Post Cards From The Edge


I got a postcard from Bethie in my mailbox tonight when I got home!

I love mail.

Not bills, not advertisements, mail.  Cards, letters, postcards.

In fact, I send myself cards, letters, and postcards all the time.  I like to go somewhere and send myself a postcard from there.  I sent myself at least five from Paris.  My favorite being from the Pompidou Museum that I got in the gift shop along with a magnet for the Kandinsky show that was there.

Cheap gifts that you don’t have to find room for in you valise and a really nice surprise reminder when you get home from your trip.  I got my Paris postcards off and on for over a week, ten days after I got back from my travels.  I kept getting nice little reminders of my time and I get little shots of memory from the trip whenever I look at those postcards.

Tonight’s postcard reminded me how much I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, but have never made it there.  I recently watched the Descendents and it really struck me how much I want to go, despite the knowledge of how built up the tourism industry has made it.

My natural state is bare foot.  I am part Polynesian and I have never been.  I adore tropical fruit, mangos, pineapple, guava, papaya, kiwis.   I love raw fish.  Hell, I even like Spam.

Fried Spam sandwich on white bread with mayo, sliced tomatoes, cheese, and fried egg.  Delicious. Or my cousin’s Hawaiian potato salad.  Oh my god.  So good. Let’s talk about died and gone to Heaven.  I think that would definitely be attributed to the Polynesian in me.  Versus the Germanic side of my background–which explains my lech for sour kraut and sausage and mashed potatoes with butter and pan gravy.

I am also Puerto Rican and Scot.

I am just a regular old hodge podge of stuff.

I have never been to Germany, nor Scotland.  I actually have no real desire to go.

However, I have been to Puerto Rico and I really would love to go to Hawaii.  I want to learn more about my ancestry.  I only know odd ball nuggets of things.

My ancestor was supposedly imposed upon to work in the sugar cane fields in Hawaii and was compelled to leave Puerto Rico to do so as an indentured servant.

In lay language, he was a slave.  What I have been told other than that was said ancestor fell in love with the plantation owners daughter and they secretly wed.  He became naturalized when Hawaii became a state and they misspelled his name on the paper work–Martins in my true last name.

It supposedly was pronounced Marteens, like saltines, the person doing the paper work added an “e” and that’s how my name became Martines.  I cannot tell you how many people misspell it.

It ends up being Martinez all the time.

Hell, even teachers who taught me all through high school, not naming names, Mr. Stewart, couldn’t get it right or would mispronounce it.  I bugged me, but not as much as it bugged my sister who would insist on having the “e” taken out of her name to pay some weird tribute to our heritage.

I always wanted to smack her for that.

Drama pants.

It’s on your birth certificate and mine and dad’s, so leave it be.

I have no idea if any of that is true either, family myth or family legend.  My genealogy was not real clear to me, and considering the source is my practising alcoholic father, perhaps not really reliable.

Then, on my mom’s side, supposedly, we are related to Mary Queen of Scots.

I never argued with my mom about this, but I did always wonder, because if that was so, then we weren’t Scottish but English.  Mary Queen of Scots was not Scottish, mom, fyi.

And I know absolutely nada about the German branch, but my mom’s maiden name, Munz, well, that says German if nothing else does.

My family on my mom’s side were bootleggers, extortionists, and whalers.


I basically come from a gang of drunk whalers and slaves.

Right on.

I do know that my grandmother was in Hawaii when they bombed Pearl Harbor and that her maiden name is Ramos.  But I know less than nothing about that side of the family.  I do have a faint, oh so faint memory of my great grandma Ramos holding me, she had a beautiful smile and the prettiest, kindest brown eyes.

I could also just be thinking of the only picture I have seen of her and she is holding me.  She had long dark hair and was brown as a nut.  She was wearing a pink house coat and I was happy, happy, happy in her lap.

I am on the lighter end of the brown spectrum on my father’s side.  Although much darker than the Germanic/Scottish side of my mom’s.  My sister and I rather stuck out like sore thumbs at family reunions.

Unless my cousins Leif and Ezard were around–they are half black.

The American melting pot, I love it.

I spent my first Christmas outside of Wisconsin at my Uncle Boy’s place up in the Sierra’s when I moved here and I will never forget meeting my cousins.

It was spooky how much they looked like my sister.  In fact, I could see all the little anomalies that always had stood out to me when I was in Wisconsin, on my dad’s side, I fit right in.

I have brown hair, brown eyes, and big wide flat feet.

My father would call them Aloha feet.

I also know my name is Kalamena in Hawaiian and my sister’s is Kikeli.

I used to have a key chain with my name in Hawaiian on it that my grandmother gave me.  I wish I still had it. I know where I lost it too, I had it for the longest time, but I gave it to another woman I met at the End Up who was also named Carmen.

I’ll let you imagine that scene.

I also had a grass skirt that my grandmother sent me and place mats and dishes, with clowns and circus animals on them, from her.  I remember how much I loved it when she would give me coconut milk when I was little.  This was in San Jose.  That was where I hail from–born in Palo Alto at Stanford hospital.

San Ho.

I have only been back once.  It was at night and it was for a party at some high-rise condo.  I did not do much sight-seeing.

I would however, love to go to Hawaii.  I bet I still have family there.  I want to hang out bare foot on the lanai.  I want to wear flowers in my hair.  I don’t think I need to learn how to hula, but I wouldn’t mind going to a luau.  Pig roast is damn good.

I worry, though, I worry, I might never come back.

I would go to Kilauea and I would say hey to Pele and I would learn how to surf and I would check out the volcanoes and I would just never ever come home.

Because I would already be there.


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