Thursday, July 20, 2017

Random Musings 34

Shouldn't a lecture on diarrhea be called a "running commentary"?

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I’ve stayed up nights wondering what color a Smurf would turn if you choked him.

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So, if frog’s legs, ‘gator tail, and snake taste like chicken, I wonder what chickens think we taste like.

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What are male ladybugs called, anyway? Gentleman bugs?

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You know how they make such a big deal about the first baby born on New Year’s Day? What if its head pops out at 11:59:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, and the rest of its body doesn’t come out until after 12 midnight? What day was s/he born on?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Hilo Days: Where I Spent My Formative Years

In my old website, Hilo Days, I spent some time talking about our Ekaha Street house. Lots of memories there, we lived there from 1949 until about 1964, when the family moved to Reed’s Island while I was away at college.

It’s always fun to drive by the old house whenever I visit Hilo, to see how much the house and neighborhood have changed.

The Ekaha Street Neighborhood

Ekaha Street [in Hilo] was a neat street.

When we moved there, the street had a chicken yard, a Portuguese sausage smoker, a large vegetable patch, a rich contractor, a cane field behind our house, and a cattle rustler.

It was the third in a series of streets with strange names one encountered along Kaymana Drive on the way to Ainako/Kaumana. The first was Wiliwili Street, the second was Iwaiwa Street, and the third was Ekaha Street.

Our street was situated just below the Ainako residential area, which itself was situated just below the Kaumana area. It was a cul-de-sac, with 11 homes. Three of them on the left side of the street were built and rented out by Dr. Kutsunai.

Current Google Map with 2 Homes Added
We lived in the middle one. The first one (on our right) was distinguished by no basement, no porch, and an elevated front yard. Ours was distinguished by a low basement, a large front porch, and a sloping front yard. The third (on our left) was distinguished by a large basement, no front porch, and a regular front yard.

Let's take a look at the neighborhood, starting from the right side of the street as you entered, then coming back down to Waianuenue Avenue.

A Portuguese family lived in the first house. I don't know anything about it, except that over the years, they had a lot of foster children living there.

The family was related to the family in the second house—the Aguilars (also Portuguese). There's not much to say about them either, except that they used to make Portuguese sausage in a little smokehouse. I remember one girl who lived there—Carol. She was a few years older than I was. And I do remember marveling at her cat's new-born kittens once. The Aguilars had a large "Vee" tree that you could see from the road.

The next house was the one directly across the street from us. According to Mom, the father had been convicted of cattle rustling. They were the Medeiros family. We played a lot with the two kids—Reggie, and Michael. Reggie was a little slow and a funny-looking, awkward kid. Michael was actually kind of intelligent. I got my second wasp sting on their porch when we were dive-bombed after knocking down a paper wasp nest.

Then came an empty lot (actually two lots) that variously sported a vegetable garden, weeds, and an old shack of a house.

Next to it was a rather nice home that soon would be occupied by a haole family with a boy that we all liked. I think it was the McKenzies. They had a son, Scott, and a dog—a cocker spaniel named Freckles. The McKenzies moved in later. They weren't there when we moved in, and they weren't there when we moved out.

At the right side of street's end was the Sonomura family. They were rich. He was a general building contractor who bought a new Cadillac every year. His old Cadillac went to his wife. We didn't see too much of them.

Next to them lived the Kawasaka family. Their daughter Carol was my classmate (Hilo High, 1962). They had two sons; Gary and I spent a lot of time together, and I can't remember the name of his little brother. They lived next to a gully (they called it the "pali") at the bottom of which the father had set up a basketball net.

Mr. Kawasaka, by the way, worked for the State, and actually interviewed me for a job when I applied for a summer job at the Hilo nursery during the summer of 1962.

Heading back to Waianuenue Avenue, the next house belonged to Miss Matsuo. She lived there with her old mother, and I remember the whole neighborhood went to her mother's birthday party one time—maybe it was her 75th, or 100th, I don't remember.

The funniest thing happened years later when I visited Disneyland for the first time. There used to be a guest book at the end of Main Street where you'd sign your name in your own state book. Guess whose name was just before mine. Miss Matsuo's. Small world!

The Teradas' house was next. They had a son whose name totally escapes me, a daughter, Deane, and a cocker spaniel. They were older kids, so they didn't play with us too much.

Later, when I was in high school, one of my classmates told me he had been talking to Deane, and that she had told him she didn't care for me too much. Her loss. She just didn't appreciate brilliant strange kids. Mr. Terada, by the way, made neat slingshots out of guava branches and gave me one, which I used to shoot a neighbor's kid and almost put her eye out.

The next house was the one on our right. The Wongs lived there—William and Doris Wong. They had four kids—Marian, Wilton, Laureen and William Junior (everybody called him "Billy Boy").

The Wongs were a neat family. Mr. Wong did all kinds of stuff. He ran a sausage factory (Hilo Meat, later to be known as Miko), and he either ran or took care of a golf driving range. I have lots of stories about the Wongs.

Our Old House Today
Then came our house.

On the other side of our house was the Kutsunai family. No, not Dr. Kutsunai—his brother and his family. They had two children, but they were much, much older. I believe they were in high school when we moved in. They were the only ones who never cleared out the back portion of their lot. The Wongs had a large backyard, and so did we after Dad hired some church kids of clear out the weeds. Instead, the Kutsunai's backyard was full of California grass.

The last house (actually the first house on the left side when you entered Ekaha Street) was another mystery. But it had a chicken yard. And what a chicken yard. There were regular chickens, ducks, bantam chickens and turkeys there. The fowl population never seemed to diminish, but you can bet your buttons they weren't there just for decoration.

That's it. That's Ekaha Street. I lived there 15 years.