1960. A year to learn by heart. Violet, a 32-year old mestisa who has a grayish bluish eyes, chestnut brown hair, and wears a red and black poodle dress and flat shoes while dancing with her Dance instructor in a ballroom hall. Nitoy, a 34-year old brown skinned and an averaged tall man with brusque stature on his olive green polo and dark pants entered the hall with his friends after having an intensive military training. As they asked for a glass of wine or drink, Nitoy noticed Violet’s stunning legs. As he sipped his wine, he went right away to Violet and asked for her name, anything about her, and they spent the night in dancing. With that momentous night, they got married after 6 months and blessed with 4 beautiful daughters in between the years 1961-1967.
They sometimes spent time in traveling mostly in the Visayan and Bicol region leaving their daughters with Violet’s mom. In passing she came from a prominent Suria clan, mixture of Spanish, French and Filipino blood and she risked her kin just to marry Nitoy, a Native and ordinary man from Bicol who dreams of becoming a pilot.
Their Bohol moment while lola is 3 month old pregnant for their first daughter
Ballroom dancing became part of their 60's-70's lifestyle
What if they didn’t choose to get married? Will they still be my grandparents, I don't certainly know?
1987. I was born. I was raised with my mom, aunts, Lola (Grandmother) Violet and Lolo Nitoy (Grandfather). Both of them were there to support me. And now that I’m older, trying to revive the values that they instilled in my heart.
I wouldn’t forget my grandfather’s repeated stories about war, his taekwondo training, judo class, anything about survival and self-defense while Lola, who’s exactly opposite of him is quiet, caring, calm, considerate, and very kind. Lolo reminded us how much he loves lola, how he put her into her throne as his queen. Whenever lolo told his 1960’s aircrafts and love story, pictures of black and white tv, Natalie Cole’s music, 3 coins in the fountain, vintage photos will flashback. He’s more of a storyteller than lola. She just nodded or sometimes smirked at him and would say, “Amor (Spanish for “love”) .” Lolo continued his work in Armed Force of the Philippines (A.F.P.) while lola took care of her children. According to lolo, my grandma isn’t a nagger. Once he got home late, instead of asking where he went, she’d ask if he had already eaten.
He actually had a dream for me-- he wants me to enter in A.F.P. He also wants most of his grandson/daughters to do so. Good thing, lola is lady-like, I think I turned out to be more of her. It’s what we call balance. But as we’re growing up, he said that we could be what we want to be as long as we know our priority as their apo (granddaughter). Lola would just watch us as lolo taught as some taekwondo steps, it sometimes occur weekly. She allowed him to teach us the basic things we need to know and even his hard discipline to us.
Next, his bruises that molded him to be a sturdy man for his countryman became part of our system at home. But when lola cries and asks him to calm down, lolo’s authority melts. He’s vulnerable with my lola’s presence, especially when you look at lola’s beautiful eyes. Maybe he can still see the eyes of a woman whom he decided to love nearly 50 years ago.
These 2 old-aged, wrinkled with cracked voices sweethearts still argue at times. But oftentimes, they shared a sweet and good memories. They are 2 great examples of “till death do us apart.” God has seen how they started as rigorous lovers until Alzheimer’s and heart failure striked lola on the latter part of her life, yet lolo remained at her side. Loving and feeding her for 4 years in her bed ridden posture, reminding her their first meeting. Sometimes, I would just look at her with silence; she’s my stress relief way back. She’d ask about him while her eyes sparkle. She sometimes forgot our names but not amor. Upon sleeping at night, lolo will just give her a gentle kiss on her forehead and will say, “Goodnight, amor!” How can she forget that word if he says it relentlessly?
I think one of the best things that they taught us is to let go. Never ever possess your lover, but stick on your role to serve each other and your family. Lola trusted lolo so much to the extent of surrendering to him, thus lolo remained faithful and worthy of her trust.
2008. That’s the year when Lola Violet died. I was deeply saddened and the year after Lolo Nitoy followed. With so much precious memories within the gaps of time, I swear to myself to write something about them. I remember writing an outline for this almost 2 years ago, but then I procrastinated.
So this is the story about a man and woman, who showed me how true love works; I actually put a post it on my computer reminding myself about this:
Don’t forget to write about your grannies.
Today is the day, lo and la! :)