06 May 2009
Thank you Ate Lou for helping me remember Lola Ybing's second death anniversary. In a way, you have resurrected an unfinished journal entry which I have written during her wake.
I wrote then about a regret that all of us, her grandchildren, are probably sharing in today--the regret of not having the time to get to know her more. Mine was compounded by a lot of things that I have learned about her that week. The first surprise, among many things, was that she was one of the oldest alumni of St. Louis Girls' High School. The fact that she actually went to high school at a time when girls had difficult access to education was surprising enough for me. But that she has been with Girls' High --the school where most of her granddaughters have been formed and have graduated -- completely blew my mind. Papa, our Titos and Titas had no inkling about this at all. When asked why she kept silent about it all these years, she simply said that she didn't think it was important.
Not important??? A young girl from the unknown barrio of Sudipen in the 1930's entering a private exclusive school for girls? -- this is anything but unimportant. But then, if we think about how she had to deal with the challenges of poverty that surrounded her as a young wife and mother of six, it's not so hard to understand why she deemed this detail about her life as irrelevant.
Not only was she a private school girl. She was also one of the daughters of a man whom the barrio honored as their "mayor" in the pre-war days. (Remember, their baranggay now used to be the old center of the town). In a way, she must have been like a princess of the datu. No wonder I've always sensed an air of elegance about her - in the way she curls up her long her hair into a bun, in the gentle way she walks and talks.
In a lot of ways, I can see this gentleness and elegance passed on to our parents, titos and titas. And I'd like to believe that her grandchildren have at least a drop of that in their blood, too. We may have not known much about her and what kind of woman she was in her lifetime, but still we can show traces of her footsteps in the gentle way we deal with our lives.
We miss you lola.