|Written by William Kapaku|
We lived in a three bedroom hale located in the Nanakuli Hawaiian Homestead. Ours was considered an average sized Hawaiian family with four girls, three boys, and of course my parents.
During the formative years though, we always had relatives living with us. It was great having our cousins stay because then there always was enough people for football, baseball, boys versus girls, and the most important competition of all, War!
The TV show "COMBAT" was very popular then, you know the one with Sergeant Saunders, Cage, and Little John? I don't know why I could never stay awake long enough to catch the nine p.m. showing on ABC. Try as I might, I always zonked out when they were showing the credits. But these guys were our heroes. We all wanted to be the Americans versus whoevah; Godzilla, Martians, Nazis, the other kids down the road, etc. I remember my town cousins getting the complete Army outfit: rifle, canteen, and uddah stuff for Christmas. We, on the other hand, used sticks and our pointed fingers to play.
Amazingly at one point, we had a total of sixteen people living under one roof. With that many folks, we kids had to continually improvise, share and make due with less. In our house, stew (all kinds), spaghetti, and chili macaroni with cheese were the norm. Moreover, like the biblical story of Jesus feeding the masses with bread and fish, it was a downright miracle in our house at how far a can of SPAM or Vienna Sausage could be stretched to feed our clan. I guess that's why nowadays, I occasionally eat SPAM and eggs for dinner to make up for all that time I when I was "deprived."
Our sleeping arrangements were also something sociologists should take note of. It was not uncommon to have four kids sleeping head to toe on a twin bed. That is until my cousin Richard came to stay with us. Richard had the stinkest feet on the planet. His tenure lasted all but one night and he was immediately relegated to the hali'i on the parlor floor throughout his stay at Nanakuli. I guess we kids learned about public opinion at a very early stage in our lives?
Our Hawaiian hale in the Homestead helped shape our way of thinking as we all grew up and went on to form our own families. By the way, it wasn't until years later when reading about the VA Home Loan Program that I learned the true meaning of "single family dwelling."
William L. Kapaku Jr. was born and raised on Homestead land in Nanakuli, Oahu. He graduated from Kamehameha High School in 1973. He is a US Army Major (retired) living in Korea. He now works as a Department of the Army Civilian serving as an Installation Manager of a 3000 man installation in Uijongbu City, Korea.