The Braden Files
Curiosities of mathematics, history, parachuting, etc……

Old Hawaii

Kama’ainas here. Wonder how many of these you remember? For those of you who are too young, these things really were the “good old times in Hawaii”.

  • Chop Suey memories, Oahu 1940’s and 1950’s…
  • When you could buy one big sack of See Moi for a nickel… and then you ate the whole thing and licked the bag…
  • Windward side… taro patches… rice paddies…water buffalo…
  • When you mentioned Kaneohe, it meant you were talking about the pupule house…
  • When the tallest building in Honolulu was the Aloha Tower…
  • Radio personalities like… J. Aku Head Pupule on KGMB 590 in the mornings saying “OK – all you SLOBS, it’s time to GET UP!!!”
    (Before he worked at KGMB, Aku worked at KGU 760, KULA 650, and KPOA 630 on the dial.)
  • Remember Lucky Luck? Jimmy Walker? Bob Lang? John Connell? Deejays….how about Bob Lowrie, from a more recent time. Then Ron Jacobs..
  • Reggie Clutterbuck and his houseboy “Hatori”, Victor Eckland and his program Cabbages and Kings
  • When you lived in Honolulu, T.H. …
  • When the cost of a postage stamp was 3 cents.
  • Signs on vacant and private property that said KAPU…
  • When the site of Ala Moana Shopping Center was a big swamp…
  • Waialae–Kahala was mostly pig farms… and the area next to the airport was a neighborhood called Damon Tract…
  • Grade school JPO’s… Junior Police Officers in their white shirts, khaki pants, polished black shoes, red helmets and arm bands…
  • 25 cents going Saturday Matinee, Queen Theater…or to the Princess Theater downtown.
  • Wearing Band-Aids and a “limp” to get into the Saturday matinee without shoes…
  • Flipping milk caps (now called POGS) on the sidewalk during recess…and deciding who got to go first by playing Jan Ken Po…
  • And when you did something dumb everybody yelled…”Bakatade You!” And when you did something naughty they shook their finger and said… “Ahana koko lele!”
  • Moonlight swimming… Bonfires on the beach…
  • Strumming ukuleles, singing and everyone knew the words to all the old Hawaiian songs…
  • You were greeted with… Ei, bu!… Ei buggah, how you stay?… or Ei, blah-lah…
  • Going to Maunakea Street to buy ginger leis…
  • The old Pali road with the hairpin turns…and if it was really windy, the hood of the car blew open…
  • Catching the special bus in the garage next to Hawaiian Tel to go to Kailua, where they dropped you off at your own house.
  • A big billboard picture on Kapiolani Ave. of P.Y. Chong saying “Me P.Y. Chong”… advertising his restaurant…
  • The bestest freshest poi at Ono’s on Kapahulu Ave…
  • Also bestest Laulau, Kalua Pig, Opihi, sticky rice, Lomi Salmon, Pipikaula, Naau Puaa, Haupia…Broke da mout’!
  • Dollar bills with HAWAII printed across them…
  • When the Honolulu Stadium was called the Termite Palace…Guys getting their kicks spahking the wahines from under the stands…soggy bags of boiled peanuts sold by squatting sellers…
  • Football players smothered with leis and lipstick walking off the field…
  • Harry Bridges, teamster union leader, calling union dock strikes…causing food shortages…
  • Sad Sam Ichinose…
  • Kau Kau Korner, the meeting place with the “Crossroads of the Pacific” sign out front, the most photographed sign in the world…with wooden signs showing the distance to various locations around the world.
  • When catching the bus cost 20 cents for a ticket.
  • The waitresses wearing short skirts, soda hats and skates bringing your order to the car on a window tray…How good those hamburgers smelled!
  • “Aloha Oe… eat fish and poi”…
  • Two-crust coconut pie…
  • “The Melting Pot of the World”…
  • “The Paradise of the Pacific”…
  • When those lucky people who lived in Waikiki sold their lots for $5.00 a square foot and we all thought they were getting rich…
  • Everyone discussing the “Mauka Arterial” and when it was finally completed we all got lost because we didn’t know East from West…
  • Holding the 49th State Fair year after year… and finally becoming the 50th state in 1959…
  • Looking at Diamond Head… when all you could see from Waikiki was the Natatorium and the Elk’s Club…
  • Old Chinese ladies with bound feet shuffling along wearing dark grey tunics and trousers…
  • Japanese men in Kimonos carrying a towel and a bar of soap walking to a stream in the evening…
  • Filipino men from Waipahu on the bus with their game cocks in cages…
  • Elderly Japanese squatting, waiting for the bus…
  • Trying to find the coins wrapped in red paper and pieces of tissue (with holes in them that the evil spirits had to go through)… from Chinese funerals…
  • Watching Duke Kahanamoku surfing at Waikiki and shaking hands with him as he greeted us afterwards on the beach…
  • Beach boys with da kine, ho’omalimali and Hawaiian music under the palm trees at the Royal Hawaiian and the Moana…
  • Surfers with 8 foot boards that weighed a ton…
  • Waikiki sand always washing away and having to be replaced by sand from the windward side…
  • Old Chinese men playing mah-jongg under the hau trees at Kuhio Beach…
  • Saint Louis boys singing “We get ten tousand men steel yet, we gonna ween dees game you bet… “
  • Rubbing maunaloa seeds on the sidewalk until they got hot enough to burn somebody’s arm…
  • The excitement of the big ship coming in… Really sad when it was leaving, even if you didn’t know anybody aboard…
  • Lei sellers everywhere… “Carnation lei… fifty cents, plumeria…three for dollah”…
  • Local boys diving for coins… big beautiful jelly fish… a tangle of streamers from ship to shore…
  • Passengers tossing leis overboard as the ship pulls away… if they floated toward shore, they would return… the lucky people that got to go on the pilot boat when it went out early in the morning to meet the Matson ships…
  • When KGMB, KPOA and KGU were the only radio stations…
  • Lots of Myna birds on the sidewalks… mongoose living in a neighborhood tree…
  • Going Pali lookout to “spahk da moon”… “I took my wahine holo holo kaa, I took her up the Pali, she say “too muchee faa”, Pull down the shade, try to make the grade… Lei ana ika… black eye!”
  • Going Diamond Head to watch the submarine races…
  • Swimming in the streams and whacking each other on the head with shampoo ginger…
  • Never driving over the Pali with pork in your car…you going get stuck…
  • Going to “First Vue” at the Waikiki theater..eating crackseed… the palm trees and flowers that looked so real.. .the usher who wore a feather cape and helmet and never smiled…
  • Talking myna birds…
  • Lights out… clack, clack, clack… what’s dat?…Turn on lights… one BIG centipede!
  • Alfred Apaka… Kalima Brothers… Gabby Pahinui…slack key… steel guitars…
  • Keeping the lei he gave you in your room until your mother got mad about the bugs it attracted…
  • Hollow surf boards… fiberglass surf boards…
  • Surfing at Waikiki and watching the outrigger canoes along side of you full of mainland tourists wearing bathing caps… getting swamped…
  • Surfing Waikiki all day without eating, getting red eyes… going back again the next day… because when you caught those waves and rode them all the way in… it was worth it!
  • Underwater… trying to catch a ride on the back of a turtle…
  • Underwater… trying to look at fish and eels without a mask…
  • Humuhumunukunuku apua’a…
  • Swimming at Fort DeRussy… trying not to get stung by da Portuguese Man-o’-War…
  • The big tidal wave from Japan that washed up over Kalakaua Avenue…
  • Being able to tell what month it was by the color of Diamond Head…
  • When inside Diamond Head was opened to the public again…hiking inside and finding big cannons sticking out of concrete pukas…
  • 1949… auwe!… a big underwater shelf broke off and shook the whole island!
  • Puka in the Pali…
  • Webley Edwards with his mike walking along the beach and talking to the tourists… and taking the mike down to the ocean to let everyone listening on the mainland hear the sound of the waves at Waikiki… on Hawaii Calls…
  • When all the tourists were mostly movie stars or rich and came on Matson ships and stayed at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and wore furs in the evenings!…
  • Walking down Waikiki Beach and spahking movie stars without their toupees, wigs and make-up…
  • Trader Vic’s… Don the Beachcomber’s… the Zebra Room all painted with Zebra stripes outside…
  • Seeing painfully sunburned and peeling tourists at Waikiki…
  • Doing the Hula in the “May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii” celebration… Using the uli-uli’s, ili ili’s and pu’ili’s… making our own hula skirts out of ti leaves… splitting the ti leaves with our thumb nails and having green hands for a week…
  • 4 digit phone numbers…
  • When there was a toll charge between Honolulu and Kailua …
  • English standard schools…
  • Japanese language lessons…
  • When nobody locked their houses or cars…
  • Lei Ana Ika verses…
  • “Right on the kinipopo”…
  • When anything that said “Made in Japan” was junk…
  • When everyone called Plumerias “Graveyard Flowers”…
  • When restaurants were called either Cafes or Grills…
  • Wooden sided station wagons filled with bananas… “Banana Wagon”…
  • Buying Sushi cones on way home from school from the Sushi man and his cart on the corner…
  • Sunday morning, December 7, 1941… Black Out! Block wardens and gas masks…
  • Air raid drills… backyard bomb shelters… 442nd, “Go for Broke”…”bobbed wiah” on da beaches…
  • KILROY WAS HERE…
  • Eating lots of Spam…
  • Kaimuki red dirt…Everything you bought white turned reddish brown… your sheets, your underwear…
  • Surfing in your palaka bathing suit… Fitted Holokus with long trains with a loop for your wrist… Tita dress: cuffed up Levis, Aloha shirt with the sleeves rolled up twice, ear rings and slippahs…Wearing a white sailor hat… Wooden slippahs with two slats of wood across the bottoms… we called them “clop-clops”… when you could buy sox and tennis shoes that came in-between the big toe and the rest of your toes…
  • Waking up with mo’os in your bed, sometime dead because you slept on them and sometime just their tails were left behind…
  • Shave Ice on a hot day… Finding Japanese green, white and lavender glass fishing balls in various sizes floating in to the beaches on the north shore…
  • Watching sea weed being harvested on a weekend…
  • Torch fishing at night…
  • Example of a “dumb haole”… driving up Tantalus and Round Top Drive and haole says “I bet these roads are really dangerous when it snows”…
  • Listening to Hawaii Calls…
  • Playing around the mouth of Blow-Hole… trying to guess when it would blow… so you could run…
  • Playing on top of the Reservoir in Kaimuki…
  • When there were so many palm trees that coconuts were falling on people’s heads… and owners cutting them down for fear of getting sued…
  • Arthur Godfrey playing his ukulele… Hale Loki… “Hawai-ya, Hawai-ya, Hawai-ya?” and Chesterfields…
  • Listening to the Japanese radio station and hearing Japanese men grunting, groaning and growling at each other…
  • The traffic cop in a little booth in the middle of the street with an umbrella over it…
  • Uku-pile-a-roaches and FLIT GUNS… later to be replaced by… the SLIPPAH…
  • Servicemen… complaining about “life on the rock”, drinking, swearing, hitchhiking, making passes, driving too fast, and sometimes getting blown off the Pali on their motorcycles…
  • Manoa Valley… swiping painted candles from the Chinese Cemetery…laying on the graves to see what it felt like to be dead…looking at all the photos on the grave stones and wondering about their lives… sliding down the ti leaf slide and going home covered with mud… going “mountain apple-ing”… hiking to the falls in the rain through the bamboo when there was no trail… “liquid sunshine” everyday about the same time… fire crackers and smoke filling the valley and the houses on Chinese New Years…
  • When everyone had a pune’e and at least one old Koa table in their home…
  • When Nu’uanu Valley was a thick, lush, tropical rain forest… with many upside down falls… the monkeypod tree in the middle of the road at Nu’uanu and Vineyard…
  • Kapiolani Drive-In… where the carhops would come to your car. Also Alex Drive In.
  • When Kalakaua Ave. was a two-way street… King Street also.
  • Admission to the Honolulu Zoo was free…
  • Waialua, Ewa, Kahuku & Waianae sugar plantations…working in the cane fields… cane trains… the irrigation system was up on wooden stilts…
  • Honolulu Airport was on the Diamond Head side of the runway…
  • Jumping into the water holding a Hau leaf in your mouth so the water wouldn’t go up your nose…
  • Working in the pineapple factory and the fields…
  • Riding horses in Kapiolani Park…
  • When the Natatorium was called the Tank…
  • Lau Yee Chai was on Kuhio Ave. and set off firecrackers every Saturday evening at 6…
  • When Aala Park was filled with people….but no one was homeless.
  • When people “dressed up” neatly to go out.
  • Chinese lunch plate mix was only 75 cents…and the dinner plate mix was a dollar.

…this was and is Old Hawaii!

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