Remembering the Past . . .
By Jeffrey Agader
Written in June 1985
For the Author's Children
|Jeff Agader & his mother, Helen Saiki Agader
|Photo : Jeffrey Agader
Jeffrey Agader is a 1959 graduate
of the old Hanama`ulu School.
When not working
at the State Judiciary, he helps run
A CPA and former marathon runner,
he resides in Mililani, Hawai`i.
|Jeff's Dad, Francisco, in Sept. 2001 at age 93
|Photo : Karen Agader Pescador
HANAMA`ULU is approximately two miles east of the Kaua`i County seat of Lihue. It was a small plantation community, consisting
of several neighborhoods called camps, typical of the communities that dotted the island of Kaua`i in the 1950's.
THE PLANTATION STORE
The store was a small wooden structure. The oiled floors gave it a distinct odor. I remember the butcher counter in the
rear where we would watch the beef being ground into hamburger, the bottled sodas that sold for a nickel, the freezer containing
the ice cream and popsicle, and the glass display cases on the right containing various sundry items. This is where Mom would
shop for household supplies and groceries and charge them to Dad's plantation bango number 3140.
The store manager was Joe Ferreira, whose son Stephen was a year younger than me. Before Joe Ferreira, the manager was
Antone Nobriga. The kids in the camp thought Stephen was fortunate to have a dad who didn't have to work outdoors. Our dad
and most of the people we knew worked outdoors in the sugar fields. Joe Ferreira was one of just a few who worked in-doors
away from the hot scorching sun.
A small post office occupied the left-side of the store. Joe Ferreira was the postman too. Everyday, he would sort the
mail and put them in the mail boxes. As soon as we were old enough to memorize our postal box
combination number, our job was to pick up the mail as we walked home from school. Unlike the postal boxes of today, most
of the boxes had windows so you could see if you had mail. Our box number was 272.
Joe Ferreira was envied. His job seemed easy, but probably wasn't, and besides, he was always nicely dressed in a white
shirt and tie. I vowed that I would have a good job like him some day.
THE BARBER SHOP
The barber shop was run by an elderly Japanese gentleman whom we kids only knew as Yaka. The shop had a candy-striped
cylinders outside the entrance.
Yaka's was a nice place to hangout. There was always a stack of old comics and magazines for customers. Yaka was friendly
and treated us kids well. I recall his stories about a son who was a jockey (horses) in California. He proudly showed us pictures
of that son winning races.
My brother Milton and I didn't go to Yaka for haircuts until high school because Dad had his "town mates" from
the Philippines, Resureccion Sanchez and Juan Javonillo, cut our hair. When we eventually went to Yaka, it was "big-time"
for us, but Mom never liked it because she thought our hair was cut too short.
Yaka always left his side window open so people walking by could stick their heads in and talk story with him. Kids would
also ride up to the window, reach in and grab some comics, and just sit on their bicycles and read. Yaka didn't mind, he enjoyed
Editor's Note: Sojo was the barber's given name.
The K-8 school was small, built in the shape of a "U" with a flag pole in the middle of the open courtyard.
Enrollment was only 104 during my eighth-grade year in 1959. Everybody in Hanama`ulu attended the school or Immaculate Conception
School in Lihue. Most of the kids we knew went to Hanama`ulu School.
We loved to go to school early to play and talk story. Play was mostly running barefoot playing a game we called "master."
At the first bell, everyone had to stop to pick up rubbish. Then at the second bell, the entire school was required to stand
at attention in formation grouped by grades as the flag was raised, a bugle played, and the Pledge of Allegiance recited.
At the end of the school day, we would go through the same ritual of picking up rubbish and standing in formation as the
flag was lowered. Then those on cleanup duty swept the classrooms, emptied the trash, wiped the chalk boards, and cleaned
the chalk erasers.
|Hanama`ulu School lunch tokens circa 1920s.
|Photo : Karl Lo
The cafeteria was staffed by Mrs. Jerves, the manager, and another lady whose name I can't remember. Sometimes Mrs. Marques,
the janitor, would help out. The rest of the crew consisted of students. I recall dreading cafeteria duty -- peeling onions,
washing pots and pans, and mopping floors. It was hard work.
|Hanama`ulu School | 1925
|Photo : Kauai Historical Society
Because enrollment was so low, grades were grouped. The third and fourth graders were grouped in a single classroom . . .
so were the fifth and sixth graders, and the seventh and eighth graders. Maybe this is why the kids in Hanama`ulu were always
a close-knit bunch.
The teachers were great, mostly young, probably in their 20s and just out of college. Several lived in cottages on campus
so it wasn't unusual to see them after school, on weekends, and during the holidays. Two teachers, Art Fung and Albert Nagata,
would drive us to the Library in Lihue and also take us on weekend hiking trips and camping outings. All of the teachers were
like "family" -- so different from today.
A BLEND OF CULTURES
Our family always seemed a bit different from other families because Dad was from the Philippines and Mom was a Nisei
-- a second generation Japanese. Interracial marriages were not common in those days. Mom said she first saw Dad when she
accompanied a friend who was selling liquor to the single men in the camp. She later met Dad at a carnival, saw each other
for a while, then eloped to get married.
We only knew one other kid of mixed nationality, Clyde Iloreta. Like Dad and Mom, Clyde's father was from the Philippines
and his Mom was Nisei. We spent many hours at Clyde's house reading comics, looking at baseball and football cards, shooting
hoops, and listening to major league baseball over the radio. Clyde always had a lot of comics and toys.
Unlike most households in the camp, English was the only language spoken at home. Mom never learned Ilocano. Dad never
learned Japanese. Both probably felt that English was more important for us kids. Looking back, it would have been great if
we had learned both languages.
Mom and Dad adjusted to each other's culture. Mom learned about Filipino foods. Dad learned certain Japanese customs.
They always taught us to be proud of both cultures. It wasn't until many years later that we began to meet other people from
BEHIND THE GAS STATION
When you worked on a plantation, you had no choice of living quarters. Housing was owned by the plantation and seemed
to be assigned based on race and job status. Filipinos seemed to have the worst housing. On the other hand, the Portuguese
families seemed to be grouped in newer and bigger homes, which sometimes overlooked the rest of the community, probably because
they held the better jobs -- luna or bosses. The Japanese were few, but their housing seemed to be better than those assigned
to the Filipinos.
Many years later, at a sociology class at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I learned that housing was segregated because
the plantations wanted to "control" the workers. They believed that the workforce could be more productive if kept
Our first house was located behind a gas station. It was on a border that separated the Filipino and Portuguese camps.
It was a typical plantation-style home with an outdoor toilet and porches in the front and back. The house was old and unfurnished,
except for a radio. Rent was $14.25 a month. Before moving in, Dad agreed to pay $50 to the previous tenant for a recently
built room addition.
Our neighbor to the right was the Jerves family. Mr. Jerves was a mechanic for the plantation. Mrs. Jerves was the school's
cafeteria manager. The Jerveses had three children -- Wayne, Russell, and Mary Ellen. They were about the same age as Karen,
Milton, and me but we hardly knew them. When people are segregated, there are few opportunities for interaction, even among
the children. We attended different schools -- we went to Hanama`ulu School; the Jerves kids attended Immaculate Conception
School in Lihue, where the students were predominantly Portuguese. It was only years later that we got to know and talk with
the Jerves kids, but only occasionally.
Lorenzo Comilang and his three children -- Teofilo, Simproso, and Teresa -- were the neighbors to our left. Like all other
Filipino immigrant workers, Mr. Comilang was a laborer for the plantation. His younger son, Simproso, nicknamed Simin, was
a few years older than us. Simin had a reputation for being a "lady's man." He was tall, handsome, and he could
sing all the popular songs of the time. We went to his house often to read his "Hit-Parade" magazines and to hear
him sing. We always thought Simin would become a professional entertainer.
There was a dirt road fronting our house and fields of sugar cane in the back. We spent countless hours on the front road.
It was our playground. It was also the road we walked to and from school. Along that road lived all the people we grew up
with -- Tomacder, Cadawas, Valmoja, Baldemor, Sarita, Alayvilla, Quel, and Cruzada. The houses were built close together,
all with front porches so we always saw the neighbors.
We lived in the house behind the gas station from 1941 to 1955.
|Northeast Hanama`ulu & the ocean seen from Kalepa
|Photo : Karl Lo | August 4, 2004
Living on a plantation was OK for us kids. There was always something to do.
We'd sit for hours in front of the store, counting the cars going by to see whether there were more Chevys, Fords, Plymouths,
or Dodges. Everybody wanted to pick Chevys so we'd always argue. No one wanted the Plymouths and Dodges. The Chevys always
Kalepa, the small mountain overlooking Hanama`ulu, was a popular playground. One day it was a fort; the next day, a World
War II battleground. Another day, it was an African jungle. Kalepa was covered with ironwood trees and lantana brush. From
the top, you could see all of Hanama`ulu, including the bay where "Donovan's Reef," starring John Wayne, was filmed.
When Milton and Karen were attending college in Colorado, I used to climb to the top to think and reflect. Today, it always
makes me feel relaxed to imagine myself sitting on the top of Kalepa looking down at Hanama`ulu and the ocean.
Our daily chores revolved around tending the vegetable garden, mowing the lawn, and caring for a few pigs and a cow.
Dad was good at gardening. We planted tarong (eggplant), lima bean, paria (bittermelon), otong (long beans), maronggay
(horse-radish tree for its leaves and fruits), katuday (a tree with white flowers), pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, tomato,
lettuce, head cabbage, won bok, bell pepper, green onion, broccoli, and chili pepper. The garden was a never-ending chore
of planting, weeding, and watering. It wasn't always fun, but it felt good to watch the seedlings grow into healthy plants.
Growing vegetables was almost a necessity. The store in Hanama`ulu sold only round onions, potatoes, and carrots. The
only other place where we could buy vegetables was from an old Japanese man who peddled his vegetables from a truck. Once
a week, he would drive through the camps, tooting his horn and stopping every few hundred yards. The adults joked that the
peddler's vegetables always looked so good because he used manure for fertilizer. Mom purchased from the peddler only when
it was a necessity. We usually grew whatever we needed.
LEARNING TO GOLF
My first exposure to golf was from watching Stephen Ferreira's older brother. He showed up at the park one afternoon to
hit balls. A bunch of us kids gathered to watch in amazement. Ball after ball, Stephen's brother hit it so far it seemed unbelievable.
Up to that time, the farthest we saw anyone hit a ball was Paul Carvalho. Paul played softball in the plantation league and
he would consistently hit balls nearly out of the park. But Stephen's brother easily hit the golf ball twice as far, out of
the park and into the cane fields that bordered the east-side of the park.
Later, when I was 10, a plantation carpenter, Kazu Iwasaki, got us interested in caddying at the Wailua Golf Club. It
was fun and the pay was good too. We would hitch hike to the course on weekends, caddy for 18 holes, then hitch hike back
home. The pay was $1.75, enough to pay for movie tickets at the theater in Lihue.
The local pro was Toyo Shirai. Before him, the pro was the legendary Guinea Kop. When the course was not busy, Shirai
would give the caddies golf lessons. He also sponsored tournaments and putting contests for us kids. I won the under 12 tournament
in 1956 by shooting a 52 and 61 for 18 holes. The kids in Hanama`ulu used to make fun of us. Golf at that time was known
as a rich man's sport as well as a "sissy" sport.
In 1958, we had a new teacher at school, Albert Nagata. He was new to Kauai. When he learned that I played golf, he asked
if I would play with him after school. I recall playing with him once or twice at Wailua. I can't remember if I beat him.
At age 14, I stopped paying, not by choice. It was time to work at a real summer job, in the pineapple and sugar cane
Editor's Note: Jimmy, who in 1955 at 17 was Kaua`i Junior Chamber of Commerce golf champ for the fourth straight year, is
Stephen's older brother.
All the kids in Hanama`ulu worked during the summers. The boys picked pineapples or worked in the sugar fields, while
the girls toiled in the pineapple cannery in Kapaa as trimmers or canners. I "lucked-out" at age 16 when I got my
first indoor job, working as a janitor and stock-clerk for the Kress store in Lihue.
FISHING WITH DAD
Dad enjoyed fishing, and he would take us often. Sometimes to catch mullet in the fresh water ponds above Wailua. Most
of the time to lay small opae (fresh water shrimp) nets at night in the Hanama`ulu River.
When fishing for opae, we'd lay more than a dozen round nets about 25 yards apart. Each net would be attached to a long
wooden pole that would be used to lift the net out of the water. The bait was a paste-like mixture of water, flour, and middling
that was placed on a heavy stone in the center of the net. My job was to hold the supply of bait and shine the flashlight
as Dad and Milton lifted the nets out of the water and removed the opae. When our bucket was about a third full, we'd call
it quits. Dad enjoyed eating the opae raw, flavored with lemon juice. I could eat it only if it was fried.
Dad also liked to fish in the mountain streams behind Kalepa. Once he took us fishing in the stream below the Wailua Falls.
He brought along salt, tomatoes, and rice, and we cooked what we caught. As with other fishing outings, he brought along a
cane knife that day. I remember asking him what the knife was for, and his reply was "to chase the ghosts away."
I believed him.
We also fished for blue gill in the small reservoir behind Kalepa. We used worms or bread for bait. I preferred bread
because I could never comfortably put the hook through the live worms. We usually stayed for hours just to catch a few fish.
Mom would fry the catch for dinner. We liked them fried crispy brown. That way, we could eat the bones too.
Just about every kid in Hanama`ulu eventually owned a pocket knife, with at least four blades -- a large blade, a small
blade, a blade for digging, and a bottle opener.
The knives were handy for all sorts of things. We'd cut branches from the hao tree to carve small toy canoes. The bark
from the long skinny branches would be braided into long whips. We carved wooden propellers, made holes through the middle,
then attached the propellers with nails.
We used the knives to cut sugar cane stalks to chew, and sucked the sweet cane juice. We also used it to fashion arrows
from the cane tassels, bows from bamboo, and quivers from cardboard. We made slingshots from guava branches, horns from young
coconut leaves, pea-shooters from clothes pins, blow-shooters from papaya stems, miniature tractors from thread spools, rubber
guns from scrap lumber and old tire tubes, whips from hau bark, and swords from branches of panax hedges.
In retrospect, the pocket knife helped in ways that I only comprehended later in life. I now realize that using the knife
to make toys required planning, organization, and an abundance of patience. The things we made as kids often took days and
weeks to build. And once made, it wasn't easily discarded or ignored as is often done with today's toys. Today, when Kern
and Dana want something, they buy it from a store. It involves a different kind of planning. I'm not sure it involves organization,
but it does provide them instant gratification. So different from our Hanama`ulu days.
CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR
The year-end holidays in the 1950s were different than today because of the serenading. People would visit unannounced
and sing Christmas carols. We'd gather on the porch to listen, and Mom would give the serenaders money or food. When we were
older, we formed our own group, accompanied by Peter Adolfo, the school custodian. Peter looked pure Hawaiian to us kids,
but with a name like Adolfo, he probably wasn't. Peter could sing and play the ukulele. Serenading with Peter was fun. I think
we kids did it for the money, not the food. And no matter how badly we sang, people seemed to enjoy being serenaded.
Christmas was also different because of the annual Christmas play put on by the school. It was a big production with props,
costumes, music, and makeup. Those who couldn't act were assigned to the chorus. I usually was in the chorus, but one year
I managed the stage -- props and lighting. The play was always the big Christmas event for Hanama`ulu. We'd begin to rehearse
and get the sets and props ready in October. Alice Wedemeyer, the school principal, was the producer, director, and musical
conductor. I can still picture her pounding the piano during rehearsals and getting frustrated with us for singing off-key.
Most of us disliked the rehearsals, and we could never understand the educational value of spending so much time on the play.
But Mrs. Wedemeyer did teach us to take pride in whatever we did.
Midnight church services were a regular ritual for us on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, we opened presents together.
We got the usual toys -- trucks and guns for Milton and me, and dolls for Karen. Several weeks before Christmas, Mom would
give us money to shop by ourselves for presents for her and Dad. We usually bought cigarettes for Dad, and handkerchiefs,
towels, and pillowcases for Mom. Mom and Dad would always tell us the presents were just what they wanted and needed -- it
always made us feel good. When we were very young, we bought the presents from the store in Hanama`ulu. As we got older, I
recall shopping for gifts at Kress and Kawakami Store in Lihue. We always shopped together to buy presents for Mom and Dad.
New Year's Eve was noisy and bright. There were no restrictions on fireworks. Roman candles and flash bombs were prevalent.
Cherry bombs were also available, but only the adults and older kids used them. The young kids played with the smaller firecrackers,
lighting them one at a time to make them last past midnight. Some of our Filipino neighbors had their own way of making noise
-- they made cannons out of large bamboo and used kerosesne as fuel. It was fun time for everyone, with neighbors and friends
exchanging food and hospitality.
When the celebration was over, the kids would salvage the powder from unexploded firecrackers to make homemade explosives.
We'd insert a fuse at the bottom a flash bomb container, pour enough powder to cover the fuse, and pack the container tightly
with newspaper. Then the bravest kid would light the fuse while the rest of us hid. Surprisingly, nobody ever got hurt.
Growing up in Hanama`ulu meant going to church on Sundays and attending weekly religious education classes.
Our family regularly attended church services at the Immaculate Conception Church in Kapaia, although Dad rarely attended.
Mom said that Dad was uncomfortable because he felt that many people went to church to see who was there and how they dressed.
We always had an altar at home. I recall several times when our family prayed together at the altar -- it could have been
when Mom had insomnia or when Dad was staying out late playing cards.
Mom and Dad taught us to pray before going to bed at
night. Sometimes we'd also go to confession on a
Saturday afternoon, then receive communion the next
morning. After Sunday mass, Mom would make us
pancakes for breakfast. I also recall walking home from Church, and our shoes would get dirty when it rained because
there were no sidewalks.
The games we played were simple. We learned from the older kids and passed them on to the younger ones.
We played the usual army games. One side was the Germans and Japanese while the other side was the Americans. The rifles
were handmade and wooden. The bullets were large rubber bands made from old tire tubes.
We learned hopscotch from the girls. The lines would be drawn on the dirt road fronting our house. Karen and her friends
Nina Cadawas and Remy Alayvilla always won.
The girls taught us jacks. The best player was Nina Cadawas.
Marbles were very popular. The best known games was ring. A large ring would be drawn on the dirt. Players would wager
a designated amount, usually three marbles. The marbles would be grouped in the center of the ring. Players took turns shooting
from behind the ring, and they got to keep the marbles they managed to shoot out of the ring.
Other marble games were fish and holes. In fish, a fish was drawn in the dirt and marbles would be placed within the fish.
Players would take turns shooting the marbles out of the fish from behind a designated line. In holes, a series of holes were
dug in the dirt. The object was to shoot your marble into the holes in a designated sequence.
One game that took hours to play was Throw-the-Can. A can would be thrown as far as possible, and while a player was retrieving
the can, the others would hide. The player retrieving the can would place the can in an open area, and while guarding the
can, search for the others. If he located a person hiding, he'd have to run back to the can and touch it before the other
player did. If the player hiding was able to touch the can first, he would throw the can and the game would continue.
Our house behind the gas station had an outdoor toilet, which was a small wooden shed located away from our back porch.
The shed was dark and musty, and full of spiders and lizards. I remember using matches to burn the cobwebs. The toilet seat
was a bench with a round hole in the middle. I can't remember if we had toilet paper. I do know that there was always a stack
of old magazines or newspapers nearby. Once or twice a day, the plantation would divert water from the irrigation ditches
to flush the waste away...I'm not sure to where, perhaps into the river near Hanama`ulu Bay. In 1955, we moved to a Punchbowl
house on the slopes of Kalepa that had an indoor toilet. The house was formerly occupied by the Travaso family, headed by
Joe Travaso who was the plantation camp police.
Our water heater at the Punchbowl house was made by one of Dad's friends, who was a welder. It consisted of metal cylinders
welded at right-angles to each other. The horizontal cylinder held the firewood, the base of the vertical cylinder stored
the water, and another interior vertical cylinder served as the smoke stack. The heater was near our back porch adjacent to
a bath house which also served as a laundry room. Firewood was from fallen ironwood trees on Kalepa. We'd gather the dead
trees, drag them to our back yard, and saw and split them with an axe into the proper size. We used old rags dipped in a flammable
solvent (probably discarded diesel oil) to start the fire. The water would be steaming hot in less than thirty minutes.
Copyright 2004/2005. Jeffrey Agader. All Rights Reserved.
REMEMBERING HANAMA`ULU :
A CHRISTMAS STORY
By Darlene Saclot Nazarino
With Catherine Pascual Lo
DARLENE SACLOT NAZARINO has been blessed with many hats in her 50 years of life -- mother to a daughter and to a son, grandmother
to one girl and one boy, office worker, administrator, sales technician, special education teacher's assistant, personal care
aide in private homecare nursing, painter worker for 10 years at Pearl Harbor Navy Shipyard, church and community volunteer,
Daughter Darlani, an elementary school therapist/counselor, is married to Lance-Ray Gaspar of the Honolulu Fire Department
and they have a daughter, Logan-Ray. Son Darwin, the father of a two-year-old son, is a special education teacher and a football
coach at Waipahu High School. Active at St. Patrick's Church in Kaimuki, both Darlani and Darwin represented St. Patrick's
Youth and attended World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado, in August 1993, and had the opportunity to see Pope John Paul II.
Darlene and her husband Peter, an insulator at Pearl Harbor Navy Shipyard, have called Waipahu home for four years, after
residing in Kaimuki for over 20 years.
CLARITA'S CHRISTMAS GIFT
Unlike others in the neighborhood, my family did not have a Christmas tree, and we were sad. My girlfriend Clarita said
there were lots of trees on the mountain above our house, and she had what seemed like a great idea. So we planned to hike
up the mountain, through the cane field flumes that would guide us up to the heights. We could see the pine trees from the
front window of our house.
Clarita and I were determined to get a Christmas tree for my family, and we planned to carry out our adventure on a weekend.
Dad was working overseas, and Mom worked at Kauai Surf as a hostess, but money was in short supply because Mom and Dad just
bought our new house, new car, furnishings, etc. Even food was hard to come by . . . Sometimes we charged our food at the
plantation store. No bus money either, so we walked to Wilcox Elementary School in Lihue.
That fateful December day in 1964, my sister, brothers, and I did our chores and asked Aunt Melinda permission for me
to hike with Clarita to the mountain to get a Christmas tree. Aunty asked how I knew that was not private property. It seemed
to me that past the cane fields the mountain belonged to all of Hanama'ulu, meaning all of us in the community. That's what
I told my aunt.
My siblings were excited to have a tree. When Clarita and I started on our journey, they were looking for things around
the house with which to create ornaments -- tin pie pans, newspapers, old magazines and Aunty's typing papers!
Before Clarita and I started out, Aunty found Dad's binoculars; she wanted to watch us from the front window. I told her
I would wave to her when we reached the clearing to let her know we were safe, and she was to wave back. When we reached
the top, we used a white rag to mark the spot.
I was so excited seeing those Hawaiian pine Christmas trees! Clarita wanted to know what size to get for our house.
We had soooo much fun trying to decide! I said we couldn't have a big one because we didn't have Christmas ornaments, that
we were making our own. Clarita found a small one. Thirteen-years-old, she was already 5' tall; I was barely her height at
54 lbs. I was 10-years-old.
Looking back, I still can see Clarita's beautiful smile; she was just so happy for me. I wish now that I had a camera
then. We happily dragged the pine tree down the mountain. I could see my family jumping up and down and waving. I remember
we started out early that morning, and we returned home just before dinner time. We all hugged Clarita, gave her kisses; she
had to go home before dinner. We all wore big smiles as we rinsed off the tree, which Aunty put in a big pot in the front
of the house to drip dry. We planned to bring it in after dinner.
OFFICER BAKIANO KNOCKS ON OUR DOOR
When we were about to have dinner, a police car drove by, and then stopped in front of our house. We looked out the window
and saw Mr. Bakiano, the police officer. My Aunt just moved in with us and she asked how I knew him. I told her I saw him
in church with his family every Sunday and that Mrs. Bakiano asked me to join the Girls' Sodality.
Mr. Bakiano came to the door; we greeted him. He asked where we got the tree. I pointed to the mountain. He said there
was a complaint that two people were up there. They could see us. Officer Bakiano said we were trespassing on private property.
He asked to speak to an adult. My Aunty was the acting adult at 9th grade, attending Kauai High School. He asked who the
other girl was. I asked him what would happen if I told him her name. He said we could go to jail for trespassing. I explained
to Mr. Bakiano what I told my Aunt about the mountain belonging to the community, and that we trespassed only through the
sugar cane field. Officer Bakiano wanted to know who was with me, but I would not tell him. I said I did not want her to
get into trouble, that her Dad would beat her up if she gets in trouble. I told Officer Bakiano that I would do confession
and tell the priest only. After all, my friend was just helping because we were sad, we had no money, no Christmas tree and
no presents. The tree was our present.
Of course, we were all afraid. Mr. Bakiano asked how come when he passed by on his rounds in the community he never saw
any adult. Aunty explained that her sister worked nights and slept during the day, and that she moved to Kauai to help her
sister out and to take care of us kids. Officer Bakiano said he would let us go this time, but we need to tell Mom what we
A SURPRISE FOR MOM
We were afraid to tell Mom, but we hurriedly ate our dinner and decorated the tree to surprise her when she came home
from work. We waited for Sunday morning, walked to church, and prayed a lot, hoping we don't get the belt, especially me,
since I was the second eldest. I did not know that getting a tree from the mountain was stealing, as the officer put it.
Awe! Mom was so angry and so ashamed! We shared that with the officer. Mr. & Mrs.Bakiano later came to our house,
but not with the police car. To our surprise, they brought us some ornaments and met Mom. Somehow they got Mom involved
with 4-H Club.
A STAR COMPLETES THE CHRISTMAS TREE
Waiting for Monday morning was like eternity! I was eager to tell Clarita about Officer Bakiano's visit on Saturday evening!
She was relieved to hear the happy ending, and continuing her mission of mercy, she told me to go to her house when I had
a chance so her father could teach me how to make a star lantern, a Filipino Christmas tradition. We had fun making the star,
and my joy was complete when Clarita's Dad said the star was for our Christmas tree! He also gave some lites for the tree.
Oh, what joy that star brought! It made our tree complete! A ten-year-old could not have asked for anything more for Christmas!
My family was so proud of the Christmas tree that we invited the neighborhood kids to our house to share our tree. They
invited us in return to share their homes and Christmas trees. We were in awe, but we loved our simple tree with the decorations
made with our hands, hearts, Christmas spirit, and dreams.
OUR NEIGHBORS' CHRISTMAS
I cannot remember their names. I remember, however, that it was a sad time for our neighbors. The young couple worked
so hard to plant grass in their yard. The wife was pregnant, and next thing she gave birth to twins! Then the husband had
to leave for Vietnam.
Before the young husband left, he pitched a tent in their front yard with a life-like soldier -- an Army man with his
canteen, crouching down near a campfire. And a small, artificial Christmas tree made of aluminum.
We sometimes sat outside and just watched the lit campfire and our neighbor would sit outside with us holding her twins
and crying. Worrying and missing her husband. We used to pray for his safety. Sometimes she was so happy when the mail came
and we would meet outside and just sing Christmas songs. How I wish I could remember their names!
CHRISTMAS IN FEBRUARY
Our Christmas presents from Dad came in February -- on my birthday. Better late than never.
REMEMBERING OUR NEIGHBORHOOD
We were very happy with our neighborhood. We played football and chase master. The other kids would share their skateboards.
Remembering the Relacion, Alao, Gandia, Lee, Garcia and Lagazo Ohanas. The Akiyama, Cummings, Ventura, Duarte, Bakiano,
and Rapoza Ohanas. And many more I can't remember. Thank you for the good memories, Hanama`ulu! I hope to attend the reunion/celebration.
Copyright. Darlene Saclot Nazarino -- August 20, 2004. All Rights Reserved.
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