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Karl Carvalho

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Aloha

 

We all have met a person or persons that have had an impact on our lives that led us to this point, this place, this time. Specifically, with respect to the skills, talents and abilities that we all bring to this Forum, I would like to mention someone upon the anniversary of his passing.

 

I have had 7 great teachers (8 now) in my life. (My father was, of course, the first.) Mario Valdez was somewhere in the middle. Born in the Philippines, on Luzon, to a village blacksmith sometime in the 1920’s, he rarely spoke about his harsh rural life. Most tales were about hauling coal or operating the bellows at an early age. To escape his existence there, he signed aboard a US Navy cruiser as a ward boy, serving officers, at the age of 15. Twenty-five years later, he retired as a Damage Control Chief of a battleship. He then settled in San Diego, California where he worked as a shipwright. Most of his projects were building racing yachts, some of which competed in the America’s Cup and TransPac races.

In the early seventies, the University of Hawaii had it’s one and only Nobel Prize winner, Georg von Bekesy, establish a research laboratory here. Mario was hired on as shop carpenter. Within a decade, he rose to become head instrument maker, building prototype research equipment for over a dozen competing research groups. It was a few years later that a young, arrogant, cocky surfer dude (guess who) walked in looking for a short term gig. With his ever present, unfiltered cigarette as a pointer, he motioned to a microtome and said “Fix it.” Somehow, I bumbled through the job. That led to a fifteen year association in which I learned machining, metrology, the politics of research and a dozen other skills. After a while, I would be left to keep things going so he could check on his side business, running the biggest burlesque show in town, the Zamboanga Theater (he was a sailor at heart).

With a sure hand and calm voice, he would lean over equipment to point out things before they went haywire. Sometime I listened, other times I rebelled. Eventually, I accepted the fact that he knew much more than I. That’s about the time the learning began. Lessons came rapidly, as he threw all manner of bizarre projects at me. Always was the encouragement, “If I can do it, so can you.” (Still haven’t figured out how to measure 3/1000ths with a cigarette butt. Damn.) Aside from all the technical stuff, he taught me to believe in my abilities, my potential, myself. I try to keep his teachings alive.

He was an artist as well as a technician. All the posters for his theater were large, colorful and hand done with a hint of the risqué. His kitchen at home was round, and looked like the galley of a Hong Kong junk. A sense of whimsy pervaded everything.

Years later, on a visit to the shop, we sat and talked about all manner of things. He seemed to want to say something.. Finally, he stood up and pulling the shop keys from his pocket, tossed them to me. “It’s yours” he said. “I’ve talked to the Director and told him that I’m done.” Then he walked out, headed for a long trip back to the P.I. I stood there for a while, slightly confused, but I knew he was right. Sometimes, the chain must remain unbroken.

If you have someone who showed you the path, perhaps you would like to tell us about him/her.

 

Karl

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Dear Karl,

Beautiful post. I think that somewhere above Mario is looking at you - certainly with an unfiltered cigarette in his hand - happy to know that you remember him, making his (hi-)story alive through your words and art.

Thanks for sharing it.

As for my Mentors, as Karl said, my father -the first intoducing me in the use of hand tools...- and every one of you guys :) THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

P.S.: Did you know that Carvalho means Oak in portuguese? What crazy sailor could ever make that long, long trip to Hawaii...OR ARGENTINA??? ;) Mine means Hazelnut tree plantation in euskera (basque)! With name and all: the wise man from the hazelnut tree plantation GOSH, too long and too Ta-Tanka I-Yotank to me... (With all due respect.)

Hope not to disturbe the thread with my little game here, sorry.

HUGHS,

Sebas

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Hi Karl,

 

That's a great posting, and a great story. I think many of us can relate in one way or another.

 

I have had several mentors since I was very young, right up until recently. In fact, my most recent mentor will be retiring tomorrow, after a 37-year career, and handing me the reins.

 

Thanks for posting this.

 

Phil

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Aloha Sebas, Phil

 

Phil

Thanks. I wish you the very best of luck (although, I don't think you need it) in the big chair. Don't forget to mentor the next generation.

 

Sebas

Thanks to you too. I think you are a romantic like me. :) Yes, I have been told about the meaning of my name. Others have said it is from caballo=horse, but the wrong end. ;) There are many South Americans here, mostly Brazilians. Lots of wind, kite, traditional surfers, capoeira practitioners, Gracie jiu-jitsu fighters and swimsuit models. :)

 

KC

 

p.s. - My family is from the Azores.

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HEY KARL!

Yes, I think that romantic will define us for sure...

WOW, PORTUGUESE INDEED!

As Açores são belíssimas! I lived in Rio de Janeiro for 9 years, so I know a little about portuguese culture, jiu jitsu, praia, surfe and garotas (humbly speaking).

It is said that when Zeus killed Chronos scattered pieces of his father all over (very Osiris like...) and put some of his pieces in the Azores.

About Carvalho, nothing to do with horses, cavalo has another ethimolgy. For carvalho the origin is pre-roman from the occidental spaniards and is karballios (wood, any wood), because the spaniard-celtic name for oak is derus. With the roman soldiers around looking for good wood I think that the celts may have say pointing to an oak tree: Derus karballios! (Oak wood!) and only the last part survived... ;) (laughs!!!!) Those crazy romans...

I swear it´s true.

Coming back to Carvalho last name, when Colombus came to America, Spain and Portugal expelled almost all of their jews habitants (that´s why they went to Chipre, get back to Israel and to the New World the biggest part, other hid in the mountains or small, small villages making a mixture between their jewish tradition with the catholic tradition, having nowdays some strange rites with candles and hands covering eyes for christmas :) Januk-mas??) They were the Sefardíes or Ladínos. Thing is, going away they had to change their last names and were called New Christians (Cristãos-novos) so they picked tree names, animal names, et cetera, so common in Portugal, Brazil, Macao, Cabo Verde and Angola. Some are Leitão(pig), Coelho(rabbit), Pereira(peartree), Pimenta(pepper), Pinto(chick).

(hope not to bore anyone)

HUGHS,

Sebas

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Sebas,

 

I for one was not bored :D , I love this kind of exploration, it's utterly fascinating. Thanks.

 

Namaste, Ford

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Aloha Sebas,

 

I guess we are going off topic here. Oh well...what the hell. Another way to respect those that came before (like my father) is to remember where you came from. :D

You mean I might be part Jewish? That will be a surprise to my wife. :D Thoses names you listed can be found in any directory on any island here. The Spanish flu of the early 20th century wiped out many immigrants in plantation camps here for lack of medical attention. My paternal grandmother became a Perreira after her family was wiped out. We call it being hanaied, or adopted.

My father left me a bound album with pictures of Portuguese immigrants of the early 1900's. Similar to those of San Francisco and Ellis Island. Many were very dark. We are called manercsh (Black) or bohdinke (Puerto Rican) - that is phonetic spelling. Theory is that when the Moors retreated across the Iberian Peninsula in the 14th (?) century, they settled in the Azores. Portuguese came here after a collapse of the fishing stocks forced them to migrate. Similar circumstances brought the Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos and my other forebears, the Japanese. That is another story. :lol:

 

KC

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Aloha Karl,

 

I'm enjoying this exchange between you and Sebas very much. I'm always fascinated by the connections of culture and language between humans over the years. We are really all cousins not terribly far removed when you get down to it. I'm often struck by the similarities in carving bone, wood and stone found around the world.

As to mentors - I guess I'd have to thank my father for pointing to Nature as the Great Teacher and so turning me on to the Way. I've never had the opportunity to work under a master, but I have been blessed with an association with many varied craftsmen and women over the years all of whom have shown me new aspects. All of the amazing people on this forum have become my mentors in a big way now! :D THANKS ALL! :lol:

Hey Karl, do you still surf? A friend of mine, Brian Schulz has built a few skin on frame kayaks there around Kona. His web site is here.

Namaste,

Magnus

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Aloha Magnus,

 

Thanks for your interest and comments. I think genealogy is a common interest to everyone. If you don't know where you came from, how can you know where you are going? (Heard that somewhere.)

I read that link to Brian with interest once before. I was born near Hilo, so I wondered where he was assembling the kayaks. Man, he must be crazy (in a good way). :D You would have to pass active lava flows into the ocean and big swells, but you get to paddle under waterfalls into the sea. Ask him about the Napali Coast. National Geographic calls it one of the best adventures in the US. It almost killed me, but I would go back in a heartbeat.

 

KC

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Hi Cuz, (Couldn´t agree more with Magnus)

I knew that I was shooting the ball off the field... (very soccer commenr B)) Sorry about that, I thought about opening a new topic, something like "Carving our family names", "Carving our history path" or so... :lol: I guess that you´ll have to tell your wife that there are some possibilities that part of your blood may have a little "Made in Israel" label on!!! :D

About your story, the photos, wow nice documents! Portuguese are closed people, very reluctant in having stranger´s eyes looking around, 100% different according to their colonization history, they always blended so well with natives (africans, chinese, indians, american natives...) You say Perreira hanaied? As from Ohana?(Thanks Lilo! :() Nice. Yes, you have two main portuguese skin colours and body type (as all Peninsula Iberica´s children) Short, dark haired, dark skin and dark eyes, and the Tall, blond, white skin and blue eyed ones. Anyway, you owe us the Japanese forebear story. :D Thanks for sharing it with us.

Mahalo,

Sebas

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