This oral history interview is a project of the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The legal rights of this material remain with the Outrigger Canoe Club. Anyone wishing to reproduce it or quote at length from it should contact the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The reader should be aware that an oral history document portrays information as recalled by the interviewee. Because of the spontaneous nature of this kind of document, it may contain statements and impressions that are not factual. A full transcript of the video may be found below.
An Interview by Marilyn Kali
December 1, 2017
MK: Today is Friday, December 1, 2017. We’re in the Board Room of the Outrigger Canoe Club. I’m Marilyn Kali, a member of the Club’s Historical Committee. One of the Historical Committee’s projects is to do oral histories of longtime members. Today it’s my pleasure to be talking to Agenhart Ellis Jr. Good morning, Age.
AE: Good morning, Marilyn.
MK: Thanks for taking the time to do this. Before we get into your memories of the Club, I’d like to get some background. Could you tell me where you were born?
AE: I was born here in Honolulu.
MK: What year?
MK: Was your family from Hawaii?
AE: Yes. Both of my parents are from the island of Kauai. My father’s side was from Nawiliwili you know, just below Lihue. My mother actually came from Wainiha. My grandfather came out of Kaulalau, at that time you couldn’t get into it. You either swam around or you climbed over the mountain. So he swam around and then he settled in Wainiha, which was just the town before Haena, which is the end of the road in Hanalei Valley. And so he was like about sixteen years old when he went to kindergarten. His teacher, he ended up marrying his teacher. So he was a pure Hawaiian who came over and she was half Hawaiian, half Caucasian. She was on a Titcomb side and he was a Hanohano. And so that’s where my mother and her family was born. Kauai is the island actually where both my parents came from.
MK: And when did they move to Honolulu?
AE: Well, my dad then went to Kamehameha Schools, so he boarded. And then he got a job here with Hawaiian Electric, so he moved here. My mom came over to go to business technical school and same thing, she was just working here. There was no jobs on Kauai at the time.
MK: So they met here, or they met on Kauai?
AE: They met here, actually. But they knew of the families from Kauai. Well, the relatives anyway.
MK: You’re part Hawaiian, so how much Hawaiian blood?
AE: Well, I have five-eighths Hawaiian, because my grandfather was pure and my grandma was half and half Caucasian. And on my father’s side, his mother was half-Hawaiian, half Chinese. And my grandfather was three-fourths Hawaiian and a quarter Caucasian. So I’ve got five-eighths of Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese and the rest is Caucasian.
MK: What neighborhood did you grow up in?
AE: Actually, we were up in the Punchbowl area and then we moved up to Pauoa Valley. And then after, when I went to college, then we were moved to Kailua.
MK: What schools did you attend?
AE: I first went to Island Paradise, this little school from kindergarten to third grade. Then I got into Kamehameha in fourth grade. And then I graduated from Kamehameha.
MK: What year?
MK: Now I know we’re here to talk about Outrigger, but you had an amazing football career beginning at Kamehameha schools. And I wanted to deviate just a little bit and talk about football. What position did you play?
AE: I was a tackle.
AE: Well, those years we went both ways. You stayed on the field the whole game. Kickoffs, punts, you know. We didn’t get to specialize in, so when we first started, we stayed in the whole game.
MK: And you hit anything in your way. What years did you play at Kamehameha?
AE: I was there from 1959 to 1962.
MK: So you played for four years.
AE: I was on JV and then the varsity.
MK: There were some famous names that we know in Hawaii on those teams with you. Do you remember who some of them were?
AE: Well, you know we had Rockne Freitas on the same team with me and Sam Harris, Mike Chun. Then on some of the other teams we had Don Parker from Punahou and you had Farrington head coach, Skippa Diaz. Sam Harris was on the same team with us at Kamehameha.
MK: Who was your quarterback at Kamehameha?
AE: Kenny Stern.
MK: And Kala Kukea?
AE: Kala was quarterback my junior year. Kenny Stern was my senior year.
MK: What league was Kamehameha in?
AE: The ILH. It was the city schools. That’s the public schools and the private schools at that time. It was a great league and you know, the old Honolulu Stadium on Eisenberg and King Street. I remember going there with my father for the turkey games. Stayed there all day you know, as a kid. Eating peanuts, you know, just a great venue. Everything was in the Honolulu Stadium at that time. Stock car racing, boxing, you name it all. Elvis Presley. It was a place everybody went to for a big occasion.
MK: How many teams were in the league at that point?
AE: I believe it was nine. I think it was nine. It was the city schools, you know. Because the OIA was a rural. Our OIA was all the rural schools. So the private schools were usually in the city and you know, we had some public schools in the city also.
MK: Okay, so the private schools were Kamehameha, Punahou, Saint Louis-
AE: Saint Louis.
MK: Any other? And then the public schools were-
AE: Farrington, McKinley, Kaimuki. . .
AE: Roosevelt. And Kalani just started when I was a senior year.
MK: How did you do? Were the Kamehameha School teams good in those years?
AE: Yeah. Cal Chai was our coach and we took the ILH championship my junior year. Senior year was a tie. You know, it was with Roosevelt, Saint Louis. It was Farrington too, and Saint Louis. We were in the Turkey Game, it was the top four teams. A double header. And that was every year. That was a great occasion for most of the families, you know? Your mother stayed home and cooked a turkey, everybody went to the game and came home and then you have your turkey day dinner.
MK: Those were, I remember those days. You know, it was great fun. And all the people, twenty-thousand, thirty-thousand.
AE: Twenty-five thousand was the maximum but sometimes I think they had people on the dirt with chairs, so I think they-.
MK: Now you’re a second-generation Ellis to play for Kamehameha.
AE: Yes, my dad was 1940, class of 1940 in Kamehameha.
MK: And he played football as well.
MK: What position was he?
AE: He was an end.
MK: And were they a successful team back then as well?
AE: They were, I don’t think they won the ILH championship, but they were in the top four when they played.
MK: Now, you were an all-star player. All-state.
AE: Yes. We just became a state.
MK: Well, that’s an interesting point. Yes. What years were those?
AE: Well, I played, well I was there in 1959,1960, 1961, and 1962.
MK: Yeah, and so you were all-state in your junior and senior years?
MK: And you were also captain of the team?
MK: Did you play any other sports in high school?
AE: Just track. I was in track. I was field events in track.
MK: Which events?
AE: The shot and the discus. Shot put and the discus.
MK: Did you win any?
AE: I didn’t, I wasn’t that good.
MK: But you liked it.
AE: Oh yes.
MK: What year did you graduate from Kamehameha?
MK: And you got a scholarship?
AE: Yeah. Fortunately, actually I got a scholarship to Iowa State, and my coach’s son was going to go there. So we were going to go there, but Dr. Mike Chun went to West Point. He was a year ahead of me. And he came home and then he was going to go to University of Kansas. So Kansas recruited me to go there instead. So I went with Mike. At least I knew one person in Kansas, so I went to play with him in Kansas my freshman year. My sophomore year I came home because my dad had a stroke and my mother was eight months pregnant, so I had to stay home and help. Things were worked out because University of Hawaii gave me a call and they just brought football back. And so I played at the University of Hawaii until I graduated.
MK: And what years were those?
AE: 1963, 1964, 1965, to 1966. Then I capped it off in the 1967 Hula Bowl. I represented the University of Hawaii and then there’s several Hawaii players that came back from other schools. You know, Skippa Diaz came back from Oregon State. He and Rockne Freitas came back from Oregon State and then Sam Harris came back from Colorado. And Woodie King came back from Arizona. He was at Punahou. And so there were quite a few of us on that team.
MK: You mentioned Larry Price had come back.
AE: Well, Larry Price, he and I played together when I came back at first. He had come out of the Army and he was much older than we were. And then he coached me my next two years. So he was my coach when I graduated.
MK: So he came from being a player to being the coach.
AE: Oh yeah. Well, he was actually coaching us when he was playing because I think he was older than some of the coaches.
MK: Probably. Who was the head coach?
AE: The head coach was Jimmy Asato. He was also a PE teacher there but great man. UH had dropped football. It just came back. We were there in the building years and Larry was part of that. A big part of that, you know. And so it just went from there. So I’m just thankful the university brought it back.
MK: I had forgotten that they had dropped it. How long did they not have football?
AE: I think it was just a couple of years.
MK: They’re kind of getting to that point now where people are questioning whether they should have a team.
AE: Oh, they’ll be fine.
MK: They’ll be fine in the long run?
AE: Yeah, they’ll always have a team. They’re not going to abandon it.
MK: You got to go to the Hula Bowl in your senior year. That must have been quite an honor.
AE: Oh yeah it was a great experience, you know, just meeting all the different players from the all the different universities. You know, we stayed at the Moana Hotel for a weekend. Met a lot of people that I otherwise wouldn’t have. So it was a great experience.
MK: Who was the quarterback on your team?
AE: Our quarterback was Bob Griese from Purdue. Opposing quarterback was Steve Spurrier from Florida. So they were well-known.
MK: You were also the co-captain of your UH team?
MK: Did they have All-American honors back then?
AE: Not from UH. None of us made it.
MK: I know the Quarterback Club in Honolulu named you its best defensive lineman of the year. And that you were probably one of the best in the U.S.
AE: No, they’re prejudiced, I think.
MK: So after the Hula Bowl, was that the end of your football career, or-
AE: Yes. Yes. No, I didn’t go into the pros. I wasn’t that good.
MK: We had semi-pro leagues back then, too. And alumni teams still were playing.
AE: Oh yeah, but I, I was working at the Outrigger.
MK: Well, that’s talk about that. What year did you actually graduate from UH?
AE: Actually, I graduated in 1967.
MK: And what was your major?
AE: It was in business. I was a business major.
MK: So what happened after you graduated from college? What kind of work did you do?
AE: Well, I was here at the Outrigger.
MK: You started working here.
AE: Yeah, because Mr. (Peter) Van Dorn at that time was the general manager and he hired me. Coach Price, you know, he called Coach Price and said he was looking for security for the summer. And so I came here in 1966, during the summer. And then he liked me and kind of told me he liked me to come back you know? So I went to finish my senior year, played in the Hula Bowl and then right after the Hula Bowl I came back and he opened up a position as an assistant manager. So I was here mostly nights, weekends and all day Saturday, Sunday and Mondays when we had special parties.
MK: What was your job?
AE: I was assistant manager. I just was responsible for all the departments that ran the Club. Like he was here during the day, I was here at the night, during the night. And it worked out perfect. Mr. Van Dorn left and then Mr. Riede, Norman Riede, became the general manager. And he kept me and worked the same hours because I was teaching at that time. I was teaching at Farrington High School, coaching football, coming here after. So I was able to do that and he enabled me, both managers set it up so I could still work here and teach.
MK: Well, I remember you being a rather large man at that stage. And I’m sure you must have put the fear of God into a number of people here. Were there a lot of problems you had to solve?
AE: No. I could relate with them, because I think I was like that too myself.
AE: Rascal, I think so. At least that’s what my parents told me I thought I was a good boy.
MK: You kept the kids under control, basically.
AE: Yeah. I really didn’t have any real problems. They listened.
MK: After a little look from you.
AE: I made it easier, let’s put it that way. I never had to physically hurt anybody, though.
MK: What was it like at the Club in those days? Now we’re talking about the late 1960s? Mid 1960s?
AE: Actually I got involved with the Club back when I was in middle school. My dad used to cater the luaus at the old Club down next to the Moana, so as a kid I used to be able to help him, just help him with the food. And actually when we moved here, the first couple of years we did the food (for the luau) here too. And then the Club took over after.
MK: Do you remember when the luaus were at the old Club? What years?
AE: I was there in 1957, 1958, around that. 1956, 1957, 1958, but I’m sure they had it before then. I don’t know when they started the luaus.
MK: Well, we’ve (the Historical Committee) been trying to figure that out. We haven’t been able to really find very many luaus at the old Club. And so you know, we always wondered if they started when they came here or if-
AE: Oh no, it was at the old Club, I remember working as a youngster. And then it moved here. They always had it here from day one.
MK: Do you remember about the food? Was it Hawaiian food or was it haole food?
AE: No, it was Hawaiian. Well, when my dad catered it was all Hawaiian and then when we came here it was all Hawaiian food, yeah.
MK: Yeah, because now if you come to the luau, half of it is, more than half it seems like it’s haole food than, you know. Tourist food.
AE: Well maybe they wouldn’t eat some of the raw fish or the opihi, vana, or those things, but here at the Club I’m sure they serve all of the Hawaiian foods.
MK: And you said your dad catered it when we moved, before we moved here, I remember we had, there was a big empty lot here. Next to the Elks, while they were still doing the building plans and all. And they had different parties down here, and you mentioned that there was a luau here during that time.
AE: Because I remember we kaluaed the pig right here in the lot and it was before they put up the Club and I still remember that. And then when the Club came up we did a couple, the food for that luaus.
MK: Well that’s cool. You were a night manager. You must have met all kinds of people here.
AE: Wonderful people.
MK: Tell me about the, you mentioned the general manager was first Peter Van Dorn and then Norman Riede. What other employees do you recall from that period?
AE: You had Auntie Eva Pomeroy at the Front Desk, who just was a matriarch. She was from the old Club, you know. Charlie Hee, he was the office manager at the time. You had Velma (Tanaka), all the ladies back there were great. They kind of took care of me. Vicky was our secretary. You know, Walter in the locker room and we had so many people on the dining room. Helen, she was our waitress for many years. Roy, and Anzai, Tony and Pete were the fixtures at the bar, you know. It’s just, they came from the old Club, so it was a very nostalgic feeling working with them.
MK: Yeah, all wonderful people.
AE: Oh yes.
MK: And Velma’s still here.
AE: Velma’s still here. I’m surprised, everybody else is gone.
MK: She’s going to go down with the ship, I think. She’s wonderful. Lots of parties, I mean we had much more of a social atmosphere than we do now. It seems like there were parties every month or couple months. Can you remember any of those parties that we had?
AE: You talking about the private parties we had, or you-
MK: Well, Club events. There were-
AE: Oh, Club events. Okay.
MK: There used to be like dinner dances and-
AE: Oh yeah. Times have changed and the interests have changed, so whatever the members want to do, I’m sure they can, the Club will do it. It’s a matter of interest.
MK: How were you involved with the social events at the Club?
AE: Well, I just whatever they wanted, we put it on, you know? Was just there to facilitate. They made it the party. They were the ones that made it the party.
MK: Who were some of the leading members of that period?
AE: Well, Cline Mann was always a fixture for me here at the Club. He was kind of the, kind of the barometer of what I’d go to for advice because he was always here. Tom Arnott. Tommy Arnott was the president at the time. There was so many that were great for this Club. I think that’s why it’s here. I mean, all the people that helped run the Club as the members.
MK: You mentioned Cline. Everybody that we’ve interviewed has had a Cline story that they could tell. And I bet you have one that you would-
AE: Well, not really. I remember sneaking some things because he liked to have a few beers. And sometimes I’d have to tell him, Cline, it’s closing up. And he wouldn’t want, you know he’d say, “just one more” so I’d have to go and open up and take care of him. But it was all in fun.
MK: Did you drive him home?
AE: No, I didn’t have to. No, I never had to drive him home, because I was still here when he left.
MK: Did you see any of the midnight sail races that they had?
AE: Well, I just had to make sure they kept their clothes on.
MK: There were those nights. Are you going to elaborate on that?
AE: No, I think I best leave it there.
MK: The employee Christmas parties from that era were very famous. Tell me how those came about.
AE: Yeah, we had great Christmas parties. Part of it, working with the general managers, I always felt we should do something for all the employees, for all the work they did. So I kind of suggested we do some participation, and do some skits or do something for the employees. And it kind of grew, you know, at first I said sing a song, do this. But then we started doing some skits. You know, I said okay, maybe this one we’ll do a, we’ll dress up in muumuus. Maybe I’ll put a mop head on our heads and put some lipstick on and do a hula, you know? And that always made them laugh.
Then we got more employees involved and then we did, I remember we did a can-can dance with the managers in it, and actual cans as our skirts. You know, we had clothes under, but we didn’t you know. And we had a Miss Universe contest from different countries and you dress up to the ethnic part of the thing and it was just great fun. I know I enjoyed it because, actually, when I went to Farrington, I kind of did the same thing there with the teachers for the students. And that always brought the house down when the kids saw the teachers participating and administrators dressing up and doing something out of the ordinary. And the kids just loved it, so it was kind of the same thing. Any organization you do, you can do that.
MK: Well, it certainly made the managers more human.
AE: Yes, I think that really helped us.
MK: How many employees did we have back in those days?
AE: Oh, I can’t remember. I’m not sure.
MK: I’m wondering if we have more now than we did then or if we-
AE: I really don’t know.
MK: Well, now you mentioned Farrington. After you graduated, you began teaching there.
AE: Actually, I went into teaching and then they wanted me to coach and I was coaching there also.
MK: What did you coach?
AE: Football and track. So Farrington was good to me, too. So it worked, it worked fine. I had the best of both worlds. Education and the social life here.
MK: And then you became the athletic director.
AE: Yes, that’s when I had to leave the Club, because I had too many night weekends and night work as the athletic director. So that was in 1980 that I left, I had to leave the Club and just take the athletic director job full time.
MK: And when did you retire?
AE: That’s when I, from here? Or from Farrington?
MK: No, from Farrington.
AE: I retired in 2000 but then they hired me back as a vice-principal for two years. Then they called me back for another seven years at Dole Middle School as a vice-principal. Then I retired again.
MK: So you’re retired now.
AE: Yes, I am retired.
MK: Well, when you left the Club, something special happened. They offered you a membership in the Club?
AE: Oh, yeah. That was quite an honor. I mean, my wife and I kind of cried over that. It was just quite an honor, because you know, I never thought any way I wouldn’t be able to be a member here, you know. My kids kind of grew up here too. When they were little, I’d bring them down sometimes to the Christmas party, you know they had kiddy parties. It was quite an honor. I really, really am thankful to the members and the Club for letting me becoming a member. And accepting me, you know? Because some of them I had to discipline sometimes, and now they’re disciplining me. They’re the Board members now.
MK: Oh, well, discipline works both ways. You know, in the old days, we used to have a disciplinary committee.
AE: That’s right, that’s right.
MK: Was that still active when you were-?
AE: They still had it then.
MK: And you look and you see all the young scallywags who were brought before the disciplinary committee and now they’re the presidents and members of the board.
AE: Right, right. And it’s actually, even it’s how it is in life, you know. You go to any organization. Actually, they make the best, the best, because they’ve been there, so they know how to deal with the problems when they come up.
MK: So how many years did you actually work for the Club?
AE: Let’s see, I came in 1966.
MK: To 1980?
AE: To ’80.
MK: Well, fourteen years. That’s a long time. I didn’t realize it was for so long.
AE: Well, I was just here for the summer, then I came back after my Hula Bowl, that’s when I started as night manager.
MK: So what’s a memory from that period that still stands in your mind?
AE: Wow. That’s a hard one. I’m trying to… I don’t know, just working with the members here, it was just a good experience for me to, you know, all the things that were going on at the Club. You know, what the Club did. The whole atmosphere here and it was just seeing what they, they made the Club. You know, the members, they made it. You know, we had junior members and you had your regular members and you had your senior members. And whatever you can always fit in, all walks of life. And it was just a nice atmosphere.
MK: Well, we’ve always felt like the employees were part of the Outrigger family.
AE: Well, I did too.
MK: Was that your impression?
AE: Oh yes. I learned so much from the employees because they were the ones here for such a long time from the old Club and here. It was a special place.
MK: Well I know some of the bartenders have a lot of secrets that-
AE: They sure do, you know. I know somebody was in the canoe there sometimes without clothes on.
MK: Yeah? You want to tell a story?
AE: No, no.
MK: Bartenders know everything, right?
MK: And so do security people.
MK: You’re still a member?
MK: Do you spend much time here anymore?
AE: Not as much as I’d like to. I used to come out every day at one time, and just work out and then went to work. Now that I’m older, I don’t come down as much. But plan to, just get better, you know? Plus when you have grandkids, you have to babysit now. My wife has to but I have to listen, have to help, otherwise I get-
MK: You have to drive them. Are you playing any sports?
AE: I still golf. I still golf once a week. Keeps me out of trouble.
MK: Where do you golf?
AE: Kaneohe Marine Base. We have a retired military guy that maintained the helicopter for four presidents, so he gets us on there. We’ve been there for twenty-three years now. Same tee time.
MK: Do you have any other stories related to Outrigger that you’d like to share with us?
AE: No, you’ve asked all the questions already that I need to answer.
MK: Can you tell us how you met your wife (Dorothy “Dorie” Townsend Ellis)?
AE: Okay. At Kamehameha I was in a Hawaiian Club and we did some Hawaiian things. My wife was a senior at the Saint Andrew priory and they had a Hawaiian Club, and we’d have a poi supper together and that’s where I met here, my senior year. So she invited me to her senior banquet. Then I invited her to my senior prom and then that’s how it started and ended up, now we’re married.
MK: When did you get married?
AE: Got married in 1967, played in the Hula Bowl. 1967, right after the Hula Bowl.
MK: And you have two children.
AE: Two children.
MK: Can you tell me their names and their ages?
AE: Well, my son is the fourth. Agenhart Ellis, the fourth. I mean, the third. He has a son that’s the fourth. Agenhart Ellis the fourth. He also has a daughter. No, he has two daughters, then he has a set of twins that the wife had from a previous marriage. And my daughter, Aulii, has a baby girl. She’s a year and a half now.
MK: Oh my goodness, how nice. Well I remember both of your kids growing up here.
AE: Yes, they love it here.
MK: And paddling.
AE: Yeah, I saw they first got into (sports), besides the community sports that they did. You know, we had all the, just to keep them exercised. The first team experience here was paddling. And that led to them in high school, and they started to play in sports. And it just happened that they both ended up getting scholarships to college. My son played at the University of Hawaii and my daughter went to Santa Clara on a volleyball scholarship. I’m very proud of them because they were inducted into the Hawaii High School Hall of Honor. Both of them. In 1991 and 1893. My son in 1991 and she was in 1993, so they’ve done well for themselves.
MK: Well, Age was quite a football player. Followed in your footsteps at Kamehameha.
AE: And at the University of Hawaii.
MK: And at University. Did he play in the Hula Bowl too?
AE: Yes he did. Yeah, he played in the Hula Bowl, awesome.
MK: Two generations. That’s wonderful. And he also was a track. . .
AE: Track. Yes, he also was track.
MK: I can’t remember. He was a runner?
AE: He was a sprinter and a jumper. The long jump, triple jump. And then he ran the sprints. So he was fine. They were both better than I was.
MK: What’s he doing today?
AE: He’s teaching at Kamehameha now.
MK: Oh, what does he teach?
AE: He’s a P.E. teacher.
MK: Is he coaching too?
AE: Yes, coaches football.
MK: That’s cool. And then his son, well he’ll be up there one of these days.
AE: Well, I hope so, but not yet.
MK: It’d be amazing to have four generations.
AE: Yeah, it’d be very nice.
MK: Very nice. You’re looking forward to it.
AE: I hope so.
MK: How old’s his son?
AE: He’s in the sixth grade.
MK: Got a few years to go. And where does Auliii live?
AE: Aulii moved back here. She was on the mainland after she graduated, but she just bought a place in Kapolei. She’s a firefighter now.
MK: Oh, good for her.
AE: Well, I was shocked. She worked for Vector Marketing on the mainland. Had a very good job but she wanted to move home and so at her age now, she said she’ll try the Fire Department. I said, you sure? That’s kind of strenuous. She said, no, she’s fine. Now she’s a firefighter.
MK: Where is her station?
AE: She’s stationed at the airport. She’s with the state.
MK: I didn’t know they had any women.
AE: Yeah, she’s there.
MK: Was she the first?
AE: No, they have some women.
MK: When I left there, they didn’t have any. That’s progress. That’s wonderful. Now she played volleyball here.
AE: At Kamehameha. She was volleyball, softball and she was basketball. She was All-State in all three of them.
MK: Wow. She was amazing.
AE: Yeah, she’s the best of all of us.
MK: Great player. And she played at Santa Clara, you said.
AE: Santa Clara volleyball.
MK: And is she married?
MK: And a year-and-a-half old daughter. And both of your kids are still members of the Club?
AE: Yes, yes.
MK: So we’ll see another Ellis generation grow up here.
AE: Hopefully they do well and don’t do anything bad here.
MK: Well, we don’t have a night manager anymore, so.
AE: They’re good kids. They’re fine. They love it. They kind of grew up here, so as the Hawaiians say, maha. They’re used to it.
MK: They were great kids growing up. I remember them quite well. So how many grandchildren do you have all together now?
AE: My son has five and my daughter has one. So that’s six.
MK: No great-grandchildren yet.
AE: No, no. Not yet.
MK: We’ve seen a lot of changes at the Outrigger over the last fifty years or so. What do you think was the biggest change that you’ve seen?
AE: Well, there was a big change coming from the old site to here. I know there was a big change for the membership at that time. And there was, I don’t know if some even left at the time when they moved here, because it was such a difficult time. So I think just being here, we’ve been very fortunate to be here. And I hope we’re able to still negotiate with the Elks Club so we can still stay here. You know, that’s-
MK: Oh, you’re a member of the Elks as well?
AE: No, no, I’m not. But when I was here, I used to meet with the manager there also. But I know some of the people on the board of the Elks now, they were classmates of mine. So I hope we can still, because I remember one time we were looking at a site back at Aina Haina, because the lease was coming up here, but we worked it out and so thankful we’re still here. I just appreciate, you know, I can’t imagine moving any place else.
MK: I can’t imagine any place else.
AE: Or a site. You know now, there’s no sites now that’s comparable. Of course, we thought of that at the old site. Just, some people didn’t’ want to come here.
MK: And now they’re happy they did.
MK: Imagine being in the middle of all the tourists.
MK: There’s just too many of them now. Well, it’s going to be hard to find a place that has a place to get the canoes out into the ocean and a place where you can surf.
AE: Very much so, it’s just-
MK: Play volleyball. All those sports that the members love.
AE: We’re in Waikiki, but yet we’re outside. You know, we’re not down. But the members liked it down at the old Club, you know? It was fun.
MK: It was very different.
AE: Different, but here, we’re fortunate just to have this site.
MK: Well you know, we used to consider ourselves a totally athletic club and now it seems to be moving away from that toward more of a social club. Any thoughts about that?
AE: Well, there’s a happy medium. I think, you know, because you have to deal with both sides of that. Yeah, it’s always been a tossup with some members that, oh we’re too social, less athletic. And some think it’s too athletic and less social. But we’ve managed to keep it, I think on an even keel. That we can still enjoy both, because I think there’s room for both here.
MK: And I know another big issue of contention has been the numbers of members that we have. It’s grown considerably since we first moved here.
MK: You think we’re bursting at the seams or think we can handle more?
AE: I don’t know. Parking lot is limited, you know. Space is limited. But that’s for the Board of Directors.
MK: What’s your favorite thing about the Club?
AE: The people. People make the Club, you know. The employees, the members, that’s people.
MK: We have a good group.
MK: Are there any stories, anything else you’d like to add?
AE: Well some I can’t say, so I, no. It’s been, like I said, I feel like I kind of grew up here.
MK: Well you did if you were here since your childhood most of the time. You know, you mentioned going down to the old Club to do the luaus. What do you remember about that, about the old Club?
AE: Well, when you’re young, you know, you’re just amazed, one, to be down there in Waikiki. I was working hard so I didn’t have time to enjoy. I was washing the pots and the pans. Kaluaing the pig.
MK: That’s hot work. Getting it out and cleaning it and all that. Well, if you don’t have anything to add, I have one last question for you.
MK: What has been being a member of the Outrigger Canoe Club for fifty years meant to you?
AE: It’s been an honor I’ve been able to work here and experience that. And it’s also been an honor now to be a member and be able to still see the employees and still see the members. And meet some new members, new employees. And it’s going to continue. And I hope my children have the same experiences. You know, they’re going to meet, they didn’t work here but they’re going to meet new people, new members, new employees. And I hope they enjoy it as much as I have.
MK: Well thank you very much for taking the time to do this today. We appreciate it and it’ll be a great addition to our archives. Mahalo.
AE: You’re welcome. Thank you.