Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Tombola And Other Stories: A Book of Childhood Memories

Tombola and Other Stories is compilation of funny and sentimental stories of a childhood spent in an all-girls school. This colorful book (literally and figuratively) is Maria L.V. Balmaceda (Marlu to her classmates)'s way of sharing her childhood stories with classmates, friends, and everyone else who wants to reminisce their own wonder years at school. And I think that includes all teachers, too!

             (Marlu's book at the 4th floor 
          of Starbucks in Sinchon, Seoul)

Anyone who went to an all-girls school would be able to relate to Marlu's stories; and although I went to an all-boys school, I was able to relate to her anecdotes as I spent my first two years of grade school under Salesian nuns before the boys were moved to the main school run by the Salesian priests. You should read her anecdotes about their young lives under the watchful (and very strict!) eyes of the nuns at the Assumption convent school.
Marlu's stories made me wonder whether there are still European nuns running Catholic schools in the Philippines today. I can only remember a few names of European nuns I ever encountered: Sister Fosca (presumably from Italy) during my grade school years, Sisters Amparo and Maria from Spain whom I met in North Korea years ago, and the Italian nun, Sister Beneditta, who mysteriously disappeared on me after giving me a rosary in 2010.  

With this book, Marlu and her classmates' children (and their grandkids someday) are able to learn what it was like during that era when their moms spent their wonder years at Assumption convent school. Photos and stories like these always bring us back to another time when the world looked differently. It's the same feeling every time I rummaged through my Mom's album full of black and white photos, and see colorful stories from monochrome images.

But I wonder whether Marlu would be publishing another set of her childhood stories. This time, the more interesting ones from high school. Maybe only the wholesome ones because I myself wouldn't publish mine, which, if only the priests knew then, could have caused them to expel me from high school and take back the medal they gave me for the saintly behavior I displayed during all those high school years. Ha-ha-ha!

          ('Tombola and Other Stories' at a very 
         long water slide in Seoul; it didn't get wet)

                              *  *  *  *  *

Tombola and Other Stories by Maria LV Balmaceda is available at

No comments:

Post a Comment