Thank you for all my relations

24 11 2011

Thanksgiving Day 2011.

I am an only child, and actually an orphan, as my friend reminded me when my parents died (ha!), yet I have a family. More than one!

I made this photo of my immediate family, sans pets, this past October.

I consider my immediate family, now, as me, my darling husband (DH), his daughter who is now married and has her own family including Miss Marvelous; and we can’t forget Alice Brown and Ula. Socially our family name is Krape, though daughter didn’t hesitate to change hers to Hylton. As I write this, all of us are expecting the birth of Miss Marvelous’s new sister, any day, any minute!

My first immediate family. Me, my momma, my daddy. Here we are, I as a toddler.

Fo-Tsin, Arthur, and Rebekah Luke

Some of the Sinclairs: Cherie & David, Ivalee, Ruth & Terry, Sarah, Karl & Julie, & Kathy in front of the White House when Mom got the Jefferson Award for public service in 2008

My hanai family the Sinclairs. Around the time I finished high school and when my parents divorced, when I was not quite mature enough nor emotionally equipped to be on my own, a wonderful kamaaina family with father, mother, and six children accepted me into their home to live. The eldest daughter Margaret was my best friend at Punahou.

Sunday family dinners at The Sinclairs’ are legendary. I was given the honor of delivering Doc Sinclair’s eulogy. Mom Ivalee is in her mid-80s, still works (!), and today she is having Thanksgiving dinner at her house as always, with David, Ruth, Karl, Brian, me and our families or partial families present. I’m baking and bringing the rolls. By the way, Doc Sinclair did deliver Barack Obama.

My Chong cousins. These are my relatives on my mother Fo-Tsin’s side. She was the youngest of 15 children who all were born and grew up in North Kohala. Most of my cousins are still on Oahu. Some are overseas in North America, one is in Asia, and another is in Australia. We’re having a family reunion next year, with a revisit to our ancestral homeland getting top billing. It’s really fun to plan this event, and I hope many of my cousins will turn out for it. The mailing labels number 85 families, but I should have more! I love helping to plan our reunions, though this might be the last one for which I’m the point person.

Isn't this a funny image? Mark Lum, my first cousin once removed, made this photo of the Third Generation Chongs photographing the Fourth Generation at a family gathering this summer. I'm in the red pants, vertically challenged as usual.

My Luke cousins. Ah, my dad Arthur’s side, the Hawaiian-Chinese side. This is a good-sized family as well; Dad was one of 13. By their nature the Lukes did not/do not stay in touch like the Chongs. They moved all over, often divorced and remarried. Some were loners. After my father died in 2003, I made it a point to visit my Aunty Julia in Stockton, California, who was Dad’s eldest sister and last-living sibling living with her daughter Loris Ann.

The occasion brought my girl cousins together. It was great to see Laureen, Lorene, and Loris Ann in California, and Bee in Colorado, share stories and meet their spouses and children. One time before that, to add to the research of my genealogy, I phoned them to re-introduce myself as Uncle Arthur’s daughter and quizzed them about how many more relatives I had. For Christmas I sent them the family tree as a gift. I am so glad I met them again as an adult, in person.

Rebekah (from left), Laureen, and Loris Ann with Aunty Julia in Stockton, 2004

My good, good friends. Although we’re not related by blood, these friends have seen me at my best and at my worst. We might not see or talk to each other regularly—years can go by, but when we do meet again, it is as if we were never apart, and we just pick up where we left off. We’re at ease together. If I am ever in need, I know I can call on them and they won’t let me down. They’re “family.”

I feel blessed to have these relationships and so many more. I am thankful, for you, too, dear reader! We are One. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! I love you.

P.S. Oh, I haven’t forgotten my in-laws: DH’s brother-sister-aunts-cousins. That’s another clan.

Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke



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