Conversations with Auntie Carol:
Seven Oral History Interviews with
Caroline Kuliaikanu’ukapu Wilcox DeLima Farias
Researched, Conducted, Compiled & Narrated
by Jeanne Burrows-Johnson
[A sample of our conversation on Maui is below]
It seems as though I have been absent more than present on the Internet during the last two years…what have I been doing?
~ Yen for Murder (the fourth award-winning Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mystery) was edited and awaits publishing…
~ I redesigned my websites, JeanneBurrows-Johnson.com (with Island recipes and tales of historic Tucson), and ImaginingsWordpower.com (addressing branding and professional development).
~ A professional page was added to Facebook.
~ I continued research for Conversations with Auntie Carol and expanded the introduction, discoursive endnotes, references, and annotated glossary.
The interviews are observations on childhood, family, and events reflecting the inner spirit of Auntie Carol [1923 to 2001]. She was a descendant of ali‘i, Hawaiian nobility. As readers and listeners will observe, Carol was close to her family and proud of the prominent roles they played in the history of Hawai’i. She was the grandniece of Col. Robert W. K. Wilcox, a major politician and a revolutionary who strove to restore Queen Lili‘uokalani to the throne of a sovereign Kingdom of Hawai’i. Carol was also the second cousin of Johanna N. Wilcox, the first woman registered to vote in the U.S. Territory of Hawai’i. Auntie Carol’s personal story includes performing hula awana at the Moana Hotel on the beach at Waikīkī on December 6, 1941, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and other parts of O’ahu that brought the United States into World War II.
Carol was one of the first people to welcome me to Honolulu in 1973, when I performed at a Daughters of the British Empire tea to celebrate the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns. She asked me to teach her daughter Lorna Scottish Highland Dancing. In 1975, Carol’s family helped plan my wedding and I was honored when she performed hula awana at the reception. Lorna soon danced at the Waimea Hawaiian Highland Games and the Hilo International Festival.
In 1981, I returned to college. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, I continued studies in Asian and American history and worked as a graduate teaching assistant in the World Civilizations program of the University of Hawai’i. As I learned more about Hawaiian history, I gained a deeper appreciation of the many aspects of Carol’s life. We remained in touch when I accompanied my husband to Newport, Rhode Island, where he taught classes at the U.S. Naval Education and Training Center and I began my career as a free-lance writer and marketing consultant.
When I returned to Hawai’i, Carol shared the many changes that had occurred in her life. Three of the sisters of Johanna Wilcox had moved into Carol’s home in Kāne’ohe. This was a time of mixed joys and sorrows for the family. For although her aunties rejoiced in being united in Carol’s home, by 1990 the last of them had passed, as well as Carol’s beloved husband Freddy. After attending her birthday celebration in 1992, we discussed her desire to have me help organize the heirlooms and books she had inherited from her elder relatives. I soon realized our work could serve as the foundation for a book highlighting several generations of the Maui Wilcox women. Carol concurred.
Most of the topics we explored in the recorded interviews addressed her early life in ‘Ulupalakua, Maui, and her second cousins known as the Wilcox Sisters. Our most poignant conversation was on the grounds of land her family had owned in Kalepolepo, Maui, where listeners delight in the sounds of the ocean, wind rustling through kiawe trees and bird song. The following is a sample from the interviews on this trip. I hope you’ll enjoy it and understand why I feel it is important to share Carol’s stories with readers and listeners of today and the tomorrows that will follow. Perhaps you will also catch a glimpse of the rainbows that brightened many of her days!
Wishing you the best in your creative endeavors,
Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, author, consultant, motivational speaker
To learn more about the award-winning Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mysteries, including Murders of Conveyance [Winner, Fiction Adventure-Drama, 2019 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards] and other projects, please drop in at my author’s website JeanneBurrows-Johnson.com. You’ll even find Island Recipes that might inspire your culinary creativity. For more ideas to strengthen your Wordpower© and branding, please visit: Imaginings Wordpower and Design Consultation.