Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Friend Josie - Joselita Agustin Viesca

Josie and I along with Fe Ilagan became regular lakwatsa mates during our Junior year (Fe was then sophomore) in high school. We were among those who loitered the campus after school hours and took the jeepney and bus home. With fellow lakwatseras, we often went to see the movie and ate merienda in Sta. Cruz area or Chinatown on weekends; also got invited to parties, usually birthday celebrations. During our Senior year, staying late in school became a habit. At times we splurged and rode the cab home. Josie got dropped off first in Dimasalang, then Fe in Caloocan and I last in Polo, Bulacan. Total fare was 4 pesos and I got home within 45 minutes.
After high school, Josie studied in UST and I in UP. This did not deter us from spending non-school days with friends like Cherrie, Ampy, Fe and Sonia. Josie graduated with a law degree at UST, got married and relocated in San Antonio, NE, home of husband, Boy Viesca. Josie worked at the Assessor’s office of San Antonio and rose through the ranks until she became the Chief Assessor. Josie was still its Chief Assessor when she died on February 22, 2009.
I used to call Josie, Miss Fixer. She could obtain legal documents for untitled lands for a fee. This was a good source of additional income that helped send their 2 daughters and 2 sons to college. The daughters each finished Business Ad and Hotel & Restaurant Management degrees; each son received a degree in Law and Business Ad. Two of her kids migrated to Australia.
Josie was a very caring mother. At the time her kids were in college, she never failed to commute by bus on weekends to bring cooked food and laundered & ironed clothes for use by her kids. Simultaneously, she took home dirty clothes for washing. Josie did this till all 4 children finished their respective degrees. I do not know of any mothers who did this religiously as Josie did.
Josie’s kids knew their mother as a provider, but not as the witty person that she was. They did not know Josie made all her friends and acquaintances laugh. It was never easy to get a word in when Josie was talking or “telling her stories”. She enjoyed telling friends how she made a mistake in making me the godmother (by proxy nonetheless) of her first born – a daughter. She would also add that Fe should have been the ninang. Not only was Fe more generous, she was also around at Christmas (I live in the US).
Josie seldom failed to come to Manila when I was home for visits from the U.S. It was through these visits that she re-connected/renewed friendship with our common Philwomenian friends. These friends laughed themselves to tears when Josie was around due non-stop jibbing and funny stories she shared. When we visited Ampy in Lian Batangas 3 months before she died, Josie managed to make a very ill Ampy laugh. It was the Lord’s special gift to Josie – laughter is the best medicine and Josie readily dispensed this “medicine”. She carried this gift even when she was nearing death. During our visit at the Cabanatuan Medical Center on February 18, 2009, Josie managed to softly mumble things that made us laugh. We knew then it was the last time we would see Josie alive; she died 4 days later. Fe and I attended Josie’s memorial service; we remained part of her life till the end. It was heartwarming to witness how many lives Josie touched and helped; many were at her interment.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Marlene de Leon Leyson- filling the 50 yrs. gap

Name: Marlene Leyson Y de Leon
Parents: Dr. Pablo de Leon of Paranaque, Rizal and Laura Carmona of Tuegegarao, Cagayan
Attended: Elementary - St, Paul's College, Class of 1956
High School - St. Scholastica College 1956-1958
Phil. Women’s University 1958-1960
College - Phil. Women's University - B.S. in Nutrition, 1964

Of all the schools I attended, I felt the most at home at P.W.U. I experienced the difference between the Catholic School's strict rules and standards to P.W.U 's well rounded approach to education. I was happy in all my years at P.W.U. but I told my son that my happiest years were in High School. He mentioned this at his Valedictory address in 1988.

After Graduation, I worked for 3 months as a volunteer at NIH. I left the Philippines on Oct. 30 1964 for San Francisco, California. I was hired and worked at St. Mary's Hospital until Aug.1968. I met Alberto Leyson in Sept 1965 while in San Francisco. We had a whirlwind romance and got married on Oct. 30, 1965. We are still happily married after 44 years. We are blessed with 2 sons Robert Paul and Joseph Simon. I did not work for 7 years; was a stay at home Mom watching my sons grow. Those were good years. Bobby graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems. Joey has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. Both are happily married. We are blessed with three grandchildren, Mark, Zachary and Benjamin.

I went back to work in 1975 but changed career. I was fortunate that I was able to work in a laboratory, Olin Water Service. Later moved to W.S.S.C., a bi-county water service, and worked there from1977-2000. I retired as a Chemist.

In1989, I told Albert that we have to give back to the Lord since He has given us so many blessings and guided us to make good decisions in life. We are actively serving at St. Columba Church. We got involved in Filipino-Ministry and incorporated some of our Filipino customs and traditions. The ministry has grown and activities expanded. We have Visita Iglesia, Perpetual Help novenas, Tagalog mass, Simbang Gabi, Flores de Mayo, San Lorenzo Ruiz celebrations and much more. We Joined the Parish Council, Sodality, Bereavement, Liturgy and Spirituality Committees. At present, I am still serving as lector and Eucharistic minister. In 2001, I studied for two years at Trinity College in their Education for Parish Service Program. In December 2002, both Albert and I were awarded A Medal of Merit by the Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Washington for Faithful Service to the Church. We are still faithfully serving the church and hope to serve until we are not physically able.

Retirement years are fun years. My interests are gardening, cooking, fishing and traveling. So my dear classmates, I tried to fill the gaps of the last fifty years. Looking forward to seeing you all in the Philippines.