I never failed to visit Charles Vath in all my years of stay in Baguio. There was something in Charles that kept me coming back day after day. Charles intimidated me on our first meeting. How could somebody so famous and big accommodate a simple college girl like me? Walking around Charles’ place was like understanding his rich past and the honors that came with it.
“Impressed?” he asked when I stood beside his antique collection.
Oh, the artistic treasures of Baguio was just within my reach!
“You could see my own printing press at the ground floor,” he said.
I wondered how did he know my penchant for books and reading materials. Were my actions and gazes too predictable or enough of a give-away to show how I was feeling inside?
Charles led me to the upper floors to read more books. He showed me an old copy of Shakespeare’s book and started to read the sonnets. I blushed and turned myself away.
The daily meet ups at Charles’ place became a routine. I would go there to make my assignments, to review for the exams and to kill time when bored. My romance with Charles Vath had a timeline and I knew that this special relationship would only last for five years; unless circumstances would force me to go beyond that.
I have yet to see another Charles Vath who would be a source of reference and hard work for students of this generation when the easier way is to click one’s mouse to google.
I have yet to see another Charles Vath who would home a region’s artistic relics and be a shelter to thousands of books.
I have yet to see another Charles Vath so big and tall; mighty and majestic.
My romance with Charles Vath ended in March 2000. If there is one place in my alma mater that I miss so much other than the Otto Hahn Building, it would definitely be the Charles Vath Library Building.