Beloved Valentine

(This love letter depicts a true-to-life situation. Any similarity to cases you know could be purely coincidental.)

My Dearest Valentine,

It is the Season of Love, my love. Commercial messages proclaim it everywhere---in the malls, newspapers, billboards, on TV and---even as I am shaving half-awake this lovely morning---the radio wafts an unforgettable love song by Frankie that we had danced to long ago and far away. And as I drift back…I am young and ferociously in love again to a fair and stunningly beautiful girl. I feel once more those silky smooth cheeks, the tender, dainty hands clutching mine, the magic scent of Blue Grass. Pure witchery!

How many decades have come and gone since then, my love? How many thousands of miles have we traveled together? Charm, romance and easy caring from you through the years bring forth only endearment and joy so that the twists and turns in life’s journey are not only made bearable but enchanting. Even after the children arrived, the astonishing part is that we have constantly been happy, more deeply in love, more contented with each passing year. Let me tell you that the best part of it all, one profound discovery I had long kept to myself, is that you are also my best friend.

One day, almost a quarter-of-a-century ago, with the children barely in their teens, we embarked on a major life-altering venture. The family pulled up its stakes and transplanted them half-way across the world to America. We knew from the start that this giant step would test us to the limit. And it did. My heart bled silently to have to see the transformation in you as you took care of the children, managed the household and still tackled a full-time job. At the end of each weekday, it pained me to see you flop down in bed exhausted. Gone were the housemaids and the nannies that you had grown up with back in the old homeland. Gone too were your once soft and dainty hands. America’s detergents, to our disappointment, were not kind to even gloved hands…washing the dishes, cleaning the bathroom, the windowpanes, the car. And the cooking, grocery shopping, clothes in the hamper and the washer-dryer, the lawn, the endless chores that pummeled our patience and resolve in those early years. We cried now and then. But we had each other and the cheerfulness, the laughter and humor would never fade away. And we prayed a lot, remember? That was I think the time when faith kicked in to strengthen our family bonds even more. That was I think the time when I saw for myself what a marvelous, beautiful person I have been blessed with for a life partner. That was when it dawned on me how blessed and immensely lucky a bloke I really am.

Now that you’ve retired from a quasi-slavery job, I see that you have become even lovelier. And I know that like me you relish the added hours in a day that we spend happily together. One by one, the children are leaving our nest. They’re grown up now and are embarking on their own journeys. America, we learn, has a pattern of individualism and freedom that even traditionalist Filipino parents like us must accept. When we decided to live in America to become American citizens, we were determined to avoid culture shocks or nuances that would lull us into foolish acceptance. I must admit it was difficult balancing things in the beginning. But through it all, because of you, adjusting to America’s temperament and strange ways, the struggle to blend in, to strive, to contend with new horizons have been a piece of enseymada.

Do you remember how we addressed the ‘why?’ of our coming to this great and benevolent land? It was genuine love for one another. Because we love our children so much we wanted them to have a better stab at life. But, believe me, it was agony to have to leave. You and I know how we sacrificed our own priorities for their future. For that, I love you even more. And our children, thank God, have never been happier seeing what love without barriers has made of us.

How many Valentine seasons have we spent together in America? I’ve stopped counting, my love. All I want to focus on is that wondrous feeling for you and how special you are to me not only on this Season of Love but for always. Not given to mushy stuff, I know you know how I may not openly demonstrate affection. But I struggle with myself this season to find the right words to tell you how good life has been with you as my wife. I write this letter convinced that the message I want conveyed will forever stay in your heart. Our journey together continues to be one magnificent, fun-filled, faith-laden romantic adventure.

Commercialized or not on this season of Valentine, Frankie says it all for love-struck dudes like me when he croons in his immortal lovey-dovey voice: “When somebody loves you, it’s no good unless he loves you---all the way, all the way...”

Forever your amore,











Happy Valentine's Day to all!!


And now for the "writer reveal" this Valentine's Day. Thanks to the brods who guessed and participated,

but most especially to our inspiring "Valentino".


Norman, 2/14/19






From: Sluggo Rigor <>
Date:  2/7/2019 7:47 PM

Brod Norms,

Here is a piece from my old files that I am sharing with expatriate Brods as the Day of Love approaches. It was written in 2007 and expressed straight from the heart. Many in Seattle had called me to ask who it was who wrote it (after I had published it in the Fil-Am Bulletin). Many expat husbands expressed feelings so familiar and endearing, they said.

If it makes the grade with you, Brod, and if space allows, it could be a Valentine's Day offering to Betans who have gone (or will be going) through the life-changing ways of migrating/relocating to another land (in the U.S. or other countries).

Warm abrazos, Brod Norman!

Another hopeless romantic,
-SR /upd'60



Marivic Friedlander and Conrado "Sluggo" Rigor'60

Wedding day - Archbishop's Palace, Shaw Blvd., August 20, 1966

Best man - Bal Villanueva'60; Candle sponsor - Dolf de la Rosa'63; Veil sponsor - Ely Santiago'58; Cord sponsor - Joe Liongson'58.


"Our wedding date was Aug 20, 1966 at the Archbishop’s Palace on Shaw Blvd. Baldo Villanueva was Best Man and Boy M was ‘orchestrator’

 of the elopement in July of that year. Dolf, Ely S and Joe Liongson served as candle, veil and cord sponsors.  The quickie wedding

was like a frat event with many Brods at that time accompanying us all the way to the honeymoon place...." 



Marivic and Sluggo

Christmas 2018 - Seattle, WA



"Wow, getting close to 53 years of marital bliss!! And looking as young and so much in love as ever!" - Norman




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