Aina Haina Valley, da '50s

 

 

From: Kam Robert J
To: <pygoya@pixi.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2005 8:18 AM
Subject: Aloha from Santa Maria, California


> Hi Rodney,
>
> I appreciate your feedback email.  Your website brought a lot of
> memories back to me.
>
> You are correct in your history, because we have not formally or
> informally met when I used to live in Honolulu.  I graduated from St
> Louis High School in 1972, so there is an age difference between us and
> your siblings.  I left Honolulu after I graduated from the college of
> engineering at UH for my first engineering job in Ventura California in
> 1978.  I have been living in California since 1978.
>
> The connection between your family and my family (and me) is through
> your Mother and your brother Clayton.  Your mom was a very good friend
> to Mrs. Pat Wong and my mother (Virginia Soy Kwan Kam).  She always had
> a good word to say to my mother.  But most of all, she always had a
> caring heart for my mother's burden - the constant care for my older
> brother's poor physical condition.
>
> In my childhood days, Aunty Pat (as we affectionately called Mrs. Wong
> as our Hanai Aunty) used to "babysit" quite a bit.  In fact, the Wong
> kids were the same age as my 2 sisters and I.  We played with the Wong
> kids over their home quite a bit.  It was a short walk to their home
> from our home.  Mr. Wong transformed their backyard into a "great" play
> ground - sand boxes, tree houses, mystery maze, etc.  Their backyard was
> a kid's playground heaven to us!  In today's world of SuperMom, Aunty
> Pat provided an excellent environment to raise children.
>
> We learned so many great childhood games (before there was Ninetendo and
> cable TV).  One of the cherished games for me is learning how to the
> various Trump games.  I was so challenged by the game of Trump, and I
> could play it for hours with Leonard Wong, Aunty Pat and whoever else we
> could "drag" into the game.  We sat bowlegged on their living room
> wooden floor and held our trump card tournament with so much gusto!  As
> it turns out, my passion for the game of Trumps evolved to the game of
> Tournament Bridge in my older age!
>
> Besides us and the neighborhood kids, Mrs. Wong always had several other
> children that she babysat for extra side money.  She was an amazing and
> patient woman, because she was able to handle so many kids (infants up
> to grade school kids). 
>
> One of my favorite pastime activity is when she took the whole gang of
> kids to the movies on Saturday at Kaimuki Theater.  In those days before
> the minivan there was the station wagon, where 4 to 5 small kids would
> sit in the middle seat in a car with the breeze blowing through the car
> for coolness.  We would pile up into her blue Chevy station wagon (I
> might been mistaken on the make and model) and ride up towards Kaimuki
> to the movies.  We each had our own money for the movie ticket and for
> snacks.  My favorite snack food was rushing to the nearby Japanese deli
> for "cone sushi" with potato tempura.  Before finding my seat, I had to
> have the "colored" sweet popcorn with a soft drink!
>
> In the romantic side of life, Mr. and Mrs Wong planted a "seed" in my
> life that only recently blossomed to life.  The Wongs were avid
> "ballroom" dancers.  They would practice dance moves in their living
> room while all the kids would watch and clap for them.  In my eyes, they
> danced like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  Mr. Wong was a caring dance
> partner, and led Aunty Pat so firmly and gently across the "dance floor"
> in their home. 
>
> A couple of months ago, my wife Charlene and I took up ballroom dancing
> and we both love it, especially me for special reasons!
>
> I can't say that your brother Clayton would know my name, but he always
> said hello to me or acknowledge my presence on his way home.  I
> recognized his face immediately when I saw your family picture on the
> website.  Your brother used to walk home after getting off the bus at
> the Hind Dr bus stop. 
>
> However, it was your Mom that I got to know personally, because she
> always took the time to spend some time with my mother by just listening
> to my Mom talk.  I had older brother, named Wayne, who was 1 year older
> than me.  He died in 1963 because his weak and frail body didn't have
> any more life in it.  He was born an invalid - couldn't speak, but he
> could see.  I don't know if he could hear.  His physical condition was
> like a baby because he wore diapers all his life.  He couldn't walk or
> feed himself.  He just laid down and observed his surrounding world.  As
> he got older, my father always had to carry him to and from the car.  He
> grew to be a very tall kid, because he was longer than me when I laid
> besides him on our shared bed.  He wasn't a "vegetable" because he could
> recognized people, and he did get excited when something made him happy.
> But he cried a lot, because he was in constant pain due to pneumonia and
> other childhood illness.  I don't know all the facts, because it is hard
> for parents to talk about it.  Perhaps that is why they enjoy me and my
> 2 sisters so much.
>
> I don't know what really was talked about between your mother and my
> mother.  But now, as an adult, I can only imagine that your mother
> provided an outlet for my mother.  Your mother had a friendly smile!
>
> It is sort of a coincidence (or a perfect timing in the realm of our
> Lord's wisdom) where the pictures of your website crossed the path of my
> current life.  The front view pictures of your childhood home is a
> mirror image of what our home used to look like before the room
> additions!
>
> While we (my family and I) were vacationing at my parent's home this
> past month, I replaced and repaired some things in the home.  As usual,
> my father likes to talk about the old times which I enjoy hearing.  As I
> was working on the house, he would tell me about the past.  But as we
> have done in the last 10 years, whenever we talked about the past, my
> father and my mother would also talk about the future - the future when
> they will no longer be here on earth.  One of the future topics is the
> disposition of their home, which I have agreed with them that it should
> go to my youngest sister and her family.
>
> Everything that I said in this email so far, I have taken the time to
> tell my wife and my children (especially my children) over the last 20
> years.  I enjoyed spending my Hawaii vacations doing household projects
> for my parents, because it gives me a chance to be with my father and my
> mother.  I love to talk with them and hear what they have to say about
> the present and the past.  The house projects is just a good "excuse"
> for me to spend time with them while my wife and kids with my sisters
> and their kids spend time at the beach or at the "shopping" mall or with
> other family.
>
> The house and the repairs are only temporary and perishable things, but
> my experiences and my shared love with and for my parents are permanent
> and forever.  In my younger days, I wanted to redo (modernized) my
> parents home whenever I came home for a visit, but they only wanted me
> to repair or replace things - not to improve.  So the core part of their
> residence remains the same.  Nothing has changed but simply has been
> maintained - like a new coat of paint, replacing own plumbing fixtures,
> new bathroom tile floors, etc.  But just as the old home remains the
> same, so is my bond with my parents remain as strong as ever.
>
> The stories behind the pictures of your website have their own special
> meaning for you and your siblings (and the younger ones in the Chang
> clan).  From reading the little captions with each picture on your
> websites, I can only imagine that you had a special bond with your
> parents also.
>
> On the plane ride home from Hawaii 2 weeks ago, my oldest son Daniel and
> I chatted about his future and about my childhood past.  He also took
> the time to listen to me about my relationship with my parents, my
> sisters and the "new" cousins (that he met at my sister's wedding on
> this recent 2005 vacation).  I know that he and his brothers are
> listening to my "stories" - building and storing away their own memories
> and heritage!
>
> My oldest son, Daniel, just left for his 2nd year of college this past
> Sunday.  He is studying to be a Youth Pastor as well as studying to be a
> History teacher in High school.  Over the last 2 years, I have come to
> recognize and appreciate that Daniel is a grown man.  Our relationship
> has grown beyond that as a father - son, which I cannot find a label
> for.  Somehow, he is building up a heritage so that someday he will
> share it with his family.
>
> I have been actively involved with youth activities - mainly through
> sports as a coach (even before I was married).  It is not uncommon to
> have a teenager or a young adult come up and tell me the positive impact
> that I had on their lives when they were younger.  In a lot of ways,
> your mother and your brother Clayton impacted our family in a positive
> way.  Even though, it was just a "hello", I still remember it well!
>
> You know, as a young kid, I did frequent the Chinese Cracked Seed Store
> that was located next to the Cornet store (which is now Chuckie Cheese).
> I didn't know that Chinese store was in your family.  Yep, it made great
> "shaved ice", but then they replaced it with ICEE.
>
> Got to go.  I wish you well.
>
> Bob Kam
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Dear Bobby,
>
>
> It was something special to receive a voice from afar that knew of Aina
> Haina,
> Pat Wong, Hind Iuka, and Lawelawe!
> Mahalo for being there and make my distant past feel still alive!
>
> Do you live in Honolulu? It would be nice to have lunch together and get
> reaquainted.  Did we actually do down to the stream and catch "mosquito
> fish"
> and possibly "do-jo"?
>
> How did we meet? Your house is further away than the kids that I grew up
> playing
> with on Kimokeo.  It's nice somebody else remembers the late Pat Wong
> from
> sooooo long ago. She passed away as you may know of breast cancer at the
> age I
> believe of 35.
>
> I am contemplating attempting my first (and only?) novel as I approach
> turning
> (Yikes!) sixty.  It sure is a life crisis as since I still have hair,
> I'm going
> blond on Friday before my upcoming 60th high school reunion.  Already
> got my
> diamond on my tooth.  Of course I get away with this childishness
> because "I'm
> an artist" and everybody knows we are eccentric.
>
> Sales pitch: you should buy one of my prints for old time's sake. You
> can find
> them and lotsa old time talk in my brother's Candy and shave ice store
> in the
> Aina Haina Shopping Center. It's called Doe Fang.
>
> If you can send any more details of OUR childhood days in Aina Haina,
> I'd
> appreciate it as I plan on writing about life as a kid there for the
> novel.
> Give me more of an idea of your personality back when and looks and
> maybe I'll
> work you into the book as a secondary character.
>
> Isn't the prices of A.Haina real property outrageous?  Our house on the
> corner
> has got to be over a mil now. Too bad we sold it when the parents passed
> away.
>
> Write will yah and Aloha from Kimokeo and the 50s!