This song is for my brother Keawe Kekuewa and my sister Natalie Kekuewa, and my nieces and nephews, Kalikimaka ,
my cousins Brett, Boyd, Blaine, Anene, Monica, Melissa, brothers AJ aka Andy and my nephews, Evan, Bob, & our mother Connie,
uncle Melvin Kekuewa, uncle Gil Rodenhurst, uncle Sandy Kahanamoku , uncle Ronnie Fernandez,
uncle Gary Murakami, my stepfather's 1st born son born Jonathan Kekuewa (Who my stepfather missed & Loves)
my children, Clark, Cliff, Keenan, Sarah, & Melissa, my grandchildren Clementine & Magnola
Bob and Lorna Johnson
and in remembrance of everyone we love,
my stepfather Stephen David Esau Kekuewa (Who was the best father ever! That we love SO MUCH! and is with us always!)
plus Jonathan Kekuewa my stepfather's father who I felt I knew personally through my father Stephen
and my his mother, grandma Margaret Kekuewa (who taught me so much and I try to be just like) and his sister, aunt Joann (who we love):
In This Life
For all I've been blessed with in my life, There was NOT an emptiness in me
I was NOT imprisoned by the power of gold, With ALL YOUR kind WORDS you sent me free
Let the world stop turning, Let the sun stop burning, Let them tell me love is not worth goin through
If it all falls apart, I will know deep in my heart, The only dream that mattered had come true
In this life I was loved by you, For every mountain I have climbed, Every raging river crossed,
You were the treasure that I longed to find, Without your love I would be lost
Let the world stop turning, Let the sun stop burning, Let them tell me love is not worth goin through
If it falls apart, I will know deep in my heart
The only dream that mattered had come true
In this life I loved you, I know that I will not live forever, But forever I'll be loving you
Let the world stop turning, Let the sun stop burning, Tell me loves not worth going through
If it all falls apart I will know deep in my heart
The only dream that mattered had come true
In this life I was loved by you, In this life I loved you
I LOVE YOU -ALL- With All My Heart & Soul!!
Altered on a few liy Amy & BY Israel Kamakawiwoʻole
"I live my whole life for HULA,
I have long hair for Hula, and
Love Hula Dancing!!" ~Amy
I was an older pre-teen when my brother Keawe was born and I remember taking him on bike rides through the nearby park and one day I crashed into a tree and knocked out Keawe's teeth, it breaks my heart to remember, I did not mean to do it. And when my sister Natalie was born I was a teenager which was one of the greatest highlights of my life because I always wanted a sister.
My stepfather Stephen David Esau Kekuewa was my stepfather since I was 6 months old. He was a quite gentleman who never cussed or said anything unkind, he liked to talk about important topics and he was outwardly loving. (All of the Hawaiian uncles and Hawaiian people I grew up with were this way also). The Hawaiians I grew up with were so loving and kind that when I grew up and ventured out into the world meeting friends, their families, people at school, or through work, not one person that I have ever met is as loving and kind in a very healthy way with serious healthy respect for others and boundaries like no other people on this earth, this is how the real Hawaiian are and were. At a certain point in my life, I could not believe that my childhood was the very best part of my life. My childhood filled me with so much love for mankind, nature and cultures that it is unreal really. I have not had to suffer any ails due to any addictions or problems that I brought upon myself as life went by due to my up-bringing. As I aged, I started to think when I made decisions in my life, "What would make my stepfather and my uncles so very proud of me?" So I did all the things they did and here I am to write this to you with.
Growing up from 2 years old to Jr. High School age, I went with my stepfather and our family to all of his Outrigger Paddling Races, and some of their practices. It was very fun! He was the coach for Marina Del Rey Outrigger Canoe Club with Uncle Sandy, who was like my stepfather, yet he had his own personality. Back then in the late 60's to 70's Outrigger Canoe Clubs were mostly Islanders still. So it was like we were on the Island of Hawaii but living on the Mainland. Women did not paddle that much when I was growing up so I did not consider ever becoming a canoe paddler. My lifelong dream was to dance the Hula. Here are some photos I found to post here of the canoe club.
I love you to my stepfather Stephen Kekuewa and Uncle Sandy!
I love you auntie Joann!! Forever!!
This is my nephew and my grandma Margaret, I LOVE YOU to you Kalikimaka!!
My Stepfather above, I love you!
My Stepfather and Uncle Sandy
My Cousin Monica Kekuewa, Grandma Margaret and my Stepfather
Uncle Melvin, my Cousin and Aunt Marsha
My Uncle Gilly and Stepfather
My Daughter, Sarah, I LOVE YOU SARAH!!!! My daughter is like my sister Natalie in a lot of ways!
I love you uncle Mel and grandma and my 2 cousins. I just idolized Monica Kekuewa growing and and still do.
I have been a Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Proofreader & Editor, Formatter, Book and Advertising Designer, Fine Artist and Muralist for the past 20 plus years.
I attended a trade school in Torrance, CA. for Advertising Design, Illustration and Graphic Design at SCROC, Southern California Regional Occupational Center. Plus, L.A. Harbor College where I was invited into their Honor's Program then took all honors classes, (17 units a semester). The Honor's Program does not encompass art classes it only provides art history as an art subject, so I was an English major in the Honor's Program. Plus, my English 101 professor who was one of the Honor’s teachers at this college invited me into the Honor’s Program based upon my abilities in English 101. I really liked the Honor’s Program and enjoyed taking Honor’s classes and miss it. I also attended Palos Verdes Art Center and El Camino College for their art classes. I graduated from Alese Marshall’s Career Development school in Torrance, CA. I worked as a freelancer to obtain the equivalent of a BA as an Illustrator, Publishing Designer, Graphic Designer and Book Editor.
I grew up with my Yiddish grandparents living around the corner from our Islander beach home and I was very close with them, they partially raised me. This side of my family came to the USA from (Odessa to East-End London, to USA), they owned and operated a Hosiery and Draper's business, (see photos below), they lived on Church St. which became Fournier Street, in Spitalfields, UK. My Yiddish grandparents were Lithuanian, Hebrew by race Jews, who's language was Yiddish in part, who I will write about first.
I used to call my design business May Art because my Yiddish grandpa and grandma Kaufman were people from a continent that celebrates May Day. My grandparents had a beautiful rose garden, that smelt and looked so gorgeous, (I have never seen a rose garden like theirs since), this made May Day one of my favorite days with them. On May 1st, they would cut their roses, put them in nice baskets, then place them on their doorstep and ask me to go see what May Day gift was left for me there. I would then sit at their kitchen table after finding my basket and adore the beauty and fragrance of the roses. So, I wanted my Yiddish grandparents to be part of my business in spirit and have their memories with me while at work every day.
Growing up with my grandma and grandpa Kaufman was great! Grandma cooked the best food! She told me that many Jewish women came to their home and taught her how to cook grandpa's favorite Jewish dishes when they were first married. Grandma & grandpa lived with Grandma Kaufman's parents after they were wed, until they passed away. Grandma's father lived to be 100 years old. My grandparents, the Kaufman's, had an arranged marriage that was set up by my grandmother's parents. Plus, my grandma's closest and favorite sister, Amelia Grace, (who was born 11 months apart from her), married another Jewish man who owned a Movie Studio in Los Angeles, his name was Herbert Leavitt, they lived next door to Louis Burt Mayer of MGM, on Franklin Avenue, their marriage was arranged also around the same time. Amelia Grace and her husband had maids, a butler, a chauffeur, a limousine, etc. Amelia Grace was exceptionally beautiful, grandma always said. My grandparents ended up adopting Amelia Grace and Herbert Leavitt's son, their nephew, and raising him as Peter Kaufman, after Amelia Grace and her husband Herbert died at a young age. This tragedy always stayed with grandma and she told me a lot of stories about Amelia Grace. My mother and stepfather took me to my great uncle Peter Kaufman's home for the holidays and he was a nice man.
Since grandma Kaufman enjoyed cooking, we had nice sit-down dinners. I went to my grandparent's house weekly and we phoned each other every day. My grandparents prayed their prayers, while washing hands, lighting candles, going through doorways, etc. Grandma spent at least one hour a day or more reading her religious studies and then praying. Every week grandma would tell me her version of the stories she liked the most from her religious studies. Grandma Kaufman’s mother prayed as much or more than grandma did. Everyone on this side of our family was born into orthodox religious families. Grandpa's Rabbi, (he was the Rabbi for his family right on Church/Fournier Street at the synagogue in East-End London), he is in the photo with my grandparents (below), and he looks like Grandma Kaufman. He was a Hebrew Lithuanian Jewish, Yiddish Rabbi. (One of my sons is Rabbi Gifters look-a-like in appearance, they have an uncanny resemblance, including their gestures, you can see Rabbi Gifter in my photos) (The Yiddish Jews of Odesa came here and built a replica of their synagogue in Ohio, and I think we are still part of that synagogue in spirit and our appearance). Another one of my sons is also identical in appearance and his gestures, to an ultra-religious Jew from the UK, with the children, in the photos. (We are related to these Jewish people or Jewish people still look alike and can have the same gestures and appearances.) My grandma Kaufman went completely, white haired at 16 years old, which has a special religious meaning and which can be is genetic for Lithuanian Jews.
As I grew up Grandma Kaufman would also tell me the family’s history, on both sides of the family that she knew. She told me about every time Grandpa's mother would phone him from the UK, about his sisters and how my mother is just like one of my grandpa's sisters. It would have been a sister that took after grandpa's father’s side, (I think from my research) because the woman in one of my posted photos resembles my mother. She told me about her other siblings, her daughter and her husband, the Koch’s, their friends, Hollywood parties they attended, who they knew, and how Charlie Chaplin phoned their home regularly. Charlie Chaplin maybe one of our relatives also and he wanted Grandma Kaufman and Amelia Grace in his movies. Then, she told me about restaurants they ate at, about their maids and housekeeper’s stories, etc. She would say, "She could have been born a writer”, if I wanted to know more than she told me. These stories were life shaping, as I look back, because I learned so much.
When grandpa passed away, I took care of my grandma Kaufman. I did her grocery shopping once a week or more, took her to the bank, her doctor's appointments, plus shopping at Dept. stores and I helped her in her home. Yet, grandma always cooked for me still and never gave up on cooking, she cooked until she passed away. As I grew older and was phoning her every day still, but then as soon as she woke up and by nightfall. Or I went to her house to visit. Grandma and I were best friends, but she said, "Amy, we are soul mates, not just relatives." Or she said, “Amy I am your real mother, not just your grandmother!” I told her everything about myself growing up we were so close. I did not let her live in a nursing home, ever!! And when they tried to put her in a nursing home, I got her out of a nursing home all by myself, when I was only 16 years old, and she never went back to one AGAIN! She lived in fine health for those 10 or more years and again I took care of her all those years.
I let my Grandma Kaufman arranged my marriage at a young age also because she wanted my life a certain way she said, and she did not want me to live in sin or have a sex life outside of marriage. She wanted me to do everything that was in alignment with all religious laws.
So I said, “Fine grandma, I want to be that way also.” Grandma got to meet my first-born son, Clark. My grandparents would my sons and daughter now. I named my daughter after grandma Kaufman, her favorite sister and grandpa Kaufman’s sister.
Grandma always said, "Girls are very important because they do not go off and get married always, like boys can, girls need more care and support."
My grandma Kaufman loved my sister, Natalie. I would put my sister in her stroller when she was a baby and just walk to grandmas with her for a visit. My beautiful sister, I helped name after a movie star who loved the ocean (because my stepfather loved Jacque Cousteau).
Grandma, my sister, and I would sit at her kitchen table, and she would say, "We are so in love (to me about my sister), this child is gifted to care for others you can tell due to her sensitivity and alertness, and she knows I am her grandma!" Because my sister upon sitting at the table with us would hold out her little baby hand to touch grandma's hand. Then grandma’s tears would roll down her cheeks because her new great granddaughter was a baby who was so special to be so caring and loving. Grandma was so happy that my sister was born.
Before grandma passed-away she spent those years collecting paintings of Hawaiian and Indian looking children on plates she purchased in a magazine. I purchased a large showcase piece of furniture with her, for her plates and put it in her living room. We would go and look at her plates and grandma would say, “I love these children on these plates, Amy!” I look back and did not know then that my sister, my brother Keawe and I were all symbolic to these children on those plates. And then figured this out later, this is how she told us she loved us in another way.
Now to who I was named after, it was my mother Connie’s father's mother. Grandma Amy Flora Koch who was born in Hawaii and her uncle Nathan, was the Treasurer for Hawaii when it first became part of the USA. Amy Flora Koch's mother Ivy who was Nathan the Treasurer's sister was born when Hawaii was the Kingdom of Hawaii still, or right when Hawaii became part of the USA. Amy Flora Koch's grandfather was Captain Wilfong, he was friends with the Kings of Hawaii and a few hula songs were written to him and are part of the Hawaiian Historical Society today (he was Captain Wilfong by the Lighthouse in Puna). Captain Wilfong owned one of the first Sugarcane Plantations on Maui and was an inventor. Amy Flora Koch's father owned and operated a few old time General Grocery Stores in Hawaii on various islands and the big island and so did Amy Flora Koch's father's brother, he owned and operated an old-time general store also.
And my father Bob Johnson’s mother was Portuguese Hawaiian. My father's mother's name was Mary Johnson, and you can see her in my photos below. My grandma Mary's brother worked for the Hilo Newspaper he was very good- looking and you can see him in my photos below, sitting next to her. My Grandma Mary's mother was born in Hawaii on the big island and her name was Mary too. My great grandma Mary’s mother lived on the big Island and her name was Caroline. Caroline was born from De Jesus and Gomes families. My great-grandmother Mary's father was the head sugar-cane planter on the big island for a plantation and this side came from Maderia island (plus this side of the family always lived on an island and could have been part Sumo which was part of the Mayangna people and/or the Guanche people).
Amy Flora Koch, my mother’s grandma and my great grandma married a German Jewish man that immigrated to the USA from Germany, his name was Herbert Koch, this side of our family in each generation had 10 to 15 children and they were clockmakers, and Jewelers.
Now that I wrote about my mother's mothers’ side the Kaufman's, then mentioned that I was named after Amy Flora Koch, (her father’s mother’s side) born in Hawaii and her grandfather was Captain Wilfong from Puna, Hawaii, and that my dad Bob Johnson's mother's side is Hawaiian. I can tell you about being raised in our home by my mother and stepfather Stephen Kekuewa. Their son and my brother was named Keawe, he was named after the Keawe trees in Hawaii and after the royal Hawaiian Kings. I always asked my stepfather and mother to show me the Keawe trees when I was growing up when we were visiting the islands. As they showed me the Keawe trees I learned so many tales and great folklore about the Hawaiian Islands.
My stepfather who was my stepfather since I was 6 months old was Hawaiian born and raised. He was a wonderful father, who talked to me a lot about his life on the island, his life at school on the island, about canoe paddling, surfing big waves, deep sea diving, exercise, and why exercise is important, My stepfather would also take me with him to visit his boss Hal Goldstein at his home, he lived in a beautiful house in the Hollywood Hills. At Hal’s we would go and sit in Hal's study, and it was nice, I would get the hear about their jobs. My stepfather worked for Hal Goldstein his entire life and he never had another job. He was his main foreman and was part of a union. Hal ran or maybe owned in part at least, the entire chain of all the Mann Movie Theaters, nationwide. My stepfather was the bravest man in California (people would say) because he would climb to the top of the highest HIGHRISE building in Los Angeles and hang the huge Christmas tree each year with lights for all of Los Angeles. He was always nice and never yelled or punished us or anyone. He had a great nature; he was very calm and polite, and we had a quiet home. He never drank alcohol or did anything wrong. Again, he was always a kind gentleman in all ways. He had great taste and a great sense of style. He would take me running around the park, Clark Stadium so we could get in shape when I was 7-12 years old, and he took me to his canoe paddling practices a lot. Our whole family went to canoe paddling races every month of our entire life growing up. It was so fun! And we went to a big luau afterwards, with hula shows, a Kalua pig roasting in the ground, and we ate every Hawaiian dish always. I loved it! I grew up with King’s Hawaiian bread always in a bread drawer in our kitchen. My friends would come over to visit and eat our Hawaiian bread. He did everything for us and hugged us and told us that loved us, always and like a great father he treated my mother so well. I had a lot of wonderful Hawaiian uncles and cousins also. Bret, Blaine, Boyd, and Aneenee. Uncle Gilly, Uncle Sandy, Uncle Ronnie, and Uncle Al Chang, Uncle Gary and more. Plus Uncle Rabbit was a Beach Boy in Honolulu and he would take me surfing and he found a beautiful necklace for me under the sea, I always wore. I LOVED being raised Hawaiian!
Our great great great or more Grandpa G. W. Willfong is mentioned here in the history of Maui.
Even before I knew I was part Indian I was thankful I was part Indian for many many reasons that are essential to life, like eating, living and the way I think. Again, even though I was raised Hawaiian I knew I was something like a Native American for YEARS on end before I found out. And during Orthodox Jewish praying on the Shabbat I would pray that I was so happy I must be an Indian of some kind for many reasons, and this started when I was 30 yrs old. And to now find people who look like me is very nice. I cannot believe I am a twin almost to the baby and girl to the right of me.
I look like this girl above and the child above with mother plus the man on the horse, I resemble him over the years. Because I am part Indian.
I think the Johnson family came from Chief Black Moon's tribe.
This is were Cheyenne and her parents lived with her children and you can see that maybe Cheyenne's father is on the porch, they lived in Nebraska here but Cheyenne moved back to the Big Sioux Nation when she was older. My dad Bob Johnson Jr's grandma Nita Fay would go visit her there.
This is Clarinda, she was the aunt of my grandfather Robert Lee Johnson's senior's mother Nita Fay (Nita Fay my great grandmother was born a twin also and her twin was named Niles). Clarinda was Wilbur Ray's older sister, she only had 1 child and she was the 1st born child to Cheyenne, Nita Fay's grandma, who was born to an orphaned Indian and raised by the Thatcher Missionaries by Indian Ladder, NY, and another orphaned Indian mother who was born to a mother who gave birth to her at 16, and died during giving birth on an Indian reservation. The parents of Cheyenne were married by a Moses on an Indian reservation that Dutch people ran in NY and had a chapel on. Clarinda is Sioux Indian. I love you!
My dad Bob Johnson is as wonderful as my stepfather in his own way. He bought a home at the beach a few blocks from my mother and stepfather when I was growing up and he says this girl above has to be his grandma Nita Fay's mother Cinda and one of her brothers. Cinda was a seamstress and she moved back to the Big Sioux Nation when her children where grown. My dad says his father and uncles would go with their mother Nita Fay to visit her mother Cinda and all of her relatives which were her mom and dad and cousins, etc. at the Big Sioux Nation when they were growing up.
This is Wilbur Ray who is my grandfather Robert Lee Johnson SR's mother Nita Fay Johnson's uncle he was Sioux Indian. He had an apple orchard and was very tall. He was very nice and married a Polish wife, he had 4 to 6 children, he was very kind, he was written about in Custer County Newspaper frequently. Wilbur Ray was born a TWIN and his twin was named Willis. I love you uncle Wilbur!
The Chief and Red Cloud, Cheyenne is to the right of these Sioux Indians. This is Nita Fay's grandma who is my dad Bob Johnson's grandma who raised him. I love you all!
This is Poor Dog and his family my dad Bob Johnson looks a lot like Poor Dog I think and it is funny he had a name for me growing up that was just like Poor Dog. I grew up being Pooh Dog,
This is Wilbur Ray's who is above, 1st born son that he had with a wife he married before he married the Polish wife and had a long life with her. Wilbur Ray named this son Willis after his twin brother. I know all about Willis's life. I love you Willis who moved back to Canada at a young age.
I look like Little Miss Spotted Eagle also and again my dad Bob Johnson named me Pooh (after Winnie the Pooh) Dog, and dog (after Snoopy)!
I will continue with my research about the orphan that was raised by the Thatcher Missionary family by Indian Ladder. I really researched this relative that is my grandfather Robert Lee Johnson Sr's great, great grandfather. This picture to the left could be someone like him in 1890ish. I met my dad Robert Lee Johnson Jr's, cousin that was Wilbur Rays above great grandson or great great grandson. He was very interested in his ancestry and this nice cousin I met traveled to Custer County, and phoned the Big Sioux Nation, he traveled to Illinois where the Indians fled to after they were asked to leave a few Indian Reservations, esp. what became the Seneca Indian Reservation. Then this cousin wrote letters to people he found that may have answers to the roots of this grandfather, he paid for death records for many of the grandmothers on this side and this grandfather's wife, but we could not find the grave for this grandfather. So this nice cousin did get some answers and he found out that this grandfather did not have a name until he was a man over 21 years of age or so, and that he was raised by the Boyd Thatcher Missionary Family in New York by Indian Ladder.
We did find out that when this grandfather was given a name it was George W. (Washington maybe) Sweet. I found out from my research that he was given an attorney's name that still lived and was close to the Thatcher family, the evidence was that he traveled with the people who worked and lived around this attorney George W. Sweet, etc. So this grandfather George Sweet I found out was an awesome farmer, that was very skilled to the point that the men that traveled with him put him in the newspapers with themselves and mentioned his crops quite a lot. He did plant sugar and other crops. To back track for along time I thought he was named Sweet because he planted sugar cane. He might have made molasses I think to myself now. Again he was wed on an Indian Reservation by a man named Moses and I found this in records, to Melvina Camp who again was born to a 16 year old Eastern Cherokee mother who lived on the Onondaga Reservation and Melvina's mother died during childbirth. So Melvina was raised by other relatives and her father who was named John Camp on Melvina Camp Sweet's death record. I searched and search every John Camp that ever lived in NY and traced them all, I did end up at many dead ends. But maybe John Camp ended up marrying someone named Mary Camp that also moved with this grandparent couple to Illinois from NY at the Indian removal. Yet, on Melvina Camp's death certificate she had no mother. There were several Camp families that traveled from NY to Illinois at the same time. Cheyenne was the first born daughter to Grandfather Sweet and Grandmother Melvina Camp Sweet. Cheyenne gave birth to her first born daughter upon arrival in Illinois. There again I wrote above she gave birth to Clarinda. Melvina and George Sweet had a set of twin also. They may have up to two sets of twins. For sure they had twin boys who did die at a younger age in their twenties. I went to Custer County Museum and the Custer County newspaper files to find out more about George Sweet and his family. George Sweet's twin sons did sign over all of their property to Cheyenne's fur trapper husband, who may have not been a fur trapper though and what they owned before they died because they had something wrong with them, that could have been a gun shot wound or they were poisoned. Or they died at the big Sioux Massacre.
It is funny to me that my dad Bob Johnson's grandmother Nita Fay was a twin and again each generation had a set of twins. Wilbur Ray was a twin and lo and behold I found a shot of what looked like my dad Bob Johnson as a baby with another baby laying there on their bellies that his father shot like he was a secret twin and none of us knew about this ever! And he had a secret twin somewhere and even he does not know about this the twin mystery maybe. I imagined this because the twin mystery in this family is a spell binder, so great in each generation. Yet no one has had twins yet on any side I know of I thought, but the cousin I met from Wilbur Ray said, "Yes, there are more twins in this bloodline still." And he named them. So this whole Sweet family packed up one day and headed toward Nebraska and they lived in Custer. And in the end Melvina was buried alone and we will never find George Sweet's grave but I may know now where he is buried because as I went through nights and nights of the newspaper archives from Nebraska I also found out where this family traveled, and where some of grandfather Sweet's grandchildren moved to when they were wed.
I did find Cheyenne, George Sweet's daughter at the Big Sioux Nation living with the Dakota Indians in a census that I have when she was in her 70's and 80's and 90's maybe. Because Melvina Camp and Cheyenne, who were mother and daughter lived to be closest to 100 years old.
This is Cheyenne Sweet's great granddaughter and Ida Mae's granddaughter Elsie Pearl which is a beautiful name. She took after the Indian side in her features and hair etc. You can see. Ida Mae her Grandmother had a sister name Elsie and my dad's grandma Nita Fay who again was born a twin with Niles, had a sister named Elsie and this is an Indian name for Sioux Indian people I think from watching their movies and documentary movies. I love you Ida Mae and I love you Elsie Pearl!
Henry Earl “Hank” Bisco.
Here is Arthur Bisco, Ida May's son and he is like my dad some of his grandma Nita Fay's sons because they are and were theatrical people.
Grandma Mary Bob Johnson SR's wife and my dad Bob Johnson's mother below Hula dancing!!
Here is Grandma Mary Johnson and Grandfather Robert Johnson Sr and Dad Robert Johnson Jr., I love you!