Tomorrow he would have been 85.
He’s been gone for 36 years now and today, as part of my ritual of remembering, I took out the letters he wrote me almost 50 years ago. In 1978 he was away from his family — my mom, my brother and I — for three months. The longest, and only time ever that he was away from us.
Re-reading them today was a joy. It’s like he was sitting across me, and regaling me with his stories. He was such a good writer with a great sense of humor.
“Don’t call your group the lonely hearts club. You sound like defeatists. Why don’t you call it instead Strategic Planners club…” Strategic Management was a new thing back in 1978, and it was one of the courses he was taking in an executive management course at Columbia.
Of the long days and rushed hours while in school, he said, “There’s hardly even anytime to poop properly in the morning. Sakrificio talaga!”
These letters were written three years before he passed away in 1981. He was enamored with San Francisco, but wasn’t too crazy about New York. Quoting O’Henry in one of his postcards, “Far below and around the city like a ragged purple dream, the wonderful, cruel, enchanting, bewildering, fatal great city.” But of San Francisco he said, “The evidence of God is found in its beauty everywhere.”
Each of his letters were laced with much affection, and always ended with some admonition and reminder to be good, to study well, and to look after my mom and brother. I’m grateful to have these letters and I cannot help but wonder how he would’ve been or looked like at 85. If you have someone in your life — grandfather, father, brother — can you kindly share your photos and stories with me? I’d love to see how 85 looks like, and hear your stories. And please give your 85 year old man a hug today. You’re so blessed to still have them around after all.
Happy Birthday, daddy! Watch over us from up there ok?