A year and a half ago, after watching an online video of my late father, I used this space to express my gratitude for YouTube and old friends. The seven-minute "tribute to Dr. Nelson Yogi and weightlifting Maui style" was uploaded by one friend in 2006, but until another friend told me about it, I didn't know it existed. Seeing my dad coaching and lifting and laughing again, a dozen years after his death, I was overwhelmed with joy and longing all at once.
Now it's time for me to thank Facebook. The world's largest social network turns 10 years old next month, and though I've been on it for about half that time, I've hardly ever been ON it. I'm an old-fashioned girl at heart, preferring face-to-face friendship over the virtual version. Lately, however, I have come to appreciate the power of Facebook.
Through Facebook, I've been reunited with my first program director and my first news director, the men who mentored me through my start in radio. It has been nearly 40 years since we worked together, and the recent reconnection has unleashed a flood of sweet memories.
I was 17 when Thom McGarvey hired me as a part-time DJ at KMVI. An active community volunteer, Thom already knew me from working with Sue Ann Loudon's Baldwin High drama club on our annual musicals. He held a degree in music from USC and devoted much of his spare time to serve as musical director or an adviser for our productions. I think he also directed the Sing Out Maui youth chorus, the local version of Up With People. (Remember them? Up, up with people; you meet them wherever you go. . . . If more people loved more people, all people everywhere, there'd be a lot less people to worry about, and a lot more people who cared. . . . ) Sorry, I'm getting carried away down the musical memory lane.
Before long, Thom added the afternoon news shift to my duties at KMVI, and News Director Mike Hurley took me under his wing. Originally hired as a rock 'n' roll DJ, the long-haired, motorcycle-riding Hurley was surprisingly strict in the newsroom. He instilled the basics of broadcast news in me, and because of his insistence on professionalism and high standards, I was able to enjoy a career in radio and TV news for a number of years.
Thom and Mike seemed to be opposite sides of the same coin, and I developed schoolgirl crushes on both of them. Each was movie-star handsome; Thom reminded me of Robert Mitchum, while Mike was more the Peter Fonda type. McGarvey looked like he was born to sit at a grand piano; Hurley, on a Harley. With my dear friend LD Reynolds as music director, the men of KMVI management were a dream(boat) team.
Always immaculately groomed, Thom appeared straightlaced to the casual observer, but those of us who worked with him knew him to be both passionate and compassionate. And the twinkle in his eye gave away a playful soul and a wicked sense of humor.
Despite my attraction to my bosses, I fell in love with the afternoon DJ, Jim Collins. During the early days of our courtship, he'd put on a long record and we'd sneak into the bomb shelter behind the broadcast studio for a little "alone time." One day, while we were back there, the Moody Blues song that was playing began to slow down, then speed up, and then slow down again. Thinking the turntable was malfunctioning, Jim made a panicked run for the door, only to find it locked. Thom had bolted us into the bomb shelter and was messing with the music to get our attention. I can still see the devilish smirk on his face as he released us from our little prison without a word of admonishment.
A year or so after that incident, Thom left KMVI to work for Hawaiian Air and, through that position, eventually became the man behind the Miss Hawaii pageant and the crowning of two of those ladies as Miss Americas (Carolyn Sapp and Angela Baraquio). But that's a whole 'nother column.
Mike Hurley dropped the use of his middle name along with his broadcast career and became Drew Hurley, attorney at law, as well as an accomplished skydiver and stunt pilot. Jim became my husband and then, my ex-husband. LD is the only one of the old gang that I still see, as he's the only one who remained on Maui.
But thanks to Facebook and email, I'm now back in touch with all four, and I can finally tell each one how much I love and appreciate him, even after all these years. Especially after all these years.
* Kathy Collins is a performance artist, broadcaster and freelance writer whose "Sharing Mana'o" column appears every Wednesday. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.