My maternal grandmother’s parents emigrated from Japan to the Big Island of Hawai’i in the mid-1800s. My grandmother was one of the three children born in the small village of Kukuihaile overlooking the shining ocean near sugar cane fields. Grandma had a traditional arranged marriage to the son of a family still living in Japan. They began their family in Hawai’i where she gave birth to ten children, seven boys and three girls. Her family eventually moved to a small pineapple plantation on the island of Lana’i where my mother and her siblings grew up and where I was born.
My grandmother was the loving center of our extended family’s universe. She was a wonderful cook and seamstress, and a wise mother and grandmother. She made all of the clothes for her family as well as many colorful quilts, pieced together from fabric scraps and well-worn dresses, for her children and, later, her many grandchildren. She would be delighted and surprised to know that this well-loved and well-worn quilt has migrated to “the Mainland” with her granddaughter and has added a bit of her family’s spirit for future generations to enjoy.