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It's all coming back to me now.......the good ol' days of summer way back in the mid-60's, when I thought $1.40 an hour for flipping pineapples into a conveyor belt for eight hours a day was lots of "fun".  I'm not sure which was worse....picking in a new field that had never been picked before and the pineapples were huge and heavy or in the old field where you had to dig for the pineapples because the plants had  been picked through and stepped on so many times before.

Then there was the quotas.  It depended on the field you were picking that day. You had to pick so many truck loads and after that, you could make a bonus. And even THAT depended on how many MORE trucks you and the rest of the "gang" could fill that day !!

We got a half hour for lunch and many times that meant rice ball with nori around it and boiled hot dogs. You just barely had enough time to eat and "talk story" a little, then it was back to work.  Sometimes when we worked right next to the highway, the tourist bus would stop and all the haoles would climb out with their bright-colored, matching muumuus (remember...white with the big red flowers )and their cameras clicking away.

I remember growing up in Sunset Beach.    Our house was right along the highway and the property was lined with big tall coconut trees.   The tourists would stop there once in awhile, asking for coconuts.  I'd climb up those trees (didn't seem dangerous back then) and knock down a few,  peel off the husks with my pickaxe, like my dad taught me to do. I would end up making a couple of dollars, which back then seemed like a lot of money. Then I'd go down to Sunset Beach store or Kammie's  and get a Coke and Snickers or Twinkies.

We had a pretty big front yard in which my brothers and I teamed up and played football with some of the other kids in the neighborhood. Sometimes the games would up with fists flying but the following weekend, ... there we were, playing football again.  I spent many hours mowing that front yard and unfortunately, it   was a push mower.   You didn't push.....it didn't cut.

The property was sloped from the house down to the road where we caught the school bus and when it rained hard, the whole front yard would be flooded.  On those days, we had a raft built that we had to ride on to get across the water.  We'd load up the school books, climb on and with a long pole, propel our way from the house down to the road to meet the bus.  On more than one occasion, the books and us kids ended up in the water.    For days after the water was gone, the yard would smell bad.  Of course, the grass would make a comeback   soon after and you know what that meant. Bring out the push mower!  This was not the fun part of having a big front yard.

I really miss the ocean among so many other things. It's probably been 28 years since I last rode a wave a Sunset Beach and other spots along the shore. I understand our old house is still there but probably not Orian's poultry farm that used to be right behind our house. To be back home right now would be great ... in fact, I wouldn't mind mowing that front yard with the push mower... watching the cars go by...thinking about going surfing in the afternoon ... stroking out through the white water .... outside the breakers ... the ocean is warm ... you can see the shafts of light reaching down below you into the deep clear water.....soft salty breezes in my face....waiting for the next set....squinting up at the the hot hawaiian sun in a clear cloudless  north shore sky.


About Author

Chris Urmeneta was raised on the North Shore of Oahu and went to Kahuku High School ('67).  He is married with two grown children in their 20's. "We are expecting our first grandchild in July !!"  He and his family live in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Chris is a purchasing agent for a hospital based durable medical equipment company in Tulsa.  To be able to say I was born and raised in Hawaii makes me proud.  I miss the Islands and think of my old friends and classmates often.  Kahuku, class of '67?

Michael Arreola
I remember Orians poultry farm! They were good friends of my grandparents! The Casuga family (my grandparents) of Kahuku raised really good watermelons.
I went to St. Louis Class of 72, and have a lot of friends trhat went to Kahuku High.What a small world!

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