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Louise George lived courageously amid tough times in U.S. history

June 17, 2010
BY ZOE FORTEY

(On Intergenerational Day on March 12 at Lahaina Intermediate School, Lahaina Complex After School Tutors from Lahainaluna High School interviewed West Maui kupuna to write their biographies. This is the sixth profile in the series.)


In 1924, many historical events took place in the United States: immigration laws tightened, the U.S. experienced the worst tornado in its history and Native Americans were proclaimed citizens.


Amongst all of this, Louise George was born in the countryside of Oklahoma. She grew up living with her 15- and 19-year-old parents. She found that they sometimes seemed to be too busy supporting the family, so she found comfort in her great-grandmother’s company.


“My great-grandparents helped to show me love and care while my parents were just busy trying to exist,” said Louise.


 As a child, Louise was shy and kept to herself. “When I was six or seven I was a tomboy... I would climb a real high tree and watch the world go round and dream to take myself to another world,” she recalled.


There were many people throughout her childhood that helped her grow.


“I had a teacher named Ms. Rose, and she was very nice to me and a wonderful teacher. She always encouraged me to do things I normally wouldn’t,” Louise said.


Louise also lived through the Great Depression. She explained how things were rationed out, and though her family was poor, many people were kind and loving toward them.


“My friends’ parents were very wealthy, and I remember them giving me a Shirley Temple dress that I loved,” she said.


In 1939, World War II broke out, causing heartache to all Americans and Louise, because many of her friends were lost in that war. Not only that, but her neighbors experienced racial profiling because of their German heritage.


“I remember during the war there was a lot of prejudice against the Germans, and I remember having German neighbors and always feeling sorry for them,” she explained.


During the war, Louise spent time working at a bomb manufacturing company, where she oversaw the making of one particular part of the bomb.


As Louise continued to grow up, she lived life as any normal American teenager would. Louise soon fell in love and was married two years later to her husband. Their marriage was not as ideal as she had hoped, when she was forced to live with her newly wedded husband in her parents’ small apartment.


Soon after, Louise became pregnant with twin daughters. Meanwhile, her husband, who was in the Marines, was sent overseas to work on a military ship.


As months passed, Louise did not hear from her husband, and she was later notified that his ship was lost at sea. Dealing with this tragedy, Louise still stayed strong as a mother and was determined to show her children all the love they needed.


“I was strict as a parent, but there was always a lot of love,” she commented.


Once her children had grown up and gone off to start lives of their own, Louise soon retired from her job at American Airlines and decided to make the move she wanted: out to Hawaii. She loves living here and has many life experiences.


Louise volunteered to be a tutor for the Lahaina Complex After School Tutoring Project from its inception in 2001. She continues to volunteer for many important non-tutoring tasks. In addition, Louise is an active member of the Lahaina-Honolua Senior Citizens Club. 


She keeps young by participating in many senior activities at the West Maui Senior Center: exercise classes, Mahjong club, excursions and many other activities.


At the Intergenerational Furlough Friday Day, Louise and her two friends taught our Lahaina tutor project students how to play Mahjong. It was a huge success. 


“My life was trial and error, live and learn... but if I were to give any advice, it would be to go as far as you can educationally and have a good church support,” she said.


This courageous woman has lived through amazing feats and is someone that I will never forget.

Article Photos

Zoe Fortey met Louise George on Intergenerational Day.

 
 

 

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