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Edith Hoapili Hanohano: A Testimony of Faith, Devotion and Love

The Rev. Canon Franklin S.H. Chun


Edith Hanohano reminds me of that person in the children’s picture-book, who is always present in each scene, on each page, but at first glance, you’d never see him (or Edith), because there are just so many others who are there too in the same picture. The book is titled . . . "Where’s Waldo ?” named after the character in the book. Sooo, where’s Aunty Edith? Answer: She is always there! Whenever I would greet her, I’d willingly give her a peck on the cheek along with a hug (pre- COVID days). But before I could walk away, she’d hang-on to me and gently say, “No fo’get, da odda side too, yah!” At church, on the 1st Sundays of the month, with members Micki Hall, Jeanne Ogimoto, and Philomena Preece taking turns, Aunty Edith would lovingly bake the altar bread for our Communion. After Sunday services, at the Healing Station, she’d faithfully stand behind others who were kneeling at the prayer desk, for the anointing. When it was her turn, she’d wipe the sweat off her forehead, and leaned forward for me to mark the Unction Oil, in the sign of the cross, on her forehead — A minus sign first, and then the stroke downward for a positive sign of the cross, symbolizing that she too would physically try to make something positive out of a negative. 4-times a year (On the Sunday closest to Epiphany Day; On Pentecost Sunday, which is the birthday of the Christian Church; On the Sunday closest to July 4th; And on the Sunday closest to Veterans’ Day), we pot-lucked a meal, after the one-service on those mornings. We ate our meal on tables & chairs on the lawn, letting the community know that we were a church that was alive, was having fun, and loved to eat. Where was Aunty Edith? She was always there, as we gathered under the umbrella of the Hanohano Family tent, secured by Bruce; A tent which stretched across the entire front lawn for those occasions. And where was Aunty, at the annual, Summer, weekend Family Camp & Picnic? She was there, in her sassy papali, with flowers woven around it. For one of the games, I remember her pouring a container of water, over Senior Warden, Kevin Simon, who was sitting unexpectedly, on the ground! Where was Aunty Edith on the 1st Sunday in Lent? Getting her fill of malasadas, which were being freshly made for church goers, by Kalei & Shannon Kaohi. And where was Aunty on Trinity Sunday, as we observed the 3-parts of God (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit). She was getting her fill of Neapolitan ice-cream cones served after church — Da-kine that comes in 3-flavors (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry)! The evening of the Kaimuki Christmas parade, Aunty Edith was never in procession walking the street with church members. Instead, she preferred standing on Waialae Avenue, closest to the family house on 7th Avenue, to wave, and hoot-&-holler as the church’s trolley passed her by. At a mini Health Faire, which Victoria Ogasawara had arranged, upstairs of the Parish Hall, Edith exercised, with the church members, stretching her legs, as she sat in a chair, using a long, colorful, rubberband-like, latex strip. One July 4th, Good Samaritan Church on upper 10th Avenue, invited us to go on excursion with them, to St. Stephen’s Church in Wahiawa. The excursion ended up being a Circle Island tour on Nappy Pulawa’s tour bus. When we took a photo, standing outside the bus, Aunty ended up looming taller than everyone else in the photo. She did this too, when we took our annual Easter photo of the entire congregation at the church’s front steps — With her height, she towered over the shorter Asian wahines. My most favorite memory of Aunty Edith is her many I-O-U’s whenever she came forward for the Sunday’s thank offering. “I no-mo dolla,” she’d whisper to me, to put into the offering- container, “but I get plenny thanks!” And she did! She would then prattle on-&-on, almost like giving another sermon! (I think, on occasion, Bruce, you would pony up for her; Pi’i too)! Sooo, Where’s Waldo. “Where is Aunty Edith Hoapili Hanohano?” She was always there! But today, she’s in God’s heaven, with all the saints who have gone before her. I like to think that on Mother’s Day, the moment Edith closed her eyes in death on earth, then at the same instant, her eyes opened in heaven where she’s with her Tutu-Man, Edward Bruce Hanohano.

Rest in peace, Aunty Edith; Rest in God’s Paradise; And rest in God’s Aloha!

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