Ethel Williams is the mother of Garé!!! She was gifted with words and she wrote many long, private letters in the form of articles and stories on her typewriter. The contribution published below was written when Garé was around 20 years old* and gives an account of her life so far. Many of the events mentioned are described in greater detail on the other Garé pages for further studying.

* The letter is undated which makes the dating very difficult. Garé was born in 1917 and, at one point her mother mentions that she is 18, which should date the letter to 1935. But the account ends with events from 1938 making her 21! Consequently, it can be speculated that Ethel wrote the letter during more periods before she finished it and mailed it to her daughter.




Brief Outline of Garé's Life

When the infant Garé first put in her appearance at the tiny missionary hospital in Hilo, Hawaii, - within the glow of the fiery volcano, Kilauea, the joy of Papa and Mama Williams was tinged with dark sorrow at the sight of one little handless arm on the golden haired baby. From the gloom of this shock, Papa was the first to rally. Providence will make up to our little girl for her physical deprivation, he prophesied, and continued, She shall be my little pet child, my special care, and if it be within my power, shall NEVER miss her hand. And she never has.

As completely unconscious of her lack as though ot did not exist, the child, Garé, went about her childish tasks and play. While a tiny mite she was embroidering flowers on a little round wood frame. She crooked her tiny elbow and in the crease placed her wide eyed needle; holding up her arm, she would then slip her colored strands through, always scorning to ask assistance, and so would complete a whole simple design on guest towel or runner.

After the early months, which were spent within the gorgeous glow of the volcano - then in mighty eruption, flames lighting the child to bed, and earth tremors rocking her to sleep eighteen years ago, Garé was taken to live in Honolulu, where her Papa was to earn local fame as architect and builder. Here Garé lived most of her life in a big Island rockhouse built by her father, clinging to the steep incline of famed Mount Tantalus. About three or four years of age, Garé learned just what wonders a pencil contained and Mama's troubles began. From then on, morn till night, Mama combated 'picksers' on doors, walls, tablecloth, pastry board, or pile of clean sheets - anything she could 'wite on'.

As Mama says, It made it very simple, for there never was any doubt about WHAT TO DO with her. From the first we planned to further everything which would contribute to her development as an artist. We concentrated on it, sending her to the best schools Honolule had. There she had a wonderful all 'round training, which included art tuition by the Island's most talented teachers. It was a continuous joy to help Garé thru school, for always she carried off the honors, right to the day in June, 1936, when she graduated with special scholarship honors and a full year SCHOLARSHIP to VESPER GEORGE SCHOOL OF ART in BOSTON!

Garé's record still scintillates. The school year is finished and she is home armed with a brand new FULL YEAR SCHOLARSHIP - the first ever to be issued to a girl the second year. Her year in Boston was filled with hard work - many times in all-night sessions until 4 or 5 a.m. Her zeal is unquenchable, and her ambition is to go on to Europe and the Orient for further study when she graduates from Vesper George School. The only noticeable difference now is that Garé is determined to 'pull her own weight'. Long illness of her mother's and economic conditions have deprived her of further paternal assistance, but she is not daunted.

School Highlights

At Hanahouli School - a school built for the children of missionary families in the early days and still one of the Island's most exclusive schools - Garé had a grand chance, for the children were invited to express their individual tastes and desires; it was there that her extraordinary ability was noticed first by those outside her intimate acquaintances. Garé attended this school to the sixth grade.
It was while at Hanahouli, one of her teachers, Miss Caroline Curtis, wrote the following note to Garé's mother:

My dear Mrs. Williams:
There has been something in my mind to write you for some time. I wonder if you realize what rare sympathy and joy your little daughter possesses. Her radiant personality seems to me to far outweigh the physical handicap. It is a great thing in life to rear a child with so much 'sweetness and light'. I congratulate you.

At Punahou Academy - Junior High School - Garé began to show real evidence of her great talent. Beth Gregory, her then art teacher, wrote her as follows, in acknowledgment of a hand-blocked Christmas card:

... The block was simply grand and I can see how you continue the progress. I am very happy to have started one of our future artists, and when you have an exhibition be sure to let me know. Aloha to you.

Beth Gregory

Garé's diversified talent includes dress design. She, assisted by two school mates, designed the costumes for A Spring Day, a dance fantasy in an Hungarian wood, by the girls' physical education department of Punahou. Garé also designed the program cover for this Panorama.

Garé also designed the Masthead of Ka Punahou, Senior Academy paper, and many clever illustrated column headings. One of them, entitled Pepys' Daughter's Diary, depicts a modern young miss in slacks, stretched out on the floor, quill poised in right hand, heel up, chin resting in left elbow.

On her graduation from Punahou, her mother writes: Garé had worked very hard and diligently on the graduation program ... so it was a complete surprise and thrill when it was announced that she was one of four in a graduating group of 98 students to win special Honors for High Scholarship. Were we the proud parents? After the Exercises we talked with her teachers, all of whom were sorry indeed to lose her, and one of them wept, saying, 'it is about once in ten years I have a pupil who gives me as much joy as has Garé'.
The School President wrote:

... Allow me to compliment you upon the continued good work of Garé. It is a pleasure, indeed, to comment upon her success and cooperative attitude.

O.F. Shepard
March 11th. 1936

From her earliest teens, Garé has put her talent to practical use. Wood blocks and linoleum blocks of subjects typical of the Islands have been designed into lovely cards of greeting, among them are the dusky Hawaiian surf riders, outrigger canoes, grass huts, flowers and the incredible Island fish.

While at Punahou, Garé achieved distinction as chairman of the art committee in charge of publishing the OAHUAN, 1936 year book. The theme was the P.A.A. Clipper which landed on its first flight at that time. Garé's drawings (among others) decorated this edition, which was so admired that copies were bought up an mailed to New York and other offices of the P.A.A.

Garé designed the large name plate listing all the ten best swimmers of the Thurston Meets, Honolulu, for the past twenty years. This was mounted on a block of wood and placed in position on Griffiths Hall, Punahou Academy.

Of wonderful workmanship of two bronze plaques, designed by Garé for the Girls' Thurston Swimming Meet, the instructor, Mr. J.W. Mahoney, said (Honolulu Advertiser, Feb 19th. 1935: This is the best piece of etching ever done here. The etched plaque shows in relief a young swimmer. The polished surfaces stand out in fine contrast with the darker background.

Vesper George School of Art

Dorothy Hills George, daughter of the founder of this exclusive art school and a director of the school, wrote:

... I have no doubt of your talent, and your personality showed in a snapshot to such an extent that I should look forward with enthusiasm to welcome you to Boston for the winter.

Illness of her mother delayed Garé's scheduled year at Boston. Because of this illness, the privileges of the Scholarship were very graciously transferred to the following year and Garé commenced her classes there in September, 1937.

On November 15th. 1937, Miss George wrote again:

... In this interim we have had time to discover that Garé has real talent. She is a fine student and her instructors have a very real interest in her and in helping her to progress. So many students show promise at first and then fall by the wayside for any one of a number of reasons, that when we find someone like Garé, who continues to fulfill our high hopes, we congratulate ourselves.

On December 31st. 1937, Miss George again wrote:

... Garé is a student with more than exceptional talent and good taste, and we regard her progress and quality of craftsmanship well up in the rank of the five outstanding students in her very large class. She is an excellent designer.

Mr. Harold K. Lindergreen, outstanding teacher of art at Vesper George School, wrote:

... I have never had anyone in my class who did such unusual and such interesting work.

In June, 1938, Garé left Vesper George School of Art with a full years scholarship, the first ever to be issued and awarded to a girl the second year. Miss George writes, June 15th. 1938:

... We hope you will be able to come back to us, for your unusual talent makes you one of our leading lights and I know that Mr. Lindergreen would be very much disappointed if you did not finish the course in which you have made such a fine beginning.

Garé has worked very diligently this vacation and has painted many lovely Island studies which she is exhibiting in a 'One Man Show' in The Assistance League Club in Hollywood by gracious permission of those in charge, and from the proceeds of this sale she hopes to be able to partially maintain her expenses through the two years left to complete her studies at Vesper George. After that she feels she will be quite proficient to amply provide for herself to proceed to Europe and the Orient and equip herself, with the experience of close contact with art in these countries, to reach the 'top of the tree' she is so perseveringly striving to reach, and with her dauntless courage and ambition and her radiant personality we are quite sure she will succeed in whatever she undertakes to conquer.


Garé and Mama Ethel in the garden with the home's two Pekingese dogs


This contribution is the property of this website. © Peter Kylling