Tag Archives: John Lind

From Swanky Franky to backyard bomb shelters: More views of Hawaii in the 1940s

Swanky FrankyI’m still coming across old photographs among my mother’s papers and making quick scans using my iPhone and an app called “CamScanner.” The results aren’t bad at all for sharing on the web.

This photo from 1940 shows my dad, John Lind, on the right, sitting in front of one of the Swanky Franky hot dog carts that gave brothers Cliff and Spence Weaver their start in the restaurant business. And I’m guessing those are the Weaver brothers with my dad in the picture.

My father came to Hawaii to take a job in the Honolulu office of San Francisco-based Dohrmann Hotel Supply Company. He was a good salesman, so it would have been natural to make friends with the Weaver brothers and other up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

This batch of photos ranges from Kahala to the University of Hawaii and back to downtown Honolulu on VJ Day.

–>See all of today’s gallery of old Hawaii photographs from my mother’s collection.

The real story behind those photos of Duke Kahanamoku’s visitors

Back in August, I posted a series of photographs of a lifesaving demonstration at Makapuu, and a reception at the old Outrigger Canoe Club in Waikiki. The events seemed to revolved around several visitors, including this blond beauty. The visitors were escorted by Duke Kahanamoku, giving the event a certain pizzaz.

The problem was that I had no information about the event, who the visitors were, or why all this was being done.

Woman with lei On the beach at Makapuu

Then I found some clippings describing a lifesaving demonstration at Makapuu that was held as part of a 1953 bodysurfing competition. It was the only event of its kind that I had found described in my dad’s papers, so I attributed the photos to that day in 1953.

Turns out I was wrong. The mystery was solved when I came across two 1959 columns by then-Honolulu Advertiser sports editor, Red McQueen.

The first, dated Friday, April 24, 1959, is headlined: “Paging John Lind”. It says Duke Kahanamoku received a letter about an upcoming visit by Miss and Mr. Australian Surf, Jan Carmody and Colin MacFarlane, accompanied by Australian model June Dally-Watkins.

Here’s the pitch: Duke’s Aussie friends thought it would be nice if a reception or some kind of exhibition, possibly for some charity, can be arranged during their stay.

Duke and yours truly readily agreed that your live-wire Waikiki Surf Club would be the logical organization to carry the ball.

The next day, another McQueen column announced: “No sooner said than done.”

No sooner had The Advertiser hit the street yesterday with word that Miss and Mr. Australian Surf would pause here for four days on a world tour than the handsome WSC presxy had plans in motion to entertain the visitors and also show them in an exhibition….

Moving with the swiftness of a Makaha wave, Lind had a meeting with Duke Kahanaomku yesterday and if initial plans are carried out, the visitors from Down Under will have something to write home about.

Do an online search and you won’t have trouble finding more background on the visitors.

One article earlier this year had this mention of Carmody:

Jan Carmody, a former Sydney model now in her seventies and living in Bangalow, remembers a Pill ‘story’ with fondness. Jan was one half of ’60s celebrity couple Jan and Peter Hanlon. Jan was a successful June Dally-Watkins protégé while her husband Peter was considered Sydney’s most successful hairdresser.

“In 1966, there was a popular television show called The Marriage Game,” Carmody says.

“Couples had to answer questions about each other – questions the other, apparently didn’t know they were being asked. The producer took us into a room to brief us on the questions that they would ask us. He then told us what one of the questions would be: What was the last thing you do before you go to bed? In the rehearsal I blurted out that I took the Pill.”

According to Carmody, the producer thought it was a great response; it was sure to get lots of media attention and boost ratings.

The next day, all hell broke loose. A headline in the leading Sydney newspaper of the day said ‘dreadful’– in capital letters. The editorial piece went on to say that it was a good thing Australia still had black and white televisions as the compere’s blush was in full technicolour.

In any case, now that you know the story, you might want to take another look at those photos.

Chinese food for Thanksgiving

The good news was that we arrived well before lunch and found my dad sitting at a table with three other men in the third-floor common room of his nursing home. Small paper turkeys decorated the walls, signaling that Thanksgiving had arrived. There was a little sign on the table in front of him, a single piece of heavy blue paper folded lengthwise into a triangle, resting on one side, with his name hand-written on the side facing him: “John Lind”, it said simply.

John LindHe was dressed in the Winnie-the-Pooh t-shirt Meda found recently in the Kaimuki Goodwill Store, and a pair of flannel pants from Costco that he enjoys.

He insists on t-shirts with pockets so that he has a place for his glasses, and Meda’s been on the prowl in the thrift stores she visits.

He was surprised to see us. We explained we were there to have lunch with him.

“Oh, lucky you found me here,” he said, as if he might have been out and about town instead of here at a table with several other men on one end of a big room with dozens of other elderly patients in various degrees of ill health.

He quickly asked if Bonnie, my sister, was also coming. We said she wasn’t expected. It didn’t sound quite as bad as “no”.

“And Helen?” he asked, referring to my mom.

I told him that her knee has been hurting and she hasn’t been getting around much. All true. I didn’t say that at age 95, she also finds visits to the nursing home to be a trial.

Then he asked if I had a pen. Nope, but Meda produced one from her purse.

“Write a 4 on the sign,” he said, pointing to the paper in front of him. Meda dutifully wrote “4” in small print next to his name, then asked what it meant.

“That’s so they won’t forget our reservation,” he said.

In his mind, we’re in a restaurant where he had a reservation.

After a few references to the holiday, we quickly figured out that he wasn’t making the mental connection to “Thanksgiving” and all it entails.

First, he told us that they was expecting an eight-course Chinese meal to be delivered.

“It’s all supposed to be arranged,” he said, a little friendly conspiracy in his voice.

“Do you like Chinese food?” Meda asked, surprised by the idea.

“Some of it,” he responded somewhat noncommittally. Actually, come to think of it, that was probably a very honest answer.

We explained that it was Thanksgiving, and that they actually would be serving a special turkey dinner. That’s why we were there, along with other residents of the third floor and a handful of their family members. Not as many visitors as I had expected. Perhaps some people took their old folks home for the occasion. We weren’t prepared for that.

I did tell him the good news that Bonnie would be cooking a pie or two.

He asked quickly: “What kind?”

“Pumpkin,” I say, realizing again that the Thanksgiving connection isn’t being made.

But, obviously, it could be a lot worse.

Then he was off about his car, a theme that returns, like the seasons but on a shorter cycle.

“I’ve lost my car again. Both cars,” he told me, somewhere between worry and anger. “I can’t find the keys. I don’t know if someone is playing games with me.”

To Meda, who was sitting over on his right: “How do I report a stolen car? Actually, I’ve got two cars that are missing.”

I don’t press for a description of the missing cars, because the last time he couldn’t remember anything specific about them, just the concept “car”, and I don’t like to lead him down the trails of dead-end memories.

“Maybe I’m better off without them,” he finally says. “I should just ride my bike.”

We encourage that line of thinking, and soon he’s forgotten that the cars were an issue.

He’s now anxious for lunch to be served, although it’s still early, only about 11 a.m.

He asks if I’ll go remind the waitress of his order.

Then he asks, “How was the weather in Waipahu when you left?”

He’s surprised when Meda says that we came from Kaaawa. Waipahu was where my mother’s parents lived when my folks were first married back around WWII. Does he think I look like my grandfather? Another chip away on the self-esteem front.

He posed for a few pictures, pleased by the attention, although he worried that he hadn’t shaved.

Somehow, in the midst of keeping small-talk going, Meda asks if he ever has trouble sleeping.

“I have trouble not sleeping,” he responds without a pause. “If I put my head down”–he acts it out, his head going down onto the table in front of him–“I’m asleep.”

Then he looks at me and asks: “Who’s paying for all this?” The bed, the “hotel room”, the food service?

“Oh, it’s covered by your insurance,” I reply, lying. “Don’t worry, it’s all taken care of.”

In fact, it’s an expense that is quickly draining the assets he built up over the past 95 years, including over 60 years in business. But he doesn’t need to hear that. He’s obviously got enough to worry about, what with missing cars, lost freedoms, unknown locations. The money part keeps me awake now. It’s our problem at this point, not his.

Luckily the food arrives. All attention goes there.

Meal served

He quickly observes that we’ve got small plates of turkey and gravy, while his plate has mashed pototoes, vegetables, and ground turkey on a bed of bread stuffing. We pointed out that his ground concoction was also turkey, just easier to eat. A nibble on the first fork full from his plate seemed to do the trick. He slowly dug in.

A bite of turkey. A few vegetables. Very soon he cut into his slice of pumpkin pie and took a bite, and I thought he would just fast-forward to dessert. But, no. He ate slowly but methodically. Meda shared her little container of cranberry sauce. His fork was a little unsteady, but he managed to eat through everything on his plate, then his pie, and then he asked about the pie sitting uneaten in front of Meda. She moved it over onto his tray, and he was happy.

Clean plateThe result: Meal declared a success.

We asked if he wanted to go back to his room for a post-meal nap.

“No, I think I’ll go home.” He started to look for his walker, which was parked just out of reach, to start the journey.

It’s another awkward moment, repeated quite regularly, but we still haven’t gotten practiced with a graceful reply.

At this point, “home” is a jumble of memories. He usually means the modest single-wall wood frame home in Kahala where he lived for over 65 years before finding himself in a single bed in a narrow room shared with three other aged men. Sometimes it’s the house on Vista Street in Long Beach, built by his father after the family moved down from the northern part of the state. It might be his childhood home in Berkeley. It might even be the bunk on his boat at the Ala Wai harbor.

Luckily, one of the nursing assistants sees him struggling to stand and comes over to take charge, tells him to wait for her to come right back. He wants to get going before she returns, but we keep him in check. She’s back in a few seconds to help him stand, then transfer his weight to the walker, then slowly make his way out of the room. We somewhat sheepishly say our goodbyes and slip out towards the elevator as she steers him back to his bed. He’ll quickly forget that he had intended to go “home”, wherever that is now.

But, just in case, we decide not to wait for the elevator and take the stairs instead.

It’s not a graceful exit.

Surfing history: A few copies of “The Surfer”, newsletter of the Waikiki Surf Club from the 1950s

I just found a file among my father’s papers containing several issues of the Waikiki Surf Club newsletter (“The Surfer”) from the period 1954-56.

These are very informal and simple, typed sheets, 1-3 pages each. They introduce new members, name club officials, congratulate teams in various competitions, recognize births, birthdays, and members leaving the islands, spread the word about club events, etc.

The paper is discolored and brittle, old staples have rusted away. I’ve scanned some and will have to make another try with several others that are badly faded.

Anyone interested in the development of competitive surfing and canoeing during the 1950s will probably want to check these out.

The Surfer

October 1954

May 1955

August 1955

May 1956

July 1956

August 1956