Thursday, September 8, 2005

BABAN (in honor of Grandparents Day)

She was born in Okinawa and moved to Hawaii where she married and raised 9 children.  Her name was Uto.  She was my grandmother.  I called her Baban.  She called me many names.  'Number 1 fat girl' was one of her favorties, but 'Bakatare You!' rolled off her tongue more than once during any visit.  For the longest time I thought it was a term of endearment that she used for me.  I later found out it meant 'stupid', but by that time it had become my special name.

She called me lazy at least once a day.  Was I really lazy?  Well, of course I was, but I think I was lazier mostly because it was always so much fun to be lazy around Baban.  I never knew what tactic she would use to inspire me to work.  Once we ran several laps around the huge kitchen table as she brandished a broom aimed at my hiney.  The race stopped abruptly when she swung the broom at my head from across the table. 

Every summer and New Years was spent at Baban's house.  There were potlucks and luaus, picnics at the beach and all night sing-alongs in the carport.  Everyone in Kohola and most of Honolulu loved my grandparents.  When my grandfather became ill, he moved in with us.  I was saddened by his eventual passing, but I still had Baban.  She fought and won a battle with breast cancer, but would later fall victim once more.  Our last conversation, a week before her death, was one of shared memories and promises.  We would return to Kohala, she and I, and go fishing at Mahu Kona.  That night, when I turned to leave her for what would be the last time she called me 'Number 1 Good Girl'.

I returned to Kohaha on the Big Island of Hawaii the following summer as planned, but without her.  I walked along the rocky shore of Mahu Kona, the very rocks she loved to fish off of, and I could almost hear her laughter in the wind.  I could almost hear her voice shouting out above the pounding of the waves against the sharp black lava rocks 'Bakatare you number 1 fat girl!'  Oh how I wanted to hear her voice saying that one more time.

I took thispicture of  Baban at Mahu Kona during our last fishing trip together.  I think I was 19 at the time.  I didn't catch anything that day, I never did.  But I didn't go to fish.  I went to be with Baban.  Now that I am a grandmother I am chomping at the bit to be even half the grandmother she was to me.  I want to be a Baban!

19 comments:

robinngabster said...

Oh but you did catch something that day...a wonderful memory and a beautiful picture to share with us. Touching story...I am in tears...thanks for sharing. Robin

jcole16757 said...

She sounds like a wonderful Grandmother!  In honor of Baban this weekend~

demandnlilchit said...

Oh mY GOSH!!!!!!I LOVE Baban too! I was fonder of the Ya Ya that lived across the street from me goriwng up...very loving Greek Family.......she used to chase me with her slipper and call me Skata (spelling) means lil chit of course! lol Other times I was the crazy Irish girl from across the street! Wonderful story Dorn! Loved it!

gdireneoe said...

You are Dorn...you are.  I hope to be a Meme one day.  That's what my children call my mother-in-law. ;)  C.  http://journals.aol.com/gdireneoe/thedailies

pcgautier said...

What a beautiful tribute to your "Baban".  You write so beautifully. You speak of how your Grandmother's words rolled off her tongue. Now I know where your gift comes from. As I read your writings, it's as though I hear you, though I've no voice to put with it. I read your journal daily and you take me to places I've never been or will ever go. I "feel" your bumps and bruises, and your fear for your oldest son. My prayers are with you and all of your wonderful family. Oh, the joys of a big family. I am a shut in and would love so much to hear from you if you ever find the time. If not, I will continue to watch your children grow up through your writings, as I have for some time. You are a wonderful person and I'm sure your "Baban" is looking down on her "Number 1 Good Girl" with love. You are a wonderful mother and will be a wonderful "Baban" to your grandson some day.                          

mumma4evr said...

LOVELY ENTRY!!!!
bECKY

hestiahomeschool said...

What a loving tribute. How blessed you were to have her.

heathyrxmarie said...

What an awesome tribute to your Baban!
Hugs,
xoxo
Heather

rjet33 said...

A very loving tribute, indeed.  My "Nana's" were both very special to me also, but each in different ways, as they were very different women.  Thanks for sharing that with us, Jody.  It touched my heart.

Blessings!
Susan
http://journals.aol.com/rjet33/CountryLivingSouthernStyle

dhga30047 said...

Thanks for sharing!!!  I loved my Mammy so much!!!  Donna

sdoscher458 said...

Oh Dorn you know I love stories about the older generations. You have her smile, as I believe I have my Grandmom's....I just hope that we as we age have the stamina of those generations of wonderful women that left such great memories in our young hearts all those years ago.  Sandi http://journals.aol.com/sdoscher458/LifeIsFullOfSurprises

princesssaurora said...

What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother!  Very touching...I think you will be a wonderful Baban!  You are already #1 mom!  Be well,

Dawn
http://journals.aol.com/princesssaurora/CarpeDiem/
Poetry:

cdittric77 said...

The joy in her face is reflected in your words. She lives within you!

k2plus2 said...

Great sentimental entry.  Nice to share your memories.  You will be your own Baban!  Cya, Kris

swmpgrly said...

soo sweet.

plieck30 said...

A wonderful entry. Paula

purplectigger said...

She sounds like a wonderful woman. I'm glad you have your special memorys of her.
Hugs, R.C.

karynetaylor said...

That is an AWESOME picture! Needs to be an 8 X 10 at the very least in your home!!

~ Karyn

cmarlow330 said...

awww awsome story...... sad but awesome ^_^