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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

PEARL'S GOLD TREE: Ceremony at the Ala Wai Golf Course

Yesterday was the most beautiful day of the year, ideal for the Gold Tree tribute to Pearl.  It will be a few more years before it blooms like the one above next to Hamilton Library on the Manoa Campus.  There must have been 25 people viewing this first planting of the Tabebuia donnell-smithii, mostly friends and family of Pearl  There are 49 more trees, and half of them will go here, with the other half to the Makalena Golf Course.

The two individuals most responsible for kicking off this effort were Nestor Garcia (second from left), when he was a councilman, and Dennis Onishi (third from right), Big Island councilman, and cousin of Pearl.  Here they are above standing in front of these trees when they were about a year old (they are so small that you almost can't see them).  Now, these trees seem almost 20 feet tall. 

A third individual, Garrick Iwamuro (top photo extreme left and also to the left), City and County of Honolulu Golf Course Administrator, was particularly helpful.  Fortuitously, he has a degree in horticulture from the University of Hawaii, and has previously had experience growing the Gold Tree.  Thus, the trees are in good hands.

I might add that a fourth person, Doris (right, with Councilman Onishi, her cousin), Pearl's sister, was particularly effective keeping this project alive, and we both agreed this was a memorable day to finally complete our task of love.

KHON2 was there.  Dan Bent sent me a photo of me being interviewed.  I provided a history of the gold tree effort and went on to say a few words about my dropping Pearl's ashes at places around the world where she wanted to visit, but never did because of my reluctance.  If you watched Joe Moore last night on the evening news, you saw the event.  Here are Kelly Simek and Bob Cramer:

A half century from now when all the trees together bloom, with the Ala Wai Golf Course resplendent in bright yellow, Kelly can tell her grandchildren that she planted that first tree. 

A tribute plaque was placed next to this tree:

The source of the above was a photo of Pearl with her sunbursts when she turned 69:

A reception was held at Fat Boy's in the clubhouse.  Kenji Sumida and I enjoyed a draft Guinness, to the frown of a few, for it was only 10AM.  SIMPLE SOLUTION Essays was passed out, for the back cover is also a tribute to Pearl:

Pearl Yukie Nakamichi was born in Hilo, Hawaii.  She graduated from Hilo High School, then went on to St. Francis Nursing School in Honolulu.  She was working as a Registered Nurse at the Kau Hospital in Pahala on the Big Island when I met her.  We got married a little more than three months later.  We formed a perfect partnership.  She later went on to work for U.S. Senators Spark Matsunaga and Daniel Akaka.

In 1982 she found out she had breast cancer.  While she was recuperating, I gave her a sunburst flower.  No leaves, just one flower.  She brought it home and one plant multiplied, maybe, to a hundred over time.  She gave them away to friends.

She also loved that yellow tree, Tabebuia Donnelli-Smithii.   “In Gratitude, Not Grief,” these trees are being planted at sites throughout Hawaii in her memory.  The Pearl Foundation has been formed to follow through with this tribute.


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