offered from a distance,
have been demonstrated to
increase the healing rate from surgeries,
and religious faith is associated
with faster recovery from surgeries."
M. Dossey, M.D
country school in Puna, Hawai`i, ours was Pahoa School's Class of
Acob, Bernice Choy, Edward "Eddie" Ganir, Hannah
Hanohano, Vivian Hanohano, Calvin Hayashi, me,
Trudy Ka`apana, Samson Ka`awaloa, Gabriel Kealoha, Christine
Kimura, Norman Kukino, Richard Luis, Milton Miyamoto, Norman
Murayama, Janis Nakauchi, Calvin Okamoto, Gregory Pau, Dennis
Pavao, Iris Sato, Susan Seto, Susan Tampon, Roy Tsutsui, Barry
Toyota, Wendell Toma, Johnny Walker, Deanna Yamaguchi, and Wayne
all of us. Just as we were called when roll was taken or we
were lined up alphabetically to be weighed and measured, vision screened
or vaccinated. That
list came straight out of memory. No big feat, as there
were only 28 of us in the entire class, not including Leslie,
Lisa, and Winona who came to live in Puna but briefly, then moved
Time's Tour of P‚hoa
>> Hale Kipa O
Tour of P‚hoa Village
Kipa O Kiana's Picture Tour of Puna Attractions
up together, we have an uncommonly rich shared history of our
"Wonder Years" in Puna, including the hula hoop and the
twist; the Cold War and bomb shelters; exploring lava tubes behind
Christine's house; swimming at Warm Springs and Queen's
Bath, now covered by lava; respecting the riptide at Kaimu
Black Sand Beach) and swimming with the tadpoles, alongside an
ancient heiau, at Harry
K. Brown Park; playing in the rain (and rain it did in Puna,
sometimes for many days straight!); wading through the
"lakes" in the schoolyard; putting on skits, plays,
pageants, and dances; and going on class excursions to the big
for an audio clip of Dennis
singing "Puna Ku`u Aloha,"
a song dedicated to Puna,
courtesy of mele.com
Queen's Bath, Kalapana,
...where we learned to hold our breath
by swimming its entire length in a single breath.
came in all shapes, sizes and colors, from every corner of Puna,
including Kalapana, Opihikao, and Pahoa. And although we were a
mixed bag of aptitudes, talents, and achievements, we progressed
through the grades together as one unit, studying the same
subjects with the same teachers in the same classrooms.
Except for using our respective boys' and girls' bathrooms, we did
just about everything together.
wonder we didn't get sick of each other.
didn't. It was just the way it was. Whether we were aware of
it or not, we were just like family to one another. Like siblings,
we had our squabbles, fights and rivalries, but I think they were
good for us as they prepared us for life, toughening even the
smallest and meekest of us. As a result, we're a bunch of
go-getters, and none of us are pushovers.
I remember the good times, especially holding hands as we walked
to the cafeteria, singing together, playing music together,
dancing with each other, studying together, helping each other
out, ribbing and teasing each other, and playing hard together at
recess and after school.
now, I'm chuckling over the Red
Rover, Red Rover, Send So-and-so Right Over game. We
"potots" -- Susan T, Deanna, Wayne, Wendell, and
I (the most potot * of the potots) -- were
always picked last for each team and "sent over"
first. Some of you big buggahs could have done us munchkins
great harm by bulldozing us right into the ground, but because you
picked us off early on and you went easy on us with your slo-mo
bulldozing. My unbroken bones thank you.
* potot: short person, dwarf,
from the Filipino dialect, Cebu (Amazing what you can
find out with google.com!)
oh, remember those exciting class excursions to Hilo? The
Hilo Library and Lyman Museum were interesting, but Excelsior
Dairy with ice cream and Miko Foods with hotdogs were yummier. The
most fun part was lunch at the "Japanee Pahk" with its
pagodas, tilapia, tea house and bridges -- also known as Queen
Lili`uokalani Park -- and all of us running across the foot bridge to Coconut
Island (also known as Mokuola).
Back then, the bridge was
the most memorable of our teachers: Mrs. Francis Ho, who
drilled us in English grammar and backed up traffic by cautiously driving
slow as molasses; Mr. Toshimasa Miura and Mr. Roy
who pounded math into us, boys and girls alike; Miss
(Saiki), fresh from Wisconsin with her long legs in silky nylons,
who pioneered the teaching of Hawaiiana at Pahoa School and later
became Hilo High School's principal, and now executive director of
Hilo's Pacific Tsunami Museum; Mr.Donald Isbell, a
musically-talented transplant from Montana, who
taught some of us how to keep a beat in band (for others, it came
naturally), as well as sing
and harmonize as one; and who was married to former Girl Scout
leader and state representative,
Mrs. Virginia Isbell; Mr. Norman Mizuguchi, our 8th grade homeroom
teacher, who was Mr. Cool and later became a state senator, then
Senate president; and
Mrs. Vivian Araujo Stephenson, always sharply dressed and spike
heeled, who taught us Social Studies, opening our eyes to the
world, while sharing her love, classical music, by slowly seducing
us into loving it with her by playing Mozart, DeBussy, and Bach on
her portable phonograph.
them? Do you wonder, as I do, what ever became of them?
We had a lot of loving adults in our lives, and they too are a
part of us.
saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a
So true for us. After school, Pahoa
village with all of its good people raised us, as well as their
goodies: brain-freezing ice shave (ever notice that we say ice
shave, and everyone else says shave ice?) made by Miura Lady and
Shiigi Lady, the best sun-drenched sour lemons from Toma
ampan and coconut pie from Iwata Bakery, delicious crack seed out
of the huge glass jar at Shiigi Store, comic books at Momita
Store, and everything else at Yamaguchi Store and the Pahoa
Cash & Carry, aka "Hara Store", still run by
family since the 1940s and the only store left of our "hanabata"
among the most blessed of the blessed, as we lived our childhoods
together in one of the most beautiful and nurturing places on
Earth, Puna. We had no way of knowing how blessed. It was all we
knew. Since leaving our corner of our island, many of us are
worldlier, having been to other islands, the Mainland and foreign
countries. Puna will always be our home turf. Wiser, we now can appreciate the blessings of our
Sharing the same roots
up together, we not only touched each other's lives, we melted
together, blending with one another. We became a part of each
other, not only in our memories, but in our hearts, minds, and
spirits. The Aloha endures to this day. And because Aloha
endures, I write to you.
I have dredged up some warm and vivid memories, firing up your
Aloha because I am asking for your help. Your strongest
prayers and kokua are needed. One of us is hanging in the balance,
hovering between this world and the next.
a stroke (aneurysm) and is at Maui Memorial Hospital, recovering
from surgery. Please pray for him, his wife, Leialoha
Spencer-Pavao and their young kids, as well as the Pavao 'Ohana
(as you may recall, Lenneth was two years ahead of us; Edwin
a year ahead, and Morris, a year behind us, followed by the rest
of the Pavao kids) and his extended family, including the
Konanui-Punahoa 'Ohana (his mom's family) and the Ka`apana 'Ohana
(his Aunty Tina's family, including his cousins, Led and
years ahead of us and of course, Trudy, in our class).
you're reading this and you're not a classmate, please pray, too.
"Life is a Gift."
Classmates: You know who I am.
only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson