In my youth, I painted in my mind a life in the future induced by this song of my childhood, and I sing:
"When I grow to be a lady, I'll be a queen, a lovely queen,
Walking in a garden shady, in gown of green, with silver sheen;
maids in gold and white shall follow me, and suitors of a high degree'
When I grow to be a lady, a fine and noble friendly lady,
Then my Prince will come to claim his own,
And love will crown me on my throne."
Very nostalgic, really! I learned this song in my grade school. My teacher didn't sing well, but she did a good motivation that swept me off my feet. I sang a lot of "kundimans" (love songs) of those times, but they were meaningless to me as a child. My childhood favorite meant a lot to me, with this vivid attachment to it. Every time I sang it in class during warm-ups, my teacher would call out my classmates to render a pantomime or role play. That gave me an inner feeling of pride and satisfaction.
My studies and my household chores were not affected by my fantasies. It was during play that I gave it substance. My playmates and I would sing forever and would render similar pantomimes in varied versions. There were the queen, the prince, and the maids acting out the lyrics, in our childish interpretations. We used to put up an enclosure in our favorite space at our backyard with nipa palm posts and decorated this with yards and yards of "dalakurak" vines and flowers stolen from neighbors' ornamental gardens. We called the enclosure our 'stage ' and made child-crafted crowns out of the flowery vine "dalakurak", a beach vine. We sneaked out over-sized clothes, shoes, accessories to match our costumes. We painted our faces the way a child would apply make-up.
Sometimes some daring eager beavers among us insisted on their own interpretations of the
song that almost always, ended up in trouble. Next thing, we would start pulling down our stage and quarreling to no end. The next day, the troublemakers would be excluded from the show and remained spectators who would harass the new cast. It was time then to go home.
Once at home, I would make my own diorama using a big cardboard box- cut paper to form a queen, a prince, several maids, or add other cast of characters, colored and pasted them here and there, added other features like simulated trees, grass, flowers around my cast in an attempt to present the outside scene at our backyard. And I would sing my song to my own delight until sleep found me. I used to hide my creation for use during wet days when our variety shows were not possible to hold outdoor.
Our happy escapades became irregular during high school years. In college, I was totally weaned from the group because I went out of town to pursue my studies. Few among my playmates made it to college, some married young, the others ended up idle in their adult lives in our barangay. Did I overcome my childhood fantasies?
In college, it took a new turn, at least in a secret way. I tried to live my own queen. I crafted my own dress designs (my mother was a good dressmaker). I seldom wore ready-made dresses, they were expensive during my days of early womanhood. I was choosy in buying my bags, shoes- but not extravagant over them. As I shopped, I would lapse into my secret fantasy, and asked, "Would it fit me like a queen?"
When I became a full- fledged teacher, I became addicted to reading novels, subscribed to "Women's Magazine"and still continued reading fairy tales. I was fulfilled at having vicarious experiences with my favorite characters- particularly with princesses and princes. I used to tell myself that when I grew older, I wanted to be "a fine and noble friendly lady". Did my prince come? Yes, finally my prince came to claim me for his wife and love crowned me in my throne- my own palace I call home.
Have I overcome my childhood fantasies? Nahhhh! Am I now a fine lady? That will take me a lifetime trying to be one. Am I a noble one? Perhaps? Am I friendly? That I'm sure. Yes! Yes! Yes! Mabuhay ka!(Long live!)
1st photo by: Waponi
2nd photo is taken during my wedding day