A Portrait of a Lady

Written By: Patria Baradi  Pacis

Eden was a beautiful lady. Her skin was fair, her eyes dark brown. Her black hair was always up in a French twist adorned with satin bows that matched her dresses, bags and sandals. She wore little makeup, pink rouge and lipstick. Her hands and feet were impeccably manicured with matching fuchsia nail polish.

Eden was petite in stature, yet she appeared ten feet tall when she walked into a room by the way she carried herself. Her shyness was often mistaken for her aloofness but when she got to know you better, she won you over with her charming personality.

Eden was not much into jewelry. Her favorites: a two-carat diamond pear engagement ring, a wedding band with matching earrings and a gold, heart locket with a picture of her and her husband as newlyweds in front of their new home. During her younger days, she was courted by many suitors, rich and poor, but a hard working lawyer who saw her picture in the local paper won her heart.

Eden was a world traveler but she chose to live in Montauk because she loved nature and the small town feeling. She was active in the community and wore her Sunday best to church. On weekdays, she ate lunch at the Montauk Playhouse Senior Nutrition Center.

On Bingo Tuesdays, when she won, she chose Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses to share with her friends. Her favorite pastime was playing mahjong, Chinese style. She had a photographic memory that gave her the advantage of anticipating her opponent’s next play. She loved to win.

Eden was gracious but also straightforward. She would help you but if you asked a question, she would not sugarcoat her answer. When asked by friends to taste their cooking, she would politely answer: “It’s okay, but it’s missing something.” Then she would immediately doctor the dish to make it more palatable. She was persistent.

Eden loved musicals: “The Sound of Music,” “South Pacific” and “The King and I.” She enjoyed action films: “James Bond” and “Mission Impossible.” Her favorite television program was “I Love Lucy.” Her favorite song and saying was “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin. Her laughter was infectious.

Eden enjoyed gardening. Her green thumb worked miracles in giving dying plants a second chance. Some said that her thriving red roses, purple orchids and African violets reacted to her soothing voice.

Eden also loved writing and receiving letters. At Christmas time, she made a point to enclose a personal note inside each of the hundred cards she mailed. She loved to crochet and sew and made many arts and craft gifts for her relatives and friends. She was generous.

Eden was blessed with a loving family: four children, five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. The lawyer she married became the Philippine Representative to the United Nations and later the Philippine Ambassador to numerous countries in Africa.

Eden was my Mom. She passed away two years ago, just short of one hundred and two. Although she was busy attending to her duties as a diplomat’s wife for twenty three years from 1956 to 1979, she was always there for me especially on my birthdays, graduations and other special occasions.

”I miss you Mom. I miss your laughter and your passion for life. I miss you even more on Mother’s Day and especially on your birthday, on June 12. Although I cannot see you, I know you’re here tonight. You are always in my heart.”

(Note: This piece was read by the author at the second Reading of the Montauk Writers Group at the Montauk Library on June 11, 2014 in celebration of her mother, Eden Guevara Baradi’s 104th birthday.)