[After our successful launching of Fg's book of poems last September 3, I have resumed work on his letters. I am now at the Temple years from 1971-1973. Here's a particularly poignant letter, written less than a month after Fg left to start his Ph.D. on January 29, 1971, leaving us behind. I was pregnant at the time with Guido, which is why Fg refers to my 'delivery'. It's hard to believe I was only 25 at the time, and Fg, 33. -- epd]
13 F 1971
A little more than 3 yrs ago you came here with Fevi, Boboy and Bey to join me in my difficult graduate yrs at Bryn Mawr. I could remember her that dawn when you arrived at the Graduate Center in a taxi. She was standing at the back seat, eager, observant, unmindful of her first chilly encounter of winter. Now I am here again, every memory of her is clearly revived. And it is painful to realize that my dearest Listening-Center child is now 8 mos. dead.
Two days ago, on my on-foot way to an electronic shop to have our lab. tubes tested, I passed by a funeral place. A funeral car carried a coffin and following it was a black Cadillac like the one we took to follow her to her mass. We were two alone, in horrible grief, and away from all the cares of relatives. We were young, you especially, and yet experiencing an emotional test, an encounter w/c requires some aging.
On seeing that funeral scene, I felt dizzy and somehow terrified. The rest of the day, my mind got mixed. I even forgot where I left my portfolio which contained my passport, savings book and school notes. I spent the rest of the afternoon retracing my steps, going back to all places I had been: a realtor I had gone to, to inquire about an apt. and others. I turned out I just had left the whole thing near a telephone desk. A graduate student found it and informed me about it that night.
Please take care of yourself really well. Take care of our kids. I miss you, Boboy, Bey and Bryn. At times I do feel somewhat disinterested in what I do. But I always manage to gather myself, believing that our separation is just temporary and that my education will yield us a better life when we shall be all together again.
I am still living with an American friend, Arthur Magrann. He has been very nice to me. I do not like to stay w/ Philip or w/ Dave Smith as both are married. It is just a piece of luck for me that Art offered me to live with him for a while, as I am still without an apt. to occupy. Also, I have not yet cashed my check as it has to take 5 business days to get cleared. Hineline has been lending me money. Art too. In fact, at noon today Art lent me $13. W/ him I bought 6 shirts (50 cents each), a $5 winter-spring coat in a “Divisoria” sort of place. Last week he got me 2 corduroy pairs of pants ($2 each). So I am managing well.
Yesterday I already got an efficiency apt. [what we now call a “studio”—epd] in U.P. [University of Pennsylvania] vicinity. It is old and sort of run-down. It costs $85/mo. Philip lent me the fixed deposit. The place is still being cleaned and it is expected to be ready by Monday afternoon. It will take me 2 rides to get to school from there. But one thing seems nice about it: it is in a so-called peaceful neighborhood. Anyhow any peaceful man can live safely thru in any city in the world. So don’t be worried about me.
I am upset over the delay in the clearance of my check, so that up to now I have not been able to send you any money to help you out and sustain your livelihood, look [!-epd] and the health of the kids. Meanwhile just use some of our little savings as need be. As possible, feed yourself and the kids substantially. By the way, buy Bey shoes also. And the three, get them clothes. As for you, I leave the decision to you. On Monday, the 15th, the check shall be cleared and I shall send you $100 thru BA [Bank of America—epd]. BA will notify you, or you can inquire in sufficient time. From then on I presume I can send you the said sum regularly.
Have you made an arrangement for your delivery? If possible, do it in the Capitol Medical Center I told you about. Have extra strength. I know it is just trying to rear our 3 kids while I am away and to be on the way at the same time. I know too that you are pretty smart to carry thru.
My graduate work is still dragging along disorganizedly. Since I came in late, I am simply quite behind in my readings and lab. work. But I think I can catch up the moment I get settled down to my apt. and get emotionally composed. I expect to get things done in 2-1/2 yrs. I am eager to return
Give my warmest regards to you. And to you, the significance of Valentine. As many springs come and go, love rejuvenates in many shades, colors and essence. It thrives in respect and trust. It does not have to be sanctified with ritual. If it is true, it will sanctify itself. Time or distance is no test for it. If anything will test it, it will pass anything.
Give my regards to Inay and to all our relatives.
From Philly, W/ love,
Mahal kong Boboy,
Palagi kitang naaala-ala. Naaala-ala ko ang mga araw na tayo ay namimili sa Farmers, New Frontier, at Quiapo. Naaala-ala ko ang pagpunta nating dalawa sa aking office, ang pagsakay natin ng DM [bus which used to ply UP-Cubao and back—epd], ang pagdidilig natin ng talong at kamatis. Kung minsan habulan tayo. Naaala-ala ko ang mga drawings at mga laruan mo. Ang pagkamot mo sa akin. Ang pagkandado mo ng mga pinto. Naaala-ala at mahal kita.
Maraming salamat sa mga tickets [chances are, used bus tickets of buses we rode on our trips J—epd] na pinadala mo sa akin. Padadalhan sana kita ng mga laruan, at sina Bey at Bryn. Kaya lang, iniisip kong hindi sigurado ang mail. Kaya diyan na lang kayo bumili sa Toylandia [this used to be a store near the Circle Theater in Quezon City—epd]. Humingi ka ng maraming piso sa Momma. Sabihin mo, binibigyan din kita.
Kung may nagtatanong sa akin na hindi mo kilala, sabihin mong nasa Office lamang ako at darating sa gabi. Sabihin mo kay Servida [then head of the UP Housing Office—epd], ayusin ang mga bintana natin.
Maglaro kayo nina Bey at Bryn. Kayo’y kumaing ma