During this month of June, many women in the Philippines and perhaps from many parts of the world want to become a ‘June Bride.’ I thought it fitting and appropriate to share my experience in wooing my ex-girlfriend who is now my wife.
She was fickle-minded, perhaps because she had many suitors including one from her own neighbourhood. Her being indecisive has remained to this day. She has proven it many times especially when shopping or doing our groceries. She just couldn’t make a fast decision, maybe because she wants to make sure that her final choice is the best or the best among the best.
Yes, it took all of ten long years for my dear wife to say a final “yes” to my proposal of marriage.
The year was 1959 when I started courting her. She was only 13yo and I was 15, barely able to express feelings to any girl I found attractive. We did not immediately meet in person.
The mobile phone or cell phone has yet to be invented. The rotary-type telephone was just starting to be introduced in the market. Lots of teenagers were excited to have a phone pal. Thanks to a family friend who was her teacher in elementary that I got her phone number. We spent several hours on the telephone, talking mostly about nonsense and “sweet nothings.” I even sang for her on the phone and she did the same for me. Thus, we learned more about each other. I was deeply enchanted by her feminine voice, only to find out later that some of her ‘female’ friends were tomboys.
Finally, after several months of talking on the phone, I gathered enough courage to ask for a personal meeting. No, it was not a date. Being a true-blue Filipino-oriented girl, she said I had to visit her in her house. And she had to obtain her parent’s permission to accept a visitor. She was the family jewel, being the only daughter. To my dismay, I found out that she had seven brothers. That scared me initially. But being a student of Ateneo de Manila, I accepted the challenge. I knew it was going to be a “One Big Fight,” as I was a school cheerleader.
So there I was, ringing their doorbell. First, I heard the incessant barking of several dogs loose in their front yard. I was greeted by a distant relative who also happened to be her sister-in-law. I almost fainted. “Oh no!” I was not ready for an incest. But her knowing me paved the way for being welcome in the family residence.
Was I really welcome? Not quite, I thought as I noticed a tripod-mounted, air-cooled machine gun facing their gate, complete with a belt of 50 calibre metal-piercing bullets that would shred a man’s body to smithereens.
Cavite City at that time was known to have many loose firearms but the city mayor did not care much.
My fear was extinguished when I was invited inside the their huge 2-storey home. I sat anxiously waiting for her to come out. After a few minutes, out she came wearing a very modest blouse and skirt that covered her knees ━ very pretty with the exuberance of youth on her face.
Young as I was, I didn’t know what to say and neither did she. We just stared at each other for about half an hour before I had to leave. It became a weekly routine until summer was gone and we both had to go back to school.
There were lots of events that happened during the intervening years. She was already 20yo when we started dating, using a family-owned Volkswagen beetle that had no air conditioning.
To cut a long story short, I had the courage to make a marriage proposal during the month of May 1969. I was 25 then and she was only 23 when she became a blooming June bride. Nobody believed in long engagements at that time. Her parent’s only concern in choosing the date was to make sure that the moon was rising on our chosen wedding day.
Our union has been blessed with four children ━ two boys and two girls, all of whom now have their own families.
As we approach our golden wedding anniversary next year, we await the coming of our 9th grandchild, courtesy of my Dino Jr.