Jul 23, 2014

Mark’s Retirement Gift

Mark and his parrot Scippio Africanus aka Skippy

When Mark retired from Punahou, Punahou gave him a beautiful koa wood box, and a “blurb” in the program.   I wanted to share it because most of my friends weren’t there — in fact none of them– and I wanted you to read it.    Here it is:

“After graduating from Royal College Canada’s West Point, Mark Hanington served three years in the Canadian Navy as a submariner. As a young father, he concluded that was no way to raise a family. He left the Navy, moving his family to a small town in British Columbia where he planned to write the great Canadian novel. In the meantime, he volunteered at his children’s co-op preschool.

There he discovered his life’s passion. When he figured out that his happiest days were those he spent at preschool, he set his sights on becoming a teacher. After getting his MEd at Gonzaga University, Mark started what would become a 40-year career in teaching, 26 of which were at Punahou.

 Mark arrived at Punahou after his family decided to sell everything and go on an adventure to Hawai‘i. He began teaching fourth grade in the Winne Units. Three years later, he moved to the Academy at the invitation of the head of the social studies department. Since then, he has taught social studies, European history, ICE (a course combining English, social studies and science), computer science and math. He also served as head of the Social Studies Department and director of Summer School, but he retires as a math teacher.

 “Someone once described Mark to me as a Renaissance Man, and I think the description is appropriate,” reflects Academy Principal Kevin Conway. “More than once, I have been contacted, out of the blue, by parents who wanted to tell me how grateful they were for Mark’s above-and-beyond tutoring of their child and for his ability to bring clarity and understanding to the seemingly incomprehensible.”

Among his students, “Uncle Mark” is known for his gentle humor and for starting each class with a “Mathmagical Moment.”“Mark has demonstrated throughout his career how to reach and teach students from multiple angles,” says Academy Math Department Head Christine David. “He sees the good in all kids and is a tireless advocate for those who struggle, spending countless hours in the Learning Support Center to help students. Many graduates credit ‘Uncle Mark’ when they are asked about an influential teacher. We will miss his calm demeanor and thoughtful presence in our department.”

 In retirement he plans to pursue poetry, art and music. He’d also like to take lessons in tai chi, audit classes at the University of Hawai‘i and take art classes at the Honolulu Museum of Art. And, of course, he plans to write the great American novel.”

Sometime last year, my good friend Kulia suggested that, since Mark did not want a retirement party, we should set up a scholarship in his name.  I finally did it, with a small amount of “highly appreciated stock”  (stock I could never sell) from my great great grandfather’s company.   Mark is very pleased, and I just wanted to mention it because if anyone is going to send some $ Punahou’s way,  it would be terrific is you designated it to go to the Mark Hanington Fund.  The Fund is set up to provide financial aid for students who need it.  This is very important to Mark, since he strongly believes that since he came to Punahou, the increasing amount of financial aid which allows a more diverse population at the school is one of the things that Jim Scott has done to take it from being a good school to a  truly great one.

Jul 11, 2014

Why I Love Today’s Kailua

Recently, the closing of Hungry Ear set off a lot of dismay about how Kailua has changed, and indeed it has.  When I moved here from Kahala 24 years ago, the place was asleep.  There were very few restaurants, fewer shops to shop at, there was a rowdy bar in the middle of town.  (not really asleep I guess).  Now, although some call it Kaikiki, and others bemoan the big box Target moving in, I love living here because it is lively, and busy and lots of people that live here own businesses and have jobs.  I have previously received comments that because I am co-owner of what is perceived by some to be a tourist venture (and have had the audacity to write about owning a business in a small town on O`ahu) I have contributed to the downfall and am in no position to talk.

Yea, but I talk again.  Today my husband and I were sitting inside of a very busy Crepes No Ka Oi, waiting for our yummy crepes and drinking their wonderful coffee.  The place was filled with happy chatter.  There were locals, Japanese visitors, and westbound visitors.  The staff was moving fast on their feet because they were understaffed today, but everyone was –as we would say in the sixties — copasetic.  When I moved to Kailua, or for many of the years since, there was no place like Crepes No Ka Oi.

On the other side of the window sat a Japanese family.  Their little boy, he of a most seraphic face, sat immediately across from us.  When he caught my eye, he burst into a killer grin, and started to lead me through an impromptu game of Simon Says.  It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time (before you say it, let me say that some of you might be thinking that I am short on fun times.  I am not).  We clapped, put our hands on our head, our cheeks on our fists, waved hi and blew a kiss.  It was one of those pieces of magic that can only happen serendipitously.  Smiles across the world.  It was wonderful.

The other wonderful thing is the very existence of Crepes No Ka Oi, which started out at Kailua’s Thursday night Farmer’s Market.  They’ve grown from there to their current location and are about to move to a new one twice its size.  They have grown from a place where you stood in line, to a place you may have to wait because of their popularity.  This couldn’t have happened in yesterday’s Kailua.

 

Jul 10, 2014

Totally Classic. 5 stars!

I usually don’t do “sales pitches” on my blog, so stop right here if you want.  The brander in me (23 plus of studying big brands and small) can’t resist writing about my recent experience with Classic Bodyworks.

As readers of this blog know, I recently ran a red light and got hit by someone who had the right of way while I was trying to get out of the way.   stupid.  stupid.  stupid.  It happened at the main intersection of Kailua, right across the street from my State Farm Insurance Agent’s office.  They certainly have tired ot hearing from me, as over the past several year I have had a fire in my kitchen, a burglary and now this stupid people trick with my car.  Luckily no one was hurt.

I elected to take my car to RPMS, the only State Farm-approved body shop in Kailua and they had a six week wait.  I must have talked to them fifteen times before we mutually decided to send the car to Classic Bodyworks all the way out in Pearl City.   They have the right name, because my customer experience was “classic.”

Sight unseen (sight of me by them, sight of them by me) they received the car and we spoke on the phone.  Right after that I received an email confirming that the car was there and that they would start on it as soon as parts were in.  The next day they sent me an email with a tentative finish date, along with a phone call telling me I would get a completed estimate the following day, which I did.  My emailed approval was sufficient to get the work started.  The target date was July 18 (the three week time period they initially told me it would be).

Last week, I got an email and a phone call saying that my car had been moved over to painting and they were shooting for an earlier date.  Then, on Monday (7/7), I got an email saying that my car was 53% finished and they were going to easily make the target date of 7/18.  That afternoon they called me to tell me my car was ready.  Ian drove me out there to get the car yesterday, and they even sympathized with me that I had to drive all the way from Kailua (this is not the mainland; the drive was about 40 minutes).  I paid my deductible, they brought the car around and explained the details of their life-of-the-car guarantee, and I was off.  The car looked brand new.

This may seem like too many emails and phone calls to some of you, but it was just right for me.  I never had to initiate the conversation with them — their timing was just right, and its my car, after all.  The one with the GloGlo license plate and Lanikai.com on the bumper.  The car that I feel is part of me.

They kept in touch, they answered all my questions, they did a perfect job on the car, they weren’t too expensive (at least from what I could tell from the damage) and they were smart enough to under promise and over-deliver.  Big time.  So if you or a friend has any need for bodywork on your car(s) I recommend the drive out to Classic Bodyworks on Waihona in Pearl City.  The experience, from start to finished, befitted their name… Classic.

Jul 4, 2014

Many Kinds of Silence

I started thinking about silence because I have been spending a lot of time in silence.  At first, I wondered what the difference between being alone and silent and being with another and silent (my husband calls this “companionable silence,” which assumes a certain comfort with the silence…and when it is there it is quite wonderful).  At that moment in time, I thought there were just those two kinds of silence.  Of course I decided to google it before I wrote this blog and found that, according to vox populai there are so many kinds of silence I couldn’t list them all here.

First, I ended up on a psychiatrist’s blog which said, with authority, there are eight kinds of silence.  They included  ”I don’t agree, but I am afraid to tell you.”   “I have an idea, but I doubt you will listen.” ” I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I am afraid to offend you by telling you. ”  You get the idea.  This gave me a whole new view of silence.  I spend some tie with a psychiatrist who is, I think really good and has a legendary reputation and we sit in silence a lot.  This is mostly because “I have nothing to say” kind of silence from me, or “If I tell you what I am thinking, we will go there and I don’t want to” as well as “I am wasting your time” kind of silence.

Then I happened on a site where a person who works with writers offers a phrase and people respond to it.  One of them was about silence.  People wrote poetry about the thundering silence of nature.  And the quiet sound of nature.  I put the blog aside.

And I am glad I did because this week Brook and I finished setting up a blog for the Domestic Violence Action Center about the worst kind of silence.  That is the silence that so often surrounds domestic violence.   Ours is a violent culture that breeds more violence.  This blog is about our culture and the need to change our culture.  It is called, not surprisingly, changingculture.com.  I hope you will visit it, and subscribe to the feed.

Jun 25, 2014

It’s A Good Thing I Don’t Use My Cellphone

Last Thursday I ran a red light in the main intersection in Kailua and had a small accident.  I don’t know where my mind was but I realized it the moment I crossed into the intersection and tried to get out of the way of the oncoming cars.  Unfortunately, one poor soul, also not paying attention, crashed into me.  I don’t use my cellphone in the car, or almost anywhere else, so this was not the problem.  It was an alternate definition of a no brainer.

At any rate, this started a long process talking to my insurance company (readers of this blog know I have an intimate relationship with State Farm).  They were glad to hear from me.  There is only one State Farm approved auto body shop on our side of the island and so I immediately picked them.  Went up there with my son and discovered they had a backlog of two weeks and it would take six weeks to get my car back.  So, after many conversations with claims and RPMS auto body, the car was moved to Pearl City where it will be repaired in two weeks.

All of that was backstory to the multi-tasking effort (another no brainer) that caused my home phone to drop to the bottom of our pool while I was talking to the person at RPMS.  It happened twice:  the first time I was able to grab it mid air, and then, not learning my lesson,  I went back to the holding-your-phone-between-neck-and-shoulder position and resumed trying to fix the pool sweep (multitasking).   Shortly, the phone fell off my shoulder and headed to the bottom of the pool.

At first I tried to yell that I had dropped the phone (as it was heading water-wards) and then I imagined the person on the other end talking underwater and sounding like we did when we were kids and tried to sit on the bottom of the pool and have a conversation.  I rushed into the house and picked up another headset, actually thinking the person would still be blubbering about the estimate.  She had probably gotten smart when she heard the splash and hung up.

A bit later I suited up and dove to the bottom of the pool to retrieve the head set.  I pulled out the batteries and laid the whole mess in the sun in what I assumed to be a losing effort to restore the phone.  Ian came home and threw the phone in the rice jar.  Neither of us actually expected it to work, but this morning we put the batteries back in and lo and behold — the headset works.  So I highly recommend Panasonic, a company who gave no guarantees of waterproof, and I can tell you the headsets are good to a depth of 9 feet.  It is a good thing I don’t use my cellphone.

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Gloria. Circa 1955.



Gloria. Circa 2012.




Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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