Today's "Sharing Mana'o" is devoted to postscripts, sort of a follow-up report on several recent columns.
After reading my musings on the passing of Davy Jones, my mother asked if I remembered writing to my childhood crush and suggesting he visit Maui. I did, I told her; I just chose not to include it in the column. After all, I never got a reply, not even a form letter or publicity photo. Then Mom confessed, "I never mailed the letter. I mean, you invited him to stay at our house! And we were living in that little shack at the time . . . "
I could tell she was worried that I'd be upset, but the news actually gave me a giddy sense of relief. So THAT'S why I never heard back from my dreamboat! Now my star-struck inner child can hold onto the absolute belief that, if that letter had reached its intended destination, I could have . . . no, would have . . . been the teen bride and true love of Davy Jones.
Hopefully, the last letter I mailed has arrived at its destination. I sent Flat Lotus home to Michigan a week ago, wearing a miniature grass skirt and a silk flower lei. Flat Lotus, for those who missed that column, is a 9-inch-tall self-portrait of my granddaughter, sent to me as part of her 2nd-grade class project. My assignment was to treat the paper doll as a first-time visitor and send it back with pictures and souvenirs.
For two months, Flat Lotus was my constant companion. Folded in half, she fit perfectly in my PlayBook; camera, model and portfolio, all in one neat little package. We traveled the island together, and I took dozens of photos - 79, to be exact. I used less than half of them to assemble a 10-page album, "Flat Lotus Visits Maui, December 2011 - February 2012." Actually, it turned out more like a storybook with illustrations, as I took to heart Real Lotus' request for fun facts. Flat Lotus' Maui adventure included lessons in local history and geography, as well as how to make the shaka sign.
I made the hula skirt for her with scraps of raffia, the lei was a ponytail scrunchie. I dressed Flat Lotus in her native garb, carefully wrapped her in Island Heritage tissue paper with plumeria imprints, and packed her in a flat-rate Priority Mail box along with her scrapbook, some postcards and colorful pencils, the latest issue of Maui No Ka Oi magazine, and a couple of boxes of Diamond Bakery Hawaiian Animal Crackers.
I miss her daily. Every time I open my PlayBook, I expect her to tumble out, ready for another photo op. Flat Lotus required me to see our island as a child would and reminded me how much of it I take for granted. I don't mean just the physical beauty and natural wonders, but the uniqueness of our lifestyle. As I composed Flat Lotus' picture book, captioning various photos in 2nd-grade terms, I realized that Michigan and Maui really are worlds apart. It's one thing to grow up on a tropical island, another to be raised in a wildly multiethnic community, yet another to live in the only state that was once a true sovereign nation. We Mauians are blessed with all three. I found it challenging, writing simple explanations for our multicultural customs, what the aloha spirit is, why we call strangers Auntie and Uncle, the meaning of the shaka sign. And my spellcheck kept trying to change "shaka" to "shake."
The third postscript involves my cockroach phobia. As you know, if you read that particular column, I was reluctant to write about it for fear it would manifest an invasion or, at least, an appearance. Well, the other shoe finally dropped, the rubbah slippah slapped.
A week had passed since that column was published, and I'd begun to relax. I'd received quite a few horror stories and expressions of empathy from readers, kindred spirits. But thankfully, no six-legged visitors. And then, as I was getting dressed for work one evening, there he was, slowly, jerkily crawling across the carpet toward me. I think he came in through the bathroom window. He wasn't the biggest bambucha I've ever seen, but he was a good two inches at least. I'd been expecting him, so I had the presence of mind to calmly go to the cabinet under the sink, get out the giant can of insecticide (remember when they had cute, less violent names like Hadabug and No Bugs M'Lady?) and swiftly dispatch the buggah. My green, eco-conscious friends needn't fret; I didn't spray toxic chemicals in my tiny bathroom. I whacked the sucker with the can. Got him with one blow. I think I'm finally cured.
* Kathy Collins is a performance artist, broadcaster and freelance writer whose "Sharing Mana'o" column appears every Wednesday. Her email address is email@example.com.