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"Islands of Recall" is a book designed to guide you in writing your autobiography. It will take you on a journey through your life. "Islands " is written in a delightful.
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Their life stories — from s Hawaii to the orphanages of Romania — could provide answers that will help more children to thrive. By Lucy Maddox.


The landscape of the Hawaiian islands is as idyllic as a postcard: long, sandy beaches, hibiscus flowers, clear waters of tropical fish and coral reefs. When you arrive at the airport the air is warm and ukulele music is piped out at you. Flower garlands are for sale. There are hundreds of islands in the Hawaiian archipelago, spread over 1, miles in the central Pacific Ocean.

The eight main islands include Kauai, Maui and the island of Hawaii, nicknamed The Big Island to differentiate it from the whole state. The Big Island has a live but well-tempered volcano, which has created a dream-like landscape of black rock. In the midst of all the beauty, Hawaii has some dark and sinister stories. I meet her on Skype: me in my sitting room in the evening, the English weather dark outside; her in the office where she works at a local school, early in the morning, the light bright and palm trees visible from the window.

Mirena is a charismatic woman who speaks with passion. She comes across as warm, caring and professional, and her silver earrings flash against her dark, short hair. Mirena remembers a Hawaii from before the tourism boom, growing up playing in the red Anahola dirt, running through the cane fields.

She recalls the simplicity of much of the lifestyle then, the excitement when the first stop light was erected for the cane field trucks, with children walking across the island to go and look at it. Mirena was born in , the year that an experiment began. Little did the families or the researchers know that this would turn into one of the longest studies of child development and childhood adversity that there has ever been. They managed to track most of the cohort.

The researchers followed first the parents and then the children, finding out all sorts of things about how the cohort were doing and what sort of background they had come from. They used a mix of semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and community records of mental health, marriage, divorce, criminal convictions, school achievement and employment. Mirena spent her childhood in a three-bedroom house, with her parents and six siblings.

The children walked the mile to and from school, arriving back home to a house they were responsible for keeping clean and tidy.

Islands of Recall

She recalls the black-and-white TV with a piece of shaded paper stuck on the front to make it look like colour. Hawaii back then was a mix of plantations and a growing hotel industry. Her mother worked for Aloha Airlines as an entertainer, hula dancing and singing. The researchers in the Kauai study separated the nearly children involved into two groups.

In line with those expectations, they found that two-thirds of this group went on to develop significant problems.

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They developed into competent, confident and caring individuals, without significant problems in adult life. The study of what made these children resilient has become as least as important as the study of the negative effects of a difficult childhood. Why did some of these children do so well despite their adverse circumstances?

The study of how some of these Kauai children thrived despite early adversity is still ongoing. Lali McCubbin is the current principal investigator. The daughter of Hamilton McCubbin, who worked with the original researchers, she knows the history of the project well and has some Hawaiian heritage herself.

And in fact, what we found was there was resilience. These children were able to thrive, were able to grow, were able to develop… able to live productive and fulfilling lives.

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None of those risk factors. So I was fascinated with how you can take a risk factor intergenerationally and create not intergenerational trauma but intergenerational resilience. Those who did better also tended to have more extracurricular activities and, if female, to avoid pregnancy until after their teenage years. The picture was complex, though, with different factors seeming to be important at different ages, McCubbin explains. At age 10, doing well was linked to having been born without complications and having parents with fewer difficulties such as mental health problems, chronic poverty or trouble parenting.

At age 10 and 18, positive individual personality traits seemed to help, as well as the presence of positive relationships, though not necessarily with the parents. At age 32 and 40, having a stable marriage was protective, as was participation in the armed forces. Wider research suggests that the more risk factors children face, the more protective factors they are likely to need to compensate. No child chooses to be poor, no child chooses to have alcoholism in their home.

It just is, and you deal with it. As the eldest child, Mirena often felt responsible for trying to resolve family rows. Mirena thinks her grandmother played a pivotal role. They made a huge difference for me, just knowing that somebody loved me no matter what. And I was not always the easiest child. I was sometimes very aggressive and you become that when you have to defend your family.

And we spent most of our days outside, so dirty, we were always dirty. Long, tangled hair. She was not living that far away… I cut through the park and cut through the cane fields and by the time I got to her there was red dirt and mud everywhere. And my gran-ma was immaculately clean. Her house was spotless… And so when I showed up, on her doorstep, full of Anahola red dirt and mud… I just think, what did my gran-ma think when she saw me, coming her way? What she would do is she would take me in the outside cement tub. And she would wash the mud off me. But my grandmother would scrub me clean, to get all the dirt out of my very long hair.

And I remember as a little girl just feeling clean. And feeling pretty. He grew up in the Dunvegan farmhouse his great-grandfather built in the s. We step over the downed trees, ford a stream by walking on a log, and emerge on a beach strewn with rocks and boulders. In the near distance on a bluff overlooking the Gulf of St.

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No electricity. No phone. A plywood board for a writing desk.

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A folding chair. Silence, sunlight and stories waiting to be told. But the figurative island is much more important than the actual one. Although he looked at Margaree Island a lot, and it dominates the view from our house [the MacLeod home just up the road], he was not writing about that particular island in a strictly realistic way.

Islands of Recall, Write Your Life Story by Louise Cabral | | Booktopia

Yes, he was certainly interested in islands, and especially in all their metaphorical possibilities, but he was never trying to accurately represent one particular island. One grandfather was rough and tough, and the other was proper. The grandfather on this side liked his drink and the grandmother liked her church. Alistair was a character himself. Always dressed up and wearing his cap. The road is very rough. In No Great Mischief the narrator, Alexander MacDonald, is orphaned when his parents, keepers of a lighthouse, fall through the frozen ice of the bay and drown. Locals believe that MacLeod drew on an actual drowning at Margaree Island.