Kupuna Life: Kaimuki’s Wonder Woman celebrates 100

Kupuna Life

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A birthday celebration caused a lot of commotion in Kaimuki.

KHON decided to get to know the Wonder Woman holding the court.

“So many people have come past,” said Esther Nowell, who turned 100-years-old.

It was a two-hour drive-by birthday celebration.

[RELATED: Oahu woman turns 100, shares secret to long life]

“This is better than a real party,” Nowell laughed. “I’m a hundred years old and I can’t believe that but I guess it’s true.”

Born at the start of the Roaring Twenties, this Roosevelt graduate became an accomplished artist and decades-long art teacher for City Parks at Ala Wai and at the Hawaii Potters Guild – three to four classes a week before the lockdown.

“I’ve known Esther since ’94, and she’s one of our most favorite teachers,” said Hawaii Potters Guild President Sidney Lynch. “Her classes — people just get on the waiting list and they want to come back every session because the stuff she makes is so much fun.”

“I don’t think it’s a gift,” said Nowell. “I think it’s something everybody has if they just want to develop it. To me it’s been important and I work on it but I don’t consider it work, it’s play. “

And that play imparts joy on the beholder.

“Everything I look at, I’m thinking how this relates to that and color, shape, and I always always have a sketchbook with me.”

Even as she travels the world, her sketchbook is her photo album of adventures into cultures; from Africa to Mexico and just about everywhere in between, even capturing the essence of waiting at the airport.

“My number one was the Taj Mahal,” Nowell said. “You can see pictures of it, but there’s nothing like being there it’s really, really beautiful. I enjoyed that.”

Esther is healthy and doesn’t take any medications, so she’s raring to go again. She just won’t be driving there.

“I had to give up driving a couple of months ago and I really miss that.”

As for the lockdown, she says it hasn’t affected her much.

“I miss having my classes but I’m very good at amusing myself. I love to read, I love to garden and I can do a lot of my artwork at home too.”

Now knowing Esther, it’s no surprise this wonder of a woman happily donned a Wonder Woman costume on her birthday.

“I’m glad I made it this far. I don’t know how it happened,” she laughed.

Oh, but she does.

Yoga, yogurt, good genes, and no tight shows, Nowell said.


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