How did it come to be that Grover Cleveland’s grandson is so young and spry in 2015?
I find it interesting that you, like Lorrin Thurston’s grandson (who is still alive) seem to side with your grandfather. You’ve said things to that effect.
Well…he was right!
When I speak as part of Grover’s ohana, I try and keep it to what I know from historical record and not what I think he thought. That being said, it is my understanding that when news reached him that the Queen would not be reinstated, he said something to the effect of, “So, Hawai’i is ours.” I see this simple statement as sadness that “manifest destiny” and greed had won out over what was just and right.
Like you, I have some illustrious ancestors, though no presidents:). A great-granduncle of mine is Lew Wallace, for instance, the man who wrote Ben Hur. My grandfather’s name is Wallace Perkins, after that line of the family. I’ve become somewhat obsessed with him. How much do you think ancestry shapes us?
That is a really tough question to answer. Would I still be a nice guy if a grandfather had been a serial killer? How would that guilt and shame inform my life choices? How hard would it be to move beyond those feelings? Would my life involve atoning for that?
I don’t know what it’s like NOT to be the grandson of a President. It has been a burden at times, but I’m way beyond that now.
Somewhere ALL of our ancestors did things we may not be proud of. Maybe the simple answer is to learn from their mistakes and do what we can to make the world more livable for more people. Do it because it’s the right thing to do and not an offshoot of ancestral guilt or shame.
What’s your plan? (vague question, I know) – by that I mean what has driven you in life?
Can you talk about your work on reconciliation (which is how we came to meet)?
Around 10 years ago when I was first contacted by Kaleo Patterson and Ha’aheo Guanson, I knew next to nothing about Hawai’i and its history. When I first visited (2006?) I was incredibly honored to stay with people like Kekuni Blaisdell and Meleanna Meyer. The things they showed me; the people I met, melded into my soul.
Kumu John Lake’s halau did a presentation for me. I sat in a chair and watched slackjawed as Kumu John translated for me in my ear. It was quite simply one of the most profound experiences of my life.
What are your thoughts on history? I know you were the keynote speaker at National History Day, for example, which my students participate in.
Any final thoughts – for Hawaiians or others?