My grandmother, Josefina Santa Cruz-Gonzales, has long been looking for her dear friend Epifania Turbanada, at least that was her name when she last heard from her.
Lola Baby, as we fondly call her, lives in Canada with her husband Lolo Jess. She has posted a comment on my blog, hoping that it may get leads to her whereabouts. My editor at One Philippines has expressed her willingness to help me in helping my grandma find out anything about her best friend Eppie.
I am putting out my Lola Baby’s post here again to give it prominence. No one could have written this piece any more heartwarming and nicer to read than her. Here it goes:
By my grandmother, Josefina “Baby” Santa Cruz-Gonzales
Epifania Turbanada is her name. At least that was her name when I last heard from her.
Eppie, my pet name for her, and I were classmates at University of Santo Tomas from first year high school through Chemical Engineering. We were thick as thieves: walked home together from school, giggled together, did our homework together, shared the same taste and distaste for some boys. She was always a step ahead of me academically. She was Valedictorian and I was Salutatorian when we finished high school. In Engineering, I always trailed behind her on the Honor Roll. But in the Board Exams for Chemical Engineers, I placed 9th and she was not among the top 10. But it didn’t matter. It was irrelevant to our friendship.
She went back to Catubig, Samar after our Board exams. I started work for the Forest Products Research Institute at UP College of Forestry in Los Banos. We saw each other less but kept in touch. When I left to take graduate studies in the US a year after, she sent her best wishes in a cablegram from Samar. I still have that piece of paper.
I finished my studies two years after and returned home via Europe. By this time, she was in Manchester , England for graduate studies. She came to see me in London, had dinner, and got tickets for a live show “A Man For all Seasons”. We talked and filled in each other about the separate directions our lives were taking. We wanted to spend more time together but she had to go back for classes and I had a plane to catch the following day.
Back at work in Los Banos two months later, I received a letter from her asking for tips about travel in Europe. She must have considered me the person to ask, after winging it there for three months on a shoestring budget. That was the last I heard from her.
Since then, I have been searching for Eppie, my dearest, closest friend. I’ve attended many UST class reunions over the last 45 years but Eppie was never in any of them. Everyone who knew us as “the inseparable” naturally asked me where she was. Who better would know? But I didn’t, and neither did any of our classmates. I’ve tried the People Search on the Internet. It led me nowhere.
By publishing my story in your Blog, I thought I might have better success in my search for Eppie. From what I’ve gathered, she is married now to a veterinarian and lives somewhere in the USA. Someone, somewhere in the Philippines, who knows her whereabouts, might read your Blog, and lead me to her. Our friendship has been put on hold for over 45 years, but she still holds a special place in my heart.
Would you help me help her?