The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Friday, January 20, 2006

The First Leaves

To compensate for my current inability to feature ponderous articles because of the slowness of the computer I'm currently using here in Ontario, I decided to re-post some of my previous eLf ideas—stories which I find worthy of sharing over and over again with all of you. After all, these recollections may be something new for those who have learned of my blog site only recently and also for those who have short memories.

I would like to share also the fact that a cousin of Rizalina Driz (the girl I mentioned in the article below) surprised me with an e-mail, saying that she was altogether amazed and amused to stumble upon my blog site by chance and find the name of her cousin Rizalina.

Rizalina Driz was a classmate of mine in elementary whom I last saw in the late '70s, so you can imagine my surprise to "hear" something about her after more than two decades. I hope that Rizalina herself was able to read this particular entry.

Don't you find this weird—getting reconnected with old friends and acquaintances whom you've never seen or even heard of for so many years?

For me, it's like being transformed into a child once again. The memories that I got to share with these childhood friends suddenly play in my mind like a rerun set in slow motion.

I just close my eyes and smile and I'm a cute little boy once again.

Plucking Leafs from My Tree of Memories
Chapter One
The First Leaves

(Originally posted on October 31, 2004)

I was about six years old when I first had the narcissistic idea that I would be great someday—when my father told me, “Para kang si Jose Rizal, ah! mahilig magbasa at magsulat.”

At the age of five, prior to entering kindergarten in 1976, I was already fond of writing, listing different words and names of objects, persons, and places in a notebook my father gave me and of listening awestruck to his folktales and Greek-mythology stories. (Yes, at that age I could already write name-words; just ignore most of my spellings.) I used to list names of different kinds of animals, superheroes, countries, and even plate numbers and models of vehicles. (Perhaps, from this childhood hobby where my love for details and trivia originated.)

And, yeah! I would even draw the flags of different countries, the illustrations of which I would copy from the encyclopedias and books with which my father used to surprise me. (I remember always feeling challenged every time I tried drawing the flag of Saudi Arabia, which to this day remains to be the flag I’m most fascinated with.)

Speaking of Rizal, I suddenly remembered the name of my first-ever crush—Rizalina Driz, a classmate in Grade One (1977–1978), at St. Mary’s Academy in Pasay City, Metro Manila, whose distinctively round face, 'apple-cut' hair, and the prominent mole just above her right cheek I can still vividly imagine. My father used to tease me back then: “Bagay kayo ng classmate mo: Rizalina, tapos ikaw Rizal.” However, so young and virtually innocent as I was, simple smiles and silly stares sufficed what I felt for Riz.

The most enduring, earliest memory I can recall of my childhood was a typical child's naughtiness I did in 1975—Uncle Roland (Aranzamendez) who was on a vacation from California, United States, gave the children an enormous chocolate bar.

The chocolate was kept in the fridge, intended to be divided among the children after the usual for-adults-only chitchats that grace every family reunion. Impatient as I was, I sneaked into the kitchen and spirited away the huge bar of gold from the cold treasure chest and then hid under the mahjong table and started to feast on my delicious find.

I can no longer recall what exactly happened next, after they discovered that the children's treasure was missing and found me under the table, with my shirt and face full of sticky sweet brown mess.


  • At Thursday, November 10, 2005 11:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi! i just read your blog. my sister forwarded it to me, she said there is something about our cousin "rizalina" (or yize, as what we call her)here. anyways, she is one of my cousins. you're right, her smile would brighten anyone's day. i guess that's it!
    you have a nice blog, keep on writing!!!

    God bless!!!


  • At Sunday, November 13, 2005 1:58:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Wow! You surprised me! I mean, I was just vaguely expecting that Rizalina or a friend of hers would stumble upon my blog site, especially upon this particular article.

    I think, since Grade Two I never saw your cousin again. Am I right--I remember that her family lived on Gen. Lim St. in Bangkal, Makati? I remember because my mom with I and my sisters used to visit our relatives who used to lived somewhere there on that street, in the late '70s. Then, I never saw her again.

    Thanks for connecting. May you send my warm regards to Rizalina, although I'm certain that she would not remember anymore a certain aLfie vera-mella, for in those elementary days I used to be just a quiet pupil in the corner of the classroom. I only became gregarious starting Grade 5.

    I hope Rizalina gets to read what I'd written.

    By the way, how is she now?

    Thank you very much.

    aLfie vera-mella

  • At Monday, November 28, 2005 7:22:00 AM, Blogger mye said…

    hi! i'm cds' sister who 4warded ur blog. it was actually emailed to me by an aunt browsing the web for other drizes. she thought it cute u remembered yize (rizalina to u).
    i sent it to her friendster acct, but she seldom opens it so.....also sent it to a bunch of other kamag anaks. hehe..
    she's a cool mom of two now, a homemaker... still here in the philippines.....

  • At Monday, January 23, 2006 6:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    happy birthday, baby...


  • At Tuesday, January 24, 2006 3:13:00 AM, Blogger Antonio Aranzamendez III said…

    Hey cousin,

    I wish I started reading earlier in my life, but it wasn't until after high school when I read a book in its entirety (The Catcher in the Rye). But I do remember looking up curse words in the dictionary. Keep writing; you keep me inspired.


  • At Tuesday, January 24, 2006 9:06:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Dear Cousin Junar,

    Oh, it's never too late.

    I may have fallen in love with writing and reading at such a very young age, but actually I started reading (as in proper reading) quite later than you did.

    I began reading "properly" during mid-College, and the first batch of books that I remember reading in their entirety were The Promise by Danielle Steel, Caligula by Gore Vidal, The Choice by Og Mandino, and a whole lotta Sweet Dreams books.

    SO, you still have a lot of time to devote to reading.

    Just keep reading.


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