Stories from My Childhood

“I remember days when we were younger…”

Growing up in the shadows of the old Honolulu Stadium in McCully was special. It was a place & time that no longer exists. I remember catching crayfish in Duck Pond, riding bike through my neighbors’ clotheslines, Checkers & Pogo, pinball at the Bowl-O-Drome, neighborhood okazuyas, Hawaiʻi Islanders baseball, Chunky’s Drive-in, Kikaida, and the manapua man. We would play all day and go to anyone’s house for lunch (oftentimes saimin & baloney sandwiches.) Ahh, memories.

“So long ago it seems it was a dream…”

Dad loved watching sumo on channel 13, KIKU tv.

Too bad for sis.

During commercial breaks, it was ON. I was Takamiyama. I would advance with hand thrusts while doing the referee’s call, “Ta dai, ta dai, ta dai, ta dai!”
Gale would say, “I’m not playing. I’m not playing.”
More attacks, “Ta dai, ta dai, ta dai, ta dai!” “Ta dai, ta dai, ta dai, ta dai!”
Out of frustration, Gale would unleash a combination of hand thrusts, slaps, and windmills at me.
“Woh,” I said. “I’m not playing.”

Kam School
Growing up, my best friend was Nathan (could only pronounce his name as “Natan.”) We’d play football, baseball, marbles, and burn beetle bugs with magnifying glasses. His sister was my first crush.

One day, looking sad, he said, “I’m moving schools. I have to go to Kam School.”
I said, “Then I’m going with you.”
He said, “You have to be Hawaiian. But all you need is a ‘pinky tip’ of Hawaiian blood.”

The next day, we came up with a plan. We would become blood brothers. I ran inside the house and grabbed two pins from mom’s pin cushion and dad’s cigarette matches. We crawled under the house and lit a match to sterilize the pins. We poked our pinkies and rubbed them together. Blood brothers!

Then I heard dad yelling, “What da h*ll are you doing?!! You trying to burn down da house??!”

Nathan ran, “I gotta go home.”

I stayed. I got dirty lickings. Dirty lickings with Hot Wheel tracks.
I cried, but it was worth it. “I’m going to Kam School,” I thought to myself.

Plumeria Tree
We had a plumeria tree in our backyard. It bloomed dark-pink flowers, almost fuchsia.

One day, sis and I were up in the tree. Being the inquisitive boy that I was, I pulled on a large branch, generating a ton of torque. I sorta let go. The inconsiderate branch then catapulted my sister over the fence and onto the sidewalk. She fell flat on her back. I turned pale. To my surprise, Gale instantly sprang to her feet and ran down the sidewalk (like hair on fire) and into the house. It was the loudest wail that our neighborhood has ever heard.

I slowly made my way across the yard towards the house, dragging my feet one-slipper-at-a-time through the grass. I heard dad yelling, “What da h*ll??!!” Tears started flowing down my cheeks. She came home later that afternoon from Queen’s with a broken collarbone. As for me? Not as lucky…

Postscript: Only a couple of years ago, sis and I were reminiscing about that day. I recalled every single detail as if it happened yesterday.

Gale said, “Wait a minute. You mean I didn’t just slip off the tree on my own??”
I said, “Um. Oh gosh. Y’know it happened so long ago. It’s all kinda fuzzy to me…”


(To be continued.)

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