Friday, November 21, 2008

Dad's mom is the oldest person in my family that I can remember as a child. I know that Mom's grandma was alive, but with Dad being in the Army, I've only seen pictures. Dad's mom was known by many names. Born Dora Kawahinepo'aimoku Kahilihiwa in Kalapana during 1925, and when I knew her? She was vivacious and had a strong thirst for life. Enough so that between her first two husbands, she had a total of 13 children. Most people would think that's alot, but she was one of TWENTY FIVE! That Duggar family on the TLC Channel have nothing on MY family! She was known to others as Dora, Auntie Po'ai, Gramma, Ma, Tutu Dora, but to me she was always just Tutu.

Her Hawaiian name, Kawahinepo'aimoku means "The woman who travels". Between her three husbands, and all her kids she travelled quite a bit. Unlike many native Hawaiians, she was all over the place! She'd braved the cold hills of Alaska, marched in Washington DC, and caught some rays in California. I remember once, she joined my parents and sisters and I on a coastal trip that took us from Va Beach all the way up to Boston and back. This same trip she taught my siblings and I how to play blackjack. How many people can say they learned blackjack at the age of 6? My baby sister, Ivory can. We played for pennies and in one hand she declared "I want to bet it all!". Now as adults, we'd laugh and titter over how cute that is, but she hit blackjack!

If you asked me what the strongest memory I had of her was, there isn't just one. It's a look though. She'd look up at you (or over) and her head would be all the way back with the barest hint of a smile on her face. It was most likely because she needed to see through her bifocal to see you, but I like to think it's because she never had anything to hide. She was straight forward, LOVED to joke around, but never had much of a memory. One of the biggest jokes in the family was that she'd call out to you.... But she'd name everyone else first! Secret, Ivory, Skippy, ahhh Donna, Joyce, Samuel, Nena! gahh fannit you! You wouldn't correct her, despite knowing who she was talking to because it was funny. You'd stand their laughing while she ran the gamut of names and she'd be laughing right there with you!

"Take da F" was one of her more popular phrases. Most people wouldn't understand what that meant. To this day, my husband Jack doesn't. But to family? Stay home! Don't go to work (or school as applicable) and stay home and enjoy life. Tutu Dora was definitely one who liked to enjoy life.

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