Sunday, December 17, 2006

Genealogy From What I Remember

Grandfather Shinkichi Higa and Grandmother Waniya Oushi, Father Shinichi Higa.
Grandfather Eimitsu Matsumoto(?) and Grandmother (???), Mother Sadako Matsumoto.

Older Brother Glenn Shin Higa, Wife Patty (??), Daughters Cindy Mae and Dana Sadako.
Currently living in OKC, OK. Retired USAF and working for the FAA.

2nd Son Clyde Ken Higa, Self-employed; ex-Wife Thanaphan Thirasungsit (Thailand), Girlfriend of 11 years Julie Nihau-Subica. Living in greater Phoenix, AZ
Son Natapol "Tom" Auayfuay, Construction Project Manager, Wife Tammy, Daughters Savanna and Autumn with one on the way. Living in Waddell, AZ.
Son Apichart "Ti Lung" Photnetrakhom, Performer for Walt Disney World and owner of Dance and Gymnastics Academy in Orlando, Florida; Wife, Amanda.
Daughter Achariya "Ying" Auayfuay Boupha, Mortgage Banker, Husband Noy, QA Engineer, Son Seth. Living in Phoenix, AZ.
Daughter Arisara Sadako Lynck. Credit Counselor, Husband James, Daughters Stepheny, Mikela, Megan and Sons Jake and Kobi. Living in El Mirage, AZ.

Sister Lynne Miwako Tanno, Husband Leighton, Sons Lance and Logan.

Brother (Deceased) Kavin Tetsuo Higa, Honolulu, HI.

Brother (Deceased) Eric Jitsuo Higa, Lancaster, CA.

Sister Debra Suemi Kerr, Sons Chad, Lane "Koko", and Jacob. Living in Simi Valley, CA.

Brother Myron Hideo Higa, Daughters Shauna and Kara.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Nolan and the Midget Major Little League Team

Dionicio Bondallion and Glenn Higa got together to help coach a team of little leaguers in the Parks & Recreation County Program. They used to play the games at Carvalho Park on Kaumana Drive (where the road splits and left goes up through Kaumana and eventually Saddle Road; the right went by Rainbow Falls, Hilo Hospital, and Piihonua). The park is still there with the gym where we used to play basketball and volleyball. Anyway, it wasn't much of a team and I (and perhaps Myron) used to tag along acting as bat boys and water boys.

It was kind of embarassing (at the time, but now, quite funny reminiscing about it) because the team did not know the fundamentals. We were just a bunch of kids that used to play put-together ball games at St. Joseph's High School field because it was across from the lower section of Lanakila and really close to where we were living at the time. Well, after about three or four straight losses that were called due to the opponent being more than 10 runs ahead after 4 innings, one of the key players, Nolan Chaves, got killed in an auto accident.

I don't know how it started; but, the team got together and decided that they would continute the season and before every practice (sometimes at the Lyman Field) and before every game (at Carvalho Park), we stopped to visit Nolan's grave in Homelani Cemetery as we walked through to the practice and/or game. Homelani Cemetery was at the top of Ponahawai Street and had a trail through a private sugar cane field that we could cut through to get to Lyman House.

We had to walk up Haili Street, around the northern part of Halai Hill, past the County Jail, over to Waianauenue Avenue just mauka of Hilo High School, and up to the intersection where Carvalho Park was.

Well, something "miraculous" started happening after the team began visiting Nolan before every game - the team began winning. In spite of still being a raggedy team, things just started falling into line and the team won game after game such that they got into the playoffs. It was a lot of fun during the win streak and we were all excited and always jumping around yelling and cheering for everything. We got cocky, I'd say.

So the day of the big game - we were playing "I don't know who" but if we won, we would get to the championships of the Big Island Parks & Recreation Midget-Major Championships. For whatever reason, everything during the day before the game went wrong and it ended up where only a part of the team walked up and stopped to visit Nolan's grave. We lost the game on what we claimed to be a really bad called strike three by the umpire. The bases were loaded, 2 outs, and Lester was called out on strikes so we lost. Something like if he had walked, the game would be tied and Eric was up; or, if he had got a hit, we surely would have won. We were plenty discouraged for days after that, blaming everything we could (as little kids do. We mostly blamed the guys who did not visit Nolan's grave before the game. I don't think Nolan liked that because he was a good kid and friend. I do remember that some of the bickering about being "jinxed" because "they" did not visit Nolan started before the game started and continued throughout - we failed to execute as a team. That is the biggest reason we lost the big game: we did not have belief that we could win. Perhaps coming from Lanakila, we did not feel we deserved to win and be successful.

Life goes on and we seldom talk about that season anymore. I remember it from time-to-time, and the lesson I really get out of that is no matter who or where you come from, if you have enough belief in that you are doing, you can attain success. When you work together as a team and keep your spirits high, you can attain your dream. We were very successful then, but, many of us did not realize it.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

The Bowling Alley Haili Street

It just struck my memory that before we even started getting interested in bowling, there was another 4-laner on Haili Street across from Palace Theater and just down from the Round Up Liquors. Haili Bowl(?) - You had to go up a flight of stairs and how come bowling alleys were upstairs? Seems to me the downstairs tenants would have to put up with a lot of noise. The times we went in, there were hardly any bowlers hanging around there but, they had the mandatory "spooky-looking" men chewing their "Toscani" rope chewing tobacco waiting to play pool which, of course, meant that they were Filipino. We were pretty young. I can't say that we even bowled there. Must have been pretty expensive, probably around 10 to 15 cents a game; but, you didn't have to wear shoes to bowl. And, like the Bowling palace across town, it was manual pinsetters. The Bowling Palace was much brighter and livelier compared to this dark place. Course all the balls were really heavy and had big holes in them. A lot of them only had two holes. I do remember looking out the back windows, towards the Mamo street area (southerly direction)and seeing all the corrugated iron roofs of buildings. Another thing about that place, the street sloped down to the bayfront and Kamehameha Avenue so why weren't the lanes tilted? Just kidding!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The "Jungle" and Rodney Taketa

From Kapiolani School to the corner of Mohouli and Kinoole Streets there was a "jungle" we used to have to walk by everyday - it stretched from Lei Street until Kinoole Street. Whenever it got dark, we used to cross the street rather than walk by it because there was a haunted house in there. Sometimes, we would challenge each other to see who would walk up to the Chinese Church totally on that side of the street while everybody else crossed the street and taunted. A lot of times during the day, Roland (slightly mentally retarded) would suddenly come bounding out of there along the little lane that went to the house there and scare the hell out of us. Roland, in his childish ways, used to go "fishing" for cats. He had a guava stick with a string and a "french nail" (a "u-shaped" one with points in both ends). He used to also use these nails from his slingshot. That's how we learned to use the french nails for shooting maynah birds, mejiro, and sparrows. Though when I finally hit a bird, the french nail did too much damage to it so I stopped using them.

It was no problem to go to the house during the day and see all the "wild cats" that had taken over the house; but, when it got dark, it was too spooky. I swear, there were all kinds of strange noises that could be heard after the sun went down.

Across the street was Rodney Taketa's house. Rodney had a leaking heart and was always stunted in growth. From the 3rd or 4th grade on, he was always going to the hospital and had to take "numerous" trips to Honolulu and the mainland to see specialists about the leak in his heart. The final summer before he never came back, Rodney and I sat on the front porch of his house and we talked about the trip he was taking to the mainland during the coming summer. We were only 10 or 11 years old at the time; but, we knew how serious the operation was. He was always a joking, wise-cracking guy but the night before he was to leave, he didn't want to joke or anything. We mostly sat and stared across the street. Even though it was getting dark and I would have to walk up the street across from the jungle, I couldn't make myself leave. Rodney was my best friend at the time and he had told me that he had a feeling that he might not come back from the mainland. I told him not to talk like that; but, he said that before all the previous operations, he always had a good feeling that he would make it. For this one, he said he sensed that this was the last time we would see each other. I don't know if I hugged Rodney when I finally left when his mother told him he had to get inside and get ready for bed - you didn't hug in those days if you were a "man." I do know that I wasn't scared of the jungle because I wasn't paying attention to anything except thinking about what Rodney had told me. I kept telling myself that he was coming back and before I knew it, I had walked past the jungle, past the Chinese Church, and was already at home. In spite of his short life, I'm sure that he enjoyed it and as philosophical as he was, he was grown up beyond his years. Rodney Taketa was a brave guy. Here's to you Rodney, I think of you a lot because you taught me many things. I am grateful and happy to have been your best friend. I know that you often smiled down on me and helped me through my tough times.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Place Names, People Names, whatever Names..

Ice Pond, Steak N' Lobster, Smile Inn, Kam Inn, K. Taniguchi Store, Ponahawai Barber, Lincoln Park, Maui's Canoe, Coconut Island, 6 Miles, Richardson's, Suisan Auction, Wailoa River Mouth, the LST, Wailuku River Mouth Lighthouse, Hema Street, Manono Street, Canec, The Flintkote Company, Reed's Bay, John "Aku" Kua, "Donkey", Saba 7, Skyliner's 5, Zapatos, The "Sock", Lorna Okuna, Estelle Jinbo, Annette "Peanut" Fujii, Joanne Fujiwara, Kimo Kelekolio, Joe Park, Chester Park, Andy Kailiawa, Mrs. Higa, Laverne Higa, Gary Yoshihara, Myrtle Sakoda, Elaine Sakoda, "Face", Breakwater, Radio Bay, Keaukaha, Panaewa Forest, Kulani Prison, Lanakila, Onekahakaha Beach, Kumiai, Naniloa Drive, Hamakua Sugar, "Shake-shake", Sampan Bus, Paukaa, Papaikou, Honolii Pali, Mooheau Park, Ho'olulu Park, Hilo Civic Auditorium, Palace Theater, Mamo Theater, Hilo Theater, Hilo Boy's Club on Kamehameha Avenue, Sun Sun Lau on Kamehameha Avenue, S. Tokunaga Store, Kress Store, National Dollar Store, Mode O' Day, Hilo Hotel, Kalakaua Park, Dairy Queen, K's Drive Inn, the Cow Palace, China Hill, Matayoshi Hospital, Hoku Street, Dr. Zenko Matayoshi, Pascua Barber Shop, Merrie Monarch Treasure Hunt, Hilo Tribune Herald, Western Auto Store, Goya's Snack Shop, Atebara's Potato Chips, Kim's Kim Chee, Kohala Kim Chee, O-deng, Nori, Musubi, Takuan, Daikon, Pickled Radish, Mustard Cabbage with Sweetened Miso, Waikea Uka, Houselots, Waikea Homestead, Hilo Airport, Hilo Printers, Lincoln Park Fire Station, Salvation Army on Ponahawai Street, Pick N' Pay, Sure Save Super Markets, Kilauea Preserve Shop, Hilo Pawn Shop, Church of God, County Jail, Rainbow Falls, Carvalho Park, Bondallion, Pacheco, Medeiros, Daranciang, Kahele, Yomes, Haupia, Kulolo, Manapua, Loco Moco, Moto's Inn, Rocky's Drive Inn, Kadota Liquors, Shell Blanscett, Riverside School, the B.P.O.E., Reed's Island, Puueo, Wainaku, Hilo Armory, Hilo Macaroni Factory, Dairy Cream Crackers, Saloon Pilot Crackers, Ikeda Shoyu, Cherry Bomb, Barrel Bomb, Duck Brand, Peacock Brand, Sparklers, Kajiyama Store (the one on wheels), the Mosquito Sprayer Jeep, Edwin "Tabinchee" Nagata, the Reservoir (at the top of Mohouli Street), "The Canal", The Wharf, the Lurline, Hilo Iron Works, The Isles, Liliuokalani Park (Japanese Gardens), the Hukilau Hotel and Restaurant, ......

Monday, December 4, 2006

Dad's Friends

Most of Dad's friends were "drinking buddies". They were either visiting and sitting in what we called the dining room; or, if he took us with him, we were at the friend's house sitting in what they called their dining room. The easiest one to remember was Masa (forgot his last name), who was a dishwasher at the Naniloa Hotel. He used to live in a real small 2-story house on Lanikaula Street and Mililani Street. (The house was still standing when I left in 2002 and folks, it is real small.) I guess you could say that Masa was his closest friend. He was a very nice guy.

Other names: Bailado, Narimatsu, Eli (with the six fingers), Maluo, Kamelamela, a guy named Abe. I know there were a lot more. Well, they'll probably come to me later.

Dad's favorite beer was Lucky Lager but of course, Primo, Schlitz, Hamm's, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and whatever was available eventually made it to the table. Very little hard liquor in those days. I tell you, though, if re-cycling had been in at that time, there would have been a lot of cans available for redeeming.

Remember one last thing - Primo came out with what they called, "Glass Cans". Strange promotion. That might have been their last gasp before having to be bought out by Schlitz Brewing Company and moved to the mainland instead of being made on Oahu.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

August, 1961, Intermediate School Has Begun

Hilo Intermediate School Spartans:

"Sons of the blue and white,
Our hopes are met in you today,
From the field of battle
Soon will come the call
To fight in array!
Lift high your banner,
Loyal 'er be,
And when the day is done
We'll sing our song of victory!"

7th grade. Walking all the way from Lanakila. Kapiolani Street, past the St. Joseph's School Nun's dormitory/apartments, till almost to Mauna Loa School (corner of Ponahawai and Kapiolani), turn up and cut through the graveyard (Homelani Memorial Park), there is a trail through the sugar cane field that comes out by the Lyman Boy's Club, up Haili Street, turn right on Laimana Street, cut up by Mr. Tsuji's Wood Shop, across the schoolyard, past the gymnasium, and hang around in front of the bandroom because the "gang" was there. (Note that the corner of Kapiolani and Ponohawai plays a part a few years down the road because one of my good friends lived in that house but, that is a story for another year).

Edmund Nakano, Bobby "Moose" Usagawa, Russell Arikawa, Leslie Nishimura, Ralph Black, Leonard Paik, Bruce Hisanaga, others I'll no doubt remember later....Glenn didn't want me hanging around with him so I don't know exactly where he hung around. I think it was fairly close to where I used to because by that time, we were moving into a new circle of friends because our bowling had taken us away from the "rough" gangs. All the aforementioned guys used to bowl at that time.

Lyman Boy's Club, The Lyman Museum, Halai Store (corner of Haili and Kapiolani), diagonally across the corner is the St. Joseph's Catholic Church, go toward Waianuenue Street, you would get to Hilo Union School where, as Myron jogged my memory, we did attend for a little while before returning to Kapiolani Elementary.

By the way, the 7th grade was when we were forced to wear shoes. Junk, that policy was. Also, around that time, the fashion was beyond bell-bottom trousers, in Hilo, it became "Drapes" and Glenn had, I believe, a 22 or 24 inch bottom on his pants. How come Mom nevah make me one khaki pants that wide, too? Mom sewed all our clothes so we were always in our own fashion. But, we had to buy the shoes from the guy who drove that big gray truck with all the cloth .. we just called him the "Cloth Man." It had the tracks on the bottom of the soles and the shoes were actually plastic, made in Japan, I think. Preferred "hadashii" (barefoot), anyway. 7th grade, we were growing up, or so we felt at the time.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Friday, December 1, 2006

Random Black-and-Whites (Old Pictures in My Mind)

Walking down the highway from 9-1/2 Mile Camp to-and-from Olaa Elementary School with a bunch of other kids. Dressing up as Santa for the kindergarten Christmas Show and parade around the school. Periodic earthquake drills and actually having one during the 1st grade. Dancing around the May Pole in the main yard. Playing around in downtown Olaa and especially in the yard of the Hongwanji. Olaa Dispensary and Lynne falling out the door of the car as we were headed up the highway in the direction of the Volcano Park (it wasn't "National" in those days). Picking plums in Glenwood. Being able to pick and eat Mountain Apples, Vee Apples, Common Mangoes, Sugar Cane, Sweet Lemons, Okinawa Tangerines, Guava, Waiwi, Papaya, Persimmons, Star Fruit, Maui (Hayden) Mangoes, Oranges, Hibiscus Nectar, and other "wild" fruits whereever we went. Cafeteria helper duty at Kalanianaole Elementary School where the best cookies were made. Red Dirt. Black Dirt. Red Clothes. Black Clothes. Dirty lickin's cause we had red and/or black clothes. Sleeping grass, California grass, no smoking grass (we didn't know what that was).

Spencer Park, McKenzie Park, Isaac Hale park, Kaimu Beach, brachish water, Kalapana, Pahoa, Puna, Glenwood, Mt. View, Volcano Village, Thurston Lava Tube, the Sulphur Banks, Pahala, going 5 miles an hour down the road because Dad was a "careful" driver - looooong time to get to Hilo from 9-1/2 Mile Camp. Cinder Cones. Honey Bees in the holes in the cones.

Musubi with Ume inside. Takuan. Daikon. Pickled Radishes. Pickled mango. Pickled everything you can imagine. Picnics at the beach with the best homemade food in the world.