

Among the lifetime's worth of photographs, I also saw how radiant Virginia with her flowing locks faded into somber Nena, who kept her hair tied in a tight bun.

Long before I began popping up among the pictures, she had already changed completely into Nena.

Still, Virginia used to sparkle through. From time to time.

When my grandmother would tell stories. Or when she'd sing grandnephews and nieces to sleep. Or when she'd remind me she made a fresh batch of jello (not to be called gulaman - the neighbors might hear).

I glimpsed Virginia again this morning when I found the Commencement Exercise program for Rizal High School, batch 1939. Along with the names and addresses of the graduates, the program listed Life's Plans. The boys mostly wanted to be soldiers or engineers. The girls mostly wanted to be teachers or nurses.

Virginia wanted to be a journalist.

wow vince...

This is beautiful. and the passion for writing runs in the family pala.
Oh sweetie.

I remember when you used to joke about the things your grandma said at the dinner table.

I'm sorry about the news. My deepest condolences.
Thank you so much, ladies.

And, yes, Chockwit: I'll still joke about the things she said aty the dinner table. ^_~
Hmmm... Condolence, men.

And guess what my grandma's name is?

This would have been just beautiful.

But ,having gone to your place, seen your grandma and seen where she lived . . .

. . . it's become poignant.

Condolence ulit, pre.
condolence kuya...

bad ako, nakalimutan ko sabihin sa 1st post ko.
Condelence. Hope you're ok.
Thank you so much for the support and all the kind words, everyone.
you write beautifully, vince.

i'm sorry for your loss. please accept my condolences.
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