The name is important. It is a cue, a pointer if you will to point us to a world, a whole universe even.
But a name is only a sign. And much has been written about signs and meanings. Writers like Umberto Eco who wrote “The Name of the Rose” give us good account of how they work. Take the Apple computer sign, the white apple with a single bite and the leaf. Used to be, only a few people knew what it meant. But now it has practically become the universal symbol to remind us of Steve Jobs (God bless him where he is now) and how he made the Mac, the Ipad and Iphones, etc. household words. There is of course a method for how it works. Much has been written about that too. But at its most fundamental, all begin from a simple fact. Isn’t it wonderful how you can take a bunch of letters, any bunch of letters, and make it stand for something?
Take “etc.”. Spelled out, it goes etcetera. But whoever puts it that way? We all know what it means. It is the last item of most lists that have the potential to grow. It’s a convenient device. Make a budget for buying fruits at the neighborhood grocer. You will need a list but you cannot know what fruits are actually available besides the usual. You will need etc. like you will need to remember to bring your green bag. You could use “misc.” which of course means miscellaneous and that too is a convenient device. But etc. is one letter shorter and much better sounding.
But the word must have a history. And we might wonder where the word came from? Who was the first to use it? It might have been merely utterance or a particular sound before it came to be written down. It might even have been merely a grunt to indicate some thing forgotten or at that particular moment still indeterminate, some sound like “koan” which we Bisayans use to replace any word we do not want to say or can’t say for some reason or another.
One thing sure, etc. is a Latin word, Latin being the root language of English. If one were to research it intensively one might begin to gather a whole world of knowledge about it. And if one were to trace how it has been used over history one would inevitably end up talking about human history itself. Etc. is also a doorway through which one might pass to reach a whole universe of meanings. Words are names. They work wonderfully that way.
And so names are important. They are essential. And if you take a name like “Class ’72” it will surely lead you to a world, this, having its own complexity of meanings, its own expanse of little histories. The name “Class ’72” will lead you certainly to a set of other names. Some names you might find more familiar than others. But always you can be sure that each name is a whole world unto itself. Each name is just as important as another. You yourself decide which name you might use of pass through if you wanted to get at some understanding of real life. Or at least, this particular “real” life which covers the years before and after 1972 when a batch of young students graduated from the high school at a campus near the end of Mango Avenue. This campus was once called Sacred Heart School for Boys. It goes by a different name now.
But names taught this batch of young men. Names like Mrs. Evelyn Luab, Mr. Alfredo Montano, Joseph Goyangko, Ms. Molina, Mrs. Ding, Roman Dolotina, Apolinario Leyson, Ms. Lumagbas, Ms. Jenny Kimseng, Ms. Ybanez, Ms. Yee, Mr. Olalo, Mr. Quimpo, Mr. Enriquez, (and with great apologies for limits of memory dictated by age) etc.
And they were taught by names of Jesuit priests. Names like, Fr. Kauffman, Fr. Ortiz, Fr. Hernando, Fr. Nunez, Fr. Chuang, Fr. Reycard, Fr. Chu, (and with great apologies for limits of memory dictated by age) etc. Put the letters S.J. after every name to set them correctly and right. S.J. stands for something too. Which also would lead us also to a particular world. That would be a world to include an whole universe of names. And those names would have to include these.
Here finally, the names of Class ’72: Antonio Cabinian, Camilo Borromeo, Eduardo Noel, Patrick Siao, Teofilo Uy, Alfredo Ramon Enriquez, Roberto Cola, Reuben Muaña, Teddy Huan, Johnny Ong, Jasper Tan, Freddie Santos, Carlos Tanbonliong, Bienvenido Fernandez, Raymund Fernandez, Ramon Lozada, Roger Gopaoco, Mariano Tan, Bob Gothong, Henry Tanchan, William Borromeo, Stephen Uy, Erramon Aboitiz, Danilo Kimseng, Benjamin Lim Jr., Jose Soberano, Robin Robins Jr., Rene Villarica, Alex Go, Roland Ong, Alfredo Mancao, Ramon Garcia, James Tan, Tony Chiong, Cholo Bernad, Fabian Aliño, George Ang, Alfredo Ngochua, Roy Emil Yu, Rafael Sing, Roy Villafuerte. We must put etc. at the end of the list. For now the names include only those who could realistically be contacted or responded to initiatives of contact. The list is ever expanding. And all the more so because it includes more than the school’s official list of graduates for that year. Everyone who was ever there are included. Build the name “Class ’72”. They will come.