At one time in my life, I lived within minutes of Waikiki, and loved to roam the streets and beaches inhaling the magnificent scent of plumeria and the soft sea air. Until moving to Hawaii, I'd lived in the Pacific Northwest, which has its own special beauty, but I was never fully acquainted with the meaning of "warm." Now I knew. Those were crazy days. I remember one time when I was on Kalakaua Avenue, just walking along, and it began to rain. And rain. We literally had a flood, and waded through water up to our knees. This was near Kapiolani Park. But if you're just playing at the beach, things like this are fun. Now, years later, I'm living in Arizona, but back to Waikiki for a wedding and a funeral. I'd been staying with Ted and Martha Vorfeld on the Big Island, so this was a quick trip. My dear friend and relative, Mary Anne Vorfeld, picked me up at the airport and off we went on a tour of Waikiki. It was a bit early for lunch, so we drove around and she showed me what had changed, and we both enjoyed slowly going through the crowded streets. I've always loved the energy and color and texture that is Waikiki, and so does Mary Anne. We stopped off at the Elks Club, then made our way slowly to our lunch destination: the Hau Tree Lanai at New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. We both enjoyed the Chicken Papaya Salad and Iced Tea. Mary Anne and I caught up on family and friends, and then we left for the Hilton Hawaiian Village, where I'd spend the next couple of days while attending my granddaughter's wedding. It was so good to see Mary Anne. She is wonderful.
Several weeks ago I returned from Hawaii, where I spent part of my time on the Big Island with the Ted Vorfelds and part of my time on Oahu. There were two events on Oahu: granddaughter Dana Kukuruda's wedding on July 1 and stepson Peter Vorfeld's beachside funeral on July 2. It was a time of celebrating life and spending time with the most remarkable people: my Vorfeld family. And the joy of meeting so many of their friends. The wedding was held in the chapel at Hilton Hawaiian Village, and the funeral at Peter and Esther's home on the beach (in Waimanalo). It was a bittersweet time, but again, a joy to see so many friends and relatives, and to participate in such a meaningful funeral service on the beach. I spent quite a bit of time in Holualoa, and will be sharing some photos in my blog and on Facebook. Thanks for letting me share a few special moment in my life.
By Jan Crook Pierson The Sue C. Boynton Poetry event in Bellingham (Washington...for those of you who don't live in or understand the Evergreen State) was amazing. Inspiring. Fun. Our grandmother, Sue Crocker Boynton was, when she found the moments of escape, a poet, and poetry is all about the Sue C. Boynton event. There is a quote by Erik Reece that says it well:
Poetry is the ultimate language of belonging.Our grandmother understood the necessity of belonging and not only was her life spent in the attempt to belong, but also in the gift of bringing this sense of belonging to those she loved, whether it was her own family or those around her, and it always included her poetry and the arts. This same spirit lives on in this amazing foundation which gives a venue to others with the same heart and spirit" poets - who have often gone unrecognized. Our grandmother is gone now, but others who write can be honored and known through this yearly contest. I, as one of her many grandchildren, got to be the one who spoke about her to the large crowd of winners and their families in the beautiful glass-encased cruise terminal overlooking Bellingham Bay on May 10, 2012. I was privileged to explain to these poets and their families that Sue C. Boynton was a real person, a strong and dynamic woman who walked into their town when it was still a territory. I was able to share her early, formidable memories when, in 1906 as a new bride, she disembarked the steamship from Seattle and walked up a boardwalk lined with saloons and brothels with her physician husband, facing a new life in the rough and rugged Northwest. Brave and strong, she lived for nearly 98 years, most of those in a town she learned to love and a town that learned to love her. I felt so honored to share my own special memories of growing up with someone who became a rock to me, but also a soft place to fall. And how many times did I and my sisters and brother and cousins fall, and need her and our grandfather. The Sue C. Boynton Poetry contest, a program of Whatcom Poetry Series, and a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, lives on to honor poets, but the founder lives on in my heart and the hearts of so many of her grandchildren. And we honor her memory in a special, meaningful way. This was written by my sister, Jan Pierson. There's more about us on my personal website.
What a fun thing the last few days to look back on my years with Jack Vorfeld, whose birthday was February 29. He loved being born during a Leap Year, and never stopped reminding me (and anyone else who would listen) that I married a teenager and thus I robbed the cradle. And shortly after we married he met my aunt, Elva Dibble Boynton, who also had a Leap Year birthday. Jack always made a point to phone her on her birthday. I'm showing a picture of Jack with our grandson, Jody Patrizio, who is now 21. I have many, many pictures of him with his grandchildren, but this picture of him and Jody was handy. I believe that he was born to be a grandfather. Yes, he was many things to many people: he was a superb husband. And engineer. And handyman. And on and on...but when he was with his grandchildren, there was a special glow about him. I remember when Dana Kukuruda was born. We got a phone call that Vicky had just given birth to a girl. He grabbed some clothes, stuffed them in an overnight back, hopped in his pickup truck, and headed for California. it was that simple. He may have paused long enough to kiss me goodbye, but it would have been a quick peck on the cheek. His heart was in California. Yesterday Dana mentioned his birthday on her Facebook page. I was in the process of figuring out what to write to honor his memory. Her post helped. And Dana and Derek Engstrom are getting married in Hawaii this summer, close to our anniversary date, July 3. I sometimes look back and think about the qualities that attracted me to Jack when I was in my mid-thirties. I found the best description in Seth Godin's "Stop Stealing Dreams." Godin was writing about education, and he listed these qualities before asking some questions about how we view the educational system: Aware Caring Committed Creative Goal-setting Honest Improvising Incisive Independent Informed Initiating Innovating Insightful Leading Strategic Supportive I read through that list and thought, "Wow! These all describe Jack." He enjoyed looking back at his life and experiences, but he was constantly thinking of the future. He looked forward to many new experiences, and he was very innovative. And supportive. Let's just say that the entire list describes his attributes, to one degree or another. What a heritage he left to his family and friends, and particularly to his grandchildren. Plus Felicia and Hannah, whom he considered as granddaughters. They are blessed! Happy Leap Year Birthday, Jack.