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Honolii Pali is about 2 ½ miles north of Hilo on the Big Island. My parents purchased about an acre of land and had a house built on it. The view overlooked the ocean and the wharf of Hilo Bay.

I was in grade school at the time we moved into this home. There wasn't very many homes built in this tract at this time and there were open fields all around us.

When I came home from school, I used to take off my shoes and climb either the guava tree or mange tree, pick the fruit and just kick back all afternoon.

I used to ride my bike all over the dirt roads. There was a grass- covered hill that my friends and I used to do a "suicide run". That is where we would ride our bikes right off the road and plunge down the grassy hill not knowing what we would run into. The grass was pretty tall and was called California grass. I don't know where they got that name.

Since most of the land was not developed yet there were a few dirt hills in the area. We used to dig out trenches in these hills and simulate playing war. We would throw dirt balls at each other. When we got tired of doing that we would play a game of marbles. We played a game of "hole and back". We made five shallow holes in a row about three feet apart and one hole six feet beyond. Object of the game would be to go to the farthest hole and back to the beginning hole. Sounds easy? Well, if you missed a hole or your marble rolled out of the hole the next person, if he was close to you, he would hit your marble way out of position. This game would last a long time before anyone got back to the original starting hole.

The other marble game we played was "circle". That's when each of us would put a certain amount of marbles in a circle and we would take turns attempting to shoot the marbles out of the circle. The ones that we shot out of the circle we would keep. However if your "shooter" marble stayed in the circle after hitting a marble out you had to put the marble back into the circle and lost a turn.

Since we had a lot of land, my father planted a lot of vegetables and some fruit. We had squash, eggplant, yard beans, peanuts, sweet potatoes kalamungai leaves, saloyot, bitter melon, passion fruit, papayas, and cabbage. Me, my sisters and my mom all participated in weeding, planting and harvesting. We had to be careful of the centipedes. There were a lot of them there. The bitter melon was especially interesting to me in growing. After the flower dropped and there was an indication of fruit, each fruit was wrapped in newspaper, until it matured, to protect them from getting bitten by a fruit fly and causing the fruit to spoil. The paper was about a square foot.

We lived next to the Honolii Pali River. I used to ride my bike down to the river and do some body surfing. Then for a snack I would climb up the river bank and pick all the star fruit you could eat. There was also an abundance of river shrimp further up the river that I would catch and take home. My dad put them, alive, in a large bowl, pour vinegar and soy sauce on them and we would eat them just like that.

Here's one "chicken skin story" that happened to me about the Honolii Pali bridge. This was when I was older and driving my own car.

One night around mid-night I was driving home from my work. There was a cemetery called Alae Cemetery just before the river going north on the highway. As I was approaching the cemetery I saw some lights flickering way in the back. Then all of a sudden my car engine died and my lights went out.

I tried to start the car and tried to turn the lights on but nothing worked. I panicked but just let the car coast as far as it would. I made it across the bridge and tried starting the car. It started right up and the lights worked. I told my mother what happened and she said that according to Hawaiian legend the "Obake"(ghosts) were not able to cross the river. That's why my car started and the lights went on when I was across the bridge to the other side of the river.

There is a gulch at the rear of our property that served as a storm water runoff. This is where we would throw all of our garbage. There was a lot of mongoose that lived off the garbage. I made a trap and used to catch a lot them for fun. The trap was pretty simple. It was a box with a small sliding door for an entrance. The door was held open by a string that went to the back of the box into a small hole. The string was threaded inside the box through the small hole with "bait" attached to it. When the mongoose went in and pulled at the bait it released the trap door shut. Those buggahs were real vicious.

About Author

After graduating from Hilo High School ('61), I entered the U. S Navy and after my tour of duty I was discharged in Long Beach Ca. When I was gone my parents sold the home and moved to Kauai. My cousin now lives in the home and whenever I visit Hilo I visit him and re-live all the memories." Kimo now lives in Fountain Valley, California near Huntington Beach.

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