Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


Blasts From The Past!

Posted on July 03, 2004 by jimparedes

One of the good surprises during my last travel was meeting people from the past. It was bound to happen, traveling as extensively as we did . There was Ben Salamat from 12 years ago, our arranger Lorrie Ilustre’s Man Friday who did a lot of favors for us, I notably. He used to register my car, renew my license, etc. on many occasions. It was great to see him in Toronto, settled and doing well, but still looking not a day older and wanting so much to connect with us whom he associated with a past he sorely missed. He even gifted us with t-shirts from my favorite store—Old Navy!

Bill Breitbart was a young Jewish medical student who studied in FEU during the early 70’s with whom I spent many days and night in conversation and in kalokohan! From out of the blue, he walked into our sound check at the Hunter College in NYC upon seeing our poster outside the building. Big hugs, and warm exchanges as he introduced me to his wife Rachel and his son Sam. He prefaced my meeting his wife with the line, “these guys kept me sane throughout my years in Manila”. It was a nice, sentimental touch to our brief NY stay.

There were students of mine at the Ateneo, two of them whom I saw in New York. There were other people whom we see every visit —Filipinos who own stores and restaurants in the US who’ve always supported the APO through the years.

But the biggest, most pleasant surprise was getting a call from a girl I met when I was 23 during my first ever trip out of the country. It was 1975 when Danny, Boboy and I toured the US as front acts with former showbiz biggies Mercy Molina, Eddie Mercado, Elizabeth Ramsey, Toto and Susan Salcedo. It was billed as the Balikbayan Road Show and we toured 57 cities in the US and Canada by land. Becky was a FilAm girl who was with a dance troupe which performed with us in a few places in California.

It was many seasons ago when we were young and carefree and would drive aimlessly for what seemed like hundreds of miles across LA and San Diego, radio blasting while feeling like we were the cool California guys and chicks that was the subject of so much Beach boys music! Or if it wasn’t Beach Boys music, it was the Eagles, or Captain and Tenille, or Boston singing Dance With Me. Them were the days my friend! I was so fascinated with this Pinay who was so “alien” and yet was somewhat familiar. I guess she found my “boy from back home” ways rather appealing too. It was a brief romance, but still sweet to remember even after 29 years had passed

Back to the present.

She called the numbers printed on our promo posters and somehow found me in West Covina! A few days later, we were able to have lunch and catch up with each other’s lives—talking about the people we married, our children, our achievements, showing pictures, and talking about how life has treated us so far. I talked to her about my new apo and Lydia’s bout with cancer. She talked about her husband who for a time was a musician/arranger with Gerry Seinfeld! Needless to say, it was a great lunch and even greater was our appreciating how much the passing of time had eroded little of what we remembered. And marveling also at how easily we could still connect.

A few days later, she gifted me with pictures she had collected from those golden days of youth. If you know the song The Trouble With Hello Is Goodbye by Sergio Mendez, play it in your mind as you look at the pictures below. That was the last song playing on her car stereo in 1975!



Could have been any two college kids at the Ateneo campus, di ba? Dig the hairstyle?



Warning: Youth is fleeting. But gloriously wonderful while it’s there!



Yes! We were at the White House in 1975. It was a friendlier world then!

Meeting old friends is like life showing up with a bouquet of flowers!

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