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Just reading these great hannabuddah stories triggers my mind into remembering my own childhood in the good old days. It was growing up in the mid to late 50's in Kaneohe. I had Japanese grandparents and Hawaiian grandparents. This is about my Hawaiian grandma.

I have wonderful memories of my grandma who lived with us. She had her old Hawaiian ways. It was her way or the highway. She had beautiful long hair way past her okole, almost down to her knees. She would braid it and wrap it on her head in a bun with big mama-san hair pins.

She was a rather large, hard working woman who saved every penny and counted her change whenever my brother or I rode our bikes to the store to buy her poi. We always had to bring home the receipt and the change.

We were always afraid to get sick, feel sick, have a stomach ache, cut ourselves or whatever. She was the house doctor with the many cures, if it wasn't something she brought in from the yard, smashed it and mashed it -- then it was a concoction she brewed over the stove.

If we had a boil erupting on our body - she had 2 solutions. There was a special medicine plant in our yard. I think we called it the balloon plant. Grandma would pick a leaf, mash it with the end of a knife till it was wet and oozing with that green stuff. She would then throw a little Hawaiian salt on it, mash it again, put it on our boil and wrap it with an old cloth. The second solution was she made us shi-shi on a cloth and rubbed it into our skin where the boil was.

Upset stomachs were automatic enemas. Yup, throw those newspapers on the bathroom floor and lay on your side!! Once a month, my grandma would go to "tutu lady's" house. Tutu lady had a huge watercress farm. Dad would pick as much as he possibly could fit into our car. We'd go home and watch dad pound the watercress with the poi pounder. He would then wrap it in cheese cloth and squeeze all the watercress juice into a mayonnaise bottle. The whole family had to drink a glass of watercress juice every morning. Grandma said "that's our vitamins". It was the most awful thing to drink!

Oh, and the Hawaiian beliefs we had to live by! If we had a fish bone stuck in our throats, she would put the fish that we were eating on top of our head and made us sit at the table that way for a while.

No clipping your finger or toe nails at night because the menehunes will come into the house and look for the clippings. No whistling at night because that was a calling to the kepolo. No entering the house after attending a funeral without Hawaiian salt water sprinkled on our heads. And I'm sure I've left out a lot more.

My brother and I slept in grandma's room with her. I slept with grandma on her bed and my brother slept on a cot . Every night, she never missed a beat, we can hear her say her prayers in Hawaiian. We'd ask her, "who are you talking to?" And when she's done, she would tell us that she prayed to grandpa and asked him to protect us and our house.

I loved to hear her speak in Hawaiian which she did a lot whenever her sisters would call her or come to visit. If we were being kolohe she would yell at us in Hawaiian.

Grandma would make our breakfast - oatmeal (which she called mush) or hot cakes made from flour and water. Sometimes she would make us cocoa so we could break all the saloon crackers into the cocoa, then just scrape some butter in.

For lunch she would put the lauhala mat on the parlor floor and carry out bowls of poi, lomi salmon, poke, limu and a saucer of chili pepper water. Sooo Ono.

On most weekends, dad would pack us kids up, with grandma. He would get his big burlap bag ready, his spear gun, goggles, his glass bottom box and his tabbies and we'd go to Kaaawa beach.

Dad would take turns taking my brother and I out into the ocean with him. We'd hang on to his back while he went spear fishing. If he came across wana he would pick it up with his homemade tongs and throw it in the burlap bag. Meanwhile, grandma is sitting on the sand with her mayonnaise bottle, spoon and waiting for the wana, her mouth watering.

Although she had a lot of love for us, she was a strict, strong lady. She raised 5 children by herself, my grandpa died when they were all little. She worked for the Hawaiian Tuna Packers for more than 30 years. She had big luau feet which meant more pain when she spanked us with her slippah. My brother and I thought our name was "Paakiki". She yelled a lot, too.

I remember it like it was yesterday; "no slam the doah", "wash your feet before you come in da house", "whose dirty cup in da sink?", "don't open da icebox door too long!" "who left da doah open?" , "ansah da phone" and my favorite: "who let the flies in da house?!"

That's it, nothing but memories .. cherished memories, that is. Whenever I get together with my brother, we laugh so much just talking about grandma and those hanabuddah days.

About Author

Born in Honolulu, raised in Kaneohe. Moved to San Diego in 1973. I've been married to a wonderful Haole guy. Have 2 beautiful daughters. Yuriko Kehaulani lives in Chicago and Kimiko Keala and our granddaughter Kehau live in Arizona. My husband and I try to make it home to Hawaii every 2 years. I'm still a Kaneohe girl at heart and always will be. I use to own land in Hawaii but gave it to my mother. It was a burial plot at Hawaiian Memorial Park (no laugh).

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