Monday, November 24, 2008

REUNION JITTERS REPRISED

Let me reprint this old, old post, now that my grand high school reunion is really approaching.


I have signed up to attend my high school grand reunion .. and things have never been the same again.

All because I will have a fit if no one recognized me when I entered the reunion hall.

I have begun to work out and diet. Although there’s no way I can get back my lampayatot look way back when, I should at least get rid of my spreading middle spread. I need to recover my waistline — even if I had to hire D.I. Trece or the NBI to find it.

I am letting my hair grow. I have months to get back my adolescent hair style — waist length, twisted into pigtails. I’d like to dare frisky Nelson Pangan to pull them again — the way he used to before Homeroom. And surely, I can whack him one — now that he shouldn’t be able to run as fast. I have a tiny problem though. My hair has gone from “betcha-by-golly-wow” thick to “son-of-a-gun” thin. And shall I wear my bangs again? Someone, please tell me if there’s a law against a golden girl trying to look like Tessie Agana when she was Roberta.

I have toyed with the idea of wearing my old Torres High uniform. Not that I could squeeze into any of them by any contraction of the imagination. But well — a modista should be able to sew a maroon skirt and a gold blouse to fit my present XX size, but sorry, sobrang sorry — though I am willing to die for my alma mater — well, almost — I’d die first before I wore that sorry color combination again.

I now look at my reflection every which way, 24/7. Now, if mirrors could complain! I see tell-tale lines and ridges even if I didn’t turn the dresser lights on. Shall I call them laugh lines? But they don’t go away when I am through laughing.

My mirror says I am no longer the “tiny wisp of a campus leader” Rolly Lampa wrote about in the graduation annual. Nor the apple-cheeked girl Romi Mananquil sketched once for a Torres Torch story.

Oh, well! Who will recognize me now? I have gone to pot.

Or have I?

I probe deep into myself, the essential me that mirrors do not reflect.

I am still the same person who loves sunsets, sunflowers, the smell of mangoes ripening and adobo simmering, who loves to read a good story and to write one. My favorite people are still those who are bubbly and witty and funny — like my Ninas barkada Tessie, Pining, Cora, Lolit, Jing and Sol — as I can never be.

I still don’t know a lot of things and have disappointed my kids by saying “I don’t know” so many times. I still can’t swim, dance, sing, ride a bike, or drive a car to save my life. I am still searching for the meaning of life and only know it isn’t just a big house or a sleek car or an impressive title or trophies or plaques.

I am still shy and clueless and sometimes clueless about being clueless. The only difference is that I have learned the art of not showing it.

I am still lampa. The one who the other team left for last at touchball games because she was slow and bungling and easy to hit. The one who always got to be “it” in tumbang preso and patintero games. The quintessential Binibining Atsay. Only that has evolved today as the “Quintessential Pulot Mom” from the badminton and pingpong games I still try to play in a huffy-puffy way.

I am still the girl who can never find the X in the simplest of equations. Over whom Miss Tienzo — for all her awards as outstanding Math teacher — shed tears of frustration. But also the girl who loved to paraphrase Shelley and Byron and Dickinson and was the darling of Mrs. Timario, Mrs. Alejandro, Mrs. de la Cruz, and other English teachers.

I am still hungry for affection, praise, approval, still pikon over slights — real or imagined. Still trying to be the best mom, wife, sister, friend, worker, neighbor I can be. Still working on relationships that have gone awry.

And yes, I am the person about to attend her high school reunion with a mixture of breathlessness and dread.

(My dear buddies: This is why I am on a semi-sabbatical from blogging -- working on "JUBILATION 2009: the best is yet to come" -- meant to be a yearbook like no other. Will see you all soon.- anna)


31 comments:

noemi said...

No wonder I haven't heard from you. Busy for the reunion. I have attended only 1 reunion since I graduated. I don't have pleasant high school memories so I just want to leave it at that. But maybe one day, I will go past it. Hope you have fun.

gibbs cadiz said...

go ANNA! :)

Rudy said...

Save for a few wrinkles here and there (but who doesn't have one these days?) you changed very little, you still look the same as you did in the first photo... sans the braids. :-D

katcarneo said...

Oh, I'm quite excited for you. And I love your old pictures---so dalagang pilipina!

I hope you have a blast seeing all those people from a long time ago. I couldn't help but chuckle at your post because I too, have struggled with Math in high school, but was the favorite student in my English classes. Hay, tama yung sabi nila na pag marunong sa English mahina sa Math, and my brother is quite the opposite.

On the 27th of December I will also be attending a high school reunion, but it was only six years ago when I bid my high school farewell. Like you, I'm on a diet. I got a test haircut, and is planning to get some chemical treatments to tame my forever frizzy locks. My biggest concern, however, is how my old classmates would think of me now that I'm living a pretty simple and quiet life. Although I haven't had much time to make something of myself, I'm quite expected to amount to something, well, big.

"I am still searching for the meaning of life and only know it isn’t just a big house or a sleek car or an impressive title or trophies or plaques." Thank you for this, this line really is helpful.

Nyl said...

no wonder you have a very good command of the English language.

i haven't tried attending school reunions and i wouldn't even try i guess. puro lang kasi pabunggahan mangyayari dun according to an old classmate's feedback.

tarheelrambler said...

This is a fabulous reflection on tying the present to the past. You put words to the feelings so many of us 'Baby Boomers' deal with on a daily basis.

I hope your reunion goes well, and I can't wait to read about it. You are a very good writer!

Sexy Mom said...

there's my friend, Annamanila, as pretty as can be--see the pictures! hope your HS reunion be as grand as planned. lapit na yan, and before you know it, it will just be again another memory, another blog piece. i guess the preparations are equally as memorable as the great event.

rheiboy17 said...

wow naman. high school is the best part of my academic life - barkada, kulitan, aral na walang stress at siempre ligawan. hehehe.

haaay, high school days. nakakamiss!

kathy said...

I could almost feel your frenzy and excitement over the reunion!
I love the photos you posted! Waist-length hair? Who would've known! It's so nice to see the "girl" known only to us as annamanila.

I'm sure your reunion will be an event to remember. Have a blast, and let us know how it went!

Rudy said...

Looking at that old picture of yours, I now realize that you haven't changed much, feature-wise. Now that's what I call growing old gracefully...

Leah said...

What a beauty! Ganda naman talaga.

Marami ka bang pinaiyak noon?

I am sure your reunion will be a blast. Take care Annamanila and I miss you.

febeth said...

ENjoy your reunion.It is a time to reminisce about your youth.

julie said...

I'm exited for you too :)

You looks so pretty back then, you still are today. I miss you na.

Gina said...

What a pretty lady Ms. Annamanila IS!

Enjoy the reunion!

karen said...

wow! you look so pretty! like a sampaguita pictures movie star! =)

karen
http://www.growingupwithbea.blogspot.com/

imom said...

Hi annamanila,

I love the old photos. I like how classy those studio shots are... Those kind are my fave among my mom's photos hehe.

Good luck with the reunion preps. I hear it's one helluva week-long GRAND reunion! :D See yah!

pining said...

oh my, you're certainly a looker; mind, you still are (I don't know why you're so worried about how you look, but then again, who wouldn't be?), you look fab!
I just realized that my mother finished high school there, too; just don't know what year.
wishing you a grand time in your reunion and I'm sure you'll be the belle of the ball :-)

vernaloo said...

oh my God Myrna! you are so pretty in your pictures. C'mon don't fret about your looks now. YOu aged gracefully :)

have a good splendid time!

exskindiver said...

miss you MC,
but i too have not been writing much.
love this post.
and i think it would be such a hit if in fact you wore your uniform.
i think i will wear mine on my 25th.

SASSY MOM said...

That's sooo exciting. The uniform would be a knock out. Good luck!

raqgold said...

oh thanks for sharing the memories and esp the photos! i love looking at them.

how was it then?

have a merry christmas!

Heart of Rachel said...

Hope the much anticipated reunion will be a great success. I hope you'll have a wonderful time seeing old friends and classmates.

Wishing you a joyful Christmas season. God bless.

myepinoy said...

Maligayang Pasko sa iyo!

Major Tom said...

You were that gorgeous madame; and even upto now. Good luck sa reunion ninyo...

Merry Xmas to you and your family and advance Happy New Year.

sheilamarie said...

Anna, have fun with the reunion and in meeting old friends...

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!

Belle said...

Happy New Year Anna! you looked great, and you still do.

Sexy Mom said...

belated Merry Christmas, dear!

lazarus said...

happy new year to you, Anna! Just by reading this post, I can see your excitement in your HS reunion. Hope you had a blast! High school reunions are dreadful for some.

Abaniko said...

Happy New Year!

Heart of Rachel said...

Wishing you a wonderful New Year! May 2009 be a great year for you and your family. God bless.

DepEd teachers said...

How old you here?

will you exchange link with me?

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