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3 Teacher-Sisters and Their Scrabble Squabbles


The three sisters in 2012 enjoying their retirement playing Scrabble.  From left to right:  Ma (Naning), Auntie Sonia & Auntie Eva.

I was tagged in this Facebook photo by my cousin months ago.  On the left is my mother and the other two are her sisters.  The three are retired elementary school teachers.  They are playing Scrabble, a game they have always played together and with other co-teachers since I could remember.  This was a game for all seasons -- during teachers' seminars, retreats, enrollment period, teachers' day, elections, etc. -- a game that witnessed so much joy, laughter, conversations and quarrels.

I think I learned the alphabet during these Scrabble sessions.  There were times where I would sit beside Ma and she would show me a tile and whisper "Look for a letter that looks like this and give it me.  Don't show it to them."  When Ma was already winning she would start laughing hard and either of the two will shout "Aw inda!  Nagaparadaya ka na naman, Naning!" (You are cheating again, Naning!) to which Ma would laugh and start asserting her authority as the eldest among them.   I don't remember now who would eventually win the games and the quarrels but I do know that no matter how much they fought they would still eventually want to play against each other.

They are a family of 13 siblings.  Five (5) finished BS Elementary Education and  two among them married teachers also.  Another two (2) were engineers who taught at two universities in Bicol at some point in their careers, and one finished an AB course but also ended up teaching.  One sister has Down Syndrome so we never got to see her choose a career.  So there were 7 teachers out of 13 siblings.  

How many of us know of a family of 7 siblings who are teachers, 5 of whom went to retirement as teachers?

I guess they naturally redounded to teaching because their father, who became an appointed and elected Mayor of Daraga, Albay during post-WWII also started his career as a teacher.  I think I heard Ma say before that grandfather insisted "If I became mayor with only a teacher's degree at the Philippine Normal School then you can also build careers out of the same profession."  

Grandfather will be the subject of a future post but for now this is a testament to the teacher siblings and these three Scrabble Squabbler teacher-sisters who ended their careers as educators in the same mining community in the North.



The three sisters during their college years (ca. 1961) before Ma (in black) would graduate and teach in a rural town and start her own family.



Naning still plays Scrabble even when she doesn't have someone to play with.


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