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Reading chru some storeez make me teenk back to my hanabada dayz back in Nanakuli. Playing chase mastah wit my brada an' cuzens who wen live nex' doa to us. I was raised by my mada's mada an' my mada's beh~beh sista. I rememba eating mangoes off da trees on da front yahd. Da sweet plumeria smells. Ho, cuzz. I miss home. Wat I loved da mos' wuz wen da adults wen plan fo' gaah-da at ow-ah house, da hale nui, fo "get togeddah".

Was sooo good fun. Wen us stay small keed onee get limated stuff fo' do an' places fo go, so wen da ada cuzens, anteez, an' unco's wuz going come ova, ho, we knew wuz going be solid.

One tee-pa-co Sahtuday would be us keeds waking up EARLY to Antee awreadeh cleaning ou'sai. (ho, sista, onee 7:30 a.m. an da pa-lah awreadeh clean. Ta-week.) So, she awreadeh jammen on da front yahd. Da soun' of da stoo-ped rake on da concrete wuz IRRA'Z. But den us would rememba da get togeddah lay-tah on dat night-so QUICK we jump out ow-ah beds. Da adults would hurry us up fo' kaukau break-fes' an' clean up. Das da onee paht us kids neva like-da cleaning cuz Gramma was stay pah-ti-cu-lah, an' she wen pass dat on to Antee, so we had to really do good jobs wen cleaning. (Come to teenk of it, I was onee about aight yee-ahs ol' den). Us wen learn early. Man, Gramma would make us un-fol' da sheets if we neva fol' um right. One time I wuz stay crying cuz' I teenk I wen re-fol' one sheet about TEN stinken times. I wuz mo' shame cuz mah youngah cuzen Kehau, who wen live nex' doa wuz watchen me an' feelen sorry fo me. I can laff about dat now. But, I no fol' dose sheets li'dat anymoa. Fo'get it. (Das da kine fitted sheets).

Anyway, wen we all wuz pau clean, which felt like fo'evaz, we could finally go play; me, mah brada Ed'z, an' da cuzzens nex' doa, Kehau an' Tiga. Us would run wild in Gramma's yahd. Chru-out da day we would hea ran-dom adults yellen at us fo "watch out da plants." Or, "No play nex to da gate o else da basketball going fly in da shtreet an' no teenk I going chase afta um."

Plus, we would be getting hungry cuz some ada adults in da hale stay cookeeng. We would come in'sai fo "use da lua" (but me an' Kehau had to chry sneak some grines from da keechen). I rememba watching Gramm'z dem cleaning da lu'au leaves an' smellen um cookeeng on da stove. Mah mada would be mixen choke poi in one big POT (not bowl, now) while chrying fo dance hula at da same time. Anyway, ow-ah plan fo' snag some grines always neva work. Antee o-wah Unco Somebody would always buss us an' we would get chased out da house. "Go ow-sai an' play so us get room fo do all da cookeeng an watevaz. Nex time you kamali'i's can help us". We wuz onee allowed fo come I'sai if we REALLY had fo go lua, drink someten, owah we wuz going stay out da way an out of sight (code fo: stay in'sai da room an' watch t.v. an no come out til we tell you).

Finally, as da day passing, we had to help prepayah da tables, decorate (if somebody felt da need fo ack an' like decorate like lu'au-type) an do watevaz da adults would comman' us fo do. Den we had to take turns fo au'au. (Us still stah-veeng cuz onee had small kine snacks fo lunch cuz of da get togeddah we had to wait foa).

By da time we all pau bafe an' looken (chried) slick, about half da ada 'ohana came awreadeh. Of coss mos' of da unco's stahted inu~ing. Somebody in da coh-nah bussing out da ukes an' EVEN da ray-jee-oh (radio) at da same time. Of coss da adults stay remine'ing us fo make ow-ah rouns'. "Honi-honi Antee, you neva see her long time. " Ho, if we wen run pass one 'ohana memba an' neva pay ow-ah repecs, ho cuz, us would cetch crax from Grammz.

Finally we can kaukau. We wuz so hungry, us piling on EV'RYTEENG. Da beeg peepo's telling us "no ack cuz you guys cannah eat all dat. " Us like stay prove dem wrong, so we conteeenue on. Ho, da grines. Kalua pig, lomi~lomi salmon (even lomi~lomi tomato fo da ones aller-gek to salmon), two kine laulaus: pork wit da buttafish an' da one wit cheecken, all da raw stuff, aku made all kine ways like fried, in'sai da poke, pulehu'd, dried, etc. (an' wuz neva ahi), chilla peppah and chillah peppah wata, kim chee, sushi, , ba-b-que kine food, an of coss da POI. Oh, ow-ah maka's wuz always mo beeg den da opu, so us got crax fo waysteeng mea'ai. Den Grammz made us geev um to da pet dogs an cats (even da shtray bugga'z who made house), so it no "really go fo waste cuz da ah-na-mo's stay eating um." (lay-tah on we stay hea dat we shouldn't geev pets human food, which dey grew up on at my hale. How come? Notten wen happen to ow-ah pets).

I would crack up watching da drinka'z stahteeng fo feel good. Ho, da loveeng dey get. An' fo SING LOUD, echo chru~out da Nanakuli valley. "Das okay eef da nay-ba'z hea. Tell um come ova an join us" (which dey did.) Oh, an' how generous da drinka'z got. Us would scoah change an even ONE an FIVE dolla bills. Of coss we had to earn um-dance hula, sing, grab dem bee~yah, or, "Asss Unco dat Antee like bum one paka from heem, please."

Den somebody (usually Gramma an her siblings, da Mama-Nui's of da 'ohana), would buss out deah, "good ol' days" to whoeva like listen. Dis da non-alcoholic an' haff cigarette-smoken crowd. Dey would always tell deah keiki's fo keep up ow-ah cul-cha wit us nex geh-na-rayshen an dey would shtress da im-poh-tance of 'ohana (immediate and extended) an how good stay fo get togeddah "like now". Dey like fo see evreebody enjoy each ada an' stay in touch, an no wait fo someten bad fo come togeddah like at somebody's funeral.

Da get togeddah's usually las' late into da wee ow-ahz of da nex moh-neeng. (Us keedz would wundah how da heck dey could stay up all night an be noisy. ) But us neva cayah cuz us keedz would be sneaking drinx or smokes fo ack beeg, playeeng in da yahd which we use to call da jungle cuz all Grammz'z trees, plants, and flow-az all ova; us would get los'.

As we got oldah, an' fo dose of us who stahted inu-ing finally felt how da adults felt back in dose 'ohana get togeddah'z: da buzz, da feelen' good trip, along wit da HANG OVA'z. (T'ank Akua I wen stay quit.) Anyway, WE stahted planning da get togeddah's an we see some of ow-ah keeds wheah we once was. We foun' ow-ah selves saying stuff like, "Stay out da house so we can cook. " Or, "We going grine wen Antee dem come ova."

I stay MISS dose 'ohana Get Togeddah'z. Es-peh-shallee since I stay live Mainlan' now. No can beat home an' wat you useto growing up wit.

Now dat Gramma passed on, I hea her words: "da im-poh-tance of 'ohana" an' ada stuff. Mo' hahd fo' me-I get one son an' I so useto growing up wit choke 'ohana aroun' me; deefrent fo heem. (da 'ohana ova hea live too fah.) I jus have to do mah bess fo keep dat 'ohana togedda-ness feeling so mah son will feel um, too until we all go back home.

About Author

Aloha! 'O Leilani ko'u inoa. I was raised all my life in Nanakuli Homestead. Class of 90 NHIS. I moved to Indiana fo little while in late 2002. Now I stay live California. I stay married to one wundaful kane name Ajala (he not kanaka maoli, but das okay), an we get one beautiful son, 'Imipono, which I gave berf to in COLD Indiana in January. I am currently a Child Development major at Ventura College. One day I will find my way back home. I know God will take us back there somday.

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