Thursday, March 18, 2010

Southern California Trip This Past Weekend

We left home Friday morning at 5:35 am to head to Southern California to attend my sister Eke's memorial in Simi Valley. Gerry wanted to be on the road by 6 am so we were way ahead of schedule. We stopped in Tulare at Apple Annie's for breakfast after 9 am after traveling 220 miles. We discovered that this is half-way to La Puente.

We got into LaPuente a little after 1 pm and drove by Joyce's school before going to the hotel where we were staying. Gerry thought about going in to see her then decided not to do that. We stayed at a brand new Comfort Suites hotel not too far from where Joyce and George live. We got checked in, relaxed for a little bit then drove over to Joyce and George's. George and Emma were home, Joyce and Katie got home about 5pm. Wendi is staying with them for a while and she got home about 6pm. Joyce stopped at the store and got some chicken for dinner.

Here's a picture of Katie with a dolphin painted on her cheek that someone at school did for her. Katie loves to have her picture taken.
Here's Emma hiding. She had gotten her pj's on and brought her pillow, a blankie and a stuffed animal to lay on the sofa for a little bit. As soon as I picked up my camera to take a picture, she covered herself up. :))
On Saturday morning we drove down to Garden Grove to visit the Johnsons. They were neighbors of mine and my first husband and we were very close. We lost contact with each other until I found their younger daughter, LeeEllen on Facebook. Denise was about 6 or 7 months old the last time I saw them. Last summer when we stopped at Joyce's on the way home from our trip to Alabama, I called and talked to Sharrill. It wasn't going to work out to see them on that trip. So when we decided to go to my sister's memorial, I told Gerry I wanted to see the Johnsons.
John and Sharrill took us to a really neat Japanese restaurant for lunch. It was a Shabu Shabu place where you cook your meal at your table in a hot pot. Gerry and Sharrill had the Shabu Shabu, I had sushi and John had a shrimp dish. I wished I would have thought to take pictures. I was too busy catching up. We had a really great visit and it was very difficult to leave. We had intended to leave around 3:30 or 4, we didn't actually leave until 5:30 or so.
This is their daughter Debbie who still lives at home. She is holding JD (which stands for "Just Dog"), a pomeranian and Cheyenne. Cheyenne was not too sure of us and growled when we got back from having lunch.
John, Sharrill and us.
This is a drive-thru in LaPuente. We stopped here Friday night on the way back to the hotel and then stopped again on our way to Simi Valley on Sunday. We got some donuts then went over to the kids house to have some breakfast. They had already had pancakes. We left the donuts so they could enjoy them later.
A picture of the snow on Mt. Baldy. I took this as we drove up I-605 to I-210 west.
It was a nice drive to Simi Valley which took a little over an hour to get there from LaPuente. This is a picture of me with my 2 nieces and 2 nephews, Eke's children. Left to right: Sandee (she's the youngest), Bobby, Tommy (he's the oldest) and Patty Jean. Patty Jean commented that it is usually family that calls her "Patty Jean" and she is probably in trouble for something. :)) Sandee lives in Moorpark, Bobby in Fillmore, Tommy lives in Washington, DC and Patty Jean lives in Hana on the island of Maui. Eke lived with Sandee towards the end, Sandee and Bobby helped care for her.
On this table are pictures of Eke in her younger years and an album of performances done by the Simi Valley Sweet Adelines and the Channelaire Chorus of which she was a part of for many years.
My niece, Amy. She is the second to the youngest daughter of my oldest sister, Marie. She and her husband live in Tracy which is southwest of Sacramento.
Amy feeding her face and Bobby - cousins. Bobby is wearing a kukui nut lei.
Nalani, my grand niece. She is Eke's oldest granddaughter. My niece, Sandee is her mother. She is reading her tribute to her grandmother.
Sandee, Patty Jean and Bobby.
Bob, Sandee's husband. Off to the side is Joe, Amy's husband.
A couple of Eke's friends sent letters and Sandee is reading them. Patty Jean is her moral support. These two women are such beautiful women, both inside and in appearance. Sandee reminds me a lot of my sister.
Tommy giving us a little bit of history of the family and explaining how Eke got her nickname. Regretably I did not take notes and I don't remember exactly how she got it. His sharing was beautiful. He mentioned my being there and that I was one of his mother's younger sisters.
Kohana (9), my great grand niece, wrote something about her great grandmother she wanted to read. Kohana is Nalani's daughter. Patty Jean is reading it for her. Also in the picture is Nalani, Sandee and Loralei, a former daughter-in-law.
Loralei sharing a memory with moral support from Patty Jean. Loralei was married to Billy, Eke's son who passed away some time ago. They had one son.
Patty Jean speaking about her mother with Sandee for moral support.
Here I am sharing my thoughts with Patty Jean offering her support. Patty Jean was celebrating her 60th birthday on this day. She has 3 children and 6 grandchildren. When we were all kids we spent a lot of time together. We are also very close in age. Tommy, the oldest, is 4 years younger than I.
Nalani. She is a beautiful person, both to look at and in her spirit. She is the mother of two children. Sandee is blessed to have such an awesome daughter!!
The keikis (children) getting ready to dance.
This hula troupe performed at Eke's 80th birthday party.
The ladies getting ready to dance.
I will post some videos Gerry took in a separate post.
Cousins - Amy and Sandee.
Sandee and I.
There were several of these anthrium bouquets tied up on the pillars surrounding the pavillon where we gathered. Sandee gave one of them to me as we got ready to leave. Gerry took this picture on the bed at the motel where we stopped for the night after leaving Simi Valley.
I put them in a vase when we got home and tried to arrange them as they were in the bouquet. I love anthriums!
We left Simi Valley about 3:30 pm Sunday afternoon and drove to Castaic to spend the night at a Rodeway Motel. This was a much older motel and we were thankful we were only staying there a night. We were on the road by 8:30 am Monday morning and planned to stop somewhere north of Fresno for lunch and a break.
These pictures of the wildflowers were taken somewhere between Madera and Merced. Probably due to all the rain we've had, the flowers were in full bloom.

We stopped in Merced for lunch. We saw a billboard on the highway for this BBQ place. We had eaten at one in Visalia with the Paytons, friends of ours, a couple of years ago.
This was outside of the restaurant.
There was this huge manmade tree in the bar area with a tree house. This tree house was pretty big and on the back side of the tree were steps to go up to the tree house.

A bucking bronco.

Gerry's lunch, two mini sandwiches - tri tip and pulled pork with cole slaw.
My lunch, a grilled chicken sandwich with cold slaw which was really good!!
There was a very large gathering of friends and family at the memorial for Eke. It was very obvious that she was very much loved and had touched so many lives with her love and support. There was always an open door at her home. Friends were always made to feel like they were a part of her family.
Eke will be missed by so many, yet her legacy of unconditional love will live on in those whose lives she touched.
Note to Denise:
These pictures of our family are only a very small portion of the very large family that we are a part of and it is only from your grandfather Chung-Hoon's family. I don't know if you will ever get to meet any of your extended family. Yet you and your family are loved by all of them because you are ohana (family).


  1. Beautiful memorial service! Although it was a distance away, it's great that you could just drive there. Must've been nice seeing people you hadn't seen in a awhile. Those sandwiches looked yummy.

  2. Thanks Jalna!! It was a great weekend!!