Why is such a famous writer who started the genre war correspondence on MY website?
Well, it all started with a dog named Kiko. After I moved to Hawai’i, I was missing having a dog. My dog when I was a teenager was a fluffy Samoyed named Kathy and she died a few years previously. I was alone in a new home, in a new land and needed daily pure energy kind of love. So I got a puppy.
This puppy was the smartest most stubborn dog I ever had — and I was more stubborn. I trained and trained and trained Kiko who eventually (not ever soon enough) to be a good dog.
In Hawai’i, housing is always an issue. I moved three times and had roommates. This one roommate went crazy on me, the kind that was to the point of violence and I had to leave from one day to the other. I searched for over a month and found not one place I could afford that would accept me AND Kiko. So I had to do the unimaginable and give my baby away.
Some of you might think it’s just a dog… this was my one constant source of love in all of Hawai’i. My fur baby. My life was in turmoil. I was couch surfing and working full time while looking for better paying, more stable work. And now was forced to give my Kiko away. So I put an ad in the Honolulu Weekly (a weekly magazine geared for more savvy people).
Long saga short, Moana called me to check about the dog. I went to interview them without the dog. I needed to see they would take care of him the wy I would. They asked all the right questions and I knew they would take great care of him (others said they would chain him to a tree or a fence while they were at work or turn him into a pig hunter). She and her husband Tom adopted him and I thought I would never see Kiko again. It was so entirely sad and I knew he was good so I was resolved in my heart.
To my surprise Moana called me to see if I could show them how to wash Kiko. Then another time, how to cut his nails. When they went out of town, they asked me to stay in their gorgeous home to dog sit. I thought, “they don’t know me! I could be a robber.” (I’m really not). Of course, I left the house as spotless as when I arrived. Over time, we met at parks, festivals, and shared holidays. When Tom was diagnosed with cancer, we became family. By this time, I had my own office organization business. So I scaled my business back and moved in with them to drive Tom to the doctor and hospital as well as Moana for all her errands (she was medically unable to drive).
Tom unfortunately lost his fight in six short months. I was with them both in ICU at the end. Then I helped Moana with the myriad of sorting out the estate.
When things were calmer, I discussed moving out and she adamantly said, “NO!”. We worked out details and we lived together many years until she passed away peacefully at the beautiful full age of 94.
In Hawai’i there is a concept called hanai. It’s an informal adoption and it’s special because we choose to give our heart and family to that person. We were already hanai when Tom was sick. We became so much closer with just the two of us.
So what has all this to do with Richard Tregaskis??? Moana was Richard’s wife (until he passed away in 1973). During the pandemic, we reprinted five of his classics as part of the Richard Tregaskis Classics Collection under the imprint, JMFdeA Press. Amazingly, it was the day after after we received the print proofs that she let go, and transitioned three days after Christmas.
Although I never met RT, I love him because he was so special to Moana and she is so special to me. Keeping his legacy alive was Moana’s last wish and I take that responsibility seriously.
I am now assembling unseen photos, letters, and essays to be included in a reprint of his most famous book, Guadalcanal Diary. COMING SOON…
Oh and Kiko? He lived to be the ripe age of 16. We had already gotten him a playmate, Ulala, a Boston Terror (you read that right). Then later on, we got Ulala 2 playmates, Muhmuh and Shazam (long story why 3!). When Ulala transitioned with a brain tumor it was a sad time for us. The other two stepped in and provided extra pure loving energy. When Moana transitioned, it was so so sad for all of us. Now we are a tight trio. MuhMuh and Shazam continue to give me all their pure loving every single day.