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In Memoriam: Happy Birthday Dinna Santiago!

Remembering Dinna | July 6, 1967 - Feb 26, 2013

Flashback to Hogan High School Class of 1985's Baccalaureate Mass. Baccalaureate Mass (June 16) was three days before graduation ceremonies on June 19.  Although we were only together for a few months in tenth grade, she'll always be my first girlfriend.  More importantly, she was my best girl friend in high school.

Rest In Peace Dinna Santiago-Martinez.

I remember after confirmation in tenth grade, Father O'Kelly took me aside after noon mass sometime in spring 1983.  He asked me if I wanted to join the priesthood.
I thought to myself, "This is it.  This is my calling."
Ever since first grade in Marist School in Marikina, Philippines, religion had been my favorite class.  I was a devout Catholic.  And I mean die-hard Catholic.  I once overheard my Lola Rosita tell my mom and family in attendance that there had been a priest in every generation in her side of the family for decades.  Until none of her five sons became a priest.  Old school pinoys know how important it was/is to have a priest in the family.

So I decided to be a priest.  Only problem was around that age, I also declared I wanted to grow up just like my dad and marry someone just like my mom, and have a boy and a girl -- just like my sister and me.  (I started playing chess at 5 years old, so yes I had a lot of "thoughts" early on.)

But I was like a Catholic Shaolin monk in high school -- if that makes any sense.  LOL.

So the week after that Sunday mass, I brought up the subject at the dinner table with my parents and my sister.  The first time -- no response.  I brought it up a couple nights later; still no response.  Their message was clear: it's up to me.

Dinna and I still talked on the phone regularly in tenth grade, even though we had broken up.  I told her about Father O'Kelly's invitation and my family's non-response.  Being her witty self, she quickly replied:
"You better not become a priest.  Or else I'll hunt you down and do a Thorn Birds on you!"

The Thorn Birds is an American television miniseries broadcast on ABC from March 27 to 30, 1983. It starred Richard ChamberlainRachel WardBarbara StanwyckChristopher PlummerPiper LaurieJean SimmonsRichard KileyBryan BrownMare Winningham and Philip Anglim. It was directed by Daryl Duke and based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Colleen McCullough. The series was enormously successful and became the United States' second highest-rated miniseries of all time behind Roots; both series were produced by television veteran David L. Wolper.
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