I was born on Molokaʻi, the third daughter of my parents, Richard and Anita Morita. My parents met on Oʻahu and after their marriage, my dad became a police officer on Molokaʻi.
My mom’s father died when she was only 12 years old. She was raised by her mother, Grace Hageman, who was a very independent, self-educated woman.
In 1951, our family moved to Lānaʻi when my dad became the island’s game warden for the Territory of Hawaiʻi. Shortly after our move, we were relocated to Kōʻele, which was the former headquarters of the old Lānaʻi Ranch.
After our move to Kōʻele, our family was adopted Hawaiian style by our neighbors, William and Eva Kwon and Ernest and Rebecca Richardson. Sisters, Aunty Becca and Aunty Eva were raised at Keomoku Village on Lānaʻiʻs eastern coastline. Our Uncle Ernest was one of the ranch’s last paniolo and he shared his knowledge of horses and life with generations of Lānaʻiʻs keiki.