writers life

A Dedication to a Woman Most Special

Today, there is a hole in my heart. My beautiful ninety-four year old aunt passed away in her sleep a few nights ago. She was the sister to my grandmother, the woman who helped to raise me, and like her she had a strong will, incredible wit and a deep abiding love for shoes. She was born in Louisiana, spent a few years there before moving to Hawai’i with her family. Many years later she got married to her long time husband Lucien Parish, a fighter pilot for the US Air Force, and enjoyed a life filled with travel and family.

On her wedding day. The young woman behind her is my grandmother, her sister.
Aunty Ferne stepping out in Nashville, TN in the 1940’s

After my grandmother passed, she easily slipped into the roll of grandmothering for so many of us and she fit so perfectly there that, in many ways she became our grandmother and mother.

Here she is making off with a fine score at a family Christmas exchange.
Aunty in her favorite sweater with her sweet poodle Anu.
The sisters at my cousin’s wedding, wearing distinguished white ginger leis.

Personally, my Aunty Ferne and I shared a verve and passion for shoes that bonded us across oceans and far away lands. I was her kin, a straight descendent from her own heart, we loved shoes. At any given time she and I would have no less than 23.5 pairs of them. She introduced me to high-end flats, low pumps and killer red heeled boots all before I was ten. She wore a dainty size five and a half and before I hit my sample size of seven I wore all her hand-me-downs with pride. These are badass shoes, I would think. Everyone else in my elementary school on Maui wore slippahs, flippy-flopping everywhere. But not me, my Aunty Ferne gave me class, and I wore them with pride. Even if I was wearing just shorts and a t-shirt – my feet looked fabulous.

Aunty Ferne “PeeWee” on the wing of her hubby’s plane. Note the snake emblem, under it, her nickname is painted.

Check out those shoes!

It was just a few months back that I emailed her this picture below of a new pair of shoes I’d scored. She emailed (yes, she emailed and Facebooked) me back saying, “Y A A A Y !!!!!!!!!  Fabulous…….enjoy a few strolls for Auntie !!!!!!!!”

Oh Auntie, I will. I really and truly will. Meke aloha pumehana, now and forever. 

Auntie Ferne, Mom, a young hubby and I with Grams.



  • itlnbrt

    Oh, Becky! I'm so sorry for your loss. Your Aunty Ferne must have been a special lady and from those pics and stories I can tell she was.
    This was a wonderful post in her memory. Keep the memories alive. Smile! 🙂

    Hey, I have a huge love for shoes, too!

  • Becky Banks

    Thank you <3

    Shoes are definitely a weakness of ours! I still remember seeing her shoe collection, a room filled with them and this cool circular ottoman whose lid lifted to reveal more compartments for shoes! It was a little James Bond like. :0)

  • kevi

    What a cool memorial to your sweet aunt Ferne, bet her life was even better with you in it. Blessings to the family and a heartfelt aloha to you both.

  • Anonymous

    Even though I'm a stranger I offer my belated condolences. I was searching for WW2 history about the 78th Fighter Sq and it turned up this site. the "snake" emblem on the plane your aunt was on Is a Bushmaster which was is the emblem of the 78th. they flew P47's till they were to be assigned to Iwo Jima and then given P51 Mustangs. He is a link that shows the P51 you uncle flew when he was on Iwo Jima


  • Becky Banks

    Thank you, both for your condolences as well as this information. Scouring the website I've found a few more images of my uncle – truly a great gift. Thank you again for this information – I will be sharing it with my family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.