Sunday, October 21, 2012
The Art of Remembering, continued...
My Aunty Nila (short for Leonila) was the third person in my family to go. I grew up in a plantation village-everyone who lived in this little town of Kualapuu worked for the Del Monte Corporation. It was a very small community and as a child, I could walk anywhere I wanted to (more or less) without fear of getting lost or running in to strangers. Back then, that wasn't a worry anyway.
I often walked over to the other side of the village to play with my cousin, Dinnie. She was the youngest of my Aunty Nila's children and is two years younger than I. Because I have 4 brothers, it was a relief to be able to play with another little girl. I spent a lot of time over at their house. My Aunty Nila was much like a second mom for me. She taught me how to make the best banana bread. All the family parties seemed to take place at their house. My brothers and I can probably recall every little detail of that house because it was so familiar to us. This was also the home we would report to when we were 'baby sat' by an older cousin or my Aunt. I loved being there and I think I might have spent more daylight hours at Aunty Nila's house than I did at my own. I'm almost sure of it.
In 1978, I was in college in San Diego (San Diego State University). I was walking across campus with a professor and we were talking about something that was academically related. All of sudden I was aware of feeling so incredibly homesick. By that time, I had been away from home for 4 years. I had stopped in my tracks and commented to my professor about how I felt so homesick-how I had a sudden urge to be home and I couldn't understand why. Within 24 hours of that pang of homesickness, I got the call from Molokai that my beloved Aunty Nila had passed away at the age of 55 years old. A massive heart attack. I think she knew that something big was about to happen to her and that she found a way to 'reach' me. It was devastating to loose her so early in her life.
Her legacy is deeply embedded in each of us. That safe shelter, that home away from home. That place that we could always walk in to at any time of day and it would always be OK to be there. That ability to be gracious and to extend a warm hospitality to all that enter your home. I know where it came from.
Every weekend throughout the month of October, a group of us actively practice the art of remembering by way of a post. Stop by our host's site, Rebecca. An amazing woman with an amazing heart and soul. From her site, you can visit others who have done a post in regards to the art of remembering-you can see how each of us approach the subject. I think you will find it heartwarming and full of positive, loving energy.