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Iris Kogel (Chapman)

After graduating, I went straight off to U of Florida so I could attend college with my favorite cousin. She dropped out in November to get married and I spent the rest of the school year working on my tan. That didn't work out too well so I came back to L.I., was accepted at Adelphi Suffolk (which had just opened and was in desperate need of students), got good grades and transferred to SUNY Stony Brook. After graduating I taught Special Ed in the Centereach School District for eight years. I loved teaching, loved my students and stopped teaching only because I wanted to devote all my energy to raising my own family.

     My husband, Bob, taught English and we married in 1973. A year later my son, Michael was born and 16 months later, my son David joined us. David had asthma and wasn't able to be outdoors in the winter so when he was three we moved to Arizona. Living where there were palm trees was one of my childhood dreams so we thought Arizona was paradise....until we started missing the ocean.

     In 1987 Bob and I vacationed on Maui and we fell madly in love with it. We brought the boys out, they loved it, we found good schools and moved. Bob's business transferred easily because it was mostly on the phone (management recruiting in the hospitality industry). Hawaii had plenty of hotels and restaurants so we were able to slowly begin working in this market more than on the mainland.

     I had begun studying a Japanese form of accupressure called Jin Shin Jyutsu. When we settled on Maui I got licensed in Massage Therapy and started my own business doing Jin Shin Jyutsu. We loved Maui, we were very fortunate to find a beach house to rent for several years and it was pretty idylic until the Gulf War hit. Tourism was in trouble here, and we had no business. We moved back to the home we still owned in Arizona for four years. We rode out the recession and then moved back to Maui when friends told us another house on the beach was available to rent!! By this time Michael and David were both in college and after four more years, the beach house we were in sold and we decided it was time to stop doing the "Maui Shuffle" and buy our own home before we were priced out of the market.

     In 2001 our son, David, had an asthma attack that led to a heart attack and he passed away. The next few years were focused on grieving and healing. After three years I went to Real Estate School because it was something challenging to do and I thought I could help my husband who was recruiting and doing real estate. Little did I know that as soon as I got licensed he would pretty much retire from real estate and it would become my gig with him as helper. So I stepped out into the world of business.

     For fun, the July reunion was actually my first real fun adventure. And then business and pleasure came together in an incredible way....Tom and I worked together to find him and Patty a second home on Maui and in the process we became great friends and their home is around the corner from mine! I am so excited about that. After the reunion, Gino and I became great friends and traveling, adventuring buddies. Of course Rheva, my roommate in July and again in Las Vegas, is like my sister. I am loving emailing and getting to know and re-know other classmates and am looking forward to anyone and everyone from our class coming to Maui. My son, Mike, is a "surfer who works as a carpenter" (in his words) and lives just a few minutes away from us with his girlfriend. No grandchildren, but I'm not giving up hope. We meet a lot of people from Hollywood here, and I think Celeste should know that Al Pacino is always saying that the biggest mistake of his life was letting Celeste divorce him.

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