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Eleanor Makida 

A Fond Memory

Eleanor was at Kona Village a very long time, and personified the spirit of the village to me.  She was an extraordinary, gentle, lovely lady, so graceful, so spiritual.  People who knew her remember her softly, with a kind of awe.  To me, she was always Eleanor.  Later she became “Auntie Eleanor,” but I could never think of her as Auntie*.  I have two strong memories of her that I’ve told elsewhere, but that bear retelling.

I was married on the beach at sunset, and Eleanor, Kahea Beckley, and Julius Vii, a visitor from Tahiti, sang.

Afterward I said, “Eleanor, you didn’t sing the obbligato to the Hawaiian Wedding Song,” and she said, “I couldn’t.  I was crying too hard.”

I had been kept away from the village for three or four years, and when I came back, the first person I sought out was Eleanor.  When she saw me, she held out her arms to give me a hug, and said, “Oh, David, I wondered when you were coming home,” and I knew I was part of the ‘ohana--the family--again

Back to the wedding: After the service, I took Eleanor and my new bride aside and asked her to say a prayer for us.  She said a blessing in Hawaiian, which was beautiful to me, even though I didn’t understand a word. 

She’s gone now, but I still feel Eleanor’s spirit in my heart.  She was my own ali'i nui--my high queen--and I miss her very much.

*Auntie is a term of respect, reserved for women of a certain age.