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In Memory of Mina

For My Little Bunny

Before We Met

Here is the earliest photo I have of Mina and her Mother Zerda. I believe this is a photo of Mina as her smile seems so familiar to me

Mina was born in Alaska to Cecil and Zerda. She was raised in Los Angles. Mina was loved by her mother and father very much. She went to grade and high school in Los Angles and was a top student. Mina really enjoyed school and learning all of her life. She received her first library card when she was three years old. Zerda told me the story.

Zerda was a school teacher and had to borrow books regularly from the library for her classes. She could not take out all the copies she needed with just her library card so one day, when Mina was only three, Zerda took Mina to the library and got Mina a library card; so Zerda could borrow more books. The only obstacle to this plan was Mina had to sign her name on the card. She did this and I have seen her three year old signature on the card. Mina loved to read and read a lot. Her favorite genre was the murder mystery.

Here is Mina when she lived in Boston after attending Brandeis University and completing a Fine Arts degree.

Mina studied and completed her fine arts degree at Brandeis University in Boston. She enjoyed her time there, made many friends, but never liked the cold weather.

Mina worked in a fabric store in Boston and various theatre companies. Mina went to Minneapolis to complete her Masters in Fine Arts. Then she returned to Boston and completed a Masters in Computer Science. Mina changed her career from theatre work to computer programming. She worked at the John Hancock for her first job in computing.

Mina finally left Boston to return to the West Coast and her beloved San Francisco. She worked for two consulting companies while in San Francisco.

Mina loved to travel and always wanted to visit Australia. One of her managers had started a project there and asked if Mina would come and work on the project. She jumped at the chance to visit Australia. Mina was adding an extension to her house in the Oakland Hills right at this time so she suspended work on it and left for Australia.

When We First Met

Here is a shot of Kathleen, Fred, Mina and I, left of shot with some other friends right of shot. 1992

Mina and I met in Auckland New Zealand airport on August 1992. I was working in New Zealand and Mina was returning home from a trip she had made to the US to meet her yearly training requirement. The airport boarding lounge was unusually crowded so crowded in fact that there were people standing with their backs to the wall and all of the seats were taken except for one; right next to Mina. My first bit of luck. So I took the seat. I saw a green felt hat on Mina's bag and thought mistakenly that she was an off duty flight attendant. The first words I ever spoke to Mina were, "So are you working on this flight"? She looked at me with here beautiful brown eyes, gave me a big smile, said no, and then looked quite puzzled. If you ever had the chance to experience Mina's smile you will know how much it made you like her. I was hooked from that moment.

Here is a shot of Mina rock climbing at the Arapiles. 1993

We started chatting and laughing about my mistake. I was travelling in the business class cabin on the flight from Auckland to Melbourne and Mina was in economy. I made this trip back and forth from Australia to New Zealand a lot for work at this time and typically the flight was not as busy as it was this day. So I naively asked Mina if she would like to sit in business class with me if there was an open seat. She looked at me with the same puzzled look she had given me earlier and said, "Sure" and gave me her seat number.

The boarding process separated us and as I got seated I realized how silly my offer must have sounded given how crowded the flight was. But once we were all seated there was one open seat in business class and it was right next to me. My second bit of luck.

After we took off I went back and found Mina and invited her to sit with me in the business class cabin. Once again she gave me that same puzzled look, smiled, and said, "Sure". We sat together and talked for the whole, almost four hour, flight. We discovered that we both worked in the same industry and that we both liked movies. I did not realize at the time, but I know now I began to fall in love with her then. Near the end of the flight I asked Mina where she was living in Melbourne and she told me. I lived about four blocks away from where Mina did. My third bit of luck. I told her this and asked if she would like to share a cab home with me. Mina looked at me with that same puzzled look, once again smiled, and said, "Sure". So after we landed Mina and I shared a cab. When we finally parted I knew I really wanted to see her again.

Mina, Lawrence, and Fred at the Organ Pipes, Victoria, Australia, 1993.

I was sharing a flat with my friend Fred at the time. I told Fred about Mina and mentioned I was a bit concerned about starting a relationship with Mina as she was American and would move back home to America at some point and I had no desire to live in the USA. I remember what he said to me, "Go for it Dave", like it was yesterday. So I rang Mina and organized a double date, for the following Saturday, with Fred and Kathleen. Mina accepted my invitation; my fourth bit of luck.

The next weekend Fred and Kathleen drove me over to Mina's house, which had a six foot bluestone fence completely blocking any access. In the fence there was a gate and a door bell. I rang the bell and waited, then rang the bell again, and waited, and rang it again, and waited, and waited. After ten minutes or so of no response I became very discouraged and turned to the car where Fred and Kathleen were. They both shouted, "Climb the fence Dave, climb!" Kathleen, Fred, and I were all avid rock climbers at the time and I was capable of climbing the fence, but I was reluctant because I thought Mina had stood me up so I said to them, "No way! I am wearing my good clothes", which I was, but it was a feeble excuse and they knew it. Eventually I gave in and I jumped up on the bluestone wall and in no time I was over and on the other side. My fourth bit of luck. I knocked on the front door and Mina was there greeting me with her big beautiful smile, which changed my bad humor in a split second. She said, "You"re late", as she continued her smile. We figured out that her front gate door bell was not working, which is why she did not know I was ringing it.

A video of Mina on a trip we made to Italy.

We had a great day walking around Melbourne parks and eating lunch. It was not to long after this first date that we moved into together. Before we did I took Mina rock climbing and even skiing, which I found out later from her friends, was amazing as these were things she typically would not do, Mina tried them for me.

I proposed to Mina on the first day of 1994 while we were on holiday in Cairns, Queensland. We were attending a News Years Even celebration dance. My plan was to propose to her exactly at 12:00 midnight so it would be a special and memorable proposal. As the countdown proceeded, I began to muster my courage to ask her. However, as we kissed to bring in the New Year my courage deserted me and I let the moment go by. As we walked back to our hotel Mina asked me if there was something bothering me. It was at that moment I proposed to her. She was surprised, said she knew something was going on, and accepted my proposal. We then planned to get married on April 3rd. Mina took on the many pre-wedding tasks in her normal full on way.

Zerda, me, Mina, and Cecil on our big day

I was given several tasks to be responsible for, but was glad Mina took on the lion's share. We both enjoyed finding a church to get married in and this was not as easy as you might first think. Mina was brought up a Catholic and I at the time was attending a "Born Again" Pentecostal Christian church (yes I know, but this is another story). This was the first place we asked to perform our ceremony, but they refused on the grounds that Mina was not a "true" Christian because she was Catholic, Mina and I thought this was the second funniest comment we had heard and laughed about it for day's afterwards. We finally found a non-denominational church that both of us were happy with and that accepted Mina's sordid Catholic background. This church turned out to be the first church built in Melbourne and had a beautiful bluestone chapel.

Mina's beautiful and alluring smile

I had to leave for a business trip in Atlanta Georgia and while I was away Mina discovered the tram. This was the W6 class tram that we had part one of our wedding reception in. A guy at Mina's office was partners in a Melbourne tram with several other people, which they rented out for special occasions. The tram could be filled with people, food, and drinks and would drive around Melbourne streets while the festivities took place. It was nothing I had ever heard about before and I must admit it was hard for me to understand as Mina tried to explain it to me over the phone while I sat in a hotel room in Atlanta Georgia, but as with most of the things Mina planned it worked out great.

When I returned from America most of the planning for our wedding was complete and the date was getting closer. One day I got home from work and found Mina lying on the couch at home in the dark; I asked her if she was OK and she said she was not feeling well. Mina would use doctors as a last resort and was reluctant to go to the doctor when I asked her to. Eventually Mina agreed to visit the doctor. When she got to the surgery the doctor wanted to have her hospitalized as her blood sugar readings were so high. Mina refused, but took the diagnosis of her type-one diabetes in her stride and was self administering her insulin injections that same day. This news was a shock to both of us, but Mina would not let it slow her down and never did. I remember Mina coming up to me a week before we were to be married and say, "I will completely understand if you do not want to marry me now". As I think of this it makes me sad because Mina really loved me and was willing to let me go, but I knew more than ever I did not want to every leave her and that I loved her even more.

Cancun, 1997.

So we were married on April 3rd, which happens to be my brother Lawrence's birthday too. Once Mina found this out she insisted that we have a birthday cake for Lawrence at our reception and we did.

Fred, my best-man at the wedding, and I had our hair cut the day of the wedding, really short. I guess it was one last bonding ritual between Fred and me before I left my single life behind me. We arrived at the church on a beautiful blue sky day. Mina had arranged to use the flowers that decorated the church from the wedding early that morning. Our wedding guests began to arrive and soon I was surrounded by familiar faces. At that point a waiter came out to our party and offered everyone Champagne; we all thought this a bit odd to drink Champagne before a wedding, but we all drank it without hesitation. I thought this was another amazing bit of planning by Mina, but found out later that the earlier wedding was having their reception in the hall of the church and their waiter had mistake our party as guests. Oh well the Champagne was sure nice.

Mina arrived in a back limo with her father Cecil and mother Zerda. I remember Mina looking very beautiful in her wedding dress, which some parts she had made herself. By now everyone was seated in the church so Mina and I walked arm in arm down the aisle. I remember being very nervous and also how gorgeous Mina was. It was not long and the ceremony was complete and we were husban and wife. This was and is the happiest day of my life.

Mina died on November 15, 2006 after two years of fighting cancer.

Mina you know we all love you. It was pretty much impossible to meet you and not fall in love with you or at the very least really like you. Everyone that met you experienced this. The question is why? Was it just because you were so physically beautiful, was it because you were so intelligent, was it your dry and quick wit, or was it because you were always so positive and generous with your time and yourself?

Mina you know we all miss you. It's been a long time since you were here and we all miss you very much. All of us are less without you in our lives. Why do we miss you so much? Is it because your infectious smile does not greet us each morning anymore? Is it because your warm caress no longer embraces us? Is it because your calm advice is not given anymore?

Mina we remember you and will always remember you.

We all love you Mina and we all miss you.


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