Imagine a love so strong, so fierce that nothing can break its hold on you. You are forever captivated, committed and dedicated with the utmost care and concern for your love. Your loyalty is unquestionable. It is your life’s dedication and your final destination.
I’d like to tell you about a love story between Guam and Dawn Lees Reyes.
As a child, Dawn was interested in drawing. Her high school teachers were the ones who cemented her desire to create.
Dawn studied fine arts at San Francisco State University. Last I checked, I left my heart in San Francisco. Sing it, Ol’ Blue Eyes! But Dawn, oh no, she didn’t leave her heart in San Francisco. She was pre-destined for greater things.
A year before graduation, Dawn married the love of her life, Eddy Reyes, a native of Inalåhan. He swept her off her feet. Literally! After graduation, they flew off to Europe where he served in the Air Force for 10 years, and where Dawn experienced firsthand what she had only known through textbooks. Art was everywhere!
During her first trip to Guam with Eddy, Dawn saw the generosity of our people. Maila yan boka! While touring Guam, they were invited to a fiesta celebration. “Being from the states, that idea of inviting strangers to join you for food was very foreign to me, but it made a huge impression on me and ultimately how I viewed the people of Guam,” Dawn recalled.
Needless to say, Dawn immediately fell in love with Guam, its people and culture. She loved the package deal that Eddy gave her. It was destiny!
“My dream came true,” Dawn said. I had goosebumps all over when she shared these next words with me.
Along the coastline of Inalåhan sits a beautiful home overlooking the ocean where Dawn and Eddy live with their dogs. She writes, “I have always loved the tropics and the ocean and always dreamed of living where I could have access to such things.”
I can already hear the swaying of the coconut branches in the island breeze, the soft whistle of the wind in the ironwood trees, and the lullaby of the waves only the ocean can sing to soothe your soul. You see, this is my dream, too. I am so happy for my sister-in-the-arts to be blessed with all these glorious gifts that Guam offers her.
Like any relationship, you give and take. Let me share with you what Dawn gives to our island.
She taught art in Inaråjan Middle School. She has authored, illustrated and published three children’s activity books based on Guam legends.
Add to that, she illustrated two other children’s local books by other authors. One is called “Mother Tree.” Dawn’s artwork was displayed at the Castro Gallery in the Tumon Sands Plaza.
Dawn’s love for Guam is fierce. Her books and artworks are her love letters to Guam. Dawn has the heart and soul of a Chamorrita. It was meant to be. On that note, I’d like to wish Dawn and Eddy Reyes a Happy Anniversary. They celebrate 40 years of blissful marriage this year. Now that is fierce love!
Donna Hope Blas is a restoration and 3D artist born and raised on Guam and co-owner of The Guam Gallery of Art. She is a certified therapeutic art life coach. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org