Sunday, November 30, 2003

Dear CAT 2

Dear Mouse, This is the continuation of the DEAR CAT....their stories reassure readers that they can muster strength sufficient enough to ward off self-doubt, loss, grief and hopelessness. The stories are just waiting to be told. Here are a few of them. Mr. Principal-continuation It was during this time when he was very nice with our section-a group of young people with almost all had honors, from with honors to valedictorian , that I lost my father. My mom talked to me about quitting school. I had one-year scholarship for my previous excellent academic achievement. It was unselfish for me not to heed my mom while my other older siblings took jobs while enrolled in the evening classes. My mom was pregnant when my dad died so she was expecting our youngest a few months after my father’s death. She wanted me to help her take care of the younger ones. At six thirty in the morning, my shoes were pounding the pavement leading to his office. Except for the janitor and a few students, the place was completely empty of the noisy students that occupy that corridor during school hours. He ushered me in. Even his secretary was not there yet. He was reading a book. Between stutters, I told him that I was there to request for the deferment of my scholarship until I come back to school perhaps next school year. He knew me personally, not only as one of the faces in his favorite class but as a young lady who was a regular visitor of his wife. When my father was hospitalized, I was ashamed to ask money from my mother for my school projects in Homemakers or Home Economics. The principal’ wife was our teacher. She was very vain about her appearance that she got a lot of beautiful dresses for her wardrobe. Most of them were delicately embroidered by herself. My first embroidery project impressed her that she commissioned me to do the design and embroidery work for her dress. She would provide me the materials in exchange of the grade that was always perfect. There was no expression from his face after I delivered my short piece that I painstakingly mentally composed and changed over and over on my way to school. There was no litany of discouraging me to quit schooling. Instead, the Principal handed me a piece of paper . He knew that my dad succumbed to massive brain hemorrhage after suffering a stroke at a very young age. He did not want me to leave school. The name of the lady who was the President of the local chapter of Inner Wheel Club was written in the piece of paper with a short note from the principal that was practically an endorsement. I did not know the place so I asked my friend to come with me. We found the address. It was at the back of a restaurant-cum-beerhouse. To gain entry to the house, either we take the short cut by using the entrance from the restaurant or we use the narrow alley at the side of the dining establishment. There were burly looking men inside. They asked us who we wanted to see. Along came a man who made the comment that we did not understand at all what he meant.. “Ang babata naman niyang aplikante mo? –to which a much older man responded—they were looking for Ma’am ,you moron. The principal agreed to be my foster parent who was going to take care of the stipend coming from the Association. He was to give me my allowance every week and buy the school supplies and books I needed. The tuition fee was taken cared of by the university. My mom did not show her pleasure for my foster parent program. But she was proud to tell our neighbors that I was her daughter who was always resourceful and independent-minded, yet she thought that I was arrogant and stubborn. The principal was always pleased when he saw my name in the honor roll. He would also show his displeasure when my grades suffered because of too much extracurricular activities by asking me to see him. He did not say it or he must have said it that I was the daughter that he never had. He got only one child, a young man who was so spoiled that he was a problem in school. I was in fourth year when the inevitable thing happened. My family would want to go back to our province. I said no to my mom. I asked her to allow me to finish high school. I can take a dorm even for one year. The principal did not like the plan. He even promised to take care of my College education.My foster parent, the lady president would want to adopt me and bring me to Hawaii. She was married to an American and she had no daughter. But my mom would not want to hear of it. I know she got reasons of her own. I would be unselfish if I would just think about myself. The principal did not talk to me until I left. When I came back, he was no longer the Principal. He was no longer there. He was already dead.


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