-Journey of forgiveness
It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder -Rumi
While I don’t remember everything from my youth, I certainly couldn’t forget living in Hawaii. Even at a young age, I could still appreciate the beauty of the island. We were fortunate enough to have the beach as our backyard. Banana and Pineapple trees, beautiful blue skies, crystal clear ocean water and gorgeous sunsets surrounded us. Geckos, exotic frogs, huge toads and giant flying cock roaches were our rodents.
To a child coming from Indiana, Hawaii was a strange land. Paradise but, strange land none the less. So, living in paradise was definitely something to get used to. Living with Spring was something to get used to as well. Going from Grandma Phy’s home in Indiana to living with Spring in Hawaii was moving to strange land within a strange land. The environment was totally different.
I can’t remember a time when less than 5 people stayed at Grandma Phy’s 3-bedroom home. It was always full of life as she has 9 children and all but, 2 had at least 2 children each. At some point in time, Grandma Phy had a hand in raising the majority of her grandchildren. Either they lived with her or spent several days at a time at her home as she was the designated babysitter.
If you can’t tell by now, Grandma Phy is well…. a little “hood” if you catch my drift. The flow of her home had a relaxed flow where she used curse words and ass whoopin to get results (except for me that is, NO ONE was allowed to whoop me according to BOTH of my Grandmothers). All grand kids were out the house after morning cartoons and the street lights was the curfew. The only real rule I can remember was to stay in a child’s place. Oh, and “ Don’t slam that got-damn door!”.
Grandma Phy never assigned any chorus or pressured any of the grandchildren to work while in school. She is a true believer in allowing a child to be a child. Education has always been important to her as she was one of the first African Americans to integrated schools in her State. She then had to had to quit school due to pregnancy. While in her 20’s she became a single mother of 7. Determined to make a better life for her children, she went back and got her G.E.D in one day. Now in those days, completing the test in one day was almost impossible. She went on to become a Nurse and encouraged us to finish High School no matter what.
Spring ran her home like a well-oiled, culture exploration, non-stop learning, strict etiquette school. Now, I’m not saying that these things were bad. As a matter of fact, I do credit a small bit of my fabulous writing skills (if I do say so myself) to much of her direction. This structured cultured environment that Spring created helped me to thrive academically. She is very big on education as well and has several college degrees in the Arts and Teaching.
Nothing though, could compare to the art, culture and land the she introduced us too. Often, she would take us exploring on the island and surrounding ones as well. She liked to take us to the beach and tell us about the different ocean and plant life. She was always sprinkling us with juicy droplets of knowledge. I remember looking up to her and just wanting to be as intelligent and knowledgeable as she was.
Spring assigned us chorus, nothing more than keeping the room clean, picking up after ourselves, and making sure your clothes and backpack were neatly set out for school the next day. House rules were, no TV on the week days but, at night we could listen to classical music while we sleep. Every day, we were to read a book of our choice for 1 hour.
As always, we were expected to use your normal manners such as; Please, Thank you, You’re Welcome and Excuse me. However, we were taught new etiquette that we never used at Grandma Phy’s. Now we had to ask to be excused from the table and then wait to be excused before getting up. If you had something to say and others are talking, you simply say excuse me then wait to be addressed. Cross someone’s path, say excuse me etc.
Nothing too bad right? The biggest rule was to not play with any of my little sister’s things including her colorful ribbons that she got to wear in her hair. To a 7 or 8-year-old girly girl, this was very hard to learn and remember. Spring had no problem helping you remember. Punishment would start off as standing in the corner, writing sentences, losing weekend TV and classical radio week days. Then one day it happened….Spring went from a gentle breeze to a whirlwind thunder storm. And my butt was struck by lightning….