|Written by Mokihana White|
I was one lucky keiki. I grew up in beautiful Manoa Valley on O'ahu. This was before the days that real estate got so expensive there. I lived my first 4 years up Tantalus, then we moved to Manoa, valley of na anuenue... the rainbow.
I have many precious memories of being a golden child growing up in a golden place. Eh... it starts with never wearing shoes to school till junior high. Taking rice balls with ume for lunch. Having poi be one of my first foods. Ti-leaf sliding down the hill not too far from our house. Playing marbles in the dirt under the Medeiros' house, and baseball and football in season, all us keiki from the neighborhood.
I remembah we used to keep a list of all da out of state licenses we could see... took us a long time, and we nevah could get Rhode Island. Den one day all us kids was playing in the front yard, and dis car comes along with those plates, and we started screaming, "Rhode Island, Rhode Island!!!" ovah and ovah. I bet da tourists thought we was pupule for sure.
I remembah the sound of ukuleles and singing everywhere... the lei stands... and when someone was coming to visit us from da mainland or anoddah island we could go down to Mrs Faruya's and she'd welcome us picking orchids for leis. True aloha spirit.
Good old J. Akuhead Pupule... every Saturday morning on da radio, right?? What a funny guy. His daughter Leah was in my class at school. And every year we would have our class picnic at Hanauma Bay. We would walk all around the bay on both sides, and go swimming where there was no coral. Can't believe now we would gripe about having to go there each year... we wanted to go someplace different.
I now realize that I lived in Hawaii during a golden time... warm and nourishing to my heart. I remember going to Ala Moana park for picnics... remember that manini-kine "island" in the middle of the water, by the little bridge? Yeah, and being able to see Diamond Head from there.
Remember Town and Country Stables by chance? Now it's part of Kapiolani Park. I used to keep my horse there, and we'd go riding in the polo field. I used to hot-walk the polo ponies after the Sunday matches... they were all boarded at Town and Country too. Remember the polo field, the small one, where the matches were played? Every weekday morning the exercise guys would ride the ponies round and round the polo field... ride one pony, lead 2 more, for exercise. Now this is all a big field by the Shell... I remember one time we got so much rain that the polo field was flooded, and we would ride our horses through it and all these frogs would jump up as we passed by. We used to ride our horses down Monsarrat Ave to a small-kine saimin place and eat lunch. And we could ride them down to Diamond Head beach for a swim.
My friends and I would talk pidgin on the bus... and all the haole tourists thought we were crazy and would give us fish eye. Talked about us teenagers going around with bare feet and talkin' some strange kine language.
Stock car races at the stadium!! And all the high school football games. Kamehameha Schools song contests on the radio. Being on the bus and it's pouring rain, and I get off the bus and walk through the curtain of rain into sunshine. And the Christmas bus, all decorated. We couldn't wait for :it to come to our neighborhood for a day.
I remember the Bon dances, and the Chinese dragon at Chinese New Year. The :parades, and how I got to ride a borrowed horse in the Aloha Week parade one year. I remember how my dad would always squirt our roof with water on New Year's because he was afraid the fireworks would set it on fire.
I loved the sound of pidgin being spoken... we'd always talk pidgin outside school. To me it's a second language. Feeling so cheated because we weren't allowed to speak Hawaiian in school, and it certainly wasn't taught. English Standard schools. What a stupid idea. And now, when the keiki are blessed to have it taught from early grades, my friends and I :feel a sense of despair, that when we could learn it easily, it was denied to us.
Most of all, the sense of being a golden child in a golden place... freedom to play, to swim, to breathe the tropical air, to grow up with that special feeling of aloha in my heart that lasts to this very day.
Mokihana White now lives in Boring, Oregon, about "15 miles southeast (as the mynah bird flies from Portland)." She lives on a 12 acre farm with her DH and they have sheep, goats, and llamas. She belongs to the Hawaiian Club from Beaverton, Oregon. She works in a real estate appraisal office. She went to Manoa, Robert Louis Stevenson and University High School. Besides playing the guitar and ukulele she does beadwork, spins wool on her spinning wheel. She plays her Hawaiian CD's "non-stop"... remembering her special youth as one of Hawaii's Golden Children.