"Philippine Collegian" Nostalgia
A childhood family friend, Vic, who has remained a pal through the years, emailed me this caricature by Ely Santiago (well-respected caricaturist, painter, and social commentator until his demise in 1993).
It made me grin for very long minutes and remember those wonder years when I was in college, a staff member of Philippine Collegian, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines (UP).
That's me wearing a weird wavy page-boy hairdo beside our editor, Lito Imperio, at the helm, among section editors and writers.
Peering closely at the thinner, younger versions of ourselves, I can recognize only a few faces now and what they did for the publication—it's been several millennia! But I remember vividly those weekly night-to-dawn press work somewhere.
The crammers among us would bang away on vintage typewriters while I'd fall asleep sitting down, waiting patiently for the proof of my page fresh from the rotogravure (computer denizens, google the word if you don't know what it means!).
Then the boys, gentlemen of the first order, would bring me back to my dorm in a cab at around four or five in the morning.
Those were the crude, creative days before computers and cellphones, so the work took 20 times longer—and 20 times more exciting.
Vic has also emailed me in the last few weeks recent photos of these talented writing bunch—now with balding and graying hair—in various reunions. Along with the photos was a rundown on what they had been up to. Yes, they have regularly kept in touch! Sadly, two had disappeared in the latest shots due to lost battles with fatal ailments.
After UP, the road forked, and I journeyed on a different route. That's why I am delighted to get to know, the second time around, these friends of long ago.
Soo Inn Tan, another friend from a totally different writing circle, said this in his latest essay, "Nostalgia is an attempt to reconstruct an idealized past.”
Well, that's precisely why this phrase has become a cliché, "the good old days." We want to keep thoughts of the past forever good.
"Will you come to the next get-together?" Vic asked.
For sure, I'll find plenty of good there, plenty of grace, as I did in the UP Philippine Collegian long ago.