|Written by Eilene Vina Cabral|
Yes, when I was growing up in Palama, in Akepo Lane in fact, there were so many mom and pops store all over. Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and they all had their specialties. Like B and K store made the best seeds, like prune mui, or apricot preserves, then the Filipino stores always had fresh meat and the freshest vegetables. Robellos saimin stand was the best saimin for .35 cents!! ... and of course the landmark which stands today Tamashiro Market.
The favortie stores of my youth are no longer there. But the flavor of all those precious taste still linger in my mouth, the sweet memories of when a nickle could buy you happines and many friends to share your bounty!!!
Palama Inn back in those days was "The" best hole in the wall to have a bargain of a meal no frills just darn ono food this side of Palama. Masa was the best enterpenuer I have ever encountered. Every special he made was just so suculent and for just 2 bucks!!! Then, of course, the happening of the "Lane" Laupahoehoe Bakery, yep!!! Mr. Noburo Terada and his family provided many of us with so many delicious types of desserts ... and his lovely wife Alvina, shared so much of their kindness.
Alvina did all the major cooking of the various hot foods. And you could also play the nickle machine and not get busted!!!! ... open 24 hours did have it's advantages. Palama Meat market started there with Mr. Donald Lau ... this chinese guy with the biggest heart ... my mom always went to him for his high quality meat and pork. "Lou" Store stood there once before next to "Yonas" Market, and of course "Tanaka" store.
Another landmark which is still there is the Palama Theater which is now a storage warehouse of some sorts. Attending a movie there was a treat, buying the colored pop corn and lemon drops soooo ono!!!! Then after the movie we'd go to Palama drugs and have a chocolate sundae or a vanilla coke or cherry coke ... and back then they would add the flavoring to your drink so it was from scratch!!! Browse in Palama drugs looking a magazines and the smell of ice cream.
In Robello lane besides the saimin stand stood Sumeyoshi store ... this man and lady had the best kakimochi and li hing mui, and further down would be "Mukai" store they had everything from a variety of candies to ice hard ice cream and shave ice!!! In Akepo Lane there was this small little restaurant called Akepo Okazu ... the saimin was good but they made the best cone sushi and macaroni salad. I remember savings at least 20 cents so I could buy me two cone sushi and a heaping scoop of mac salad ... soooo ono!!! ... and a very tall bottle of "Kist" strawberry soda.
Where Star Bakery stands now there used to be the "Izawa" camp ... now these people know how to celebrate "New Year's"!!! Every year they would make mochi and they made a show how important this tradition was and the value of sharing they're hard work with the people in the community. Having fresh made mochi was the most rewarding experience on New Years!!
Then also on New Years we would "Lechun" our own pig, well my parents would start like four days before the "Eve" and prep the pig ... and so much other food that we would eat into the New Year for days on end!!!
I savor all the taste of when I was growing up and thinking back of how important every task was to help each other in the community. Yeah! ... even the card games and then some kept this little "Lane" going.
Many of the people are gone now ... so are my parents .. but they all left special thoughts, values that I will always cherish forever and ever. Growing up in "Akepo Lane" was the best beginning of the rest of my "Life".
Eilene Vina Cabral still resides in the Kalihi Valley area.
I enjoy reading, cooking, baking and quality time with my three children 2 girls 18, 17 and my son 13. Occasionally if there is enough to make a team some recreational volleyball which in fact I learned while attending Palama Settlement. Played for Mckinley back in 72 and graduated in 74. Currently employed as a Unit Supervisor with Sodexho-Marriott on the University of Hawaii campus. Married Brian Patrick Cabral in 79. He graduated from Farrington High. My parents are both deceased. However, in Palama, my parents' house still stands and both my sister and brother still occupy that same house that bought up six kids in a two bedroom duplex, which stands right next to the Honolulu Community College, well just one of few homes left there.
I occasionally go and visit my family there twice a week at least and I also visit my extended aunty Ann and uncle Toto Aspera who still live there as well. My oldest brother Cruz J. Vina, Herbert Vina, graduated from Farrington high, my sister Beatrice also graduated from Farrington, Alicia graduated from Mckinley and my brother Andrew who now lives on Maui. I currently attend University of Phoenix Hawaii campus and is seeking my Bachelors in Business Administration. The best thing of living in Hawaii is that I can be very close to them and they to me.