A few weeks before we launched Muumuu Mamas, Evette had the wonderful idea of putting our grandmas in mu'umu'u. Their youngest brother, our uncle Boy, happened to be visiting the Islands for the first time in his life. With him was his high school sweet heart and wife, our Auntie Lorna. This was the first time the 3 siblings would be together in nearly 10 years. Their reunion became a mu'umu'u moment at Kailua beach park, where we shared some laughs and learned a little more about our family history.
My grandmother, affectionately known as Baby, is the youngest girl of her siblings. When her mu'umu'u and lipstick are on she twirls and joyfully declares, "I feel like a teenager." Always the life of the party, she struts in the mu'umu'u with the confidence and sass of a high school cheer captain. She recalls the first mu'umu'u she ever wore shortly after arriving to Hawaii as a new US citizen. It was pink and white, and she had bought it from Liberty House for an employee Christmas party.
Baby, her husband, and two daughters became US citizens in 1979. After a long wait, her mother and sister Luz were also able to gain citizenship. Their mother immediately began the process of petitioning Boy to become a citizen as well. It wasn't until a few months after her death in 1995 that Boy's application was approved, and all he needed was his sponsor's signature. Since his mother had passed, he was never able to gain US citizenship.
Boy's children grew up in the Philippines, and became working professionals there as well as in the U.S.. Boy and Lorna received visitor visas in 2018 and have been visiting their daughter in Chicago. This is their first time to Hawaii, the place where Boy's sisters and mother have made home, planting their roots and raising children, grand children, and great grand children.