A couple of weekends ago, we drove to I’olani Palace for their annual Mai Poina walking tour. Actors dressed in period costumes tell of events that led to the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. In simple language and with passion in their voices, each actor told of what was happening in the legislature, with the military, on the palace grounds, and with the common man, during the days of the late 1800’s overthrow of the Queen.
While walking on the grass area in front of the palace, we wondered about a gated area. As we edged closer, we saw the “Kapu” sign. Yes, royalty is buried on palace grounds. Out of respect, we quietly walked away.
Check out the link to Hawai’i Pono’i’s website. (Same as above.) Even though we knew some of the history, we learned more. I wished I had my former 8th grade U.S. History students with me. Of course, they are all grown and in their 30’s now, but I still think of them as my students.
The day after our Pearl Harbor excursion, I visited a nursery in Waimanalo. Even on a cloudy day, Waimanalo is a view of lushness with the Ko’olau Mountains as a striking backdrop.
I filled up the car. Gas is going up again.
A few days later we had dinner in Waikiki, where Mark bought me a lei. Could someone please develop a widget for smell? I’d add it to my blog so you all could smell the plumeria.
Saturday was game day. My now hometown team was playing my alma mater. What to do? Cheer for which team? The politically correct answer was to attend the Spellbinders conference at the Hilton Hawaiian Village instead.
Here’s a panel talking about taking a book and turning it into a movie.
First, we had a tour of Pearl Harbor from our friend Uncle Herb. He’s half Hawaiian, in his 90’s and a Pearl Harbor and Battle of the Bulge survivor. It was my first time to the memorial and Uncle Herb greeted us in his electric scooter at the main gate.
We had no idea our neighbor and friend was a celebrity. Tourists brought their children up to him to hear his story. Everyone wanted a photo with a real life hero. We took photos for tourists and waited until it was time to board the ship to the Arizona. Uncle Herb had procured tickets for us on the 9:00 tour.
The line for the 9:00 tour snaked around the building that housed the theater. As we followed Uncle Herb, he steered his scooter along the side of the line, telling us, “Stick to me like glue.” We did and Uncle led us to the front of the line, where the National Park rangers unhooked the rope and let us through.
We sat in the front row while waiting to watch a short video that helped explain the history of that infamous day. When finished, we opened the door and followed Uncle to the boarding area for the boat that would take us to the Arizona. The military members working the ship kept everyone standing in line behind the rope while Uncle Herb headed towards the ramp. We stopped when the men at the ramp flanked each side and saluted Uncle as he rode up the ramp to the ferry.
When he was on board, we followed him and waited for the line of people to embark. Once en route to the Arizona, one of the men who had saluted announced on the loudspeaker that there was a Pearl Harbor survivor onboard, that he would be let off ship first and that their tradition was to salute the living survivors.
Again we followed Uncle off the boat onto the Arizona. When the line of people standing to the left waiting to leave the Arizona saw Uncle in his Pearl Harbor hat come towards them, the entire line clapped as he rode by. We didn’t hear much of Uncle’s stories while on the memorial because everyone again wanted to meet him, shake his hand, tell him “thank you” and have a photo with him.
I leaned over to Uncle and whispered in his ear, “You’re a rock star here.”
He smiled and said, “And I don’t have to have a guitar or shake my hips.”
We then asked one of the tourists to take our photo with Uncle Herb.