September 19, 2001
I am new to your website
and it feels so good to see the local goodies, fabrics and stories.
I found you inadvertantly
by going to Sounds of Hawaii at Great America on the 8th. After
being there I had this overwhelming feeling of missing all things
Hawaiian, especially the people. Just listening to them talk
brought me pure joy!
My sister and I had
gone to the Aloha Festival in Hermosa Beach just the month before
and the people, flowers (someone had made and was selling plumeria
leis) and food just made me homesick for a land that is not native
to me but is so ingrained in my heart and soul it hurts sometimes.
After going to Sounds
of Hawaii I searched the Web for anything Hawaiian around me.
Through a link I spotted your site and marked it as a favorite.
Searching others and getting my fix was kind of the end of it
for a few days.
Anyhow the purpose of
my email is to tell you I just read the stories on your website
and they were wonderful.
I am from the bay area,
born in Oakland, raised in Alameda and now in Hayward. My first
trip to the Islands was Thanksgiving 1978. My mother, father,
sister and I spent what was to be a week between Oahu, Kauai
and the Big Island. You know the tourists, they have to see it
all cause they'll probably never go back.
By my third day I was
in love with all that Hawaii is. I did my trip with the family
and from Hilo called my boss and asked for another week off.
I put them on the plane and stayed another week in Waikiki by
myself . Had I known then what I know now Waikiki would have
been the last place I stayed.
Anyhow, to make a long
story a bit shorter I moved over in June of 79. I made arrangements
to stay at the YWCA on Wilder and Punahou until I could find
a job and place to live. The job came within a few days and I
ended up living next door to the Y at Punahou Gardens. I remember
thinking on the plane over there I really wanted a view if at
all possible. My irish luck was with me cause I got a 12th floor
studio with nothing between me and Diamond Head but air. Many
days I sat at my table writing letters to my friends and family
describing the rainbows in front of me and the clouds that always
seemed to loom over the Makiki area mountains. Honolulu City
Lights was a new song and I heard it repeatedly as I looked out
at exactly that in the evenings. I was in heaven.
I don't know that I
have ever been happier living in a place. The flowers, the food,
the people were all there just for me it seemed. I remember trying
to make sticky rice out of MJB cause I didn't know any better.
A local guy taught me the trick and I've never bought boxed rice
I lived there for just
a year because my family and long time friends were here in the
Bay Area. I was working in a local bar and knew I didn't want
to do it forever but I was spoiled working nights and having
the days to adventure off and explore my new homeland. It felt
like the right time to go when I returned.
Twenty plus years later
I still have the love for it. I go back as often as I can, usually
once a year or year and a half. I stay on the windward side now
in B and B's. Sometimes Lanikai or last time in Kaneohe. I have
found some incredible deals-- one time, not too long ago, $45
dollars with the Mokulua Islands straight out my window and Kailua
Beach a few yards away. Staying in the homes and cottages of
the locals is just the best.
My time over there now
includes a side trip to Kailua-Kona as my Godmother is living
her final years in the most loving care center near where her
daughter lives. "Cookie" settled in Kamuela 25 or 30
years ago and never looked back. She moved to Waikoloa some years
ago and her mom joined her when she could no longer care for
I look at this email
and I think, why am I telling these strangers my story? It made
me feel good to read your diaries of returning home. It made
me miss Hawaii a little bit more and when I started typing I
I am determined to nourish
my love of the island people and ways even if it means just browsing
web sites and living vicariously through them. Reading your stories
and "listening" to you talk, when the pidgin came out,
made me feel like I was at my other home.
I could smell the pikake
you described, feel the warm winds and almost taste my plate
lunch from Giovannis Shrimp truck up in Kahuku. Please forgive
me if I don't spell everything right. All those vowels have a
tendency to get lost but you know the spot I'm talking about.
I have told so many people that my most expensive meal over there
is often eaten at a picnic table in a dirt parking lot on the
side of the road, drinking local beer out of my own cooler. The
rest of my meals are at L and L's or places like it.
During this emotional,
tragic time we need to replenish the good in our hearts and that
is what I have done for the last couple of hours through your
web site. All the sadness I have been feeling the last week was
gone for a little while today.
I look forward to meeting
you folks one day.
Aloha e Leslie, I'm
so happy that you were able to connect to my stories. I don't
get alot of feedback because most people are understandably so
busy. When I wrote them, I was missing home so much that I hurt
inside. Seemed the only thing I could do was put it down in words
and share that feeling with others, a feeling of physical aching
for a place that has embraced us and will not let us go. When
I go home I have 2 mom's. One mom hugs me at the airport my other
mom wraps me up in her warm breezes and glorious mountain rains
and reminds me to never forget where I'm from and to make sure
I come back someday. Well, I've never forgotten and in fact will
take my wife and my 2 year old son back home for good...next
March. One journey is about to end..and another about to begin
as I will move home to the land where I was born as a different
person. One who will cherish every drop of rain...and every moment
We are kindred spirits and forever connected by our Hawaiian
Mother. Aloha no Sistah! Malama pono. Myles
It was nice talking
to you yesterday. All this talk has dredged up a lot of feelings
and I find myself reminiscing about my time living and working
over there and thought I would share what I thought was a funny
I started working within
a few days of arriving in Honolulu. I was doing office work at
Aloha Clutch and Brake during the day and wishing I was out playing
instead. One of the guys I worked with lived near me and when
he gave me a ride home one day he told me about this bar that
he thought I could be hired at If I wanted to work nights or
make some extra money. It was within walking distance of home
so I thought I'd check it out.
Sure enough they hired
me and I started that night. It was a Wednesday, funny how you
remember such things. It was across from the bowling alley, near
the police station at the end of Kalakaua near Beretania. It
was mainly local customers but there were a couple of Japanese
waitresses who got a lot of customers from Japan because of their
tour and taxi driver boyfriends. These women and especially the
kitchen lady had trouble with my name. She would call out the
girls names when our pupu orders were ready. They were trying
to think of a name they could use for me and I told them I had
a nickname- Red, because of my hair. Well Red wasn't any easier
so they translated that into Aka, which is Red in Japanese.
I tell you, when the
kitchen lady screamed and I do mean screamed "AKA"
to let me know an order was ready, every head turned especially
the ones from Japan. They of course had no idea why some one
would scream a color out. When they saw me, someone who looked
very different from everyone else in the building- tall and red
headed they laughed and laughed.
That job was an experience
I'll never forget! I quit my day job and became a cocktail waitress
in a bar like none at home. I'm sure you are very aware of some
of the "clubs" in Hawaii and I was very lucky to work
in a fun family style place. People would bring their children
after they bowled and I made some incredible friends. A girl
of 18 that worked there, took me- then 27, under her wing and
included me in all her big hawaiian family functions. I spent
many holidays with them and attended weddings of her sisters.
For the first time in my life I ate spam and vienna sausage with
rice, tried and liked dry cuttleffish. I still buy arare and
usually put it as a stocking stuffer for my family who had it
when they came to visit me.
Well, there I go again,
down memory lane. Thank you for opening these doors where I can
relive some of the happiest moments in my life. My sister and
I talk about moving over some day so we can live our lives in
a place that brings such joy. I'm about ready to start packing!