Started Out Friends

By Dawn and Mark Stene

Dawn Chun, a Clinical Laboratory Scientist, and Mark Stene, a graduate student

and former classmate, posed for an engagement snapshot.


By chance Dawn-from Honolulu and myself-from coastal California met as postgraduate classmates at the UCLA Center for the Health Sciences.


As I frustratingly recall, Dawn was always cloistered talking to the other Hawaiians-Tracey and Sandra. After the program, Dawn worked day-shift and I worked swing-shift as UCLA Clinical Chemists. So we would “run into each other” meeting in the lab-doorway at change of shift. Dawn however always seemed rushing off . “Mark wasn’t interested in marriage, this was well known! So why bother with him?” Dawn later admitted. After a while, it was clear I met someone whom I admired greatly. Wanting to do things “my way” and being in graduate school, I really preferred to defer additonal commitments. Then one idyllic Westwood afternoon, the sky was clear, there was little breeze and it was comfortably warm. And sudddenly, there we were! Alone together. Crossing paths to and fro to UCLA, isolated in this large space of empty tennis courts and “Lot 9”. In that spontaenous moment, I received the most amazing heartfelt-smile.

So meet the family in Honolulu. Dawn having five younger brothers, residing at home, made for an immediate “Baptism by 3ON3 BBall”. Chris, Joe, Andrew, Tom and Greg-as I quickly discovered were all “Gym Rat”-quality players. But the would be “haole” brother-in-law could play. Nice meeting the parents Lillian, St. Louis University trained librarian, homemaker and NBA expert and Larry-University of Oregon graduate, Korean War Veteran and Forensic Accountant. Lillian didn’t show her cards early. Larry, having served military-top brass is a straight shooter and so I immediately received my bunking orders. Roger That! Dawn fortunately has a large extended family residing nearby-many uncles, aunts, cousins and two wonderful grandmothers or Popos-Pearl Chun and Kam Moi Watt. Both Popos have, as a focus, homes filled with pictures of family and especially those of the many grandchildren. Popo Chun-gracious and highly respected and Popo Watt-tough, sharp and highly respected. Our debut-a Catonese banquet consisted of many wonderful courses, lots of loud-chatter and with kids figiting if not running around unabated.



Bridal Party at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Westwood California. Bridesmaids Tracey Allen (Far Left) and Sandra Bovey (Far Right) and her daughter Tania.



Wedding reception attendees enjoyed Schezwan and an amusing slide show.


Being raised Catholic we married at nearby St. Paul’s (Westwood, CA) with Father Edward Wrobleski presiding. The ceremony consisted only of family and close friends. Father Ed read from the Velveteen Rabbit “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp-edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand”.

As pictured above, Dawn’s Bridesmaids were fellow classmates Tracey Allen and Sandra Bovey. Mark was especially glad to have his brilliant and gentleman older brother Victor Stene as best man. A reception followed at Plum West with about seventy family and friends from the coastal California town of Watsonville, Honolulu and UCLA-including Dr. and Mrs. Alistair Cochran. Dr. Cochran being Mark’s mentor at UCLA. The food was remarkable, this family restaurant honored us with their service and tasty Schezwan dishes enjoyed by all whether by fork or chopstick. With many toasts-and kisses, laughter and applause the couple shared snapshots from childhood and courtship.



Heading to LAX in Dawn’s car.


Dawn and Mark Honeymooned at Fiesta Americana-Cancun enjoying the mexican carribbean including visits to the Mayan Temples of Chichen Itza and Tulum. They live nearby UCLA in Westwood.

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