November 30th, 2012 / posted by paularath

“Indigo Moonrise” by Paula Rath. Now I plan to paint more – and more often.

 A traumatic injury such as a broken neck can really change one’s point of view, as well as one’s priorities. You start to look at the world in a different way. You really learn to count your blessings.

A magnificent vacation can also do that for you. So this year I had a double whammy, causing me to rethink what I really want for the next stage of my life.

My conclusion, in a word: Retirement. Yes, after 44 years of working, I am ready to retire.

It’s time for me to readjust my priorities and focus on my family, my home, my volunteer work and my art. So, effective December 31, 2012, I will join my husband in the ranks of the retirees. is not going to disappear altogether. I will write occasional blogs when I come across something irresistible. And of course the web site will be the repository for the art of Jerry Mayfield and Paula Rath.

Few readers know my professional background, so I would like to share that with you as I get ready to wind it down. It’s been a peculiar career path, but a fascinating one.

Our garden is all ready for planting. Hmmm…tomatoes, carrots, beets, cucumbers, green beans….?


My first job was with CBS News in Hong Kong from 1968 – 1971, working for Bernard  Kalb as the Bureau Manager. It was during the Vietnam War and I was really a “Girl Friday.” I did everything from buying Bernie’s cigars, baby sitting his daughters and unwrapping his blue–and-white porcelain to hand delivering mumps vaccine to our Saigon bureau and taking a camera battery to Keith Kay in Phnom Penh.

In 1971 I moved home to Honolulu and got a job with KHVH Radio as a reporter.

At KHVH Radio I met my ex-husband, Dick Graham. We married and moved across the world to Hawaii’s antipode, Mahalapye, Botswana, where we ran a tiny independent newspaper called Puisano.

We then moved to Lagos, Nigeria, where he worked for an ad agency and I freelanced for women’s magazines, writing about women’s health issues. We had visa problems and got kicked out of Nigeria when I was seven months pregnant with Duncan.

Back in the U.S.A., as a new mom, I first got a job with Dunkin’ Donuts so my schedule and Dick’s schedule at various radio stations enabled us to care for Duncan in shifts. (There weren’t too many journalism jobs in Western PA.) Later, I worked from home as a fund raiser for the Heart Association of Pennsylvania.

The marriage didn’t work very well back in the U.S.A. and I returned to Honolulu in 1977, with then 2-year-old Duncan.

My sewing machine has been lonely for quite a few years!

When Duncan and I first came home, we lived in my parents’ beach house on the North Shore. The only part-time job I could take out there was with EFNEP, a nutrition program sponsored by the U.H., going door to door teaching folks how to better feed their families.

Once we moved into town, I went to work for HMSA as a communications specialist.

I then was offered a job at the Hawaiian Regent Hotel and decided I should try the visitor industry, as it’s so important to Hawaii. Well, it wasn’t right for me.

A couple of years later, in 1980, I joined the Blood Bank of Hawaii as their first communications director.

Then a job at Straub came along; they were looking to start a Marketing & Communication department and I was just the person to head it up. I worked for them until 1988, when Jerry and I got married. Doctors were not allowed to be married to staff so one of us had to leave. Guess who?

I started my own PR firm, with Straub as an anchor client. I specialized in medical PR. I even had a side business with Leslie Wilcox, media training doctors.

In 1993, when Duncan went off to college, I went to HCC full-time in fashion design.  I still don’t know how I did that, as I was also working full-time for my clients.

In 1996, I opened my own atelier, Paula Rath Designs, in Kakaako. I also began freelancing fashion columns for The Honolulu Advertiser. Sadly, the manufacturing and marketing sides of fashion did me in after two years.

Over time, my work with The Advertiser grew and grew, until I became a full-time feature writer, mainly focusing on fashion and fitness.

In 1998 I began painting as a hobby, and a few years later started showing in galleries, which I still do.

After the newspaper shut down in 2010, I launched

This is my fashion design “Inspiration Wall,” just brimming with ideas I want to develop!


Now here I am, on the cusp of the next stage, ready to take it a bit slower.

What will I do with my days? Well, I plan to plant a vegetable garden in the back yard, where Jerry has already built a terraced area.

I want to do more natural dyeing and get back into wearable art. I want to sew more gifts for friends and family and more clothing for myself.

Irish linen and various silks just waiting for a dye bath.

I would love to paint much more – and much more often. I have signed up for a monoprint class at the Honolulu Museum of Art School where I plan to focus on fashion-themed art.

More movies will undoubtedly play a role, both on the Sundance Channel and in theatres. I adore movies!

My volunteer duties will expand. I will be working harder for Palama Settlement, where I serve on the board and am chairing two fund raisers next year. I will also help Jerry manage his watercolor classes for the keiki at Palama, as well as working to get the Palama archives digitized.

I plan to help Hifi in any way I can, especially for Hawaii Fashion Month, and I will take a two-hour shift at the Hifi Coop from 2 to 4 p.m. every Friday. Come see me there!

I will spend more time with my lovely mother, who is now 91.

We will visit Duncan and the triplets (Jerry’s grandchildren) in the Bay Area at least twice a year. And of course we will take longer vacations, perhaps even trading homes with people in places we lust after such asLondon,New YorkandSanta Fe.

And it will be such fun to be totally spontaneous with Jerry, just following our whims on where to go and what to do today.

We are so blessed and we want to appreciate all our blessings.

I want to thank you for your dedication to You have supported me and stood by me through it all and I am eternally grateful. Mahalo and aloha ‘oe.

– Paula Rath

Fabrics I have dyed that are waiting to be incorporated into paintings or wearable art. This pile is three feet tall!

What are they saying?
Leave a comment below.
Kimi Fukuda
December 1st, 2012 at 12:33 am

Congratulations on your retirement, well deserved! I’m glad to hear that you will continue your column which I enjoy very much. You keep me in the loop on what’s happening in Honolulu!

Norm Shapiro
December 1st, 2012 at 12:52 am

Paula it sounds good. But I wouldn’t call it retirement but rather the next phase of your journey.

December 2nd, 2012 at 8:55 pm

You’re so right! Who knows what’s next? Now that I’m nearly recovered, things just get better and better! So happy to see you at Five-0!

Jim Egan
December 1st, 2012 at 2:33 am

Good for you! (And Jerry.)

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December 1st, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Ιt’s amazing to visit this website and reading the views of all friends about this piece of writing, while I am also keen of getting knowledge.

Deena Tearney
December 6th, 2012 at 12:10 am

Thanks for sharing your story, you are quite an impressive woman! It sounds like you and Jerry are going to have an awesome retirement! Enjoy(..and I’ll see you around Hifi)! Much love to you both. xoxo

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