Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bernice Kealoha Hulihe'e Chung-Hoon

My mother, Bernice Kealoha Hulihe'e Chung-Hoon, was born on August 8, 1914 in Eleele, Kauai. She was the eldest of six children. Her siblings all preceeded her in death. One brother, Edwin is the last surviving brother. She was the mother of six children, Edwin Ernest, Puanani Rowena, Violet-Elizabeth, Ernestine Kealoha, Agnes Naomi Piilani and Samuel. She was also step-mother to six children, Ernest, Marie, Viola, Harriet, Ethelwynne and Edmund-Paul. She enjoyed 15 grandchildren, step-grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.

Besides raising her children, she worked as a seamstress. She and a cousin (Auntie Lou) had a dressmaking shop in Waikiki for several years; she and her sister, Elizabeth (Eli) had a shop in the International Market Place in Waikiki making caftans out of beautiful fabrics. She also had many customers who would visit Hawaii in the winter time and would contact her to make items of clothing for them. She made a lot of our clothing as we grew up. I have fond memories of the many outfits she made for me, including my wedding dress when I married the first time and a beautiful ensemble she made that I wore on the plane coming to California in 1962. It was a beautiful powder blue light wool dress, completely lined with a matching coat that was also completely lined. I still have my wedding dress, for no other reason than the fact my mother made it for me. When I decided to start sewing, I would call her with numerous questions, including how to sew a zipper on a velvet skirt I was making. She told me to use tissue paper and it worked.

This picture of she and I was taken at a hotel in Waikiki in August 1994. I had gone home to surprise her and join in the celebration of her 80th birthday. She was an active member of the local Christian Women's Fellowship and this was at their monthly luncheon. Someone had given her the double ginger lei and she gave it to me to wear. The fragrance of the lei was so beautiful! As you can see, my mother was short at 4' 8". I, at 4' 11" towered over her. :) My mother made all her dresses and dressed very well. Over the years, people who knew my mother have said to me that I look like her. I probably do look like her in some ways. I definitely have many of her personality traits...some good...some not so good. :)

My mother loved the Lord. Her Bible was her constant companion. I have her first Bible and it is a treasure trove of her thoughts as she read the scriptures. Our first Nazarene pastor told me she was like a sponge just wanting to soak it all in. She was a Sunday School teacher and Missionary President for many years in her local Nazarene church. Nazarenes on the Hawaii District knew who "Mrs. Chung-Hoon" was...she made many friends.

She died on April 20, 2002 at 87 years of age and today would have celebrated her 96th birthday. I think of her often. Happy Birthday, Momma!!
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  1. It sure is a beautiful tribute to your mother! Curious question...your uncle Edwin, he is the one that owns Royal Contracting in here Honolulu?

  2. Yes, he does. Do you know him? or my cousin David? I think David runs the company now. Uncle Sonny would be in his 90's also. Small world! :)

    I didn't recognize you...then I remembered you were jalna's friend. :) Thanks for your comment.

  3. I don't know him personally, but I know Royal C.C. is a popular name in the construction industry. Hearing the last name Hulihe'e... there's not that much people with that last name here in Hawaii. It sure is a small world = )

  4. That is true. And everyone with that last name are related, besides my uncle, there would be his 2 sons and any grandsons he'd have. Also cousin Ira who is my mother's youngest brother's son and any sons Ira would have. I haven't been in touch with any of them in a lot of years. I looked at my uncle's website last night. Don't know when the picture of him on the site was taken, it sure was a great one. It sure is a small world. :)