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Talking Hawai`i's Story

Oral Histories of an Island People

Michi Kodama-Nishimoto & Cynthia A. Oshiro (eds.)

Publication Year: 2009

Talking Hawaii’s Story is the first major book in over a generation to present a rich sampling of the landmark work of Hawaii’s Center for Oral History. Twenty-nine extensive oral histories introduce readers to the sights and sounds of territorial Waikiki, to the feeling of community in Palama, in Kona, or on the island of Lanai, and even to the experience of a German national interned by the military government after Pearl Harbor. The result is a collection that preserves Hawaii’s social and cultural history through the narratives of the people who lived it—co-workers, neighbors, family members, and friends. An Introduction by Warren Nishimoto and Michi Kodama-Nishimoto provides historical context and information about the selection and collection methods. Photos of the interview subjects accompany each oral history. For further reading, an appendix also provides information about the Center for Oral History’s major projects.

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press

CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. vii-

We express our gratitude to the Hawai‘i State Legislature, the Social Science Research Institute, College of Social Sciences, University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, and the many individuals and organizations who have sustained our efforts for more than thirty years. We thank present and former staff at the Center for Oral History, particularly research associate Holly Yamada and former director Chad K. Taniguchi....

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. ix-xiii

Talking Hawai‘i’s Story: Oral Histories of an Island People reflects the common identity, shared values, and survival of a unique culture that gave rise to and sustained a special sense of community in twentieth-century Hawai‘i. Measured by standards suggested by historian Robert Archibald, this book holds truths and statements that readers can identify with and relate to as representations...

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HAWAIIANO

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pp. 1-9

At age nineteen, Faustino Baysa left his native Ilocos Norte, Philippines, in 1927 to labor in Hawai‘i’s sugar cane fields. Assigned to Waialua Agricultural Company, Baysa worked in its cane fields, dairy, sugar mill; and from 1931 to his retirement in 1972, the plantation’s hospital, where he received patients, dressed wounds, took X rays, and assisted in the morgue. In 1938 ...

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A FAMILY TRADITION

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pp. 10-19

Abigail Burgess and Lillian Cameron, of Hawaiian-Chinese-Spanish ancestry, are the daughters of Mary Ann Opulauoho and Robert Hew Len. The fifth child and oldest daughter of twelve children, Burgess was born in Kohala in 1922. Cameron, the seventh child, was born in 1926, after the family had ...

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PALAMA TO PEARL HARBOR

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pp. 20-34

Agnes Chun was born in Honolulu in 1925. Her parents, Hee Chang Rho and Young Hee Chi Rho, were originally from Korea. Chun lived in the multiethnic P

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KONA IS THE BEST

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pp. 35-41

Of Spanish and Filipino ancestry, Severo Dinson was born on the island of Cebu, Philippines in 1904. His parents were subsistence farmers. Dinson came to Hawai‘i in 1922 to work on Hawai‘i Island’s sugar plantations. In 1924–1925, Filipino workers conducted a territory-wide sugar plantation strike. On Hawai‘i Island, strike camps were set up in Hilo for...

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HARD WORK AND PLEASURES, TOO

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pp. 42-49

Of Hawaiian, English, French, and Irish extraction, Henry Duvauchelle was born in 1903 in Honolulu, the third of Edward and Annie Duvauchelle’s thirteen children. In 1904, the family moved to Püko‘o, Moloka‘i, where Edward Duvauchelle worked as a self-educated lawyer, county road overseer, deputy sheriff, postmaster, rancher, and commercial fisherman. Henry Duvauchelle attended Kalua‘aha and Kamalö Schools on Moloka‘i;...

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HANAI GRANDDAUGHTER

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pp. 50-59

Hönaunau, noted as an ancient pu‘uhonua or place of refuge, was the birthplace of Martina Kekuewa Fuentevilla. Born in 1908, she lived with ‘Ana Lo‘e Ma‘inui and Mäkia Ma‘inui as their hänai granddaughter. Hänai, which means “to raise, feed, nourish, sustain,” also refers to the Hawaiian guardianship system in which a child is raised from birth by a foster parent or grandparent...

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LIKE GOING TO HEAVEN

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pp. 60-68

It was 1943, and Ernest Golden, a newly hired civilian defense worker, had been at sea on a crowded troop ship for eleven days since his departure from San Francisco. As the ship cruised into Pearl Harbor, Golden suddenly noticed the changing colors of the ocean. “It was,” he remembers, “like going to heaven.” Except for a short time spent with his grandparents, Mississippi...

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A BRAVE ONE

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pp. 69-79

Alice Saito Gouveia was born in Kaupakalua, Maui in 1918. The second oldest child, she helped tend the family’s pineapple crop and care for her younger siblings. Her father, an independent pineapple grower in Kaupakalua, died in a field accident in 1925. At thirteen, Gouveia worked in her uncle’s store and garage in Ha‘ikü. There she performed kabuki in the garage, which was converted...

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FROM CLASSROOM TO PINEAPPLE FIELD

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pp. 80-87

Venicia Damasco Guiala, born in 1913, was the eldest daughter of a farming family. She received her teaching degree from St. William College in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, Philippines; and, between 1938 and 1949, taught English, Tagalog, and home economics in rural schools. In 1947 she married Ruperto Guiala, a pineapple field worker who had returned to the Philippines from Hawai‘i. He decided to ...

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UNITY OF THE FAMILY

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pp. 88-105

James Shunzo Hasegawa immigrated to Hawai‘i in 1918 to attend Hilo Boarding School. He returned to Japan to marry Fujie Yamamoto. They were parents of five surviving children, including the eldest, Robert Kiyoshi Hasegawa, who was born in Hilo, Hawai‘i in 1923. The Hasegawas lived on Hawai‘i Island and Maui before relocating to Läna‘i, where James Shunzo Hasegawa worked for the Hawaiian Pineapple...

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THE RASCAL OF WAIKIKI

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pp. 106-115

Lemon “Rusty” Holt, the third child of seven born to Augusta Helen Lemon Holt and Edward Holt, lived on the Lemon family estate in Waikïkï, from his birth in 1904 until his departure in 1930. Of Caucasian-Hawaiian ancestry, Holt gained recognition for his football prowess at Kamehameha School and the University of Hawai‘i. Later he became a postmaster, personnel department...

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A BASIC PERSONALITY OF LIKING PEOPLE

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pp. 116-128

Born in Kohala, Hawai‘i in 1921, Jennie Lee In is the youngest child of Kui Sung Lee, an immigrant from China who came to Hawai‘i to work in the sugar cane fields, and Tung Moi Lim Lee, who was born in the Islands. At the age of six or seven, after In’s mother died, the family moved to the Kauluwela/Liliha area of Honolulu. She attended area schools and graduated...

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AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN

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pp. 129-137

Mae Morita Itamura was born in 1905 in Nähiku, Maui. When her father became ill in 1923, she quit high school and worked as a gasoline pump attendant for Kitagawa Motors in Spreckelsville. The following year, she clerked at Tam Chong Store in Lower Pä‘ia. A few months later, Itamura became a bookkeeper at Maui Dry Goods in Lower Pä‘ia. When Maui Dry Goods opened a liquor department, she was...

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WAIKIKI, IT’S PART OF ME

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pp. 138-147

Emma Manouaokalani Kaawakauo was born in 1927 in Honolulu, O‘ahu. Her mother, Emma Manouaokalani Kaeo Kaawakauo, was a longtime teacher at Waikïkï Elementary School. Her father, Elias Kahoohuli Kaawakauo, was a printer and news composing room supervisor for the Honolulu Advertiser and the Paradise of the Pacific magazine. The Kaawakauos lived in the Hamohamo section of Waikïkï for more...

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THE SHARECROPPER

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pp. 148-153

At the end of a road that runs through Honoka‘a and Kukuihaele towns is remote Waipi‘o Valley, located on the northwestern coast of the Island of Hawai‘i. Taro, cultivated in the valley for subsistence since at least the 1500s, became a cash crop in the nineteenth century. The recollections and observations of Waipi‘o Valley residents and workers were recorded in 1978 by Vivien...

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PROUD TO BE PALAMA

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pp. 154-163

Moses W. “Moke” Kealoha was born in Honolulu in 1928. His mother, Maria Kekai Gardner Kealoha, was a homemaker; and his father, Enoka Kealoha, a carpenter and painter. Moke Kealoha grew up in the family’s North School Street home, in the rough-and-tumble West Honolulu district of Pälama. To Kealoha’s regret...

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FOND MEMORIES OF WAIKIKI

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pp. 164-173

Helen Kusunoki was born in Honolulu in 1918. Her parents, Sakazo and Hisako Fujika, raised five children and founded the Unique Lunch Room, a popular Hawaiian food eatery on the Diamond Head end of Kal

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BUILDING A BETTER HAWAI‘I

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pp. 174-190

Frederick P. Lowrey, the oldest of Frederick D. and Leila Lowrey’s six children, was born in 1911 in Honolulu. He grew up in Mänoa and was educated at Punahou School, Phillips Academy, and Harvard University. In 1934, Lowrey started as an inventory clerk at Lewers & Cooke, Ltd., where his father, and grandfather before him, served as president. Lowrey left in 1935...

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SUGAR PLANTATION MEMORIES

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pp. 191-200

Ernest A. Malterre, Jr., of Portuguese, Hawaiian, and French ancestry, spent most of his life on sugar plantations. He was born on Hawai‘i Island, in Onomea, a community eight miles north of Hilo, where his father worked as a plantation overseer. When the family moved to Waipahu, O‘ahu, Malterre joined O‘ahu Sugar...

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TOGETHERNESS WAS THERE ALL THE TIME

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pp. 201-210

Stanley Clifford Mendes was born in 1931 in Ähualoa on Hawai‘i Island. He was the only child of John Mendes, Jr. and Josephine Souza Mendes. The family moved from Ähualoa to Kapulena, then to Pa‘auilo into a housing area called New Camp. Stanley Mendes attended Pa‘auilo School until the eighth grade. In 1944 he began his forty-year career in the sugar industry, first with...

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MY KALIA HOME

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pp. 211-218

The seventh of twelve children, Fred Paoa was born in 1905 to Henry Ho‘olae Paoa and Florence Bridges Paoa. The Paoa family residence sat on an approximately one-acre lot—now part of the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel grounds—in the close-knit neighborhood of Kälia in Waikïkï. After attending Waikïkï and Ka‘ahumanu Elementary Schools...

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INTERWOVEN MEMORIES OF LANA‘I

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pp. 219-229

Irene Perry is the sixth of eight children born to Robert Cockett and Rose Kahikiwawe Cockett. At the time of Perry’s birth in 1917, her father worked as a foreman for Läna‘i Ranch, overseeing the cattle in Keömuku. Perry attended Keömuku School until the family moved permanently to Kö‘ele in 1928. She completed her education at Kö‘ele Grammar School...

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INTERNED: EXPERIENCES OF AN “ENEMY ALIEN”

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pp. 230-238

Alfred Preis was born in Vienna, Austria in 1911. After graduating from high school in 1929, Preis traveled throughout Europe and later returned to Vienna to study architecture. In 1939, he and his wife, Jana, left Nazi-occupied Austria for Hawai‘i—a destination they chose after seeing movies about the South...

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ALWAYS A REBEL

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pp. 239-247

The second of ten children, Alex Ruiz was born in 1914, in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. His parents moved to Manila when Ruiz was still an infant. Ten years later, the family returned to Laoag, where Ruiz continued his schooling. In 1930, at age sixteen, Ruiz immigrated to Hawai‘i. He weeded fields at Köloa Plantation on Kaua‘i and lived in the plantation’s Filipino Camp. He...

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YOU’RE YOUR OWN BOSS, NOBODY BOSS YOU

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pp. 248-256

John Santana was born in 1906 in Kohala, Hawai‘i Island. His father, Domingo Santana, and mother, Enancia Santana, emigrated from Puerto Rico in 1901 to work on sugar plantations. In 1928, the family moved to Kona and took on contracts as coffee pickers. Later, John Santana worked as a road worker, night watchman, school custodian, and school bus driver. In 1945...

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CIVILIAN IN WARTIME HAWAI‘I

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pp. 257-270

Etsuo Sayama was born in Nu‘uanu, near Downtown Honolulu, in 1915 to Shosuke and Etsuyo Sayama, emigrants from Yamaguchi prefecture, Japan. After Shosuke Sayama died of influenza in 1922, Etsuyo Sayama and her three children returned to Japan. With the 1924 Asian Exclusion Act about to take effect, she brought Etsuo back to Hawai‘i in 1923. His sister, who died the following year, and brother...

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WORKING COWBOY

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pp. 271-279

William “Willie” Thompson, third of eleven children, was born in Kula, Maui in 1902. His father, Charles Thompson, was German; his mother, Annie Ah Quin, was Hawaiian-Chinese. On his family’s ranch, Willie Thompson farmed vegetables, milked cows, and trained horses. At age eighteen, he left for Honolulu, where he groomed and exercised polo ponies for the O‘ahu...

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THE STORE THAT CARRIED EVERYTHING

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pp. 280-294

Taketo Iwahara and Ryo Shishido Iwahara immigrated to Hawai‘i from Hiroshima, Japan. Iwahara Shöten, the family store, was located at King and Iwilei Streets in the ‘A‘ala district of Honolulu. Born in 1917, Kazue Uyeda is the oldest of four children. After graduating from Central Intermediate in 1932, she studied in Japan. She returned...

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RECOLLECTIONS FROM THE WINDWARD SIDE

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pp. 295-305

Edith Anzai Yonenaka, the fourth of ten children, was born in Kahana Valley, O‘ahu, in 1919. Her father, a sugarcane farmer, and her mother, a homemaker, were emigrants from Fukushima, Japan. The Anzais lived in a housing area called Tanaka Camp. In August 1941, Yonenaka and members of her family started the Ka‘a‘awa...

APPENDIX: CENTER FOR ORAL HISTORY PROJECTS [INCLUDES BIOGRAPHY MONOGRAPHS]

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pp. 307-313


E-ISBN-13: 9780824864545
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824833909

Publication Year: 2009

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Subject Headings

  • Hawaii -- Social life and customs -- 20th century -- Anecdotes.
  • Hawaii -- Biography -- Anecdotes.
  • Oral history.
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