Pop’s been gone for some time now.
I still remember him!
I talk to him often. I don’t tell many, the relationship we have is just between him and me. Some things we still do the way he taught me. My factory at HanaLaura still makes the handmade sterling silver monograms just the way he did. He taught me things through simple stories that have been important life learning lessons.
- Keep the family together!
- Keep your word, my son. It’s the most important possession you have.
- Do your best, at everything.
His dad came to America, the land where dreams could come true. They were a poor family. The plan was for Grandpa to go and make enough money to bring over the rest of the family. Typhoid fever had orphaned him. World War One caused him to lose contact with his dad. There were no cell phones, satellite communication, or faxes. Mail service was unreliable!
He came to America after the war at the age of twelve to meet his father for the first time. But the war had not left him unscathed. Poor nutrition had destroyed his immune system, and he contracted tuberculosis. They removed a lung! Recovery took years!
He learned to make jewelry as therapy—it was the only work his body could handle. He started by fixing and making jewelry from home. But he worked hard and became successful. He was one of the first to make handmade silver name necklaces and 14kt monograms. He opened his first store in 1933 in New York. He wound up with three. He would often enjoy getting back to the workbench to fix an item himself after hours or correct an error that one of the jewelers made, for the quality of his merchandise was everything.
He would tell me that he’s making something that would be a part of his customer’s family for years. This artifact, crafted with his own hands, would be passed down from generation to generation. We all have something treasured from Mom, Dad or Grandma.
In making this particular piece of jewelry, he told me that we were becoming a part of that family too. I now have his jewelry tools! I still use them! And every once in a while, after hours, I’ll sit at my workbench and look over the day’s production. Sometimes I’ll fix a piece, or touch up an imperfection. I still hear the lessons he taught me:
“Keep your word, it’s the most important possession you have.”
At HanaLaura, the quality of our craftsmanship is our signature.
It’s who we are!
“Hey pop, how are we doing?”