Craft Talks

Larry Callaham grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. After graduating from San Gabriel High School he attended Cal State L.A. majoring in Music Education with a minor in English. The summer after finishing college, he went on a cultural exchange trip to Japan. That was an eye opening, life changing adventure. He knew he wanted to teach and spent a final year getting his credential.

Larry went to work at Rosemead High School in 1970 as a music teacher. Music is different from other subjects as there is no set curriculum. Instead, skills are taught and appreciation is learned through performances such as concerts, festivals, chorus tours and Broadway Shows. All this means extra practice, and it is not unusual for a Music Teacher to put in 14-hour days. As a husband and a father of three young children, Larry decided to step aside from the performing arts and teach English full time so he could devote more time to his family.

In the early 90’s Larry had the opportunity to open a new school: South El Monte High School. It was created as a Career Path School connecting what students learn to what they will do for the rest of their lives. Five years later he was back at Rosemead High as a Guidance Counselor. He eventually became Principal at Rosemead and is very proud of his accomplishments in that position. Larry retired in 1990 and now devotes his time to hiking, gardening, music and travel. He works with the School Accreditation Commission, is a docent at the Huntington Library, and is the new Vocational Service Coordinator for the Arcadia Rotary Club.

Swati Puri began her craft talk informing us that she will be moving shortly to Seattle, Washington, to be with her new husband of 6 months. She is sorry to be leaving, but has enjoyed her time with the club. Swati is the Senior Director and Regional Consultant for Business Network International. She used the talk to tell us about her Indian Wedding. They had a wedding at a temple in Walnut but returned to India for the traditional 10-day ceremony. Initially her arms and legs were decorated with very ornate patterns using henna paste, which could be removed later. This process took 4 hours. On the third day of festival there were performances and singing and dancing. The dancing went on until two A.M. On the fourth day a yellow paste was applied to her body. This is an old tradition, used many years before current lotions and creams were available, to make the skin and body beautiful. Next was the bangle ceremony. Bangles are put on the wrist by aunts and uncles and are worn for 6 months to show you are a newly wed. On her wedding day Swati wore a traditional outfit with a long shirt and pants. At the ceremony they were blessed by the “Teachings of God” and took four vows to serve God. Swati wore another outfit at the reception and again they danced until dawn. It was quite an event.