IN MY LIFE

By SOLEDAD NOGRALES

Now and then, thoughts of Ateneo Law, and of all of them with whom I shared every single struggling day of it, would come back to me.  More of the tears and sweat from really trying, but not making it, and the tears and sweat from really trying, and then making it big.  The memories would unrelentingly stream in – - of boxes after boxes of photocopied notes and cases; of professors with swollen egos who believed, deservingly or not, that only God and they knew the law; of blue books bearing witness to all that we learned, and not learned.

I am sure these thoughts would be staple in every lawyer’s sub-conscious.  Because like it or not, every lawyer would have the same story to tell that goes back to the same pattern of sleepless nights and brow-burning, failing scores, and public humiliation, before finally experiencing an epiphany of sorts, in the end.

But I would like to think that Batch ’81 has its own special story of triumph and success.  Mostly simple, not the most likely to succeed type, members of Batch ’81 managed to bag a bountiful harvest of plum positions in government, judiciary, huge multi-national corporations, and leading law offices.  These went, not to legal olympians or those with MENSA badges, but to the most ordinary members of the class who bled when pricked, and turned red when pinched – - mere mortals all, who took a shot at the moon, and hit the mark.  I think of Rene Bañez, who shrank in his seat as Prof. Geronimo barked at him, “taxable or not taxable?”  There is Claro Arellano who could not enumerate five aggravating circumstances.  And Vic Noel who always fumbled at the kilometric provisions of Agency and Partnership.  I remember Francis Lim who always gave the right answers to the wrong questions in Remedial.  And Rico Echiverii who never seemed to get his facts right.  The list goes on about those of our own, who magically blossomed from platitude to plenitude, and have everything to show for it, but do not.

And oh yes, there is Cesar Villanueva, but he is sui generis.  He was the one most likely, and did.  Need I say more?

Have I not mentioned our girls – - Carol Ramos, Bombie Zarate, Nena Legaspi, Gilda Lim, Lita Espartero, Daphne Jereza and Eva Achas, to name a few?  Word was that it was the first and the last time ever that Ateneo Law was able to assemble such an array of beauty and brains, all in one class.  Though so endowed, the girls were very unassuming and down-to-earth.  We whispered and giggled a lot, shared secrets, and spent a lot of electric afternoons together at the Comfort Room at the second floor of the old Ateneo in dela Costa, slumped on the lavatory cabinet, muttering cases and provisions, not minding tousled hair and crumpled skirts. And we formed deep friendships that way.  We would later on be bridesmaids at one another’s wedding, and godmothers of each other’s children.  Now, we would see each other, or not see each other, it does not matter. The feeling is all there, warm and burning for all seasons and reasons.  Thus, to Batch ’81, this is for you – -

 
“There are places I’ll remember all my life
though some have changed
Some forever not for better,
some have gone and some remain

All these places had their moments,
with lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living,
in my life I’ve loved them all
 
But of all these friends and lovers,
there is no one compares with you,
And these memories lose their meaning,
when I think of love as something new

Though I know I’ll never lose affection for
people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them,
in my life I’ll love you more.
 
Though I know I’ll never lose affection for people
and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them,
in my life I’ll love you more
In my life I’ll love you more.”