69. 2nd Honeymoon?

69.  2nd Honeymoon?

The decision was made to leave Hawaii.  Now what?   We called Betty’s mother in Florida, and asked if she thought we could live together.  She told me she had been thinking this same thing because her house-partner had moved out, and she was alone in her mobile home in Dunedin, Florida.

“I can’t believe it! ”I don’t believe it! “Whaaaaaat?!….”Why?”…these are a few of the comments we received when we told our friends that the Hicks’. after “honeymooning” in Hawaii” for twenty-four years, were leaving for the mainland.  “What?  Back to the mainland?”  NO, no…FORWARD to the mainland.  Florida, on the West coast near Tampa, to be more accurate.

We left for the simple honest fact, that with my impending retirement from the University, we could not afford to live in Hawaii.  It was a hard, tear-provoking decision but home is where the heart is, and our hearts were weary from the struggle of the past few years, so logic prevailed.  It was not logical to live in paradise if we could not enjoy it… and the Lord seemed to be telling us that our hearts were needed elsewhere.

To put a positive spin on the move to Florida, I said our Divine Guide had called us to a second honeymoon.

Then it occurred to me, if we are going on a second  honeymoon, we should get married again!  I proposed, this time on my knee, and Betty said “Yes” again.  When we shared the idea with our friends Aileen, Dottie and Nadja, they formed a committee, and the thing snowballed!

We had the wedding ceremony and reception at Kalihi Union Church.  Our assistant pastor led us through re-commitment vows.  Randy and Gay Hongo and Mark and Diane Yasuhara (The Hawaiians) sang.  Betty’s mother sent her wedding dress, which fit perfectly after 24 years!  My bride was as beautiful as before.  Then we moved to the gym for an Aloha Potluck with program.

Our MC was Clayton Naluai, an Amway friend, Waikiki entertainer, and former MC for the Don Ho Show.  He sang a couple numbers.  Special friend Barbara Pratt spoke words of affirmation and inspiration.  Randy helped me realize a dream, to play my horn with him.  I did two numbers, I’ll Remember You”, for Hawaii and our friends, and “Amazing Grace”, for the Lord and me.  Randy and  Gay sang, and presented us with a beautiful plaque from Christian Vision.  The Hawaiians, Mark and Diane, climaxed the program with a tremendous inspirational song.

We had a fantastic cake which we cut ceremoniously with the same knife we used twenty-four years ago!

Betty shared our agony of deciding to leave, and our hope for the future.  I skimmed through memories of moments in Hawaii over twenty-four years, when the Lord touched us, and  led us, and loved us.  I felt so loved this night with so many of our friends, and  our Spirit.

When this exciting beautiful, exhausting evening climaxed, then gradually collapsed into clean-up and memories, we went down to Waikiki, to the lounge at the Halekulani with Aileen Leong (Chinen), and friends, to listen to Randy sing and play for us.  We needed to unwind and recall and celebrate life and love — as in Randy’s songs.  Thanks Aileen, for making such a memorable time for us!

68. Choice or Not?

68.  Choice or Not?

It was 1989 when a guest speaker from our Amway organization made a statement that was the catalyst that brought about a major change in our lives.

Every month Amway held a meeting in Hawaii for distributors, and brought in a guest speaker.  We usually came away from the meetings uplifted and encouraged, but this time the reaction was different – especially for Betty.  I’ll let her tell the story.

Betty here:

When we got home from the meeting, we discussed what Dave, the Amway Diamond said:

“You are where you are in life by choice. If you don’t like where you are – you have the power to change.”

My reaction was one of anger at the first part – how can he say that – as I began listing the frustrating situations we were in!  They certainly were NOT by our choice!

1.  Bob’s health was going downhill – he was now on 1/4 time teaching, and contemplating giving up teaching all together.
2.  Our Amway business was not bringing in the income to support us if Bob had to resign.
3.  We were counting our pennies at the checkout at the grocery store, and sometimes needed to return an item to pay for the groceries.

I collapsed on the floor, tears of frustration flowing down my cheeks, and cried out loud to God and Bob.  “I don’t care what it takes – if we have to, (1) sell our home, (2) leave Hawaii, (3) give up on Amway.  If it will get us out of this mess, I’m ready!”

Little did I realize the power of those word!  Three months later all three of the things I said were happening!

Stay tuned to our next few blog posts to see how choosing change pushed us into another major move that was “not by choice”.

As I think about that time – I realize the full meaning of what Dave said.  In order for God to move in our lives – we sometimes need to let go of what we think is important, and let God work his perfect plan.  We needed to trust God that he had better things for us.

“You are where you are in life by choice. If you don’t like where you are – you have the power to change.”

Today I realize we make hundreds of choices each day that over the days and years, add up to where we are today.  We choose how we start each day, what to eat, how we spend our time and money, who we associate with, how we respond to challenges, and so on.

67. Windward Community College

67.  Windward Community College

When I was almost through with my Master’s degree at the University of Hawaii, I saw an ad for a marketing manager at Seal Life Park.  I had taken Travel Industry Management, TIM, as a possible application for my emphasis in intercultural communication.  I thought Sea Life Park would be a fun place to work, so I made an appointment with the Personnel Manager for an interview.

The manager looked at my resume, and said, “You don’t want to work here, with three degrees and eight years experience teaching at the college level, you should be teaching.”

Shortly thereafter, I saw an article in the newspaper that the University was opening a new branch campus on the grounds of the Hawaii State Hospital.  Interviews for faculty would begin at the end of June.  Betty and I were planning to head home to Michigan as soon as graduation was over at the beginning of June.  I called the provost of the new Windward Community College, and he and the dean agreed to meet with me ahead of the schedule.  I was hired on the spot!  The interview ended with them asking me for advice in choosing another applicant for the Speech Department.

Some of the buildings that had housed mental patients were being renovated to be classrooms and offices of the new Windward Community College.  Classes would begin at the beginning of September on a trimester schedule with 75 minute classes.  We had to be back in August to help with registration and orientation.  With divine guidance,      I had a job!  What a relief!

The Windward Community College is a beautiful campus — with broad lawns and huge banyan trees.  It was located at the foot of a high sharp mountain range, the Koolaus, that formed a huge green cyclorama that had waterfalls cascading down the sides when it rained.  The administration challenged us to be innovative and set a free wheeling, no pressure atmosphere, so it was a fun situation.

Renovation was a little behind schedule, so my first office was a small room with a small window in the door, and bars on the small window high in the wall.  I was in the maximum security building just down the hall from a section of double-gated cells that had been used for the violent and criminally insane.  Fortunately, I was moved to another building when classes began.

The fun began.  Classes were limited to 25 students, just perfect.  There were a lot of adult students, such as housewives, police officers, and Marine Corp wives from the air station who were taking classes while their husbands were deployed.  Average age in the classes was 25.  These students wanted to learn, so it was a rewarding situation.  Most of the younger students would transfer to the main campus to finish a bachelor’s degree.

One day, in the middle of a class, a young woman ran in the back door of the classroom, sat down, and lit a cigarette.  Then two men appeared, one grabbed her arm, and pulled her from the room.  She yelled, “I’m taking this class, you can’t take me.”  I turned to the students, and remarked, “now what do we do?”

When I reported to the Provost, he called the Hospital and confirmed that the young lady was a patient who had gone for a walk.  Not a problem, but we were reminded that we were on the grounds of a hospital for the mentally disturbed.

I taught 17 wonderful years at Windward Community College.


66. Sea Life Park – Dolphins Ahoy

66.  Sea Life Park – Dolphins Ahoy

A rough storm put one of the two power plants on Oahu out of commission, and the island power company put us on a 4 hour rolling blackout.  We had 4 hours of electricity, and then none for 4 hours.

Coincidently, Betty’s brother Jim and wife Nancy, and their friends Jim and Gloria, came to visit.  With reasonable planning, we still tried to show them some genuine Hawaiian experiences.  One day, we went to spend the day at Sea Life Park. In the afternoon, we went to the inside pool for a show by the trained dolphins.

The trainer announced that the electricity to the pool area, including the underwater speakers, was unavailable.  In order to keep the dolphins on schedule, they were going to try to do the show anyway.  There was no guarantee that the dolphins would perform with hand signals only.

No problem!  The trainer clapped her hands, then began the hand signals.  The dolphins never missed a beat.  They did their spins in the air, and “walked” on the water, right on cue.  At the end of the show, the trainer told us she was surprised, and we had learned a new thing. The dolphins could see her hand motions and do their act without any sound.

Time for supper!  Sea Life Park did an authentic Hawaiian luau.  We sat at tables in a big tent.  (It rains in Hawaii)  The menu was perfect.  First Kalua pig, (We got to see them unwrap the pig from roasting in a pit) then, raw diced ahi tuna, laulau, (pieces of pork and salted fish wrapped in taro leaves – steamed), poi, (pulverized taro) and baked sweet potato.  Dessert was Haupia, a cornstarch solidified coconut milk pudding.

After the luau, friend Jim said, “Where can we go to get something to eat?”