Alumna Sews Punahou-Inspired Masks for Classmates

Like many home sewers during the coronavirus pandemic, Lynne Gartley ’74 Meyer dusted off her sewing machine and sifted through her stash of fabric to make homemade face masks.

Working through her cherished textiles, she came across a Punahou edition block print fabric by Reyn’s from the early 2000s – still in great condition – that featured Old School Hall, the night-blooming cereus, Pauahi Hall, a water lily from the Lily Pond and the Punahou seal. Meyer stitched up a face mask prototype using the blue kettle cloth fabric and added yellow palaka trim.

“This was a one-of-a-kind mask,” Meyer realized. “The odds that this fabric would appear in other masks were quite low, if not zero. This was something special.” Who would be her one-of-a-kind wearer?

Meyer’s immediate thoughts were to her Class of 1974 classmates. Meyer has stayed connected to her Class through an active online blog that she has been publishing for more than 10 years, as well being a Reunion committee member and volunteer archivist at Punahou.

She dashed off an email and offered the special masks to classmates working on the front lines in health care. Doctors, nurses, a dentist and a pharmacist – classmates from Hawai‘i to Massachusetts – took Meyer up on her offer. So far, Meyer has sent 11 of these masks, plus a few extra buff ‘n blue masks, to classmates. And while they couldn’t replace the official Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they are required to wear on the job, many said they would either wear it over their official medical masks or off the job.

Emails from grateful classmates came flooding back, along with photos of the lucky recipients wearing their Punahou masks. “Here I am at work wearing the gorgeous Punahou mask plus my hardware store goggles and rain poncho which are serving as PPE!” wrote Rosanne Mandel ’74 Levine, a nurse practitioner in Pittsburgh. “Thank you so much again for your thoughtfulness in sending this beautiful and timely gift, and for your diligence in making all of the masks for people!”

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