Tuesday, July 24, 2007

From Patti Moon Tapper

I remember the first time I met you, Carolyn. You were applying to teach at the ELI. I distinctly remember asking you how to pronounce your name because in Linguistics we have a Caroline (note the difference in spelling). You told me that your name is pronounced with a short i sound unlike Caroline, which is a long i or /ay/. I have shared that story many times and even in recent days, so isn’t it ironic that my husband shares a story about you spelling “Caroline” throughout! Please forgive him!

I have so many fond memories of you. I also have fond feelings for you. Though we have only crossed paths for many brief moments, every encounter I have had with you has been nothing but pleasant and peaceful. You exude peace and calm.

One of the encounters I remember of you is you telling me about surviving the massive brush fires in Oregon; I think in the early 90s. You told me you had lost everything in that fire. But, for you it didn’t mean anything (except for the loss of some special photos of your family). You really, truly didn’t seem to have suffered any trauma or have any regret having survived that. Thinking on that now, I guess you were just grateful to have survived that.

Another fond memory I have is when we had a conversation talking about Gordon and my plans to marry. Of course, our plans included not to having a wedding. I think that was about the time that Jennifer was going to marry and you joked with me that you wish she’d elope. Jennifer, if you are reading this, please understand, it’s not because she didn’t want to have a wedding! No way! She wouldn’t miss that for the world. She just knew how practical it was to elope (especially at our age)! I felt reassured that a mom would tell me that.

I remember when Gordon and I were learning how to rollerblade, and you sharing Jonathon’s expertise in rollerblading, and how we should join the class. You really are a proud mom.

I know how much you have shared with Gordon, bringing Joffre’s artwork to his office, to help beautify the sanitarium of Yon Hall.

Carolyn, I really hope that I can someday be as poised as you are.

In closing, I want to share a song with you that I’ve been listening to all of today. It’s not the same without the music, so if you have a chance to download it, the artist singing it is a duo called Hapa. The song is called Lei Pikake. The “lei pikake” is a lei used for courting, for marriage ceremonies and for honoring women in general.

I honor you.

Here are the lyrics in Hawaiian and, after, in English.

Lei Pikake

Barry Flanagan & Kiope Raymond


Mâpu `ia ke `ala o ka pîkake

I ka o aheahe a ka makani

Aloha a`e au i ka pua `ume mau

`Ako au i kêia pua aloha

I poina `ole `la ai a he launa `ole

Aloha a`e au i ka pua `ume mau

`Ohu`ohu ho`i pili i ka pu`uwai

He lei ho`olei a`e pûlama

Aloha a`e au i ka pua `ume mau

Puana `ia mai ko`u mana`o

He lei pîkake ku`u aloha

Aloha a`e au i ka pua `ume mau

The fragrance of the pîkake is wafted

By a gentle blowing of the wind

I love the flower that constantly attracts

I pluck this flower of my attraction

It will never be forgotten, second to none

I love the flower that constantly attracts

Elegant and close to my heart

A lei to wear and cherish

I love the flower that constantly attracts

An echo of my thoughts

A pîkake lei is my love

I love the flower that constantly attracts

Before I close, please let me share a linguistic tidbit for you. As you can see in the Hawaiian version, the word “aloha” is repeated often in the song. The word “aloha” has many meanings in Hawaiian. I’m sure that you know the most common meaning, “hello” and “goodbye,” but let me tell you more. In Hawaiian, words have spiritual or divine power. Aloha is one of the most sacred and powerful. “Aloha” is an invocation and an acknowledgement that god is everywhere. The morpheme structure is “alo”= presence, front, face + “ha”=breath. “The presence of divine breath.”

Other English translations are love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, sentiment, grace, charity; greeting, salutation, regards; beloved, loving, kind, compassionate, charitable, lovable; to love, be fond of; to show kindness, mercy, pity, charity, affection; to venerate; to remember with affection; to greet, to hail.

Aloha, Carolyn. I really remember you with affection.

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