More than forty years ago, I moved to Hawai`i with my then-husband, Scott Garvey. Except for a brief sojourn living in Korea and working for the American Red Cross, I have lived in Hawai`i, on O`ahu, on one side of the island or the other. 20 years in Kahala , 21 years in Kailua.
My growing up life was not like this. I was born in Evanston, lived in Denver, Baltimore and Greenwich, went to boarding school near Tarrytown (never saw the headless horseman) and college in Northampton, Massachusetts. My mother had a rule that you couldn’t say whether you liked a place or not until you had lived there for two years. She had lived between Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and Chicago all her life, and when my father uprooted her because of the American Can Company, it took her two years to find out she really loved Denver. I do not know how I feel about Towson/Baltimore or Gibson Island where we “summered” then, because we did not last two years.
I am sure I have stayed in Hawai`i, on O`ahu, for forty years mostly because it is Hawai`i. It is kind to every part of your being, especially to your soul. To paraphrase Hemingway, Hawai’i is a feast you don’t want to move away from. Mark and I owned an 11 acre property on Maui which we planned to retired to, but we sold it when I had emergency by-pass surgery and he had a brain tumor and we thought a tertiary care hospital might be a good thing to have nearby.
Staying put in Hawai`i has its benefits. Namely, everyone wants to visit. And since we have at least two spare rooms and a two more than can be converted, we always say yes. Since July 1st, we have had visit from Jeff and Susie Hungerford. I met Jeff when I married Scott and he was 6. Now, he is about to be 49. He is my favorite member of my first Hawai`i family. Then we had Odette and Sam. Odette was Mark’s seventh grade student in Canada around 20 years ago. She has purple hair and is beyond bubbly. Then, we had my niece and nephew, Michele and Gregory, who are 14, and two of their friends Sam (antha) and Justin. They rode bikes, kayaked and went go carting with Ian and Alex and Lia, who live here. Now, we have Elizabeth who Mark hired at Punahou out of Wesleyan College in 1995 and now she is a filmmaker and a lifelong friend. And we are only half way through August.
Frequently, on weekends, we have Lily, Jack, Kiana and their Dad Eric who fill our house with love and craziness and growth spurts right before our eyes.
At one point, our neighbors thought we were running a bed and breakfast, and asked how much it would be to house their guests. Sorry, we have too many of our own. Onsite entertainment and love,24/7, 40 years running. It pays to stay put in Hawai`i.
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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.