One day while visiting Pat and her mother in a boarding house opened by them in Azcarraga near U.E. (University of the East), I asked if she had already enrolled in school. She said, “Not yet, because Mother has not yet sold her sewing machine.” I asked for her report card. She had just finished second year high school in the Nueva Vizcayan Vocational High School and she intended to enroll in the National University High School Department in Sampaloc, Manila.
To my great amazement, I had never seen a card like that before, which was full of 90+ grades, with no grade below 85%. Her general average was around 95%. Almost perfect! She said she was correcting themes written by third year students under Miss Vergara, her English teacher. I was surprised!
I told her that I would pay for her initial enrollment fees because it was just a few days until enrollment would be closed. Her mother agreed. The only amount needed was ₱5.00 ($2.50), and she got enrolled. We were both very happy.
At that time in 1939 my girlfriend was Martha. My other girl friends, Elay, Edith, Tomie, and Olive, had all graduated as nurses. I could no longer visit them in their hospital schools as before, and we stopped communicating with each other.
God knows that my only interest in helping Pat was because of her high grades, and I said: SAYANG, if her intelligence will not be exploited, I can foresee that she will make good in school and has a bright future. And she was very eager to go to school!
In the first week of her schooling she took an exam for the high school Editor-in-Chief. She was the first one who submitted her theme, to the amazement of the aspirants, but hers was declared the winner by Leon O. Ty, a very newspaper writer.
This made Pat very popular, considering the fact that nearly all contestants were fourth year students. Her picture was in the papers as Editor-in-Chief! Her mother was very proud of her, and all their boarders celebrated her victory. She was given scholarship benefits as a high school student and at the same time as a Normal School (college equivalent) student to become a teacher.
Many boys tried to date her. One of their boarders was after her. She told me all about her problems. I realized she would be in trouble and unable to continue her studies if she fell in love with somebody.
In the beginning I pretended to fall in love with her so that she would not fall in love with somebody else. I tried to protect her future. She responded to my letters and ultimately we became sweethearts. Her beautifully written STORY OF MY LIFE can better tell what actually happened. I acccept the fact that I was just pretending to court her to protect her. God knows!
Martha was a high school graduate and more beautiful than Pat, although not quite as intelligent, I suppose, because she never answered my letters nor encouraged me beyond the flick of her eyelashes and smile on her lips!
There was a point when I could pretend no longer and I gave up Martha and went full speed for Pat! This proves that LOVE can really grow. My favorite song was:
LOVE IN BLOOM
THIS IS THE PAST, DEAR,
A SPARK AND THEN A FLAME,
THE MOON WAS TO BLAME,
THE WORLD WAS ALL IN TUNE –
THIS IS THE PRESENT,
THE FLAME STILL AGLOW,
MY DARLING, AND SO –
I BLAME THE STARS AND THE MOON.
THIS IS THE FUTURE, YOU AT MY SIDE,
A GROOM AND A BRIDE,
A HOME FOR MORE THAN TWO.
MY BELOVED ONE, THIS IS THE PAST,
THE PRESENT, AND THE FUTURE,
I’M ONLY LIVING
JUST FOR YOU –
Our bundle of LOVE LETTERS from 1939 to 1941 can better tell the full love story between Pat and me. I’ve given each of my children copies of these same love letters.
Neither Pat nor I had any objection to anybody reading these love letters, which were in the Abra Provincial Library as a part of my five volumes of the story of my life entitled ANAK TI ABRA. The librarian, Mr. Bieres, said that many read those love letters.