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Our 50th Class Reunion

Since I have been a grandmother for over 21 years, it was inevitable (if I lived long enough) that I would have a 50th class reunion from the time I graduated from Orem High School. Fifty whole years! Half a century! The invitation to the 50th 1969 Class Reunion arrived at my house and I just stared at it. Indeed, I felt lucky to still be alive since I was aware of several classmates who had passed to the other side. But, still! Where had all that time gone? What had I been up to all of those seconds, minutes, weeks, month, and years?

I attended a few of my class reunions through the years. Some were good experiences and others not so good. I remember our tenth-year reunion. Classmates gathered in their old little groups and it was held at the Elk’s Club in Provo, Utah. I was excited to see my friends and acquaintances and enjoyed visiting with them. Most were recognizable since only a bit of time had passed.

There were dancing and drinking. Wild dancing and drinking (a lot of it). Weren’t we mostly brought up as L.D.S. (aka Mormon)? I was shocked at the state of some of the less sober people I knew. The bars were open for the whole evening. Some shared their successes and some told of their struggles. They announced who had the most children since graduation. The winner was a girl who had gotten pregnant during high school and then continued to have one every other year since. I won’t mention names here.

My two friends and I playing around before our Sadie Hawkins Dance

Some had a spouse attached to their arm and others were single. A few told their stories of abandonment and divorce. Others had been abused while some of their classmates went on to fame and fortune. There was a little bit of everything that could be expected through life. Good and bad! A memorial was read for those that had died in a short ten years. This included our senior class president from a motorcycle accident which had left his wife and child fatherless. What a cold, cruel world it had been for some.

Same friends and I 50 years later!!

Then there were some dressed to the extreme in fashion who took it to a whole new level of debauchery. I am from the “hippie” era but what I was seeing was shocking. I recall wearing mini skirts in high school and being one of the first of our class to be married (and divorced). I remarried to a gentle Polynesian man and that is where my life changed drastically from what I had known before (but I definitely have the cutest grandchildren)!!

Some of my great friends! I’m in blue and green.

Fast forward forty years from our 10th class reunion to today. This recent 50th class reunion was a whole other story. Very surreal and in some ways shocking, but unlike the lasciviousness of the 60s and 70s, current situations made our reunion much calmer and comparatively docile. There was no loud music playing (up until the end), no inappropriate dancing, and no alcoholic beverages being served. Everyone was well behaved and contrite. An occasional outburst was heard when someone finally recognized friends from years gone by.

There were some of us with canes, walkers, oxygen, toupees, and wigs. Some had lost so much weight due to sickness or running too many marathons. Others looked quite well for their advancing age. I heard my friend tell me that at the previous reunion (five years earlier) she had been elected as the one who had changed the least. I agreed with her since that was the best thing for both of us.

This time, our reunion was held at Orem High School (the new one). They had the nerve to tear down our high school and replace it with a newer model. It was air-conditioned and had the latest technology, and I noticed that even the toilets flushed by themselves (we didn’t have that)!

I went to the reunion with a dear friend who had been one of the bridesmaids at my first wedding. Her husband recently passed away and she was now a widow and enjoying life. Several of our classmates had lost their spouse over the years.

I kinda think the lyrics said it all!

We each wore name tags so that when we met someone we didn’t recognize, we could quickly glance at their name and act as though we remembered them well. It was a blast! There was no dancing, but they played some music from the 60s including The Beatles and The Doors. The funniest moment of the night for me was when the lady in charge was told to turn down the music since it was blowing out some of the attendees hearing aides. I almost died right there!

After the meal, there was a short memorial for those who had died in the past five years. They were all men and it seemed that many of them had been football players. In my opinion, that is what shortened their life, but I am not a doctor. I have a friend who is among the few that has not had any surgeries her whole life. I attribute it to the fact that she was married three times and is now a widow. She doesn’t worry about what people think of her and has a happy-go-lucky attitude about things.

It became acutely apparent that the most important aspect of the evening was the quality of the food and that there would be plenty of it. I’m sure it was because of the many classmates that had to take their evening pills with food. Thanks to those who administered the event, the catering did a great job. We could have our choice of chicken or beef or both. The desserts were yummy and plentiful. No one complained about the quality of the food or lack of it, so it was a success.

My father is still alive and kicking (at least with one leg). He has kept me informed about his recent class reunions. His 75th was attended by two, himself included. I should be so lucky, but that will have to be determined at a later time since I need to go take my arrhythmia medication after all the excitement!

Onward, Orem High School! May our posterity find happiness and prosper!

Beauty, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, home, Parenting, travel

Polynesian Maiden

Our only daughter came to live with us in Hawaii while her husband finished school. It seemed that sea level agreed with her when she announced she was pregnant with our sixth grandchild!

I had hoped for an easy birth for my daughter knowing that all of mine had been quite difficult. Her husband was a big Polynesian man and so I expected the baby would be pretty big. She had worked right up until her delivery as a nurse at a local hospital. Because her doctor was going on vacation, she was induced. This probably was not the best alternative.

I was with my daughter the whole time while she suffered with labor. Even though she was given Pitocin to help her labor move along, she was not progressing. After much labor without a baby, (just like I had experienced) the doctor suggested the other “C” word (Caesarean section). We were both a bit worried!

By then her doctor had left on holiday and another doctor took over to do the operation. Rachel Ileina made her appearance while I observed her through a small window into the operating room. It was not at all how we had expected it to go, but we were so grateful that the baby was healthy! She was a real beauty!

Baby was ready to go home, but mother was not doing as well. They both had to stay in the hospital for about a week to get Mommy’s vitals stable.

We were so grateful for our new Polynesian maiden and have loved watching her grow into a beautiful young lady.

Hula Girl, Digital Art by Ruth Kongaika

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Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, home, Parenting

My Third Grandchild and Second Granddaughter

Once I had one of each kind (boy and girl), I was not very particular about my third grandchild. I was very excited just the same! My daughter-in-law invited me to the birth. I wanted to be there since it was my son’s first child. She did great and we soon welcome little Anna Luiza.

Pretty Anna

This baby was special in that she had a very high-pitched cry that even got the attention of the nurses. Perhaps it was because her mother was a high soprano or because she wasn’t too happy to be here!

We soon knew who was going to be the boss in that home! Anna was born with reddish blond hair and cute little pixie ears. She also was my first grandchild to have blue eyes (like me)! Her middle name was after her great-grandmother Luisa, only the s was changed to z. That started our Z craze! Luiza, Zion, and Izabella! Oops, I am getting ahead of myself.

The only way we could get Anna to sleep was to bounce her up and down, so we made great use of our yoga ball. Cousin Ileina also enjoyed being bounced later on.

Beauty, Grandchildren, Hawaii, home, Parenting

My First Granddaughter

After totally spoiling my first grandchild and abusing his parents, I decided that I better learn how to be a proper grandmother. I purchased some books and looked online, joined a grandparent blog, and talked to other first-time grandmothers. I think I am better informed and hopefully will not make the same mistakes.

Princess

I enjoyed my firstborn grandson, but I wished for a little girl that I could dress up and play with. when I found out the next grand baby would be a little girl, I was thrilled. However, after the first experience, I believe her mother would just have her during lunch and not invite me again. So, she was born in just a few hours while I was at work.

My husband is from the royal line in his society, it was only fitting (and also a common name in her mother’s country) that our new granddaughter was named Princess. I loved her so much and she was as cute as could be. Princess was a happy, smiley little girl, and very easy to take care of. She seriously is a joy to all who know her, even now.

Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, home, Parenting

The Oldest Grandchild

The day you officially become a grandmother is the day you will never forget! For me it was a little over 21 years ago! I was with my daughter-in-law who invited me to the birth. It was a gruesome few hours for her and I admire her strength and tenacity. When the baby finally decided to surrender (albeit the force of the suction cup), we were all in high spirits. The triumphant arrival of the first male grandchild and his parents first child and son is a moment that will live forever in my mind.

Isiboy

One moment I was just a Momma and just like that I was Grand!! How cool is that! I tend to think of it as having graduated from Mommy school. After all the laughter and tears of raising my four beautiful children, I had earned a degree sort of like a Bachelor of Motherhood. Maybe (if I am lucky) I can get my Masters of Motherhood (great-grandmother).

Grandma, Grandmother, Nana, Mama, or whatever the title is – I love it!

My little Isiboy stole my heart. I doted on him whenever he was around. I spent so much time showing him everything and teaching him all I knew. I talked to him constantly when he was with me. He was my new toy. I loved shopping for him and dressing him up. I don’t remember being this excited with my own children, but this was different – I had no labor pains, postnatal blues, or responsibility! This was totally fun!!

The only problem with all the attention I gave my first grandchild was that he became very attached to me. His parents had a hard time taking him to their own home. He would start crying when he knew he was leaving and kick and scream for Grandma all the way home. Sorry about that!

So, how did you feel about your first grandchild? Were you as crazily in love with yours as I was with mine? I feel so blessed to have this amazing experience of Grandmotherhood!

Please share your thoughts in the comment section please! Thanks!