When we were young

English: Korean bottle, 15th century, punch'on...

Korean bottle, 15th century, punch’ong glazed stoneware with white slip, Honolulu Academy of Arts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daughter Connie called yesterday, very excited. After a attending Mass for the first time in over 35 years, she had looked for and found her Communion dress.

I was so small, she said. Smaller than any of my girls.

Yes you were a little girl, I replied.

I made that dress, is it still white? I wondered.  

Oh yes, very white.

That’s a wonder as so many white clothes turn yellow with age. (The dress is at least 45 years old). Do you still have the other clothes I gave you, your muu-muu for instance? 

Oh yes, and the sash with all my badges from Girl Scouts too. Joy has your muu-muu with her at Tech.

The red one? I queried. I made that too.

Yes. We have all worn it at different times on Hawaii Day.


A few years ago, I gave Hannah the silk Vietnamese Ao dai and pantaloons I made when I was in my 30s and young and slender.

Vietnamese Long Dress

Vietnamese Long Dress (Photo credit: hqhuyanh)

After I lived in Hawaii, or maybe before when I was a starstruck teen, I fell in love with Asian art, including clothing. As a result, over the years I attended every traveling and stationary art exhibit I could find, including museums and galleries in San Francisco and Honolulu. I also took art history classes focused on Asian art. I am particularly taken with ceramics, especially the greenware from Korea, and Japanese prints. Asian art directly influenced the art of Europe in the nineteenth century. The Art Institute in Chicago houses an enormous collection of Impressionist art from this period.

In the early 1990s, I attended the Van Gogh retrospective in Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum exhibited the complete set of Hiroshige’s  The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō, an amazing set of prints once owned by the Van Gogh brothers, Paul and Vincent.

Shirasuka on the Tokaido, ukiyo-e prints by Hi...

Shirasuka on the Tokaido, ukiyo-e prints by Hiroshige (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I am mad about these works of art, and have made many pilgrimages here in the States and in Europe, to see them exhibited. Sadly, although husbands, and cousins have made trips and lived in Viet Nam, Korea, Japan and China, I have never been west of Hawaii, and am not likely to get there anytime soon.  Don’t put off until you are older the things you can do today.     

13 thoughts on “When we were young

  1. Really sorry I haven’t commented or answered to any comments lately. For a few days Wp wouldn’t open in my laptop. I don’t know why. But now it is back and running.

    Its nice to know how to sew clothes :).


  2. Look at all your readers enthusiasm. Me too, I have a second edition of two of those Hiroshige’s plus a few Utamaro’s. Lovely stuff.

    I’m surfacing at last. Yes, I am not giving the Japanese prints away, but I’m going to ruthlessly cull books.


  3. Oh yes! Art loves Hiroshige and loved that exhibit in Amsterdam. It was an unexpected place to find them. The Chicago Art Institute has an incredible collection of Asian art and especially the impressionists. Sigh… We’ll have to go there when we’re back in Illinois.
    Gracious! You can sew all that? I am very impressed. Is there nothing you can’t do?


  4. One thing for sure about van Gogh, is he is definately, The Expressive Vincent van Gogh ! Glad you got to see his works when your were young and I hope you can go back some day to see more.


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