I’VE BEEN such a blabbermouth about eclectic, sometimes sophomoric topics that it would be a travesty to my frivolous blogging if I didn’t, if only once, mention my folks as a couple.
I know history can never be changed (sorry time-travel devotees), and what’s done is done, but sometimes I try to revisit the scant facts I know about how my folks met (reminiscent of the movie Serendipity, for you Kate Beckinsale die-hards out there), just to give myself a shiver, knowing that a slight misstep or two towards their fateful introduction might have produced very different results for five middle-aged men (me and my bros), and I might not even be sitting here blogging this today, if you know what I mean.
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Joe was around 26 when he met Linda, who was around 19. Probably only two people can confirm it now, but it was Linda’s dad who introduced them; all three worked in the same company, a leather-goods manufacturer on Rizal Avenue Manila, in 1958. I’m biased, but the pictures show they were a strikingly good-looking couple.
Again I never thought of asking either of them, or if I did they were probably circumspect in their respective replies, so as far as I’m concerned, at least for Linda, each was the first serious relationship for the other. I won’t say they had similar personalities, because they didn’t, but they didn’t have contrasting personalities either. It’s safe to say they complemented each other, both being ambiverts, mildly gregarious people who wanted to get ahead in life and were pursuing the Filipino dream.
Could they do this while raising a family? Without a doubt, for sure would be their answer, by the way the married soon after a short courtship, sealing the deal in Sta Cruz Church and their firstborn Tim coming nine months after their honeymoon in Baguio. Judging from their pics, they went to quite a few places and did the rounds around the country, enjoying each other’s company before the brood that was to come.
And come they did, Donald barely a year after Tim, Noel (that’s me) four years after that, and George another four years after that. Jude the youngest was born three years after George, and as the odds of having a daughter seemed more and more distant with each son born, they stopped at Son Number Five.
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Five sons, seven grandchildren, and 53 years later, many relationships have blossomed and floundered, administrations established and torn down, empires built and crumbled, showbiz careers launched and died, but the partnership called Joe and Linda is still standing. Some of their contemporaries are still there right along with them, but very few have retained the friendship, passion and affection that their marriage enjoys.
I don’t just say this because I’m one of the products of that relationship. There are of course arguments, philosophical discussions, the inevitable highs and lows of any union, but on the whole they are remarkably blessed to have continued bringing out the best in each other. I wish I could avoid the use of cliches like that last one, but they do make each other look good, complement each other’s strengths and don’t hesitate to admonish the other’s shortcomings.
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It was a sad goodbye when my son and daughter left the Philippines last month, although a new life awaited them in NZ. One of the sadder goodbyes they had to make was to my folks, who had become a sort-of second set of parents to them, in the absence of their mom and stepdad, and dad and stepmom on the other side of the pond. Ganda and Bunso (pictured above) needed their support and guidance, and my folks enjoyed their company and seeing them grow into young adults.
In a strange way it’s one of the best legacies they could leave across generations, giving a part of their experience and generosity to their departing grandkids. Without my asking them, I’m sure they left lasting impressions on Ganda and Bunso, who have never stopped marvelling at their enduring love.
I wish I could be there with you Joe and Linda, happy happy 53rd wedding anniversary from five grateful sons, seven appreciative grandchildren, and an ever-growing circle of family and friends. Love you always Mom and Dad!
- The last day before the rest of your life (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- before boy meets (First) world / a sleepover at Papa’s cave (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- the last few hours before the rest of your life (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- bon voyage, congrats and happy birthday Ganda ! (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Yet another day for the rest of your life (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Baguio City: The Summer Capital of the Philippines? (flauntingitcharlton.wordpress.com)
- Memories From the Philippines – Getting Acclimated (frommyheart2u.wordpress.com)
- Bayaning third world. (pointlessparanoia.wordpress.com)
- Jeremy Renner raves about the Philippines (entertainment.inquirer.net)
- At Home Pranking With Kate Beckinsale (videogum.com)
- How do we know time travelers aren’t constantly changing the past? (io9.com)