Several of my recent columns piqued the interest of Rearview Mirror readers. Here are some of their comments and recollections.
I wrote about a surfer statue in California on March 8. Iolani Palace docent Willson Moore emailed to tell me more about the three Hawaiian boys who brought surfing to the U.S. at California’s Santa Cruz Beach.
“Edward, Jonah and David Piikoi (Jonah not as yet had taken the Kuhio middle name as a surname, nor had David with Kawananakoa) were nephews of Queen Kapiolani, and came to live as wards of King Kalakaua and Kapiolani in the palace in 1883.
“They were made princes of the realm by Kalakaua that same year. In 1885 they were sent to St. Matthew’s Military Academy in San Mateo, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area to further their education.”
On a summer break outing to Santa Cruz beach, just south of San Francisco, they saw waves, and from a lumberyard they made 17-foot redwood surfboards.
A newspaper account back then said the young princes were “giving interesting exhibitions of surf-board swimming as practiced in their native islands.”
A plaque was dedicated at the site in 2010. Mayor Mike Rotki said “we owe a lot to these three princes” for bringing surfing to the United States.
“The teenagers on my Iolani Palace tours, especially, love that story,” Moore continues.
“Edward died shortly after returning to Hawaii, but Jonah and David went on to travel and spread surfing to the United Kingdom and other parts of the world, both developing long, varied careers and making significant contributions to Hawaiian culture, history and politics.”
Max Urata told me that “Hawaii Five-O” (which I wrote about on March 15) with Jack Lord was shooting near his home in the 1970s. “My wife took our two young children to see the TV show being filmed.
“There were many people watching and, when Lord showed up, a local kid called out, ‘Hey, there’s Mannix!’ If looks could kill, that kid would have dropped dead right there. Jack Lord was not pleased.”
“Mannix” was a CBS TV show from 1967-75 starring Mike Conners.
Are the scripts here?
Marlene Blackwell said the article reminded her of the one time she met Jack Lord. “At the time I was working at the Australian Consulate and we had an event at the consul general’s house with many dignitaries, officials and celebrities.
“For some reason the caterer was late so the consul general asked the employees to walk around, mingle and pass out the hors d’oeuvres his wife had prepared until the caterer arrived.
“I walked up to Mr. and Mrs. Lord, said hello, and offered up the plate of hors d’oeuvres. He looked at me and said ‘Are the scripts here?’
“Since I wasn’t privy to what the evening’s events were, I was confused and searched my brain to figure out what he was talking about.
Once again he asked ‘Are the scripts here?’ I started to stammer out that I wasn’t aware of any scripts, upon which he practically shouted ‘Mr. and Mrs. Scripps!! Are they here?!!’
“It was funny!”
I wrote about vehicular tunnels on March 29. James Pollock told me he moved to Oahu in 1958. “I remember clearly that the Pali tunnel from Windward to Honolulu was open to traffic then.
“Traffic to Kailua from Honolulu still had to go over the top and what a ride it was; almost as good as a roller coaster.
“In addition to the sharp curves, the famous Pali winds were a problem. While infrequent in occurrence, the winds did turn over a car occasionally right after it made the turn to go down the face of the Pali. I saw at least one such incident myself, but fortunately it was some other person, not me.”
Pollock also commented about the viewing area on the Kaneohe side of Likelike Highway. I, in error, said it was planned but never built.
“It was built and in use for a relatively short time,” Pollock says. “The problem was that people exiting the parking area onto the highway created an extremely dangerous situation as they could not see traffic coming out of the tunnel at high speed and tunnel traffic could not see vehicles exiting the parking area.
“That parking area access was closed but you can still see the flat area where it existed.”
Jacqueline Kennedy and the Three Stooges
I wrote about the Maile room on Jan. 31. Alvin Yee told me that retired real estate broker Henry Chan told him that he worked as a waiter at the Kahala Hilton in the 1960s and ’70s.
“He remembered serving Jacqueline Kennedy, whom he described as a soft- spoken woman.
“He also served Moe Howard of the Three Stooges, whom he described as a lousy tipper. Instead of a cash tip he gave Henry an autographed picture of himself, telling Henry it would be very valuable someday.
“A cash tip would’ve been long spent, but the photo now rests in Henry’s safe deposit box.”
Hauula native Rainbow Uli‘i commented about Pat’s at Punaluu, which I wrote about on March 22.
The definition of Punaluu, Uli’i says, refers to freshwater springs that lay in the ocean.
“There were many puna (freshwater springs) located in the water there, and in old Hawaii, kanaka would lu‘u (dive) down with ipu (gourds) to fetch some wai (fresh water) to take back home. Punaluu is truly a historical place.”
Rowland Ho told me that Honda Delicatessen (which occupied the corner of Liliha and Kuakini streets, before Masu’s Massive Plate Lunch took over) had excellent local Japanese okazuya for 50 years.
“I use to go there from grade school through high school, then I went into the Air Force and didn’t come home for four years. I used to dream about coming back and hitting Honda’s da first thing (which I did!).
“And they weren’t very vocal, just order, put da food on the plate, pay and walk out the door … no conversation! But, ono food! They retired in 1990 without any warning and I was devastated!”
Kalihi vs. Kapalama
Steve Pickering wrote to say that Damien Memorial School is not technically in Kalihi, as I reported March 8. “Houghtailing Street lies almost directly in the middle of the Kapalama ahupua‘a.”
“The Kapalama ahupua‘a contains Farrington High School, Bishop Museum, Kamehameha Shopping Center, Kapalama Elementary (and several other public schools), Damien School, and Kamehameha School,” Pickering says.
“I feel it is important for people to know the land and to keep the ancient and distinct names of places alive.”
Carole Ichiyama asked me why this building on Hotel and Bishop says “Oregon” in its facade.
The Oregon Building was erected in 1901. Originally it was to be called Hibernia (the Roman name of Ireland).
Two-thirds of the building occupied property that had to be demolished to extend Bishop Street mauka of Hotel Street in 1926, so what is left is just one-third of the original building. I could not find anything about how the name was chosen. Do any readers know?
The Rearview Mirror Insider is Bob Sigall’s weekly email that gives readers behind-the-scenes background, stories that wouldn’t fit in the column, and lots of interesting details. My Insider “posse” gives me ideas for stories and personal experiences that enrich the column. I invite you to join in and be an Insider at RearviewMirrorInsider.com. Mahalo!