In this column a couple of months ago, I mentioned my faint hope that I would someday retrieve my senior year high school yearbook.
I had loaned it to a friend shortly after graduation and never got it back. After more than 35 years, you'd think I'd be resigned to the loss.
But, as I wrote in that column, my dad's class ring was found and returned to him 35 years after he lost it. Besides, I've always been an optimist, a believer in fairy tale happy endings.
Still, it was a huge surprise to walk into my office two weeks ago to find my junior year annual on my desk. I had forgotten that I'd lost three yearbooks, not just one. I have my freshman one and, for some reason unknown to me, someone else's sophomore yearbook (Caroline, if you have mine, I'd like to arrange a trade). Anyway, there it was, filled with the scribbled slams and sentiments of my Baldwin High classmates. The rest of the workday was shot; I couldn't stop leafing through the memories. Thanks, Les!
Two days later, Andi Kaumeheiwa, who was yearbook adviser back in my day, dropped off a copy of my senior yearbook. It's not the one I loaned out, of course, but that's OK. It may not have the handwritten hopes and wishes of the class of '74, but it's also lacking lewd comments and drawn-in mustaches. Another workday shot, another wonderful walk down Memory Lane. Thank you, Mrs. Kaumeheiwa.
And the seasons they go 'round and 'round
And the painted ponies go up and down.
We're captive on the carousel of time.
We can't return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go 'round and 'round and 'round
In the circle game.
Joni Mitchell's "Circle Game" has become my current theme song, even though I can't sing any of the verses; I just know the chorus. Or I thought I did. When I looked it up online, I discovered that it wasn't "relaxing on the carousel of life." I still sing it in my head that way, though. I don't really care for the image of being held captive anywhere, especially on a spinning carnival ride. I know it's a metaphor; I'm just picky about words.
So the circle game went 'round and 'round and 'round in my head all last week, as I showed off our island to a dear friend who was visiting for the first time. Because my friend didn't want the standard sightseeing tour, asking instead to see my Maui - places that were significant to me, people who are significant in my life - we spent a lot of time visiting the past while strolling in the present. Wading through Iao Stream to pick guavas brought back memories of birthday parties and barbecues at Kepaniwai Park, when the swimming pools were open and the network of pathways through the plumerias and assorted bushes provided countless hours of outdoor adventure. The memories were a lot sweeter than the guavas.
And speaking of guavas and sweet memories, another highlight of the week was a visit to Makawao. Starting at Makawao Veterans Cemetery and ending at Makawao Hongwanji, where I went to Japanese language school, it was more a walking history tour than a sightseeing visit. I rattled off names of places long gone: Charlotte's Beauty Parlor, Iwaishi Store, Kitada's, Ichiki Store, Yoshizu Market. I recalled the thrill of marching double file down Baldwin Avenue with the entire student body of Makawao School to place plumeria lei at the veterans' graves. I showed my friend the house where my mom was born and raised, now known as Goodies Boutique, and we walked down into the bamboo grove below the shops while I retold the stories that my mother used to tell me, about growing up in Makawao town when the old theater ran Saturday morning serials and Komoda Bakery sold hot loaves of bread out the back door.
We never made it to Hana or Kahakuloa, although we did spend a magnificent morning at Haleakala. The week ended much too soon and I put my friend on the plane Monday with the promise of a more complete tour next year. That's the thing about Joni's carousel; it goes faster and faster with each spin. Last week reminded me that the sweetest memories are made when you're living in the moment. I realized that's why childhood recollections are so vivid; as children, we're totally focused on the present.
Reliving childhood and high school memories last week while creating new moments to remember with a good friend, I was also reminded of how lucky I am to call Maui my home. Makes it easy to enjoy the ride, relaxing on the carousel of life.
* Kathy Collins is a performance artist, broadcaster and freelance writer whose "Sharing Mana'o column appears every Wednesday. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.