I received wonderful responses to my last eZine regarding Creatures of Habit and wanted to share it with all of you.
Andrea wrote to tell me of a wonderful sculpture exhibit called “Hook the Reef” at Marks Garage. You can read about it here: http://www.staradvertiser.com/features/20110519_undersea_yarn.html
Charlie wrote to tell me I had jogged his memories of growing up and playing in the waters off Waikiki. I asked his permission to share his reminiscences with you here:
“I grew up swimming along the entire Waikiki beach area, and one of my favorite swimming spots was near the end of Kalakaua Ave. the Diamond Head area. At that time there was a somewhat small, secluded beach located right in front of a huge old private residential mansion or estate, which was located on the water. They had their own private wooden pier jutting out into the ocean about 50 feet. As kids about 4 to 5 years old, my sister and pals and I used to play hide and seek under the pier with the waves sloshing about; we lazily suntanned and snacked on top of the pier. We would be in the water for hours ... just spending the whole afternoon in and out of the ocean, our skins getting wrinkled, until our mothers would beg us to get out so we could take the trolley bus home.
Today, the Kaimana Beach Hotel stands in place of the above old mansion property, and the Beach is now known as Kaimana Beach. Today there is no pier, no huge Naupaka bushes to play hide and seek in, and as you know, it’s also called San Souci Beach.
In fact, the whole beachfront area from the intersection of Kapahulu and Kalakaua, on the Kalakaua Avenue side (going Diamond Head direction) the ocean side used to be sealed off. It was filled with many different huge private residential estates, which were owned by the power rich of Hawai`i. Back then, from Kuhio Beach to San Souci Beach, walking along Kalakaua Ave., you couldn’t see the beach because all these old estates walled it off. The City years later used the condemnation law for eminent public domain purpose and took over the land and opened up the area to the public. Thus the park, the Waikiki Aquarium, came to be and now we can see the ocean while walking along Kalakaua Ave.
I am glad you are enjoying San Souci Beach as I did growing up in yesteryears.
PS. The whole area ocean side, near the end of Kalakaua Ave where the Elks Club (where I have been a member for 20 years) and the Outrigger Canoe club are — this whole area was privately owned by Mr. Dillingham who used it as his vacation home. It covered several acres of beachfront. He was considered the 6th most powerful business tycoon in Hawai`i at that time, in the 20s.
In fact, he later built a huge waterfall monument near the end of Kalakaua Ave. dedicated to his faithful and loving wife. This waterfall fountain still stands today (we don’t know how he honored his several Hawaiian mistresses.)
Back then, Mr.Dillingham was a member of the Elks Club and used his vacation home for Elks activities. When he died, he gave the whole area to the Elks. At that time, the Elks Club was a racially restricted club, it was only for whites, non-whites could not become members. But some members of the Hawaiian royal family were invited to join the club for political reasons. How did Mr. Dillingham get around that racial rule? He categorized the royal Hawaiian family as white. The national Elks headquarters on the mainland accepted it, without any comments.
Your email certainly triggered old forgotten memories of my young growing up days in old Waikiki. I too used to swim under and follow the various tropical fishes swimming among the corals in the water, especially the fast moving Manini fish.”