L – U – C – Y, Lucy, yes, I am Lucy to my friends and acquaintances; to erase antiquity from Lucing as I was fondly called by parents and close relatives, that nickname having been given to me after I was christened Lucila on the day of my baptism.
The streets were beginning to liven up at early dawn in Cavinti, Laguna one Sunday morning in May. Most of the inhabitants were en route to their farms as it was harvest season. The more religious individuals were getting ready to go to church, while there were still others leisurely enjoying their cozy beds listening to the crowing cocks in the early morn.
However, in a house on Bonifacio Street in the aforementioned town, a woman was in bed, pushing her first baby into the world. A ‘hilot’ (quack midwife) was listening to a heartbeat through her ears while she moved her head around the woman’s belly. She felt another pain coming. It was just after seven o’clock in the morning when my mother went into labor. She braced her feet against the bodies of her husband and the ‘hilot’.
“Oh, it’s only the pace of the events; nothing can make it faster or slower,” the ‘hilot’ said to the woman going through a lot of pain. “Ten minutes more,” the ‘hilot’ addressed the woman again. Then, most amazingly, the baby slid out to be one of the human beings in the room. “She is a baby girl,” the ‘hilot’ announced.
I was that baby girl. I was born on May 25, 1924. My parents were Magno Conde and Felisa Esguerra. But please be informed that on official record, my birthday is May 27, 1924. This, I learned only when I was employed by the Bureau of Public Schools in 1945 as I was required to submit a birth certificate. For one reason or another, neither my mother nor father could account for the mistake. Since then, I had no choice but to abide with what is officially recorded, May 27 as my birthday.
Today, May 27, 2012, I am 88. I do not deny my age. I am not young anymore. I am old, and growing old is a natural process. Thank God that at this age, I am still in good health and can go about.
Think of it this way. I started to go to school at the age of seven. I was in school for more than 10 years because all schools closed on December 8, 1941 when World War II broke out in the Pacific. I was in first year college, then. The war lasted for four years more or less.
There was a shortage of teachers in Cavinti when the schools re-opened, hence, I was called to teach in the elementary school on September 10, 1945 despite my lack of college education required of a teacher. I finished my BSE degree during Saturday/Summer classes.
I spent forty-four years in the teaching profession, starting as a classroom teacher, then a guidance counselor/coordinator and retired as a school principal. I retired from the government service on May 27, 1989.
In between the above-mentioned span of time, many unforgetable occurences transpired. On March 1, 1949, Macario Oblena and I exchanged marriage vows at the Santa Cruz Catholic church in Santa Cruz, Laguna. We have had two children, a male and a female. We were a happy family then, until September 21, 1973 when my husband passed away, leaving me two teenagers to provide for. Thank God, the two of them were able to go through college.
With my two children enjoying their careers, I saw myself gradually undergoing some transformation. It was on February 27, 1997 that I navigated truly through a wind of change. I joined my daughter in the United States. I was excited to explore the world I knew nothing about except the information I gathered from books. The world isn’t the mystery it used to be. The four seasons in the western hemisphere has changed my part of the world, and my outlook on life.
And, just when things were looking as if I can spend my golden years quietly while enjoying my retirement years, a tragedy struck. My younger son, actually the younger of my two children, met an untimely and tragic death on October 10, 2005.
My life changed, not just because of age and experience. Today, we are in the internet/.com era. Besides, there is the Facebook, the Twitter and the Smartphones.
‘No one is too old to learn,’ I always tell that to myself. Following that philosophy of mine, I learned how to send email when I was 75 and sending SMS or text messages when I was 80. To young people, sending text messages and emails are normal things, but for me, it is an accomplishment.
At 83, I started blogging, something that teens and the following generations love to do. But at this age, if I am not the oldest blogger in the world, I’m sure I must be one of the oldest.
I joined Facebook in March, 2010.
I have my own cell phone and carry it with me always. I have a laptop and a gravatar, as well as a Flicker account. Now that I am 88, I still do these things like most young people.
A fact worthy of mention about my reaching this age is in knowing how my life worked out. Sure, God willing, there may be more years to go, but there is not much doubt that I will yearn for history because I have seen it, am still witnessing what is happening at present and will know the future events. Moreover, another gratifying comfort of my old age that gives me the most satisfaction is reminiscing my contribution and services to society for the welfare of others: the youth in particular and the community/country in general.
Hence, I love growing old. Grow old along with me. The best is yet to come!