’58 A.B. ENGLISH
I first roamed the UP Diliman campus in 1953 when I enrolled as a senior at the UP High School. I was awed by the physical beauty of the place – vast areas of green grass and tall trees, lagoons, the imposing buildings of the Administration Building, the Colleges of Liberal Arts, Education, Law and Engineering, tummy-filling cafeterias, and the most captivating structure of all for me, the Carillon tower, that played delightful music whenever I arrived in the morning for school. UP High School was a formidable institution for me – populated by brainy, fairly wealthy, and very trendy students. I came from Ilocos Sur High School, and though I belonged to the “elite” group in the school, I knew I would never penetrate the inner select circle of UP High. I would be, during the full year I spent there, an outsider looking in. I felt very intimidated by the intellectual, economic and social status of my classmates, and even more so, by the pop culture adopted by the UP High students at the time. The boys were James Dean look-alikes and the girls were Sandra Dee copies. Because I was not big on brains and academics, my focus was on the trendy – what was “cool” and what was not. Putting my social pains aside, I did acquire genuine friendship from the few that I was close to, notably my great friend MelyAnasco-Busch, the current secretary-coordinator of our UP High School 55th reunion in 2009. At this point, it is also worth noting that one of our precious UPAASD members, Zeny Garcia-Oades, was our Class ‘54 valedictorian. As inconspicuous as I made myself to be, I did not realize that a few noticed my talent in English writing and speaking, enough to mention in our annual that “Edith, though from the province, one will not know it by the way she speaks English”. My inadequate feelings notwithstanding, I enjoyed my days at the school and felt very proud when I finally received my diploma as a bonafide graduate of UP High School, Class of ’54.
Then came college. I enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts, pursuing my great love, English. Armed with my UP High School background, I flaunted it during my freshman and sophomore years. I was the darling of my professors, S.V. Epistola (fiction-writer) and Armando Malay (journalist). My best friend in college was Margot Baterina, who happened to be my close friend from Ilocos Sur High School, also pursuing the same course as me but specializing in journalism while I was specializing in speech. She did end up being a big name writer for the Manila Free Press and the Manila Bulletin in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. I sort of dropped off from the social scene at UP College in my junior and senior years, though I did join the Cadena de Amor and the UP Lantern Parade in both years of 1957 & 1958. I graduated in March of 1958 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, Major in English.
I married the same year and had my first-born son, ending up eventually being a mother to seven children – two boys and five girls. I married a talented architect, Elias Ruiz Jr, and he prevailed upon me to remain just a housemom for the next 22 years. Though I did not enter the professional world, my schooling at the UP served me in cultivating the love of English literature and speech to my seven children who picked up proficiency in the language. In Baguio City where we lived for 20 years, I had a two-year stint as English instructor at Baguio Colleges in 1965-67, then served as Baguio City YWCA Executive Director from 1970-75. As Executive Director of the YWCA, I spoke at local and international conferences held in the city, and later, in my position as president of the Protestant Women of Baguio, I addressed foreign audiences made up mostly of missionaries from the USA and Europe.
Fast forward to 1980. I came to the US with my seven children, divorced my first husband, and married Robert Donaldson, an electronics engineer at SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command), with whom I share a very fulfilling married life. My children have all married and moved away, keeping me busy traveling to visit them and a total of 13 grandchildren in various cities of the US and Manila, Philippines. Besides traveling within the US/Canada/Mexico, I have traveled or cruised to 10 countries in Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, Asia, and South America. I continue to work in Customer Service at HD Supply, a mail-order catalog company in the facilities maintenance industry. I have enjoyed my involvement with UPAA of San Diego since 1993 and look forward to many more years of friendship with the UP alumni in America’s Finest City.