Steven Ginoza, Class of 1990, University Laboratory School — Go Jr. Bows!

"College Graduate Marches to the Beat of Donated Heart," by Lee Cataluna

          I have a picture next to my desk that I see every day. It's a picture of me and Steven Ginoza, a 1990 Jr. Bow, at his graduation in Civil Engineering from UH Manoa. I taught Steven twice, as an 8th- and an 11th-grader. He was an excellent writer. I once asked him where a particular story he wrote called "A Day's Wait" came from. Like a good writer would, Steven said, "Gee, I have no idea." : )
          I once ran into Steven and a group of his friends at what many Jr. Bows know as "Meters" on Metcalf Street. It was very late at night. I think he was maybe a sophomore at UH Manoa then. He and his buddies told me that Steven had just been rather roughly interrogated by HPD right there before I came by because he matched the description of a guy who had mugged a woman over at the Manoa Garden ATM. They said, "It's like you always say, Mr. Lee. Good stories to write are happening all the time."
          "Steven," I said, "as soon as you get home you have to write that story and submit it to the Honolulu Magazine fiction contest. But when you write it, you actually were the guy who mugged the woman, and none of your friends here know it. In the story, you've committed a kind of perfect crime." He liked that idea : )
          Once, one of the student employees at my office was lamenting that she had no current boyfriend. I said, "Really, S*****? Would you be interested in meeting a great guy?" She said she would. I called Steven's house and his mom answered the phone. Steven wasn't home, so I asked her, "Mrs. Ginoza, by any chance does Steven have a steady girlfriend right now?" She said as far as she knew, he did not. "Do you think he might be interested in meeting a very nice woman?" I asked. Mrs. Ginoza said, "Mr. Lee, are you trying to set my son up?" I said I in fact was. She thought that was great. She did have Steven get in touch with me and I got them together. They became good friends, and I believe it was Steven who actually introduced S***** to her future husband, another Board of Water Supply person who was a friend of Steven's.
          One day Steven stopped by my office — I think he was maybe a senior at UH Manoa that year. He wanted to know if I could recommend any good books to him. I gave him my copy of Dava Sobel's Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. "Here's something an engineer might like," I said. About a week later he brought it back absolutely raving about how good it was. I'm so glad he loved that book; I do too.
          The last time I saw Steven, he was coming up though a Board of Water Supply "manhole" right outside my house. He said he loved the job. I was very happy to hear this.
          In that picture of me and Steven at his UHM graduation, my eyes are closed. I hate it when that happens.
          Steven Ginoza, you live on in all of us who remember you.

Mahalo for reading!

Talk story

  1. darrel says:

    Chicken skin. A fitting tribute. Writers (Lanning and Cataluna) help us make sense of how we navigate the everyday.

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