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Archive for the ‘Memoirs’ Category

 

 

ON THE ROAD AGAIN TO HAWAII . . .

I will be back in Hawaii next month to talk on caregiving and for the release of my new book from Watermark Publishing, “Echoes of Kapoho.”

Please check this column, my blog or Facebook page for updated schedules. For now, here is my schedule:

  • Thursday, Nov. 7, 10-11:45 a.m.: I will be at the Kau Rural Health Community Association, Inc., in Pahala at an event for caregivers. It is sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, Kau Rural Health Community Association, Inc. and Watermark Publishing. Lunch will be served. The Kau Rural Health Community Association, Inc. is located at 96 Puahala St. Registration by Friday, Nov. 1, is required. Call Auntie Jessie or Auntie Theresa at (808) 928-0101 to register, or email Patrick Toal of the Alzheimer’s Association at patoal@alz.org.
  • Saturday, Nov. 9, 11:30 a.m.: I will be introducing my new book, “Echoes of Kapoho,” at Basically Books (1672 Kamehameha Ave.)

At 10 a.m. on that same day, I will be at the Hawaii Island Adult Care conference, speaking on caregiving from 10 – 11 a.m. Call Marcie Saquing at (808) 961-3747, ext. 107, for reservations.

I will also be traveling to Maui on this trip, giving lectures/workshops on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 20, 5-7 p.m. A lecture for the Alzheimer’s Association at: Maui Adult Day Care: 665 Kahalui Rd, Kahalui, Maui.

Call Christine Spencer for reservations at 808-591-2771: ext. 8235 or

Kathleen Couch at: 808-871-5804.

. Friday, Nov. 22: Keynote address at the 18th Maui Family Caregiver Conference sponsored by the Maui County Office on Aging at the Grand Wailea Resort. Call Vicki Belloumini at: (808) 270-7233 for details and reservations.

And, finally, O‘ahu book signing dates for “Echoes of Kapoho” are still being secured. Please check my Blog and Facebook page for the dates.

 

 

 

 

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Have you ever gone through the belongings of your loved ones after they’re gone?

In 2002, I found in my mother’s bureau, every Mother’s Day card she had received from her children. Included were hand-written letters of thanks sent by her physician. These letters told me my mother had regularly dropped off orchids and papayas from the farm where she worked. I sent these letters back to the doctor and he was totally moved that my mother had saved each one. She lost to Alzheimer’s but I found her stories in her belongings.

Allow me to share a poem I wrote after observing two people exchange phone numbers. They deftly added numbers to their smart phones. What will we have after electronically saved people are deleted?

 

Address Books and Match Covers

 

When I am dead, my dearest,

Will you draw a  Sharpie marker

Through my name, write Dead in bold caps

Or simply press Delete

To eradicate me forever?

 

Or will you preserve my name under K

And years from now…

On a cold wintry afternoon when friends

Have deserted you and boredom sets in,

You flip through your address book and pause at K .

Under the slow – changing day into night, my name appears.

You say my name and soon stories appear and you  smile and even chuckle

When there was a me and a you.

 

Perhaps memories will take you to a shoe box labeled FHK

In a spider-webbed corner of the garage.

You find old faded match covers. Match covers?

Yes, match covers. You flip one open and see faded numbers.

Is it a hurriedly written phone number of a handsome stranger I once met

In a coffee shop or in a bar?   Did I call that number and did a story begin?

Should you play sleuth and call that number? He must be long gone by now.

Are there match covers in other garages?

A shoe box of mysteries keep you awake until dawn.

 

Ah ha…and you thought I was gone forever.

©frances h kakugawa

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Before my mother had Alzheimer’s, we had a ritual. Every Christmas I walked into the house with a gift to myself…a new outfit, a pair of shoes or some jewelry and every year, this was our conversation:

Me: Do you want to give me this for Christmas?

Mother: Sure. How much?

Whatever price I gave, she said, “Only that much? You have a good job and you can’t even pay for your own present? “ ( I was a teacher, she packed flowers at a farm).

When I took the cash from her, ( she always had cash) she would always say, “You not shame to take money from your poor mother?”

Me: No, no shame. Thank you.

Mother chuckles.

She has been gone for 16 years now and every Christmas, I have had a Christmas gift from her. This year, she was really generous and got me my first  Dooney  and Bourke handbag! Still waiting to get reimbursement  from above.

 

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Our house lot is now under lava and with it, a Christmas Memory in summer.

 

A Kapoho Christmas

 

It was Christmas without lights.

It was Christmas without indoor plumbing.

It was Christmas without carolers at the window

Muffed and warm under falling snow.

 

But there was Christmas.

 

A Christmas program at school

Where the Holy Night reenacted:

White tissue paper glued on spines of coconut  fronds

Shaped as angel wings and halos.

Long white robes, over bare feet.

 

Santa Claus with bagfuls of hard mixed candies

Ho ho hoed by the plantation manager,

His yearly holiday role in the village where he reigned.

Fathers  in Sunday best

After a hard day’s work in sugar cane fields.

Children in home-sewn dresses and shirts.

 

A fir branch from the hills,

Needles not lasting 24 hours.

Chains from construction paper,

Origami balls, strands of tin-foiled tinsel.

Kerosene  and gas lamps

Moving shadows on the walls.

 

It was not the Christmas of my dreams.

No carolers at the window,

Singing O Holy Night.

No large presents under a Douglas Fir

No fireplaces and rooftop chimneys.

No blue-eyed  boy handing me hot chocolate.

 

For 18 years, the true Christmas

Lived in my head until Madame Pele

Came to my rescue

And buried our kerosene lamps.

 

“Finally,”  I said,

 

Running out fast —

My bare feet over pebbled, unpaved roads

To the Christmas of my dreams.

 

 

Frances Kakugawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Kapoho Christmas

 

It was Christmas without lights.

It was Christmas without indoor plumbing.

It was Christmas without carolers at the window

Muffed and warm under falling snow.

 

But there was Christmas.

 

A Christmas program at school

Where the Holy Night reenacted:

White tissue paper glued on spines of coconut  fronds

Shaped as angel wings and halos.

Long white robes, over bare feet.

 

Santa Claus with bagfuls of hard mixed candies

Ho ho hoed by the plantation manager,

His yearly holiday role in the village where he reigned.

Fathers  in Sunday best

After a hard day’s work in sugar cane fields.

Children in home-sewn dresses and shirts.

 

A fir tree from the hills,

Needles not lasting 24 hours.

Chains from construction paper,

Origami balls and strands of tin-foiled tinsel.

Kerosene  and gas lamps

Moving shadows on the walls.

 

It was not the Christmas of my dreams.

No carolers at the window,

Singing Silent Night, Holy Night.

No large presents under a real Christmas tree

No fireplaces and rooftop chimneys.

No blue-eyed  boy handing me hot chocolate.

 

For 18 years, the true Christmas

Lived in my head until Madame Pele*

Came to my rescue

And buried our kerosene lamps.

 

Finally, I said, running out fast

On unpaved roads

To the Christmas of my dreams.

* Fire of Goddess of Kilauea Volcanic Crater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I met with members of a book club who selected my book Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii, as one of their selections. The hostess, Jill Thornburg, was incredible. She had Sears ads in the bathroom as toilet paper and she served Vienna Sausage, Kapoho style. They really knew the book. One woman who was stationed in Hawaii with her military husband in the 60’s said she got to know my soul while reading the book; that it was more than a group of stories. Each discussed their favorite story.  I was asked to discuss writing and other aspects of the book. They expressed gratitude for the discount my publisher had given to their Kapoho purchase.

What a lovely visit back to Kapoho. And in Denver, too.

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kapoho line

book signing kapoho

This is a quote from a statement made yesterday by someone:

“The Japanese do not talk about earthquakes, volcanoes, etc….”

So here I am at the Volcano National Park, signing my book: Kapoho:

Memoir of a Modern Pompeii. I begin my stories with Pearl Harbor and end with the lava

destroying my home village, Kapoho.

Below, I’m holding Charles Pellegrino’s book: To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima at Barnes and Noble. The voices of  the survivors of Hiroshima echo out of the pages. And yes, we are all Japanese, btw.

b&n 1

 

 

 

 

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