Category Archives: History

Looking back at Kaimuki

This comment was left yesterday on an old post about Kaimuki.

Love your photos! As a life-long Kaimuki resident (Wilhemina Rise), I find these photos poignant and priceless.

How I appreciate such comments!

Ah, yes, the Kaimuki photos. Here’s a sample.

Waialae at 11th Avenue

We lived in Kaimuki from September 1969 through about May of 1978, most of that time in a 4th floor apartment in what was then known as the Circle Jade Apartments.

For those interested, here are a few different sets of pictures I’ve previously posted from that period.

The View from Kaimuki: 1969

Kaimuki Community Park – December 1970

9th Avenue, Kaimuki – c. 1972

Applying for a Certificate of Hawaiian Birth

When my Hawaiian grandmother and her sister were born, in the last years of the Hawaiian kingdom, they did not receive birth certificates. At that time, there were many births at home, or at the homes of family friends serving as midwives, where the formalities such as birth certificates were not part of the process.

So some 60 years later, in mid-1948, the two women each submitted an application for a Certificate of Hawaiian Birth. This involved providing testimony about their parents and siblings, with supporting testimony by family friends who could verify they had been born in Hawaii.

My grandmother, Heleualani Eva Cathcart Yonge, was the older sister. Helen Mary Kahooilimoku Cathcart McPherson was two years younger. Their father, Robert William Cathcart, was Irish. Their mother, Kina, was Hawaiian.

The records show their applications were supported by Jennie Wilson, who was married to then-Honolulu mayor and one of the founders of Hawaii’s Democratic Party, John H. Wilson.

Wilson testified she was a “schoolmate” of the girls’ mother, Kina.

Further support also came from Harriett Baker, who I know little about. Baker testified that Helen was born at her family home, near the corner of Punchbowl and Vineyard, with her mother assisting in the birth.

In any case, I found portions of their applications, with some of the supporting testimony, in my sister’s papers. These were duplicated from copies made in 1979 and filed in the Mormon’s genealogical library.

–> View portions of the Applications for Certificate of Hawaiian Birth filed by my grandmother and her sister in 1948.

Another one of my mother’s missives

Yesterday I came across what appears to be a draft letter to the editor written by my mother. It’s typed on “Season’s Greetings” stationary with an island theme, featuring Santa in a bathing suit carrying a frisbee, followed by a reindeer weighted down with surfboard, towels, beach mats, and other gear.

The draft is dated: March 17, 2006, two months before her 92nd birthday.

It’s not her most elegant letter, but it does make a point. She was offended by the idea of tearing down a perfectly good house, in this case a recently renovated one, in order to build an extravagant new structure still zoned for single family use.

I have no indication it was ever sent or published.

It has come to my attention that a home next to ours on Kealaolu that was renovated less than two years ago at an extensive cost, is to be bulldozed for the construction of a new multimillion dollar project.

I had an opportunity to inspect the house this morning and was amazed to find such an elaborate interior. All new inlaid bamboo floors, lighting fixtures valued in the thousands, kitchen and bathroom drainboards in specialized granite, bathroom mirrors and cabinets the best, kitchen and bathroom fixtures all first class.

I have heard the comment that there should be a law against pulverizing a very livable home to be replaced by a huge unlivable place the law says can only accommodate a single family. The lots in our area are about 12,000 foot average. I’m told that with the value of the lots in the area now, one cannot afford to keep an average bungalow type house in place. I cannot help but wonder if this same thinking is going on in other parts of the country where property values are beginning to skyrocket.

Family treasures: My mom’s letter written at the end of WWII

Another treasure from the family papers.

This one is a short, two-page handwritten letter from my mother to my father’s parents in Long Beach, California, dated August 19, 1945, just days after the Japanese surrender that marked the end of WWII.

It begins:

“Well, the war is over and thank goodness so is the wild rejoicing. I suppose Long Beach was in a state of bedlam like Honolulu. From my sister’s description, they acted the same in Los Angeles. We watched the mad surging crowds (mostly sailors) from a second story window down town and thanked our lucky stars we weren’t on the streets acting looney. In fact that wasn’t the first celebration, for when we went through town the Sunday before, there were parades etc starting up on receipt of that famous false alarm that was broadcast. People were throwing firecrackers into the streets and we had to stop several times to avoid them.”

Here’s one of the photos taken by my parents of those crowds in downtown Honolulu, which I had posted earlier.

August 1945

The letter went on to comment on expectations that living conditions would soon improve.

My mom thanked my grandmother for her help finding material for a quilt being sewn for my sister, Bonnie, then 2 years old. But she added, “don’t go through any more trouble about it, as very shortly the stores will be stocked to overflowing again, and I will be able to get the perfect match here.”

And this sentence about travel from the mainland to Hawaii: “Wartime conditions on ships were anything but enjoyable as many of our friends can testify. Rooms for two were packed with 6 & 8 peole and there was no recreation. But very soon, now, fares will go down and conditions improve…”

Just click on the letter (below) to see both pages.

August 19, 1945