Category Archives: General

It turned out to be a beautiful morning.

Yesterday’s memorial service for my sister went very, very well. It rained just enough to show respect, then cleared to blue sky and sunshine.

Bonnie wanted to be sent off in her Episcopal Church tradition, and she got that with a wonderful Hawaiian twist. She was a member of the Emmalani Serenaders, all members of the Daughters of Hawaii, and would have been there to perform with them yesterday if it hadn’t been her own service.

In addition to friends from the Daughters, there was a group from her high school class (University High Class of 1961), another contingent from her former church (Church of the Holy Nativity in Aina Haina), several of our neighbors and friends, and a handful of relatives.

I’ll have some photos and a couple of videos posted later today (hopefully).

In the meantime, there was one unexpected moment that gave me pause.

I was talking with a few of her high school classmates. One was holding the school yearbook from their senior year, 1961. He opened it and started to flip to the page with her class photo, but the book fell open to display a full page photo.

I looked down and did a double take. I was looking at my skinny 8th grade self. It’s a picture of me blocking a shot during an intramural basketball game. Out of all the pages it could have opened to….

Once I pointed out myself in the photo, everyone twittered about the coincidence.

As a reporter, I generally didn’t believe in coincidences.

So this one just hangs there in my mind when I think back over the morning.

More later.

8th grade Ian

A long morning ahead

We’re celebrating the life of my sister, Bonnie Pauahi Stevens, later this morning with her friends and family.

I’m on the program to give the eulogy.

I had to look up what that means, and seek advice on how to do it right. I ended up finding an excellent article, titled simply: “How to Give a Eulogy

The author’s style was easy to read and thought provoking. It gave me hope that I could do it.

I have no idea if what I’ve written will come close to the mark. I’ve only read it through once out loud, but several times silently as I edited and fussed over words and phrases. My challenge will be to get through it without getting lost, or letting emotions well up suddenly out of nowhere.

I’ve got a large print copy, legible from a distance, to get me through.

Sending off my parents was easier. They were both nearing 100 years when they died, so dealing with it was more arms length, although that sounds weird and callous. This is more of a “it could have been me” moment. It’s more existential. There’s a feeling of vulnerability and mortality. I can hear the time clock ticking away.

Bonnie believed in a life hereafter where she would be reunited with her late husband, Ray, who died ten years ago. I think that gave her some personal comfort at the end, and who am I to argue?

Bonnie had blogged Ray’s 18-month battle with cancer. Just hours after he passed away in early March 2007, she returned to her keyboard and wrote:

“Give thanks for the life which touched so many.”

That’s what we will do again today.

Making wine in Hilo over a century ago

And old friend now living in an area just above downtown Hilo was out walking in his neighborhood, and stumbled across an interesting bit of island history. It’s worth sharing.

Here’s his tale.

A Hawaiian man, probably in his 70’s was checking out some walls and fences on the lot at the top of the street. He came up to check on us, to see what we were up–wondering why we were wandering around and gawking. He was a nice guy, and we had a really good conversation and learned a lot from him. He was raised in that neighborhood, and he had come over to visit a woman friend who lives in a house on that lot at the top of the street. He mentioned that his mother used to work at the winery on I`iwipolena Street and that she used to crush grapes with her feet.

A winery in Kaumana? Who knew. The Serrao winery began producing wine in 1903 and continued production until prohibition went into
effect. They grew the madeira grapes they used to produce the wine–and also contracted with some Japanese families to produce more grapes for the winery.

Here are a couple of articles about that winery:

“[T]erraced mountain sides with vineyards like those of Madeira, Vesuvius and Etna” : Jose Gomes Serrao’s Hawaiian Wine

Jose Gomes Serrao: Distilling in Paradise

Now that Haleloke Street has been extended and connected to Hokulani, we feel much more of a connection to the Kaumana area. I intend to do more research on Kaumana’s history and want to find out exactly where the vineyards were located. Kaumana Drive was one of the earliest roads in Hilo, so Kaumana has been settled for a long time and there must be lots of history there.

Worth waiting for: Helen’s mango chutney

“I use mature green and turning-yellow mangoes. Peel and cut into chunks. I add 1 or 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice, cover and simmer over low heat for a few minutes. Do not cook until soft.”

So begins my mother’s mango chutney recipe. She made chutney as long as I can remember, at least as long as the trees planted in our back yard when my sister and I were born produced fruit.

My mother had studied and later taught Home Economics and food and nutrition at the University of Hawaii before WWII, and applied everything she had learned to the production of the perfect chutney.

I thought the recipe was somewhere in a box in storage along with her old recipe book. I can visualize packing that box with the intention of someday returning to copy and post her recipes.

But it seems my sister pulled the chutney recipe out and set it aside, and it never made it into storage. Luckily, yesterday I found it in a stack of wholly unrelated papers in Bonnie’s apartment. It’s one of those reasons it has taken me so long to go through all of our family’s accumulated papers, still an ongoing task.

In any case, here’s the recipe, along with notes about changed proportions my mother made over the years.

Click here to see Helen’s Mango Chutney recipe.