Visitors from Ten Years Ago

They say one’s wildest memories are those experienced in high school. The very important decisions in one’s life on the other hand are made in college. But what about grade school? Simple: It’s just the beginning of everything.

Last week, I was able to relive at least the very last year of my grade school life with a small get-together with some Grade 6-Fortitude classmates from Holy Spirit Academy of Malolos (HSAM). It’s been exactly one year (and fine, two months) since I got my second of five diplomas (first was Prep, go figure the next three).

So what’s with the sudden get-together? First a small backgrounder. 6-Fortitude is the star section of HSAM. As far as I am aware of, each class is noted for the very small quantity of boys and large number of girls. Proof:

For batch 2001, there were just eight of us boys. First vague memory: we were called “the eight beatitudes.”

So the reason for the get-together. Well after grade six, we all parted ways. A few flew abroad for their high school education. A number transfered to other schools (me included). A good half or so (especially the girls) stayed. As for those who studied overseas, one of them is my classmate Kevin Roxas. He’s the one beside me in the picture above. So, after ten years, he went back to the Philippines for a quick vacation.

To my left (right in the picture) is Mark Liongson. Just call him Kookaboora or Chongchong, whichever fits your attitude. Anyway, back to the topic — Kevin was (is) our resident math wiz during grade school (second vague memory for you). Now, he’s a fellow scientist at UCLA. He’s a microbiologist doing research there. Talk about sudden shifts in interests. I for one, wrote “priest” in my “ambition” in our grade school yearbook. Now I’m a chemist, no intentions or whatsoever of living a celibate life. I was a woman-hater back then. Now, as the song goes, girls, girls I do adore. Hahaha. (But to be fair, Science was easily my favorite subject then.)

The night went pretty simple. We ate at Adarna restaurant at Kalayaan Ave. Oh, by we I mean: Andreo Calonzo, Paula Punzalan, Lucci, Javier, Jackie Arsenal, me, Mark, and Kevin. So actually, half of the boys’ population was present.

The night was all about remembering the joys of grade school. Good thing my classmates have vivid memories, or maybe not haha (I’m not going to say why as I’d be digging my own grave if I were to do so). It’s unbelievable that a decade has easily come and gone. This millennium is not that new anymore. EDSA Dos happened a long time ago already. Pokémon is still a big hit though, but I have to admit, I may be too old for it already.

Come to think of it, I became a godfather last November 2000, big eleven years ago. Now my Chi-niece Franzine Chee is a big pre-teen already. She’ll be the one to experience the final year of her grade school life this June. How fast.

Good times with good people. Barely heard from them within this ten years. The time for catching-up was scarce. Wish the clock stopped. Then it will be an entire night of reliving memories. Vague and vivid.

Then, as we did ten years ago, it’s time for good-byes again as we individually went on our way home around past midnight. We tried to stall our time at Bubble Tea Timog though, the consequence for me was having to take a half-sick-leave the next day at work.

The night ended though. Morning was steadily creeping in with the great decrease in the volume of vehicles along EDSA. We had to head back home. Same goes for Kevin, who flew back to California last Wednesday.

Next year, I’ll be embarking on a journey to the United States, hopefully, for a doctorate in chemistry. It has been my long dream to get three letters attached after my surname. Time really flies, sometimes, even when you’re not having fun.

I don’t know when our next grade school get-together will be. It might be a year from now. Or five. Or ten. Or thirty-seven. Definitely it will come. But what we had last week, was one of a kind. As early-tweenagers, we had the perfect opportunity to dig ten years’ worth of memories together. How we will be doing it in the future will be TOTALLY in a different manner. Too bad my other classmates were not able to make it. But I’m looking forward to hearing from them after that x number of years, in a bigger Grade 6-Fortitude Batch 2001 reunion.

Moral: There are memories which you can’t forget. You have to hold on to them as if you’re on the verge of life and death. These small vital signs are part of what will shape your life in the years to come. Note, it’s just “part” — you still have your high school, college, and post-graduate education to make your life an awesome literary masterpiece. Or a Nobel-worthy research, for scientists like me and Kevin.

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