ROUGH CUTS| 50 years of a class journey

LATE last week we wrote about our Cebu trip having visited a resort hotel that made us think we were a “foreigner” in our own land. This was because almost all people inside the resort located in a once desolate barangay in our hometown were either Korean or Chinese nationals.

     But no, that visit to the resort was not our main purpose of going to Cebu. Primarily, we visited our siblings and the graveyard of our parents. We also attended the Golden High School Section 1 Class reunion of ours where we were the class president. Our batch is Class ’67.

     We were 40 in the class when we graduated. When we had our Silver reunion in 1992 there were less than 20 of us who made it. But in our January 22, 2017 golden reunion held at the roof top of one of Cebu’s newest hotel additions, there were about 30 who made it. Of course some of those who are now working abroad sent in their husbands or wives as representatives, except for 2 who came. They also foot most of the bills. And we were extremely honored with the attendance of the incumbent school president and three of our high school teachers who are now in their later seventies.

     Reunion attendees from our class include a lawyer, a retired ocean-going vessel captain, engineers, accountants, teachers, retired soldiers, a lay catholic church worker, two journalists, and entrepreneurs engaged in furniture export business. We have a Customs collector classmate who committed to come but did not make it because he had to clean his house from debris and mud brought about by the disastrous floods in Cagayan de Oro City recently.

     Sadly, four from the class have gone to the great beyond ahead of us. But we learned that one class member who was considered the most outspoken in our section had chosen a different ideological path. We last heard of him to be a ranking New People’s Army (NPA) rebel now operating in Samar. Earlier, he was reported to have been killed in an encounter with the military in Negros. Apparently, it was a false report that filtered to the ears of our class members.

     It was a nostalgic gathering with everyone sharing with their successes, little or huge, and even failure in life. But what caught everyone by surprise was the revelation by the oldest among us, a retired constabulary soldier who later joined the Philippine National Police (PNP).

     He told everyone that based on our looks he was certain that we all made good fortunes. But later he claimed that whatever resources we have accumulated over the years were nothing compared to what he had in his life.

     Many among our class members looked intrigued because he was not only the oldest-looking but also the one who seemed to have the least.

     But later the guy gave us a satisfying answer to our unsaid question. He told us that over the last fifty years he had three wives and raised a total of 18 children. And all of them finished school except his youngest who is still in college. He admitted though that some of his children only finished with technical-vocational courses.

   It turned out that he was a widower two times. And his present wife is his third.

   With so little pension he had it is indeed surprising to learn that he was able to see through his families in thick and thin of time.

     Because of that golden reunion experience of ours we are inspired to share some excerpts of the message that we delivered as class president. Perhaps, many people our age and who have attended their own class reunion can relate with us. This maybe is self-serving but we beg for your indulgence. Here are some excerpts:

     “Our graduation ceremony in that memorable month of April 1967 was the very time that we reached our crossroads. It was that moment when each one of us evolved into the persona of Alice, the main character in the story ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

     “Yes, fellow Section 1class members of Batch ’67 who are here tonight, your families, guests, ladies and gentlemen, that event in our lives reminded me of Alice who, when she reached a crossroad in her journey, was at a loss which way she would take. She was figuring it out when a cat came by. Alice asked the cat if it knows the right way to take towards his destination. The cat answered: ‘Where are you going. If you know where then you sure know which way to take’.

     “Today each one of us has a story to tell. That is, whether we have reached the destination we originally intended; whether we have changed our course along our journey and still made it to our second or even third option; or whether some of us totally lost our way because of certain wrong decisions we made, reason why we have remained just circling within the vicinity of our crossroad.

     “I am also certain that from our ranks there are those who are lucky enough to have amassed fortunes that made life easy for them. But there are also those among us who have less in life but rich in terms of family and social relations. Yes, we have our own blessings to count although such blessings are not equally afforded among us.

     “But the question that we may have to ask each and everyone of us before we bade goodbye again is not how much blessings we have accumulated over the years since we finished school. Rather, it should be how we lived our life with all those blessings.”

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