Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dis, Dat and Da Kine

The cops in Kakaako were the biggest guys you ever saw in your life. They didn't ride around in cars; they walked the beat and knew all of us by name. I don't know if there was a curfew or not but we sure were in our respective homes when 8 o'clock rolled around.

There was no reason to go hungry; fruit trees were all over. You couldn't walk much more than a block before coming across a fruit tree. Some of the fruits that were available include coconuts, figs, dates, mangoes, guavas and star fruit. My favorite was the "Frisco" dates. There was a huge tree on the property across from St. Agnes Church.

Speaking of something to eat, during the summer we always ate our lunch at whatever house we were playing at. If we were playing in my yard my mother would invite my friends to join us for lunch. If we were playing down the street than that neighbor would invite us in for lunch.

Earlier we talked about a cashless society, what about a keyless society? We lived on Queen Street and at several different residences on Cooke Street and I don't remember my parents ever locking the doors of our house regardless of what street we lived on.

I doubt if any of the homes we rented had keys. The only door that I know for a fact that we could lock was the bathroom door and it wasn't because of thieves.

Remembering telephone numbers was not a problem in those days. All Oahu phones had only four digits. Hilo was better yet, only three digits. We sure did not need a personal phone diary.
Every summer vacation many of the boys had bolo (bald) heads.

There were two reasons for the bolo heads; the first was the weather, summers are always hot. The second reason was to make sure that we did not have any ukus (lice).

I remember my mother and grandmother combing my sister's long hair with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that she didn't have ukus. The most popular cure for ukus was to wash the hair with kerosene. I know vinegar was also used but I don't remember if the vinegar was used as a replacement for the kerosene or as a shampoo to get rid of the kerosene smell. Neither smelled very good.

Since a lot of the kids my age were first or second generation Americans our English wasn’t perfect but we did not speak the pidgin that is supposedly popular today. Da kine wasn’t invented yet.

Most of our language problems involved pronunciation. We were also trying to learn words from the native language of our classmates and neighbors. As a result we spoke a hodgepodge of various languages.

Hawaii residents rarely, if ever, give directions in terms of north and south or east and west. It’s almost always mauka or makai and Diamond Head or Ewa or any two communities.

As kids we used racial ancestry as part of our directions. See the Portugee lady next to the Pake Store on Queen St. for the best cigar mangoes. Need crate lumber? Talk to the haole guy on Kawaiahao St. and he will give you some. The Japanee guy on Cooke St. will share his figs with you.

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