The following is another batch of printed matter from my father’s collection. I am warmed by the discovery of these titles that range in topics from biographies of religious, political and pop cultural icons, various aspects of Philippine law and government, books concerning gender, marital and parental issues, self-help, mindfulness strategies, psychology, philosophy, meditations and sex politics, books on humour, stamp collecting, the Royal family, The Kennedys, Martin Luther King, the afterlife, UFO’s and paranormal phenomenon, fitness and the Mafia.
My father certainly had a broad scope of interests. As I looked through each book, turning the same pages he once did, I am struck by an unsatiable longing. I am grateful to have access to him in this way.
Discovered between pages 54 and 55, 6 pages into the 5th chapter (How to Help Yourself Stay out of Trouble) of Ann Landers Talks to Teen-agers about Sex by Ann Landers, is a bookmark made of canary-coloured velvet paper. In gold embossed lettering in Art Deco style, is my grandfather’s name:
PATROCINIO S. del ROSARIO
AKLAN PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS ASSOCIATION
Underlined between pages 8 and 9 of, Mohandas Ganghi by George Woodcock:
‘Like the Marxists and the anarchists, Gandhi believed that society must be transformed, but unlike them he did not believe that it was necessary to await an apocalyptic day of revolution before the transformation could begin. Indeed, he believed that the political revolution was dependent on the social transformation, and that both must proceed together. He held that, like spiritual liberation, the attainment of political freedom would only become a reality through self-purification, and it was his belief that Indian society must purge itself of its injustices before a true liberation from the imperial past would be possible.’
Underlined in page 48 of Readings in Philosophy, Chapter 4 - Nature by John Stuart Hill:
‘Nature is a collective name for everything which is. In the second, it is a name for everything which is of itself, without voluntary human intervention.’
There are many more books to sort through, still sitting in the damp storage space my father had built before he passed. The longer the books remain in storage, the higher the risk of any or all of them to fall into ruin from moisture, paper mites or any other critters with a taste for the written word. I know time is not on my side. Often I feel a sense of urgency when I think about this particular task. But still, I keep postponing what I know I need to do. It is simple enough - go to the storage space and get the books, dust and sort the books into two piles of keep and give-away. What is the hold-up? Maybe a part of me takes comfort in knowing there are more surprises in store.
Of the books featured in this article, I've kept about a third and donated the rest to the local library here in Batan. Surprisingly, this process of purging hasn't been too difficult. My father had a peculiar habit, or perhaps this was standard custom then, of labelling all his books with a stamp or sticker bearing his name. This is a very consistent assertion of ownership which I have come to appreciate wholeheartedly. Now, whoever borrows any of my fathers' books from the library will know his name.