From an email to Herman on July 24, 2007:
So nice to hear from you! Yes, I was dancing & singing flamenco
while married to my 1st husband who was a primary flamenco guitarist for
José Greco (not sure if you remember that entertainer). Later I was a
vocalist with the L A Chamber Orchestra. In between I belonged to a
“Hula Halau" (Hawaiian Dance Group) including the Tahitian,
Fijian routines as well as Samoan knife dancing (though not the fire
dance). Still have my knife too, as a matter of fact, but it has lain
dormant for some time now.
Thank you for your update & sounds like things are going well for
your folks. I LOVE Santa Barbara & the surrounding areas so I envy
you having lived there in that region.
I lived in North Hollywood for 25 years where I raised my family.
Then in 1992 & relocating I had it down to 3 choices: Santa Barbara,
Santa Fe (near where I taught summer school 1 year in Taos & enjoyed
it so much), or Honolulu. As you can see, I opted for Honolulu &
came here on my own. Subsequently, 3 of my girls have moved over to
“the islands” too & pursuing their successful careers – 1 here
& 2 on Maui. My son is in Burbank working as a film editor with the
studios & my other daughter is in Minneapolis where her husband is a
VP with a large engineering firm. She did concert tours with her flute
& now has taken up the flamenco guitar to carry on the legacy. In
the midst of all that I now have 3 grandsons & 1 granddaughter (who
is an automotive diagnostic engineer with the Mercedes Benz dealership
in Beverly Hills).
Making my attempt now for resending the photos in hopes they will get
thru this time. I travel “off-island” every week but I will find
time to dig into my memorabilia sometime soon to see if I can locate any
photos from way back when. If I do I’m not sure if it will be of
interest but then I’ll let you decide about that.
Laura, July 24, 2007
From an email she sent
to Vince Fennell on August 8, 2007:
My most recent trips have been doing a
commute to Maui 2 - 3 times a month with a 5-day stay each. So, it can be
a grueling schedule, yet, I don't mind it.
Yes, since graduating high school my life
has been full of interesting experiences & the challenges that go
along with them. Not the least of which is the raising of 5 children
pretty much on my own (my 6th child died in infancy). Parents envision
their children to realize their dreams when grown & I am so gratified
that mine are all accomplishing what they worked towards to achieve with
their lives & careers.
My professional career has also been
fulfilling working primarily in the tour & travel industry mostly with
Hawaii wholesalers, the airlines, & in hotel sales/marketing. Though
challenging, it was all enjoyable. If I had to choose which part of my
career I liked best I would have to say as the Regional Sales Manager
for 10 hotels in French Polynesia, while based in L.A. & my territory
covering 7 western states, western Canada plus Hawaii.
It was a hefty commute to visit the properties - 3 on Tahiti, 3 on
Moorea, 3 on Bora Bora, & 1 in Rangirora (6 five diamond hotels &
4 first class). The hotel corporation home office is based in Paris &
most of the people I worked with were French. Nine of the GMs were French
& 1 was Greek (the Rangirora property). Me being of Irish descent, I
decided I had better take a college course in French so I could at least
know how to pronounce the names of the people I worked with & for.
French Polynesia is very beautiful & lovely to visit but I wouldn't
care to live there. A little too laid back & rustic for me. Also, a
major problem encountered in business, particularly the hotel business, is
the unreliability of the Tahitians to show up for work. One of the main
reasons I guess why the economy there is dominated by local Chinese money.
As you probably know, reefs surround most of the islands so many of the
hotels have the unique feature of over-water bungalows. They are
absolutely delightful. Each island has its own distinctive personality
(like Hawaii) but I would have to say Bora Bora, Moorea, & Rangirora
rank higher over Tahiti. The clarity in the water there is spectacular,
especially Bora Bora. On a moonlit night in Bora Bora you can easily see
50 feet down.
One of the hotels in Bora Bora I represented features a shark feeding
breakfast excursion. The guests are taken out to the edge of the reef in
an outrigger canoe with a Tahitian guide. He jumps in the water with food
for the sharks (not including tigers or great whites) then everyone else
jumps in with their snorkel gear - no cages, etc. either. It's really
extraordinary. I must confess that on my 1st time out I was a little
nervous. I tried not to show it thinking the sharks might sense it &
come after me. But, it was fine. No one has been bitten/attacked yet in
the many years this has been done. Quite phenomenal.
Sadly my position was eliminated when the West Coast (LAX) office was
closed down, as was the Chicago office, leaving only the New York office
to remain open & I did not care to move there. (Side note: The
Asia/Pacific Div. Pres. at our West Coast office returned to Paris where
he took on the new position of Pres. with the Euro Disney project.)
Uh-oh, I'd better stop here for this is beginning to be too much like a
tour brochure. Besides, at this point can you imagine the time there would
be to cover the whole 50 years?!?! YIKES!
Laura, August 8, 2998