Music and Art and Singing, OH MY!

I was a young eight or nine year old child when I got my first real acknowledgement of a drawing I had done, I had worked very hard on a piece for my Nannie, who was very sick in the hospital and was going to have her actual heart valve replaced, so early in the advent of heart repair that it made the local newspaper in Sacramento. My little drawing was a pencil piece of a wagon wheel leaning on a farm fence with an old oak tree and a winding road into the horizon. I have always enjoyed landscapes and realistic art.  I brought it to Nannie’s bedside and watched her face light up with such wonder, I was hooked on creating art.

At an early age I sang in the school choir, not really confident of my voice but slowly learning to express myself, and at 12 I bought my first acoustic guitar at a drug store with my own money, I think it was ten bucks. I picked at the chords, took some lessons from Skip’s Music at Southgate,  and learned simple tunes and sometimes my younger siblings would let me play and sing for them, they said I could really sing and play, one of my  sisters, Janet,  also took up the guitar later and she still enjoys playing. By the time I was 16 I was hosting living rooms gatherings of my school friends, we played Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel and generally had a swell time. Mom let us explore the music safely and was gracious to let me have half a dozen young men in our house at one time.  Come to think of it, that was really tremendous of her.By the time I was 17, I was engaged to one of those friends and we later lived the hippie lifestyle, he was a wonderful guitarist, still is today, and today my first husband is transitioning to become a woman, I am very happy to be a part of her life and still love her with my whole heart.

I have continued to play music occasionally and get together with the same fellows, decades later, now that I am back on the Mainland, we try to play once a month. I played at Steve’s funeral a few years ago and have played some festivals and local clubs, just for fun. It was a dream to be able to do so, I’m not very good, but I am passionate and apparently that counts for something in this world. I have dabbled in other art forms also, needle arts, dramatic arts, and crafting projects. My Hawaii friend Tina and I hosted a cable access tv show for 13 episodes and did various projects for our 7 or 8 viewers, we didn’t care, we had a ball planning and doing the show. When I was a preschool teacher in Hawaii, everyday was a lesson in creating ideas to educate and entertain a dozen three year olds. The importance of creativity in my life is as crucial as breathing. I must paint, I must sing, I must create.



Da Beach

When I was nine my family moved to the small, island town of Alameda, California for one year. Going from the Sacramento suburbs to a condo just a half block from the ocean, actually San Francisco Bay,  was wild stuff for us and I loved it. My brother, Jack, could dig for clams faster than any human ever, which thrilled my Mother to pieces. Daddy worked as a tax paying card player in the local card rooms and raised five rambunctious kids,  with this non-traditional career, while Mom always stayed home.

Our house was pretty happy and that year by the beach was extraordinary. We walked the half block nearly everyday after school at Donald D. Lum Elementary,  just to check out what we could find on the beach any given day, be it weird looking jelly fish or once a giant shark. We also had a huge, pool at the condo and we swam there as well, my baby twin sisters learned to swim in that pool. I helped to teach them. My brother could do hundreds of laps without stopping, he was in kindergarten and once an Olympic coach came to watch his tremendous ability and said Jack could be a distance swimmer for sure.  We already knew that, the coach wanted to train him to be an Olympian. The water was the central idea to our families life.

As an adult, I visited beaches as often as I could, loving the ocean, the waves, the rhythm, the colors, the sound, the peace I felt just watching the ocean be, the tides and their almost hypnotic motion,  I was so drawn to the water.  That year by the beach in Alameda, stuck with me forever and decades later when my pal Steve wanted us to move to Hawaii together, it was a no-brainer, of course I would move to Hawaii. There I became intimately connected to many beaches, first on Oahu, then Maui, actually every major island in the archipelago, beaches of every type. On Oahu my favorite beach remains Kailua Beach and in Maui I still love Kam III, I feel like I know every grain of sand. I never, ever tired of ‘going to da beach’ and I hope I never will,

I stayed and lived happily  in Hawaii  for 23 years.



Tiki Fun & Madness

I am busy collecting all manner of tiki junk, I mean treasures, fabrics, mugs, images, signs and memorabilia from my dear departed friend Steve who was the grand collector of all things TIKI. His collection of Shag alone was noteworthy and his 200+ Aloha shirts were amazing. Most of his collection has been given out, at the time he passed so suddenly ,  I could not handle even seeing all his possessions, since he had often showed me them when they arrived by mail when I spent time at his house, usually enjoying a plate lunch of Teriyaki Chicken.

See Steve and I moved to Hawaii in 1981 and that adventure began, we’d been friends since childhood, gone all the way thru schools together, enjoyed many nights of dancing during th disco years at all the great gay bars and basically had such fun together every single time we could, it was a purely awesome friendship. He knew which tiki mugs to buy and which were worth lots of coconuts too.

So,  my new collection I am having a ball with,  gets its inspiration from my pal, and of course I am going to use it to decorate my RVan to the hilt. I can see it now, Tiki Bar top to bottom, with a nod to Maui with every item that makes the cut. I did acquiese eventually and accept some things I knew Steve would want me to have,  from his many beautiful treasures, and I am glad I did as that will make me think of him, each time I catch a little glimpse!