Posts Tagged ‘Hawaii’

To anyone not familiar with Hawaiian life, we take our shoes off at the door. So here it is, the last prep for Hurricane Lane.



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hibiscus 1


Hawaiian style morn

Seven blooms on the 5th day.

If only twas May.


Sacramento, CA

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I’m back home in Sacramento after giving four keynote addresses on Oahu and Maui. Scheduled to return to Kona next fall. Thank you Hawaii for all your aloha and for sharing your insights and the changes you have made as caregivers during my address. I return each of the applause back to you.


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Here are some photos, courtesy of my niece, Tammy, from the Writing the Hawaii Memoir panel discussion I was in a couple weeks ago.

Nice to see how well the store supports local authors! Here is the section with all my books:

FHK at Basically Books

And this is our esteemed panel of authors, all contributors to Writing the Hawaii Memoir by Darien Gee, with Basically Books shop owner, Christine Reed (center).

WHM contribs

From left to right: Mark Panek, Darien Gee (author of Writing the Hawaii Memoir), Christine Reed (Basically Books), me and Leslie Lang.

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Don’t Turn Me Into a Liar

I received two phone calls  in three days, on the same subject,  but from opposite sides of the coin. The call today was from a caregiver who had lost her husband to various illnesses and some dementia. She thanked me for helping her change her perspective on her husband’s behavior. To reprogram her mind from being aggravated at her husband’s behavior to understanding that, that was the best he could do under the circumstance.  “I feel good about how I cared for him,” she said, “it was all about changing my attitude and seeing things differently.”

The other call came from a woman who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She was in a session that I presented  in Kona, on the Big Island, at the health facility where she now lives. “I felt so good and inspired listening to you speak of treating dementia people with dignity and compassion,” she said. “If this was in store for me, I felt really good about being here with this disease.

“But,” she continued, “it’s not happening. I’m not being treated with dignity. I also watch the staff and they are very rude to other residents and they just don’t understand why we’re here. What you spoke to us about being treated with dignity , is not happening.”

This morning my mother and I began a story in the Honolulu Star/Advertiser on caregiving.

The complete story  is posted by my publisher  on my Facebook: http://www.facebook.com//FrancesKakugawa

It can also be found here:http://www.staradvertiser.com/newspremium/20130415_Program_gives_caregivers_tools_to_cope.html?id=202969511

I’m pleased that all who were interviewed for the story are on the same page , that monies must be spent on human resources on behalf of  our loved ones who are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia related diseases. The deliverance of nursing and medical skills must be based on the humanities.

I saw blind spots at the nursing facility where my mother resided in the late 90’s  so I volunteered  to train all staff members to  integrate their skills knowledge with compassion, and to become aware of each client as a human being.  To see how we have extended our circle of family to them for the care of our loved ones, with trust and commitment.

A month ago, I called the head nurse and was pleased to know, the list I had offered them on being humanistic nurses and aides, was still on the wall in their lounge and that list is still  current today.

It can be done, so I’m hopeful that grant monies will be used to help us all learn what it means to be human.

Otherwise, that woman who had called me from that facility turns me into a fantasy story teller.  I did promise her a rose garden.

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Kapoho’s book launch from Hilo , Hawaii

Found our old house lot in Kapoho

It was more than books sold, more than number of people who stood in line at my book signings.  It was, what Kapoho has always been…her people.

Ninety one year old Suzuki,  a conductor on the passenger train we called Motor Car came to both signings. He was a young rascal to us Kakugawa kids who rode the train for free since my father was working for the railroad company. Wilson would ask us, “Where’s your ticket?” As a child, I always  wanted a ticket to be punched like the other kids. Suzuki is now Wilson, he took his mother’s name after Pearl Harbor. He came with a sheet of paper, with most of the names of the families who were living in Kapoho before the eruption. An incredible man and he even wore a jacket!  He told more stories of Kapoho to other people from Kapoho who were in presence.

Suzuki, a.k.a. Wilson, my sister and me.

Jimmy, in his 80’s said, “I read about Frances Kakugawa but you are still Hideko to me.” We were neighbors in Kapoho and bought adjoining lots in Pahoa after the eruption to remain neighbors. I visited him at his home.

The Kapoho Lighthouse: lava stopped a few feet around the lighthouse to keep the light burning.

His sister, Julie, in her 80’s , invited my sister, niece Tammy and me to lunch at her now Pahoa home.  She took us on a tour of Kapoho where we found our old house lot. We had an old Vee apple tree in our backyard and it was still there, growing above the other trees, a welcome home sign. The area is now overgrown with coconut, ohi’a, ferns and other growth. Only the acres near the ocean are black lava.

George, in his 90’s , a  former policeman came with a book in hand to be signed. I’m not sure he was the policeman in my story “The Kindergarten drop-out.”

Misae, classmate from Kapoho, attends all my book signings. Misae and I were neighbors, we played cowboys, baseball and danced Bon dances throughout our Kapoho years. When we quarreled, we still went to school together, each of us walking on opposite sides of the road.

Many of the original residents are now gone but their children or grandchildren or in-laws or relatives came along with strangers interested in a place now under lava rock. And friends from long ago years.

There are still original buildings still standing. We met the New Kapoho residing in these homes. The new Kapoho, I call them, mainland Haoles now living in Kapoho. They came to learn what the old Kapoho was like, they said,  and left with book in hand with a vow to preserve the spirit and humanity that was once Kapoho.

   Kapoho, under lava rock…………

                 The Kapoho Tree created by niece Tammy.

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Stop the World, I Want the Good Old Days!

You’d think we were at Dave Letterman’s instead of an 8 hr workshop with Bill Belew.

His straight-forward answers to our dummies’ questions filled the corners of the room with laughter. He ended the workshop only after anyone wanting a site, was connected to a blog site and all questions were answered, even the ones that evoked belly laughs.

Blogging: I want those days back when all I needed was a pen, paper, a stamp and an envelope. There was something intimate about folding a letter, inserting it into an envelope, licking the flap carefully so I didn’t slice my tongue, hand-writing the address, and taking it to a post office for a stamp. The postman had a name and he knew mine.

Followed by days of anticipation and hope for a response as I checked the mail box at the post office. The ripping apart of the envelope even before I reached home.  Rereading the letter before saving it  in a shoe box.

I have a box of letters I wrote to a pen pal in Maryland while I was in high school. Her mother discovered them in her attic some years ago. The ink is still blue and the hand-writing is mine. I revisit the hopes and dreams of a 16 year old living in Kapoho on the Big Island of Hawaii in these letters  written in trust for my pen pal’s eyes only.

Ah shucks, I miss those good old days…even if blogging gets me hundreds of readers per post, I didn’t need a workshop to learn how to lick an envelope.

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