I have fibromyalgia and my memory is garbage. I used to know weird facts that I couldn’t forget. I could spell any word and remember lines from any movie from just watching it once.
Now, I forget how to spell the very simple word the. I can’t recall what day it is and have struggled with many more things but I just can’t remember what all that is.
Which makes writing historical romance a difficulty when I’m trying to remember a historical fact that has flown from my mind. So I’m looking up things a great deal and repeatedly.
But I have a memory from my childhood that is my first one. In case you don’t know I am an Air Force brat. When I was about three years old, the Vietnam War had ended. And the soldiers were returning stateside. If you are old enough, you may remember that some American people treated these soldiers–let’s say badly. People spat on them, called them baby killers, and sneered at these men at the very least.
Anyway, I was in Hawaii and the men were landing at Hickman Air Force base and my family–my dad, mom, brother and I–went to welcome them home. I remember sitting on my father’s shoulders with a small American flag in my hand that I waved about with glee. A helicopter landed and downtrodden, war-weary men stepped out. They hung their heads and on each of these men’s faces was a look of pure sadness, defeat, and something that I can only describe a crushed soul. They gave a half-smile and a nod of greeting as the adults said, “welcome home” and gave them supportive cuffs on the shoulder or back.
These many years later, I can never forget those men or those looks. It was seared into me. I didn’t understand the reasons for their demeanor but I knew that they were hurt–not physically but somewhere deep inside where some many who serve this nation have packed away their memories and emotions of fighting a war.
No matter that fibromyalgia is moving around the marbles in my head, I can never forget this memory. It is a part of me. And I’m thankful for it.
What is your first memory? Come on, tell me. After you do that don’t forget to check out the other blogs taking part in the #MFRW 52 week blog challenge.
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In honor of Prince William and Kate’s April wedding, I’ve dedicated this month’s Female Friday to queens.
Queen Lili’uokalani Lili’uokalani was the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai’i. She was born on September 2, 1838. She was educated at the Chiefs’ Children School and became fluent in English. In 1877, three years after Kamehameha V died without an heir, Lili was created Crown Princess and heir to the throne. Much as European thrones had intrigue surrounding the crown so did Hawaii. During her trip to Europe as delegates for Hawai’i, she attended Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee where she learned of the Bayonet Constitution, which American, European and Elite Hawaiians forced King Kalakaua to sign the transfer of power from the monarch to the businessmen. All for the control of the sugar trade.
On January 29 1891 Lili inherited the throne. She struggled to construct a new constitution that returned power to the monarch. It was never to be. The businessmen opposing such a measure organized to depose her because she didn’t support the Bayonet Constitution though these men seemed more worried that a woman ruled.
Lili was kicked off her throne on January 17, 1893. The US government and President Grover Cleveland proposed to return her throne if she granted amnesty to all parties involved. She refused, some say because she wanted to behead those guilty parties but others say, she wanted them punished. In 1894, the Republic of Hawai’i was created. The United States government recognized the country.
In 1895, Lili’uokalani was arrested after a failed Counter-Revolution when firearms were found at the base of Diamond Head. She was sentenced to five years of hard labor in prison and fined $5000. She actually served it in a bedroom of ‘Iolani Palace. During her time, she composed songs and penned her memoirs. She is the first Native Hawaiian female author. But it was music that spoke to her heart. She played guitar, piano, organ, ‘ukulele and zither. She sang Hawaiian and English songs. She helped keep the Hawaiian songs from being lost in time, banished under the washing of a culture. During this time, she abdicated her throne for release and so her jailed supporters were not executed.
She received a full pardon and had her civil rights restored. A year into the twentieth century, Republic of Hawai’i became the Territory of Hawai’i. She sued the US government seeking compensation but was unsuccessful. Though no longer queen she still helped Hawai’i. Today, the islands are a blend of cultures and peoples. And Lili’ uokalani supported Buddhist and Shinto priests. Another first for her, she attended Vesak Day, Budda’s birthday.
At 79, she died from complications of a stroke. She willed that her possessions and properties were to be sold and the funds would go to Queen Lili’uokalani Children’s Trust to help orphaned and indigent children, which is still in existence.