Sunday, October 13, 2013

Homesick for Nieves

Seated on the steps of Palma Hall, University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. She was still a young instructor here. She went on to be a legendary professor of English and of life. The address #39 M. Viola st., UP Diliman, QC, is still associated with her and husband SV.
Her "Wow!" shot. Nieves always had a lot of Audrey Hepburn in her. She was sympathetic to activists, particularly leftists, and artists, most especially writers. But she was just as unapologetic and unrepentant about her personal tastes, desires and sense of style. She would hie off to The Manila Hotel for an Ungaro fashion show with her latest protege in tow. She was better than Miss Jean Brodie, just a fictional character in Muriel Spark's novel. Why? Because she was the irreplaceable, the original  Nieves Benito Espistola who left a hole in many a writer's heart when she passed on to eternal life in September 2002. Everyone owes at least one good thing in his/her adult life to a teacher. She was my great good thing, and my gratitude is as boundless as the dreams she had for me.
In her own write. The inscription on the postcard reads: "As I was coming down the spiral stairs from the L.A. theatre--directly above the English Dept.--the cameraman caught me--apparently in clover! 1953."

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