A Different Time


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My husband’s grandmother turned 92 last weekend. We went to her house in Paco, Manila to celebrate with the family. We got there early to beat the Saturday traffic, and when we got there she was at church, hearing mass.

When she got home, she was all smiles and, apparently, dressed in a nice red blouse and matching red shoes. There was a time when people really wore their best clothes on Sundays (hence the term “Sunday best”). Loleng, as we fondly call her, is a proper lady. 🙂 She was all smiles and dressed in her nice Sunday clothes and greeted us happily as she walked into the house. 

As we waited for dinner to be served and for the other grandchildren to arrive, we sat in the living room and talked about family, and how things were during her younger days. She was one of the first women to graduate from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. I find it incredible that in her lifetime, the world has changed in leaps and bounds. She has lived through a war and experienced a time when education among women is a rarity. She talked about her late husband, how she had to raise her children as a single mom, working in Nigeria as a teacher, and working in the US until well past her retirement age.

I told her I would show her something. I pulled out the Sheaffer Lifetime Jade that I got from Prof. Butch Dalisay and told her that the pen was made around the same year that she was born. She was so surprised that it still worked. She took it in her hand, carefully twisted off the cap and, with a flourish, wrote me a very nice note at the back of my traveler’s notebook in that distinctively graceful teacher’s handwriting. It took me back to my early elementary years when we still had writing classes and our teachers wrote perfectly beautiful examples on the board for us to copy. It’s such a different time now, and the art of writing has faded so much.

The pen was iconic during its time, and there was much pride that went into manufacturing each and every piece. Things were made slowly and thoughtfully. They are beautiful and unique in ways that mass-produced pens can never be. I love old pens, and I really love talking to the elderly. It’s like stepping back in time. 🙂

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