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  • By Aline Yamashita

Back to the Future

“What a spectacular view!” Chele and Robert echoed. We were standing in the yard of a childhood home in UoG’s Dean’s Circle. This was when housing was provided to attract and retain faculty. The house then transformed into an early childhood center and currently, houses cancer grant programs.

The view remains. Over-looking Pago Bay, the beautiful blue waters mirror the beautiful blue skies. Greenery graces the landscape.

Chele has lived on the West Coast for decades. As such, she’s in tune with geographical aspects. When I didn’t know answers to basic questions – like what’s the bay’s name, she accorded me the respect that goes to an elder. She simply nodded and smiled.

I’m one of those who still refer to Route 8 as “the one passing Benson’s” or Route 16 as “the one passing Micronesia Mall.” But I do get Route One right.

Chele visited to show Robert and their son, Zachary, her island home. We zipped around places like UoG. Her dad, Uncle Les, was a professor and administrator. Ever smiling and welcoming, I enjoyed his company. Chele remembered the campus, at that time, focusing around the current business office. Then there was Building A and Building B.

We drove past the Home of the Geckoes. Her mom, Aunty Doll, taught countless students physical education. She, her sisters – Aunty Nita and my mom – each enjoyed teaching. As their parents, Jose S. and Vicenta Leon Guerrero, teaching was in their hearts.

Chele commented on the cement growth – so many buildings, blocked views, loss of green space. Yup, was all I could say. They loved swimming every day – without a wet suit. Robert and Zach each reminded me of Uncle Les – unassuming and appreciative. A very lovely family, they are.

Coincidentally, mom handed me Clifflines, 1988. The Charter Day Issue featured UoG pioneers. Marjorie Driver was the Charter Day speaker. She was the St. John’s principal before joining the first MARC Director Paul Carano. Emily Johnston also joined the research library. In 1968, Bruce Karolle and Ken Carriveau commented that everyone knew each other by name. Dee Johnston and Rush Shook divided Building B to make six rooms for growing numbers of students. Roy Tsuda helped Lu Eldredge lay out the initial design of the Marine Lab. The nursing program was brought to life by M.C. Norman and Sally Tsuda. Alex Flores was the vice president and Adriano Pangelinan was a graduate student in Shirley Arriola’s class. Augusto Meno helped build the stage for every charter day celebration. Tita Paulino was a supervisor of Records and Registration. Joe Paulino was the baseball coach with Joe Ada and Yoshio George on the team. Ben Perez was director of financial aid, student activities and dean of students.

I fondly remember Joe Unpingco, maintenance superintendent, a smart, dedicated, hard worker.

Yes, dad served as president but know he always said the university blossomed because of the staff, faculty, students and community.

The Carlson family was one of those faculty families. Chele, your dad and mom smile lovingly and proudly of you from above. We look forward to your next visit.

Aline Yamashita is an educator and former senator. Send feedback to

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