One can be beautiful.
from White Ginger Blossom by Frances Kakugawa
One can be beautiful.
from White Ginger Blossom by Frances Kakugawa
There are a few openings for two of the support groups that I facilitate in Sacramento.
Please call the site where these sessions are held. We’re a friendly, non-threatening group of caregivers and memoir writers. See below:
Frances’ Monthly Sessions for Caregivers and Memoir Writers
Poetry ( and journals) Writing Support Group for people caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other Dementia-related illnesses:
The 2nd Tuesday of each month:
Time: noon – 2 p.m.
Site: Alzheimer’s Office, conference room
1455 Response St
Memoir Miners session
Second Thursday of each month:
Time: 10 – noon
Site: Asian Community Center
7375 Park City Dr
“My decision to become a teacher was based on the only other alternative I thought was available at the time – becoming a prostitute. Perhaps I’d better explain.”
With these words, in the first chapter titled “Red Nail Polish,” I was drawn into the life and words of elementary school teacher and poet Frances H. Kakugawa. They told me so much about her: that she has a sense of humor, a touch of rebellion, a desire for glamour, and a determination to make choices in her life.
The repairman C arrived after 5. He immediately said , after feeling the ice in the bins, the cause of the ice was clogged tubes in the back of the refrigerator. Clogged with lint. He unscrewed the back panel and I washed three plastic tubes. The current, it seems, was unable to flow through the clogged tubes and so it condensed into ice. I’m no repairman. This sounded better than moisture from uncovered fruits.
We took everything out of the refrigerator. He used a strong hair dryer and hot water to melt the ice formed in the refrigerator units. All of this required screwdrivers
His advice. I need to clean the back of the tubes once a year, twice if I had pets in the house.
I was charged $42.50 for the cleaning. The warranty, he explained, covers only replacement parts, not cleaning. “But, but,” I said, “if the cause is clogged tubes, isn’t this part of what warranty covers? A refrigerator that needs repairs?” Nope. I should have signed up for the Master Protection Warranty at a higher price, he said. . No way will I be able to move the refrigerator out so I’m stuck to having Sears come to clean the machine.
So I wrote him a check for $42.50. His labor, covered by Warranty was $226.00. So that previous repairman who said my unwrapped fruits were the cause of the ice, was paid $226, as was the first
repairman who came twice. I should have had Sears pay ME for the embarrassment of finding real black grime under the refrigerator. No Good Housekeeping lives here.
Received a call from Sears Executive Office today. They will reimburse the $42.50 and will add the Master Warranty to my current plan for six months. (All three repairmen are from the same firm.)
The Master Warranty Maintenance Plan will replace your refrigerator after 4 functional failures or 3 in 90 days.
But, but, I say. Do we have to become the squeaky hinge to receive the oil can? Shouldn’t Sears take care of their customers without having them go on FB and Blogs and making phone calls to district robotic managers who fill out forms? Has businesses turn into corporations that have no humane attributes? Once a person says, “That’s company rules,” I know there’s no human at the top, beginning with the person who uses company rules as an out.
For now, I appreciate the call from the Executive Office and repairman C. I asked that the Executive Office personnel put in a good word for C. Hope I don’t need to retract this someday.
Pahoa Cash & Carry
After 75 years, this local grocery store in Pahoa, Hawaii that sold everything from food, clothing to needles and threads, is closing its doors for good.
This is the kind of change that ought not to happen. It is with sadness and gratitude that I add my stories about Mr. Hara, the original owner.
We would not have survived in Kapoho without him; he allowed my mother to charge all our groceries and waited until we harvested our cane crop every few years to pay our debts. I see him sprawled through our doorway, taking notes of our grocery list: 100 # of rice, spam and Vienna sausage and Japanese saké among other staples. We had no vehicle so Mr. Hara personally delivered all our purchases.
After our village Kapoho was destroyed by Kilauea Volcano, state land in Pahoa, a village seven miles away, was offered at a public auction for victims who had lost their property. Mr. Hara stayed next to my mother and encouraged her to purchase our new property, coaxing her to bid above the going price, “I will lend you the money without interest.” And he did. My father’s last bachelor spree was with Mr . Hara when they both went to Japan before my father got “arranged” married. A black and white photo preserves these two young men in their suits, on their way to their last bachelor fling.
I hope the humanity of his legacy will be carried on by his customers. It will be long remembered and lived here.
A small tribute is given him in my book, Kapoho, Memoir of a Modern Pompeii.
I was part of a discussion on sexuality and aging on the following radio show. We advocate that one does not need
Cialis and Viagra for an intimate sexual life and hope to change the advertising world!!!
The Hawaii Herald newspaper kindly published another contribution from me, including an excerpt from Kapoho. You can see a bigger version if you click the link below these pictures. And I hope you go out and buy a copy if you are in Hawaii, to help support this newspaper! (My publisher has a special offer code inside for 40% off your purchase at their website — but you have to get the paper to get the code!)
Posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Book Reviews, Caregiving, Elder Care, My Books, On writing chldren's books, our children, Uncategorized, tagged Alzheimer's Association, Hawaii Herald, Karleen Chinen, Kevin Kawamoto, Wordsworth Dances the Waltz on September 24, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Stay away from me today. I’m grumpy.
This is one of those days when the smallest of imperfections balloon into a FranGRRRR.
At Safeway, I had less than 15 items in my basket. The 15 or less checkout was not available because two shoppers with carts filled to the top with groceries were in line.
I checked out at a regular register. Check – out left my package on the counter and began to serve the next person. This had happened last week, too, when check-out left my four bags of grocery on the counter, shoved them on the side so he could serve the next person in line. What? What happened when they put your purchases in the cart for you?
Today was my FranGRRRR day so I spoke to the manager. “There’s no sense in having a 15 or less check out if that rule is not regulated” I told her. ( I’m so darn obedient, I have never gone to the 15 or less checkout if I had 16 items. I picture being dragged away in handcuffs.)
“Look at my grocery,” I pointed out. “They’re still hanging in that bag next to the counter. What happened to customer service?” She apologized. I suggested that she observe check-out at Raley’s where each check out has a “bag person” who will take the groceries to your car.”
Earliar in the day, at CA Family Fitness Center, I met up with another FranGRRRRR. There’s a sign banning cells in the exercise area. This isn’t working. There’s one woman whose conversations are heard half way across the room. This morning a woman was sitting on a machine, reading her ipad. I finally asked her if she were still using the machine. She apologized for getting too involved with her electronic game. This is a common sight; people using their electronic gadgets, sitting on machines. Grrrrrr. I don’t want apologies. I want managers to regulate whatever rules are set up on their premises.
Yesterday, the Sears repairman came to check our refrigerator. He didn’t have the parts so we will now have to wait two weeks while he places in an order. Why can’t these repair people have a supply of basic parts in their vehicles? Grrrrr.
There are still 7 hours left in my day. I should stay indoors.
A thought: if managers can’t fix even the most obvious, I should stop hoping for world peace, human equality and a healthy and safe environment. Unless…unless, they let people like me rule the world.
Posted in education, My Books, On writing chldren's books, Students in classrooms, Uncategorized, tagged Being Japanese, Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii, Suzume No Gakko, Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, Wordsworth the Poet, Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer on July 19, 2013 | 3 Comments »
The Suzume No Gakko Summer School in San Jose
invited me to speak to their students in grades 1 – 6, on being an author. It was to captive audiences that I shared stories on how my Wordsworth books were written. But when Wordsworth made a surprise visit, the stage became all his.
Wordsworth was pretty excited and it looks like he shaved off his whiskers that morning. One alert first grader brought it to his attention.
Wordsworth promised to dance the waltz with everyone at his next visit.