Seventy years in the same house

Old KahalaMy mother lived in this 916 square foot house along Kealaolu Avenue in old Kahala for 70 years. Today it’s pretty much as it was when they bought it in 1942. The house is much as it was, but the yard, and the neighborhood, have changed dramatically.

Yesterday my sister and I surveyed the situation in the house and tried to make a general plan for attacking all the “stuff.” My mother was a pack rat and a genealogist. The house is like a poorly organized genealogical library put together over time by someone who was going to get around to that organizing stuff “any time now.” There are the folders tracking individuals or families we are (or might be) related to across the U.S., England, and beyond. Then there are random notes, or a few sheets of research, that turn up in odd places, in the middle of a stack of bank account records, or in old newspaper clippings, or tucked inside a book. They’re everywhere!

My sister, Bonnie, gave me a key to the house yesterday while we were working, and I realized that it’s the first time I have ever had a key. When I was growing up, a key was unnecessary because the house was never locked. Later, it was unnecessary because there was a spare key in a hidden spot where I could always find it.

It’s a new day.

In any case, click on the photo to see a few more pictures of their Kahala home, then and now.

10 responses to “Seventy years in the same house

  1. Very pretty porch and plants!

  2. It is too bad that there are so few of those old Kahala homes left. If you sell it, someone will tear it down and build a minimum setback McMansion. So sad.

  3. If you know what they paid for it in 1942, it might be interesting to calculate what the price increase is on an annual basis. An 11,250 square-foot lot in Kahala would be vastly more expensive today than anyone could have contemplated in 1942, but spread over 70 years, plus factoring in the cost of the fee, if it was originally Bishop Estate land, the annual increase might be less than some might imagine, especially in inflation adjusted term. Having cleaned up after several relatives’ deaths I can say that the process stirs many mixed emotions, but your parents left you a grand legacy so in balance I hope that you don’t find it unduly burdensome.

  4. Constantinos Papacostas

    Dear Ian,

    I was just wondering if the custom of planting a tree for a newborn (your sister in this case) had its roots (so to speak) in your Hawaiian heritage; it is well-known that Abner Paki planted the famous tamarind tree on Dec. 19, 1831 for Bernice Pauahi!

  5. It’s a lovely old house I hope it stays in the family.

  6. I had my father take a look at the picture of the cars in order to try and ID the make/models. He wasn’t positive as they were a bit too old for his car ID abilities (which I often find impressive), but here’s what he wrote back:

    I think both are made by Chrysler. Coupe on right is probably a Chrysler. Other could be a Chrysler or DeSoto. Year has to be 1940-41, maybe 42. Body style on left is more reminiscent of post war models.

    • Mr. Mike in Hilo

      I agree that the car in the car port was made by the Chrysler company, but I think that it could have been a Plymouth. I am not sure about the make of the coupe.

      I think the house was very attractive and that your father did a fine job on the lanai.

  7. I love the old style homes of that era. We lived in one similar to that in Kahala on Pueo Street, with a open lanai in the back of the house and two mango trees in the yard. The old house is gone, replaced by a two story building that occupies the entire lot and gone are the mango trees. I know how difficult it must be to face the task of going through your parent’s things as I’m sure your mother kept much of your Dad’s belongings as well. Wish you well with that. Cherish the memories.

  8. I love the old photos!

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