So looking forward to our Class Grand Reunion

Sometimes you never know the value of a moment

until it becomes a memory.

– Dr. Seuss

Our 45th BCS Class ’75 reunion, like most others’, was aimed at revisiting, reuniting and reliving our elementary years, notably the last years (Grade V and Grade VI). But since it was Covided (my new term in this New Normal), my flights and hotel reservations didn’t push through as our grand reunion was postponed. It’s been many months of dreaming — not doing — of our Bacong Central School Class ’75 reunion. So I decided I might as well write about it. So here goes another installment of a series of blog stories on BCS Batch ’75 grand reunion that never was — but adding a twist of what our future reunion might be.

Some members of Batch ’75 at the 2019 Himamat BCS Alumni Night

School reunions are exciting as they bring back many great old memories. A class reunion gives us a chance to reconnect with old friends and re-establish new ones. At our class reunion we reminisce the fun times we had in school. We get to celebrate with people we may not have seen for years. It’s exciting for some, anxiety-inducing for others, and we hope everyone will have fun in the end.

For sure there will be stories related to our after-school games of kayukok: who suffered skinned chins and a few scraped knees and elbows; how Susie came to our graduation with black eye from kayukok; who had concussions and bruises; who bumped into one another; who hid under the main building to avoid being tagged; kinsay sigi lang paduding ala-Casanova instead of truly playing; kinsa tong paspas ug lanat ni Ruby ug Ma. Luz.

And even more, many more, stories to tell about our bato-lata, shatong, dakpanay, hopscotch, lastiko, jolen, paaway ug damang, liktanay sa kamot, sword-fencing, hide-and-seek, and many other games we played in school and after school. Who had lots of bunol playing the dakpanay on top of the wooden desks, jumping from one desk to another, row across row.

Hormones and romance run high when we’re at the tail-end of elementary school. So there will be copious stories of puppy loves and first loves. Our last year in elementary was hormone-rage. Who went out with whom. For sure the romantic tales of Clyde and Nona, Richard and Ruby, Maritess and Pikot, and a few other elementary lovebirds shall be shared and re-shared. Who got rejected by whom. Who never mustered enough courage to ask out any of his crushes. Kinsa tong mga Inday who waited for so long without her crush making any moves for the longest time until we graduated. Then distance and time erased any chances of a hook-up.

These love stories shall be told and re-told with added side-stories. Our re-telling will be embellished by some tales, drama and white lies. A few confessions of unrequited love, too. Now that over 45 years have passed, many boyz and girlz would own up to their shenanigans and romantic disappointments and frustrations. Kinsa tong nangliib sa HE, o nanglili sa girls’ CR.

Most of us were model-thin pre-teens in Grade V and Grade VI. Now we are able to afford good food, and our love for eating good food (translation: lots of fats and sugar and salt) has an unforgiving way of changing our body types and shapes. Most of us now are a few waist sizes up. Before, a few were ugly ducklings who now have become impressive swans even in our late 50s, and it’s very satisfying to show up to our reunion to flaunt the new and much-improved you. Poise and confidence often come with age, so you can walk into our reunion much more easily than into our elementary classrooms.

Unfortunately, most of us have to smile through layers of wrinkles that will be hopelessly hidden by cakes of face creams and make-up. Some will sheepishly smile to hide some missing teeth. No more Colgate smiles. But smiles will definitely still be worn on our faces for the joy of seeing old familiar names (with new, often unfamiliar faces) beats the embarrassment of having aged less gracefully and having weathered through hard times with the harsh effects of financial hardships, illnesses, broken marriages and dysfunctional families, and even tragedies.

Actually there’s some weird satisfaction at seeing wrinkles and more white hair — and for the men, less or no hair — on our classmates. It can make the experience feel less isolating. It helps us come to terms with the fact that aging is an inevitable part of life. We’ll just have to laugh it off — and I’m sure we will.

Our batch T-shirt and banner design for the 2019 BCS Himamat. Designed by Clyde and Fe Maria (?)

Equally satisfying would be showing off your success to the people who treated you badly or shunned you in elementary school or who thought they were better off than you and others because they came from better-off families and favorable family situations. Pre-teen years can be tough and rough. Especially for kids who didn’t quite fit the mold. If you suffered setbacks in elementary and have since built a wonderful, rewarding life for yourself despite the bad experiences, you feel a revenge against those whom you felt looked down or put you down in Grade V or Grade VI. Being successful in later life can feel like the best revenge. Sweet “revenge?”

So reunions can fuel a competitive streak. To minimize this, we should all come in our reunion T-shirts, so nobody tries to outdress one another. This way, trying to score points with old friends who are doing the same thing would be the least of our worries. “Who are you going to impress if everybody is in the parade and nobody is watching the parade?” Huh? So I’ll go for a class reunion t-shirt, OK?

Reunion 2019 T-shirt, modeled by the Tabilons: Celsa and Felisa. The Tabilons, with Emma, Clyde, and FeMa helped organize the 2019 meet-up

The lolas and the lolos will proudly talk about their little (and even the big) apopots. “Apostolate work” will be as lively a topic as our “maintenance meds.” While some had challenging parenthood, playing grandpa or gramma can be very rewarding. We can spoil our apopots without having to be extremely worried about the long-term effects. The apo’s parents should “fix” those. So expect the sharing of “spoiling techniques.” But please tone down the bragging since many of us don’t have or can’t have grandkiddos.

When careers, kids and wayward spouse, and family responsibilities, and when financial challenges come along, chances to let your hair down can be few and far between. Oftentimes, adult responsibilities spoil our youthful fun. Our BCS ’75 reunion can offer opportunities to loosen up and party liberally. It can give us the avenue to dance the night away. Rather than sharing the dance floor with a crowd of college kids at a nightclub, or the teenagers at a barrio dance, we’ll be surrounded by people our own age rocking out to our songs that we haven’t heard in years.

Never mind if our left foot steps on the right foot (ours or someone else’s), the chacha and the rhumba be modified, but we won’t give a damn because we’ll take the dance floor in spasmic frenzy and maddening gyrations called seniors’ dancing. Or whatever will be our variations of disco dancing. Of course, katong anad pasadsad sa una pa lang sa mga bayle sa kabaryuhan, like Maritess, Renato, Carlito, Carlos and a few others can still bust some moves. You may join me in watching with envy and amusement the dancers and wannabe dancers bust their moves on the dance floor.

Hey, karaoke might still be a hit. I can see Dudz, Alfredo, Clyde, Maritess, Lani and those blessed with big pipes in our group fighting for space by the karaoke machine. Yeah, we should rent a karaoke machine! Mura lagi unya ug kanyores. Sagdi ra ug magkayabag.

Our reunion can show ‘truer’ glimpses into former classmates’ lives. If we’ve ever wondered where people ended up and what they have done with their lives, this is our chance to find out. It’s fun to see what has become of them. Seeing their posts on Facebook or chatting online isn’t the same as seeing them in the flesh and catching up.

Person to person interaction beats Zoom or Facebook posts and chats. Scrolling down an endless stream of status updates, family photos and videos of our former elementary classmates makes us want to see them in person more, not less. I’m sure I’m not just speaking for myself here.

Facebook merely gives us a snapshot of the highlights and the bragging moments. C’mmon, Maritess can’t be cooking and baking all the time; Susie can’t be working on her sermons and insurance sale pitch non-stop; Richard can’t just be posing with his handsome sons and captivating daughter wherever they go gallivanting here and abroad; Ma. Luz can’t be posing with her beautiful family 24-7, or anyone of our classmates for that matter. Yes, I write, read, travel, and garden, but, no, don’t you ever believe those are the only things that preoccupy me. What former classmates share on Facebook are just highlights and low points in their lives, but there’s a lot more in-between. For most, Facebook posts merely show off the good and the great things, hardly the sufferings and the tearful mishaps and life challenges we all go through. We’re all the same, give or take a little. And yet, as hard as it may be to believe, some of our former classmates don’t even maintain social networking accounts. I should know: I’ve trolled everyone in our batch as much as I can. Yet I can’t find more than half of our former classmates.

Batch ’75 at the 2019 BCS Himamat street parade

If we haven’t seen our elementary school friends since graduation, there’s no better place and time to catch up than at the grand reunion.

At our age, we’ll also be talking of illnesses and sicknesses and medications and dispensing medical advice as if we were doctors, RNs, and pharmacists or herbolaryos. The maintenance drugs, the frequency of gulping in Aspirins, the brands of hypertensive and diabetic pills we maintain, and the insulin injection doses we take will be top topics. Hey, the virtues of Salonpas and Efficascent Oil will also pepper our discussions and laughter.

Yet through all these negative if not ambivalent aspects and reasons to have a class reunion, we honestly just want to meet old friends. We will try to make old acquaintances become part of our expanding circle of close friends in the later decades of our life and living. While in school, we were once tight-knit and we could count on each other. It is good to know that we still can. We were good people then and we still are. Our reunion will validate all these.

We forget how much we miss our friends until we see one another again. The process becomes a cycle from one occasion of meeting and forgetting, until next time. We just want the occasions for sharing laughter, food, drinks, and even stories and gossips all in person to punctuate our growing-old years now and then. More often the better.

I remember one of the most substantial long-term studies and researches published in the Harvard Gazette on Health and Medicine suggested that the quality of interpersonal relationships is one of the most significant predictors of our longevity. GOOD GENES ARE NICE, BUT JOY IS BETTER, its writeup title screamed. I purposely included a link to a summary of that study in case you are interested. It’s true: Taking care of our body is important, but tending to our relationships is a form of self-care, too. Good relationships can add years to our productive and enjoyable years of living and of being. And reunions can be a great vehicle for creating and recreating such relationships. It’s never too late to be nice to ourselves — we owe it to ourselves.

And yet sadly, some of our classmates have left us far too soon. Several others have lost a partner along the way. Those who taught us are also gone. But the lessons we learned from them remain a part of us. All of them are with us in spirit on the occasion of our class reunion. So, we shall remember. We might shed some tears as we honor their memories.

Nonetheless, I can see myself laughing out loud in our grand reunion. Even though we may show signs of senior moments, there are just too many people with partial recollections of funny events way back when to keep the laughter bus rolling. The recounting of events may not be accurate but they sure will be funny…at least to us. There will always be something therapeutic to remember and laugh out loud. Laughter is the best medicine after all. It is good for the soul and is another great reason for joining us in our coming grand reunion. We shall joyfully catch up on the juicy details of our former classmates’ lives, and partake of that rarest and most sustaining of human delicacies: a slice of real life together, told and retold, shared and embellished yet remains a mirror of our own life — somehow.

Yes, honestly, I’m so looking forward to our next grand reunion!

Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. – Dr. Seuss Our 45th BCS Class ’75 reunion, like most others’, was aimed at revisiting, reuniting and reliving our elementary years, notably the last years (Grade V and Grade VI). But since it was Covided (my new term in this […]

Sometimes you never know the value of a moment

until it becomes a memory.

– Dr. Seuss

Our 45th BCS Class ’75 reunion, like most others’, was aimed at revisiting, reuniting and reliving our elementary years, notably the last years (Grade V and Grade VI). But since it was Covided (my new term in this New Normal), my flights and hotel reservations didn’t push through as our grand reunion was postponed. It’s been many months of dreaming — not doing — of our Bacong Central School Class ’75 reunion. So I decided I might as well write about it. So here goes another installment of a series of blog stories on BCS Batch ’75 grand reunion that never was — but adding a twist of what our future reunion might be.

Some members of Batch ’75 at the 2019 Himamat BCS Alumni Night

School reunions are exciting as they bring back many great old memories. A class reunion gives us a chance to reconnect with old friends and re-establish new ones. At our class reunion we reminisce the fun times we had in school. We get to celebrate with people we may not have seen for years. It’s exciting for some, anxiety-inducing for others, and we hope everyone will have fun in the end.

For sure there will be stories related to our after-school games of kayukok: who suffered skinned chins and a few scraped knees and elbows; how Susie came to our graduation with black eye from kayukok; who had concussions and bruises; who bumped into one another; who hid under the main building to avoid being tagged; kinsay sigi lang paduding ala-Casanova instead of truly playing; kinsa tong paspas ug lanat ni Ruby ug Ma. Luz.

And even more, many more, stories to tell about our bato-lata, shatong, dakpanay, hopscotch, lastiko, jolen, paaway ug damang, liktanay sa kamot, sword-fencing, hide-and-seek, and many other games we played in school and after school. Who had lots of bunol playing the dakpanay on top of the wooden desks, jumping from one desk to another, row across row.

Hormones and romance run high when we’re at the tail-end of elementary school. So there will be copious stories of puppy loves and first loves. Our last year in elementary was hormone-rage. Who went out with whom. For sure the romantic tales of Clyde and Nona, Richard and Ruby, Maritess and Pikot, and a few other elementary lovebirds shall be shared and re-shared. Who got rejected by whom. Who never mustered enough courage to ask out any of his crushes. Kinsa tong mga Inday who waited for so long without her crush making any moves for the longest time until we graduated. Then distance and time erased any chances of a hook-up.

These love stories shall be told and re-told with added side-stories. Our re-telling will be embellished by some tales, drama and white lies. A few confessions of unrequited love, too. Now that over 45 years have passed, many boyz and girlz would own up to their shenanigans and romantic disappointments and frustrations. Kinsa tong nangliib sa HE, o nanglili sa girls’ CR.

Most of us were model-thin pre-teens in Grade V and Grade VI. Now we are able to afford good food, and our love for eating good food (translation: lots of fats and sugar and salt) has an unforgiving way of changing our body types and shapes. Most of us now are a few waist sizes up. Before, a few were ugly ducklings who now have become impressive swans even in our late 50s, and it’s very satisfying to show up to our reunion to flaunt the new and much-improved you. Poise and confidence often come with age, so you can walk into our reunion much more easily than into our elementary classrooms.

Unfortunately, most of us have to smile through layers of wrinkles that will be hopelessly hidden by cakes of face creams and make-up. Some will sheepishly smile to hide some missing teeth. No more Colgate smiles. But smiles will definitely still be worn on our faces for the joy of seeing old familiar names (with new, often unfamiliar faces) beats the embarrassment of having aged less gracefully and having weathered through hard times with the harsh effects of financial hardships, illnesses, broken marriages and dysfunctional families, and even tragedies.

Actually there’s some weird satisfaction at seeing wrinkles and more white hair — and for the men, less or no hair — on our classmates. It can make the experience feel less isolating. It helps us come to terms with the fact that aging is an inevitable part of life. We’ll just have to laugh it off — and I’m sure we will.

Our batch T-shirt and banner design for the 2019 BCS Himamat. Designed by Clyde and Fe Maria (?)

Equally satisfying would be showing off your success to the people who treated you badly or shunned you in elementary school or who thought they were better off than you and others because they came from better-off families and favorable family situations. Pre-teen years can be tough and rough. Especially for kids who didn’t quite fit the mold. If you suffered setbacks in elementary and have since built a wonderful, rewarding life for yourself despite the bad experiences, you feel a revenge against those whom you felt looked down or put you down in Grade V or Grade VI. Being successful in later life can feel like the best revenge. Sweet “revenge?”

So reunions can fuel a competitive streak. To minimize this, we should all come in our reunion T-shirts, so nobody tries to outdress one another. This way, trying to score points with old friends who are doing the same thing would be the least of our worries. “Who are you going to impress if everybody is in the parade and nobody is watching the parade?” Huh? So I’ll go for a class reunion t-shirt, OK?

Reunion 2019 T-shirt, modeled by the Tabilons: Celsa and Felisa. The Tabilons, with Emma, Clyde, and FeMa helped organize the 2019 meet-up

The lolas and the lolos will proudly talk about their little (and even the big) apopots. “Apostolate work” will be as lively a topic as our “maintenance meds.” While some had challenging parenthood, playing grandpa or gramma can be very rewarding. We can spoil our apopots without having to be extremely worried about the long-term effects. The apo’s parents should “fix” those. So expect the sharing of “spoiling techniques.” But please tone down the bragging since many of us don’t have or can’t have grandkiddos.

When careers, kids and wayward spouse, and family responsibilities, and when financial challenges come along, chances to let your hair down can be few and far between. Oftentimes, adult responsibilities spoil our youthful fun. Our BCS ’75 reunion can offer opportunities to loosen up and party liberally. It can give us the avenue to dance the night away. Rather than sharing the dance floor with a crowd of college kids at a nightclub, or the teenagers at a barrio dance, we’ll be surrounded by people our own age rocking out to our songs that we haven’t heard in years.

Never mind if our left foot steps on the right foot (ours or someone else’s), the chacha and the rhumba be modified, but we won’t give a damn because we’ll take the dance floor in spasmic frenzy and maddening gyrations called seniors’ dancing. Or whatever will be our variations of disco dancing. Of course, katong anad pasadsad sa una pa lang sa mga bayle sa kabaryuhan, like Maritess, Renato, Carlito, Carlos and a few others can still bust some moves. You may join me in watching with envy and amusement the dancers and wannabe dancers bust their moves on the dance floor.

Hey, karaoke might still be a hit. I can see Dudz, Alfredo, Clyde, Maritess, Lani and those blessed with big pipes in our group fighting for space by the karaoke machine. Yeah, we should rent a karaoke machine! Mura lagi unya ug kanyores. Sagdi ra ug magkayabag.

Our reunion can show ‘truer’ glimpses into former classmates’ lives. If we’ve ever wondered where people ended up and what they have done with their lives, this is our chance to find out. It’s fun to see what has become of them. Seeing their posts on Facebook or chatting online isn’t the same as seeing them in the flesh and catching up.

Person to person interaction beats Zoom or Facebook posts and chats. Scrolling down an endless stream of status updates, family photos and videos of our former elementary classmates makes us want to see them in person more, not less. I’m sure I’m not just speaking for myself here.

Facebook merely gives us a snapshot of the highlights and the bragging moments. C’mmon, Maritess can’t be cooking and baking all the time; Susie can’t be working on her sermons and insurance sale pitch non-stop; Richard can’t just be posing with his handsome sons and captivating daughter wherever they go gallivanting here and abroad; Ma. Luz can’t be posing with her beautiful family 24-7, or anyone of our classmates for that matter. Yes, I write, read, travel, and garden, but, no, don’t you ever believe those are the only things that preoccupy me. What former classmates share on Facebook are just highlights and low points in their lives, but there’s a lot more in-between. For most, Facebook posts merely show off the good and the great things, hardly the sufferings and the tearful mishaps and life challenges we all go through. We’re all the same, give or take a little. And yet, as hard as it may be to believe, some of our former classmates don’t even maintain social networking accounts. I should know: I’ve trolled everyone in our batch as much as I can. Yet I can’t find more than half of our former classmates.

Batch ’75 at the 2019 BCS Himamat street parade

If we haven’t seen our elementary school friends since graduation, there’s no better place and time to catch up than at the grand reunion.

At our age, we’ll also be talking of illnesses and sicknesses and medications and dispensing medical advice as if we were doctors, RNs, and pharmacists or herbolaryos. The maintenance drugs, the frequency of gulping in Aspirins, the brands of hypertensive and diabetic pills we maintain, and the insulin injection doses we take will be top topics. Hey, the virtues of Salonpas and Efficascent Oil will also pepper our discussions and laughter.

Yet through all these negative if not ambivalent aspects and reasons to have a class reunion, we honestly just want to meet old friends. We will try to make old acquaintances become part of our expanding circle of close friends in the later decades of our life and living. While in school, we were once tight-knit and we could count on each other. It is good to know that we still can. We were good people then and we still are. Our reunion will validate all these.

We forget how much we miss our friends until we see one another again. The process becomes a cycle from one occasion of meeting and forgetting, until next time. We just want the occasions for sharing laughter, food, drinks, and even stories and gossips all in person to punctuate our growing-old years now and then. More often the better.

I remember one of the most substantial long-term studies and researches published in the Harvard Gazette on Health and Medicine suggested that the quality of interpersonal relationships is one of the most significant predictors of our longevity. GOOD GENES ARE NICE, BUT JOY IS BETTER, its writeup title screamed. I purposely included a link to a summary of that study in case you are interested. It’s true: Taking care of our body is important, but tending to our relationships is a form of self-care, too. Good relationships can add years to our productive and enjoyable years of living and of being. And reunions can be a great vehicle for creating and recreating such relationships. It’s never too late to be nice to ourselves — we owe it to ourselves.

And yet sadly, some of our classmates have left us far too soon. Several others have lost a partner along the way. Those who taught us are also gone. But the lessons we learned from them remain a part of us. All of them are with us in spirit on the occasion of our class reunion. So, we shall remember. We might shed some tears as we honor their memories.

Nonetheless, I can see myself laughing out loud in our grand reunion. Even though we may show signs of senior moments, there are just too many people with partial recollections of funny events way back when to keep the laughter bus rolling. The recounting of events may not be accurate but they sure will be funny…at least to us. There will always be something therapeutic to remember and laugh out loud. Laughter is the best medicine after all. It is good for the soul and is another great reason for joining us in our coming grand reunion. We shall joyfully catch up on the juicy details of our former classmates’ lives, and partake of that rarest and most sustaining of human delicacies: a slice of real life together, told and retold, shared and embellished yet remains a mirror of our own life — somehow.

Yes, honestly, I’m so looking forward to our next grand reunion!

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