Homemade happiness on display at Regency Puakea

PUHI — Delores Dugan said it is amazing to learn of the diverse history and achievements of the residents at the Regency at Puakea, a retirement and assisted living facility.

Dugan was one of the exhibitors at the second Regency at Puakea Kupuna Art Showcase Wednesday celebrating National Assisted Living Week. The public was invited to view the artistic achievements of the residents during the day-long event.

“Homemade Happiness” is the theme of the 2013 observance.

“Art certainly represents happiness for many people,” said Sharon Lasker, marketing director at Regency. “Our biggest highlight is the art showcase by our kupuna.”

Dugan said she does quilting, but as a group effort at the Lihue Lutheran Church.

“We ship out about six quilts a month,” Dugan said. “Most of them go to a Midwest organization which cares for children who have been removed from their families. When they leave, they have nothing, and one of the first things they take when they arrive is a quilt or blanket and wrap themselves with it.”

Adjacent to Dugan’s table of quilts and quilting material, a pair of paintings attracted a steady stream of spectators.

Lasker said the paintings were done by Flora Fujii, a resident who is in the hospital recovering from a fall, but allowed her pieces to be displayed.

“The residents do this on their own,” said Kay Cummings, Regency’s activities director, or ‘Director of Fun.’ “We currently have a watercolor class, but for the most part, the residents create on their own.”

Betty Carroll, moving to Kauai from Connecticut, is one of the students in the class.

“I use the class to learn more about watercolor,” Carroll said. “I learned Oriental watercolor while working with several artists and during my exhibitions.”

Terry Ellington, who was being visited by her daughter Val Harjo to admire the artwork, is another student in the class.

“I like colors,” Ellington said. “I worked with oil, but now, am working with watercolor and acrylics because it dries much quicker. I love landscapes and now that I’m in Hawaii, I expect I’ll be doing a lot more landscapes.”

The art that lined the Regency’s activity room served as a key to unlock the tales of residents, each one’s memory being joggled by seeing a familiar piece.

“It took me two-and-a-half weeks to make,” said Grace Yamamoto who was admiring watercolor by Mary Alice Heddleston. “My husband and I were living with the United Nations in 1977. He was an accountant, and I remember doing this wall hanging.”

Heddleston, who also takes the watercolor class, said her husband, Lt. Col. Roy R. Heddleston, is a veteran who is buried in Hero’s Hill in Arlington, Va.

“His unit was attached to Patton’s army,” Heddleston said. “One night before a critical operation, he went to the chaplain and prayed for a sleet storm. The storm took place, a first for where they were fighting, and helped turn the tide in Patton’s favor.”

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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