Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Growing Up Hawaiian Jan 2010

We did things differently where I grew up.

Not only did we do things differently, we were woefully
"behind the times".
Everything we had took five and a half days to get there by ship
— if you could get it at all —
not counting loading and unloading the docks and shipping strikes.

The latest movies and records were ancient history
by the time they got to us.

We didn't care, we were happy and life was good.
"Lucky you live Hawaii",  everyone said.

It wasn't until I got all grown up and moved to San Francisco that
I found out how different my growing up really was:

You played stick-ball in the alleyway after school. . .
we ran down the alley to the beach for a swim before homework.

You ate Jujubes when you went to the movies. . .
we ate Li Hing Mui (preserved plum) at "da' show".

You went on interstate vacations with your family. . .
we went for a ride-around-the-island and ended up back home in
3 1/2 hours.
Whether we wanted to or not.

You were named Jim and Bob, Smith and Jones. . .
we were Kuulei and Kimo, Sakamoto and Ka'anehe.

You went on picnics with fried chicken, potato salad, and jello molds. .
we ate "plate lunch" with mahi-mahi, rice, and macaroni salad
on the beach.

You wore penny-loafers. . .
we wore flip-flops.

While Americans debated whether to call
African Americans blacks or Negros. . .
we were called "The Melting Pot of the Nation"
and teased each other relentlessly about our ethnic and cultural differences.

Because of all that — I have the great good fortune of not seeing
people in colors.

 Kinda like this guy.


  1. What a cool pic of the Prez!!.....and I definitely envy your childhood :-)

  2. Raised more conventionally I see different colors...but I am sure beyond a shadow of doubt no one color is better than the other.


  3. Thanks, Mic! I was very lucky.

    Agree, Calypso, good way of putting it.

  4. Your childhood sounds lovely! I love your post, I am with Calypso that I see colors but have no biases. But I do find it a bit funny in Mexico since many Mexicans do feel that "lighter is better" and the very dark do feel maligned sometimes I think. What do you observe Lakeside?

  5. wait, you grew up in hawaii? and p.s. saw an old clip of you from memphis "critter's christmas" or something when i was at grandma's funeral. made me smile :) hope all is well!

  6. You had a very privileged childhood! I hope that one day my kids will be grateful for their childhood in Mexico.

    Happy New Year and Happy Dia de Reyes! :D

  7. Nancy, I've seen that all over this country, including here, skin color has been an issue for Mexicans for hundreds of years.

    Recently, while chatting with Mexican women friends out in the middle of the street one day, I made a comment about how I wish my skin color was 'permanently tan' like theirs was. I knew — and regretted — my stupid hurtful words instantly as they tumbled thoughtlessly from my mouth. But much more-so when I saw their faces drop. Dios mio, at least I make those kinds of mistakes only rarely now.

    The other part about being raised Caucasian (haole) in Hawaii is that I was a minority. It was not easy and I believe I have more empathy and a broader outlook because of that — however difficult, painful, sometimes frightening, and often frustrating that experience was.

  8. Yes, Amanda, Hawaii, but no on the Memphis. . . at least that I know of. Never been there.

  9. Ah, Leslie, I have NO doubt your children will grow up to receive the same benefits I did from living a multi-cultural life style from early on. You are giving them the same gift my parents gave me. They are lucky kids.

    ¡Feliz Año!