|I passed this plaza and the city hall behind it almost every day in my walkabouts|
Then there was this woman named Janna who is at least a couple of decades younger whom I met on Facebook because she has the same last name as a high school batchmate I was looking for. She also came from the same high school as we did. After a few text messages, I finally met her at her print shop in Southway Shopping Center and as a souvenir, she gave me a coffee mug with my picture on it which she downloaded from Facebook. Nice to finally meet you Janna, and thanks for the mug with my mug J.
|The mug says "I Love Zambo"|
While Mama was still in the hospital, my kindergarten teacher also happened to be there just a couple of rooms away. I visited Sister Ursula and reintroduced myself. Despite the hundreds if not thousands of kindergartners who went to her class through the decades, she still remembered me. Most remarkable was what she remembered about my brother Larry. She told him that he was used as the baby Jesus in a live Nativity scene at the Catholic church in Jolo one Christmas. Sister Ursula, you don’t look a day older than you were in 1962. I pray that they have resolved your medical problems by now.
Still while in the hospital I met Dr. Romulo Garcia, his wife Aida, and daughter Joy. They were in the emergency room because if I remember correctly, the doc had problems with his blood sugar and blood pressure. We were townmates in Jolo and former neighbors in Zamboanga. They happen to be in the States right now visiting some relatives near San Diego. Hey Joy, if ever you read this, you’re looking as cute as ever and I might even be crushing on you in my old age :D. You’ve got my email address and phone number so if you ever wanna get in touch… After all, you’re single and so am I J.
|What do you think folks? Is she cute or what? Photo downloaded from Facebook|
One thing I didn’t know until last month was that Mama was one of the first students of Notre Dame of Jolo Girls’ Department. As such, her batch was honored at the Notre Dame Grand Reunion three years ago. Irene Hassan gave me a program from that reunion. Unfortunately the batch picture of Mama was blurry and the people were unrecognizable. Well, what can you expect from an early 1950’s picture?
I was warned by my sister-in-law before I left for Zamboanga about small time kidnappers who would nab you on the street and ask for a small ransom. So I became vigilant during my walks, never going the same route twice in a row, and trying to always be aware of my surroundings. I survived Zamboanga without being kidnapped.
Owning a pharmacy in Zamboanga appears to be very good business. Each time I went to one, the counters were always swarming with customers. It didn’t matter which pharmacy it was - Joan’s, Oro, Mercury, and a couple of others which names I don’t remember.
I can truly say that I overdosed on satti in Zamboanga. I just wish there was more roughage in it, because the white rice tamu certainly didn’t cut it. I would have gotten more fiber if I chewed on the sticks, which were probably not much tougher than the chicken skewered on them.
Whenever people asked about Mama’s ailment and I told them colon cancer, responses would almost always mention Cory Aquino’s valiant battle with it and losing anyway, probably shortening her life with aggressive chemotherapy. Mama decided with the opposite treatment plan, meaning doing nothing after the initial surgery, and lived a better life for more than 5 years after.
On the night of Mama’s death, I had gone commando for a few hours between the time I was awakened, up to the time I returned home pre-dawn. You see, I slept in this very thin technical shorts with no built in underwear liner because of the heat and humidity. At least the shorts kept some semblance of modesty and decency instead of being completely naked while staying in other people’s homes. In the dark of night you couldn’t see through the shorts. At least I hope you couldn’t and didn’t.
It just occurred to me a month later that the metal plate I’ve had in my left ankle since 1972 didn’t set off any metal detectors in airports. I was in a motorcycle accident that year.
Well folks, I think that’s it for my Zamboanga experiences. Thanks for reading if you did and I hope I didn’t bore you too much.
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