At forty five, this lady stands proud and tall, she is one of the remaining few who are the testaments of the once glorious past. Her contemporaries may have undergone face lifts or major repairs or are all gone now or gave in to the fast changing and decay of time. Changes here and there, fashion comes and go, but this lady endured the test of time.
Forty five summers ago, this lady became the center of attention in a simple quiet neighborhood for she was the newest beauty to rise in the working middle class part of the city.
A young struggling couple in their mid-30’s commissioned a newly graduated architect to design and build them a house that can be a home to a family of eight children, the youngest was conceived here, so that made a family of nine.
In the summer of 1966, the family moved in to this newly constructed house, an architectural design of the period, the 60’s. Simple but impressive structure, the true reflection of the master and mistress of the house. A two level semi concrete abode with multicolored paint facade. A porch before the wide glass sliding main door and a terrace on the second level facing east, the owner believed this will bring abundance and good luck. Big glass windows all around makes the interior of the house sunny and bright. Shiny red tiled flooring dominates the first level, big spacious, high ceilinged living room adorned by two chandeliers exudes an air of elegance, and walls were doubled by narra wood paneling. In this threshold, the young mistresses of the house received their countless suitors. A dining room with a table that can sit ten persons, a kitchen that were forever kept immaculately clean. There were two toilets and baths for the comfort of a big family.
A wide winding staircase with a three foot altar of the "sacred heart" leads to the second floor where the family room serves as the library and study, family diplomas were on display here. Four rooms completed the second floor area of the house which is made of hard wood.
A covered garage that can accommodate three cars was always kept greaseless and floor shining bright. Behind the wrought iron gate was a garden painstakingly and lovingly tended by the mistress of the house. Her collections of varied colors of flowering bougainvilleas were planted by the fence. Soft scent of sampaguita fills the air on May summer nights. Some say you can tell the kind of people living in the house by the way they take care of their garden.
In those days all these were signs of opulence.
The family resources flourished, they had the taste of the easy life. Parties and reunions were hosted, people come and go. The mistress of the house was a gracious host.
The master of the house loved beautiful music, its beautiful sound revervirates in the entire house. Children’s laughter echoed through the walls; voices can be heard everywhere. The cacophony of sounds makes a beautiful music. This house was full of life; this house was full of love.
The children grew, and one by one they left the sanctuary and protection of the lady to build a family and home of their own. But no matter where fate brings them, it always leads them back to this old painted lady who played an important role in building their character.
The occupants of this house can go very far, but memories of the happy times will always haunt them, and keep them yearning to come back and feel the warmth and tender embrace of the lady. The master and her mistress and two of their children’s final journey passed by the lady for their last goodbye and gratitude for the memories they shared.
Seasons come and seasons go, slowly the lady can feel the passage of time. She grew old gracefully, her beauty outdated but still she has the poise and her classic elegance. She may not be the stately ancestral house, but she is so impressive and she can command respect. With all the love and care, this lady can take care of its builder’s next generation.
Today, she stands alone, lonely and for lone, surrounded by unfamiliar faces. She may be faded but never bitten, battered by time and elements but she weathered every storm. The silent witness to the ups and downs, to the laughter and tears of her ward. Gone are the children’s laughter, gone are the familiar voices, gone are the bougainvilleas in bloom, gone are the scent of sampaguitas in the evening, gone are the children’s light footsteps, the music is now silenced, and all she has now are faded memories she can hardly hold.
The old painted lady may have lost her grandeur, but still standing whispering softly in her loving motherly voice, "Here, I sheltered a happy home."
As the sun sets in the distant horizon and darkness slowly envelopes the night, the old painted lady will again wait for another sunrise at 17 Hyacinth Street.