Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ku’uipo

Journey, Art Quilt, (7" x 7")
Fannie Narte

Today is an extra special day--its Mother's Day, and its Ku'uipo's birthday!

"Journey" was made especially for Ku'uipo. Its design symbolizes her many paths, choices, uncertainties, joys, triumphs, and challenges. It also represents her upward and forward movement regardless of the road blocks she's faced. Ku'uipo is passionate, serious and curious about life, which you'll notice immediately when talking with her. Her name "Ku'uipo" means "Sweetheart" or "Beloved One" in Hawaiian. It's an appropriate name for her because she puts her heart in everything she does.


Our family has our own language, which we've created over the years. Certain words are made up to suit our purposes, and other words have different meanings than the definition listed in the dictionary. One of the words Tremayne and I created is "Linner." Our definition is "the meal that comes after lunch and before dinner. Makes sense right? "L" for lunch; "-inner" from D-"inner."

Poor Ku'uipo. Once while chatting with her high school friends (a crucial period in one's life), she mentioned having "Linner." Her friends did not realize she was serious as she tried to explain--in vain and with passion--the definition of the "real" word "Linner."

Ku'uipo recounted her "amazing, amusing and astonished" experience with us, and we (Tremayne and I) had to gently let her know that "Linner" was a part of "our family's language." Humiliation, rejection, dejection . . . sorry, Ku'uipo! We laugh about it today, but it was not funny for her at that time.

Today, whenever we have a family celebration anywhere between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm, it's "Linner" in honor of Ku'uipo. ;-D


Harmony exists not only in music, but in families.

While performing our pre-show in the lobby at Music Hall at Fair Park for the Dallas Summer Musical's production of "South Pacific" several years ago, we lost electrical power to our sound system, which threw us into "panic mode." We were about a half an hour into our one-hour show. The personnel at the Music Hall tried to help us, but they were unable to locate the problem.

Tremayne and I quickly ended our song and exchanged our ukuleles for our tahitian instruments--almost instinctively. Tremayne started his drumming on the "pahu," a large drum, and I started drumming the tahitian rhythms on the "toere," another type of drum. These instruments do quite well without a sound system. Ku'ulei took center stage and danced "freestyle," and Ku'uipo left the stage.


Within a few minutes, our mikes were amplifying the sound of our drumming. Our power was back on. A few seconds later, Ku'uipo danced on stage and took her place beside Ku'ulei. On my signal ("the eyes"), we began the "Bora Bora" segment, which is a fast tahitian number performed by Ku'ulei and Ku'uipo, dancing; and Tremayne and me, drumming. The remainder of our show went as planned--gratefully.


Ku'uipo explained that she found the problem by following the cables from our sound system to the electrical outlet. She followed the cable through strategically-placed silk plants, up a stairwell, along a walkway and finally found the unplugged cord near a wall on the balcony on the second floor directly above us. The cord was unplugged somehow--deliberately or accidentally. We like to think it was the latter.


I have many fond memories of our family's harmony and unity--in music and in life. Our harmony is often compared to the sounds of the singers at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu. Some have renamed us "The Narte Family Singers" in comparison to "The von Trapp Family Singers" in "The Sound of Music." These comparisons are received in humility and gratitude. Although we have created a treasure trove of memories through our performing as a family, I believe we've created work of greater importance--that of family unity.

Happy Birthday, Ku'uipo!

Sorry, Ku'uipo, for not telling you the truth about "Linner." We celebrate your life on your birthday, and I'm honored you call me "mom."

Happy Mother's Day, Ku'ulei!

Ku'ulei, you are a nurturing, generous and loving mom. I'm afraid I'm a better grandmother than I was a mother. Thanks for loving me anyway.

And thank you, my family, near and far, for years of harmony and unity.

If you want to truly know a person, look inside the heart, and sometimes in their art. Happy Mother's Day!


Lisa M Griffin said...

Breathtaking! What a lovely gift you have made.
I am so glad that your ATC arrived safely, and even more pleased that you love it so.

Cindy said...

Happy Mother's Day, Fannie! What a lovely tribute to your daughters.

morningDove said...

oh what beautiful memories of a wonderful family. I love reading them. And think of my wonderful family memories that we have made together. Then I reach further and celebrate the family I have come to know on the net. Happy Mother's Day my dear friend.

Stephanie Pettengell said...

Happy Mothers Day to you Fannie, thanks for calling in on my blog to leave your good wishes. In England we have mothers day in March but I know most of the rest of the world celebrate it today. Hope you have a very good day.

Beth said...

Sounds like you have a lovely family! Happy Mother's Day to you too, Fannie!

Diana Evans said...

Hi Fannie...thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers for my is so fragile ....

your work is such a wonderful gift and these few moments I have to look at some of your work have helped me gather myslef so I can be there for my family...

Hope you are having a wonderful Mother's Day....


Melissa & Emmitt said...

happy mother's day fannie!
your artwork and post are beautiful!

Hanna said...

Dear Faniie, it was so nice to read your story, I'm hoping you ha a nice mother's day and Ku'ulei a happy birthday,
have many greetings from Austria

Jacq said...

What a wonderful piece and tribute to your daughter.

Noel said...

Ahahaha...I knew exactly what you ment my "Linner" before I read on!
What great memories Fannie and I love your family stories....sounds like you had a wonderful Mother's Day yourself!
Family time is happy time!

Forever Young said...

what a truly emotional post this is. i love the word 'linner' will use it as i use 'brunch'....happy m day to you too fannie.

freebird said...

What a great family story. I enjoyed it very much but do tell your daughter that we have used linner a few times ourselves. In our house the kids were old enough to know we were making it up as they were saying if we combine breakfast and lunch into brunch, why not lunch and dinner into linner!

I am a better grandmother than mother too.

freebird said...

Ooops! I forgot to tell you I love your heart quilt! I love the brightness, the black squiggles and the heart.

Fannie said...

I love my ATC, Lisa! I hope you like yours too. Thanks for the trade.

Cindy, I hope you had a nice Mother's Day too. Miss you.

I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day too, Dear Dove.

Hi, Stephanie! Mother's Day in March--thanks for letting me know. I always enjoy learning about different countries and cultures.

Nice to see you, Beth. I hope you had a nice Mother's Day.

Diana, how's your cute little family? Glad to see you. Take care of yourself. You are in my thoughts.

Thanks Melissa and Jacq. Hope you both enjoyed being with family.

Hanna, so good to see you! Miss you. Thanks for my thimble. I love it. It will always remind me of our friendship. Thanks!

Noel--you know about "Linner"! Ha, ha!

FY--good to see you. If you spread the use of "Linner," it might make it into "Websters." Maybe we should start a campaign. ;-D Kidding . . .

Thanks, Freebird. I'll make sure my daughter reads your comments. It will "validate" her. Ha, ha. Thanks for sharing your comments.