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.
An Interview by J. Ward Russell
January 14, 1986
WR: This is Tuesday, January 14, 1986, I am Ward Russell (WR) a member of the Outrigger Canoe Club’s Historical Committee and this morning it is my pleasure to interview a long-time employee of the Outrigger Canoe Club, Eva Mauaeikkakaluaolonoikahiki Pomroy (EP). Eva worked for the Club for over thirty years and this morning we are seated in her apartment on Leahi Avenue on the slopes of Diamond Head just a few steps away from the Outrigger Canoe Club. It is a lovely morning and we have been talking about the past. We are now ready to start our interview. Eva, when and where were you born?
EP: In Honolulu at 3213 Monsarrat Avenue.
WR: And what year was that?
EP: 1904. November 27, 1904.
WR: Well, now that would make you, how old?
EP: I will be eight-two years old this November 27, 1986.
WR: You are extraordinary. You are certainly a very active and young 82-year old. Eva, tell me about your parents.
EP: Well, my father’s name was Walter Melville Pomroy. He came from San Francisco. Originally from England, but they settled in San Francisco, he and his family.
WR: How did he happen to come to Hawaii?
EP: He worked for newspapers so they sent him here to work for the Honolulu Gazette.
WR: Oh, the old Gazette.
EP: The Advertiser, now. It used to be the Gazette, the Hawaii Gazette. Papa was a printer and he work there until he passed away.
WR: And, your mother?
EP: My mother was born in Keauhou, Kona.
EP: Yes. Laei Pukui was her first name.
WR: Was she related to Mary Pukui?
EP: Mary married her brother. Auntie Mary is Momma’s brother.
WR: How many children were in your mother’s family?
EP: Momma had, let me see, nine children
WR: And you were?
EP: I am the youngest.
WR: You are the youngest?
EP: The youngest, yes. Well, we had one more, but when momma had the last child she died, and my uncle, Walter Davis, I don’t know if you have ever heard of Wally Davis, Sam King’s nephew?
WR: Oh, yes
EP: I mean, Sam King was his nephew. Big Sam.
WR: Sam’s youngest son was named after Davis.
EP: Yes. That’s right. Well. That was my uncle through marriage. He married momma’s cousin, so they took my new brother and raised him until a year old. In those days they had pneumonia, but they didn’t have medication, you know, and he passed away …
WR: I see.
EP: …. At the age of one year old.
WR: How many of your brothers and sisters are living now?
EP: None. Just myself.
WR: you are the last of the family, that’s interesting. Now, tell me about your relationship to Mary Pukui, you say she …
EP: Auntie Mary married my uncle Napoleon Pukui. As a little boy he was taken by some rich haole people, they came to Kona and wanted him so Tutu let him go, and he went to Utah and he became a Mormon elder.
WR: You say you were born on Monsarrat Avenue, were all your brother and sister born …
EP: Just my brother, Henry, and I.
WR: Just you and your brother. Where would that house be today?
EP: The corner of Monsarrat and Campbell.
WR: Oh, right where the service station is now.
EP: Yes, they bought it from us.
WR: Oh, for goodness sakes.
EP: Yes, Texaco bought it from us.
WR: Texaco. And then you moved here from ….
EP: Yes. I bought this apartment.
WR: I see. Well, that wasn’t too long ago, was it?
EP: I came here in ’63.
WR: ’63. Well, you’ve been ….
EP: No, ’62 November.
WR: Almost 24 years. Tell me about Monsarrat Avenue when you were a little girl. What was it like?
EP: Well, there weren’t too many people. Papa was the first person that ever lived on Monsarrat.
WR: For goodness sake.
EP: Then came the Martins, Charlie Martin.
WR: Oh, Charlie Martin, a member of the Outrigger Canoe Club?
WR: Oliver Martin.
EP: Yes, his grandpa. And then the Bush family. I don’t know if you know Lolita and Jeanette….
WR: I’m not sure.
EP: They live right over here. Then came the Black family, the momma was a Rice from Kalihi.
WR: And what was Monsarrat Avenue like?
EP: All …. road and it was all curvy and all date trees and we had all marsh, you know, all dirty water.
WR: Fish ponds?
EP: Yes, plenty fish. We used to get mosquito fish.
WR: Mosquito fish [Laugh} well was Kapiolani …
EP: Dates, oh, beautiful date, all along there were dates.
WR: The zoo wasn’t there.
EP: Oh, no. later date it came.
WR: What was Kapiolani Park like in those days?
EP: Beautiful, beautiful. They had prisoners come up and clean there.
WR: Now, tell me about the beach along in front of Kapiolani Park.
EP: Oh, we used to sit on the stone wall and the beach boys used to bring music. Hawaiian music. Oh, it was nice, when the ships came in, you know, they used to play on the ships and when the ships came in they came out to Waikiki and play, you know
WR: What was Kuhio Beach like those days?
EP: A lot of sand.
WR: A lot of sand?
EP: A lot of sand, go way out.
WR: That must have been before they built those beach retaining walls.
EP: Yes oh, yeah, way out, and the Queen had her little house, you know, and the house came out, the Kanakanuis, they lived there and Alec Cleghorn, Alec, he lived there too. And then Steiner’s, Judge Steiner in the big white house.
WR: Oh, yes. I remember we used to keep surfboards underneath the Judge’s house and change clothes there.
EP: My brother used to… we used to keep our board under Akana’s place across from Kuhio Beach.
WR: Well, I am going to come back to Waikiki in a minute but now I want to talk about your early days. Where did you go to school?
EP: Waikiki School, first.
WR: Where was that located?
EP: Princess Kaiulani. That was in the church, the picture you just saw.
WR: Oh, yes.
EP: Hawaiian Church and the graveyard was right there.
WR: This is where the Queen Kapiolani Hotel is ….
EP: Yes. That was a branch of the Kawaiahao Church….
WR: I see.
EP: … for Waikiki side. You know how they have branches, Kaimuki ….
WR: Yes. A branch of the Kawaiahao Church….
EP: At that time nobody was using it so the school must have rented it, you know the State must have rented it out.
WR: I see. You showed me a picture of your Waikiki School classmates when you were seven years old. Who was in you class besides you?
EP: OK. Freddie Paoa, Freddie Lambert, Chinn Ho …
WR: Chinn Ho?
EP: Uh-uh, Chinn Ho, Malia Akana, I don’t know if you know Joe, Joe’s sister, Ah Kong Pang’s sisters, Ah Kong was a little higher grade than me. His two sisters, right in the front you can see their pictures.
WR: That’s interesting because Ah Kong was a member of the Club for years. I remember him so well.
EP: We used to go steal his father’s duck eggs down there. You know, we ride the street car and the ducks used to go lay their eggs all over the place [Laugh] and my friends say as we used to go to school, “Go get eggs, duck eggs “.
WR: [Laughter] Waikiki School that was what? Grade school?
EP: To third grade. You went Kaahumanu or you go Liliuokalani afterwards.
WR: And then where did you go, did you go to Kam(ehameha) School from there?
EP: I went to Kam(ehameha) School.
WR: How many years were you at Kam(ehameha)?
WR: Where was Kam(ehameha) School then?
EP: The old school, you know down by the railroad ….
WR: Yup, by the railroad.
EP: By the railroad. That’s where the girls’ school was and the boys’ school was where the Museum is.
WR: And then from Kam(ehameha) School where did you go?
EP: To the Priory.
WR: You had to board at the Priory?
EP: Yeah, for one year and then I do my studying at home.
WR: Tell me about those days at the Priory that was right next to……
EP: … to Queen Liliuokalani. She used to call us over and we used to go over for tea.
WR: Oh, for goodness sake.
EP: She was in the back there, and she had a chair and she used to watch us play volleyball, you know …. And basketball, we used to play basketball, and she said, “Come over you girls, when pau, come over”, and she had those finger sandwiches and cool drinks, and a Japanese lady served.
WR: What was she like?
EP: I don’t know too much about her, but she was beautiful …
WR: About how old were you at that point, you must have been a teenager?
EP: Yeah. Fourteen.
WR: Fourteen. You must have some vivid impressions of her at that time.
EP: I went to the Priory when the two Moore girls went three of them, you know Anne Kauaihilo, yeah, they were boarders. Thelma married Akana and…..
WR: Thelma and Anne …
EP: Thelma, and Anne and Florence McNamara, three of them were boarding there.
WR: The same time you were?
EP: And, we had sisters. We didn’t have teachers, they were all sisters.
WR: After you finished school, did you go to work?
EP: I got married. [Laugher]
WR: How old were you when you married?
WR: Seventeen. Tell me about your husband.
EP: My husband worked on the boats and my brother used to work on the boats. He used to bring him home up to the house. My husband was Indian-French.
WR: Indian-French. American Indian?
EP: American Indian, from Michigan.
WR: What year did you marry him?
EP: 1920. [Laugh]
WR: Well, now, did you have any children?
EP: Yeah, I had two and I adopted two. I adopted my niece’s children. That’s one of them I adopted [pointing to photograph]. He died two years ago, that’s Kenneth; you know he was a member of the Club.
EP: Remember? He was a naughty boy, a rascal. You know, he went to Oregon and he graduated from Oregon College. It changed his life.
WR: Now, this was the adopted son.
EP: This was the adopted boy. I got him four days old.
WR: Four days old?
EP: Four days old. My daughter went to the maternity home to get him his sister, I had her when she was seven months old. So I had two to take care of. You see, my daughter Eva just graduated from the Priory.
WR: Who was the oldest of your own two children?
WR: Now, what’s happened to her?
EP: She was married to Alan Silva and he just passed away two years ago.
WR: You had some mo’opuna from her.
EP: I am a great-great … this is my great-great….
WR: You have two great-grandchildren?
EP: Only one great-great… two great-grandchildren….
WR: Those from Eva’s children.
EP: Yes, this is her son’s son.
WR: Well, then, after Eva there was …?
EP: Spencer. My boy.
WR: And what’s happened to him?
EP: He died. He worked all his life on the ships. He was a boatswain on a ship, and he died in Hong Kong, a heart attack, in Hong Kong, China.
WR: My goodness. When was this?
EP: I was still working for the Outrigger. It was about 1960.
EP: 1960, something.
WR: Those were your two regular children. [Eva and Spencer].
EP: My own children.
WR: Was he married?
WR: And did he have children?
WR: Then, the other two, Kenneth [pointing to picture], the one you adopted. Did he have children?
EP: That’s his little girl over there. He never did get married to the mother; they were going to get married. He was going to bring her home to come see me when he had this heart attack years ago.
WR: Oh, my.
EP: Two years ago, the momma brought her, I met her.
WR: Ah, wonderful. And then, the youngest one, the girl that you adopted.
EP: Oh, Kaliko? She’s here. She has several children, she lives down in Waimanalo.
WR: My goodness. You’ve got a whole slew of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild. That’s remarkable. When did your husband die?
EP: 1964. (Eva Pomroy married (name) Decoteau (became Decota). When husband died, Eva’s name was legally changed back to Pomroy by Mr. William Barlow.)
WR: Were you working for the Club at that time?
WR: When did you start to work for the Club?
EP: Down at the old Club.
WR: Was this during the war years?
EP: In the early forties.
WR: How did you come to work for the Outrigger Canoe Club?
EP: I was looking for a job in Waikiki, me and my nieces. So I said, I saw Tony, my cousin, Tony Guerrero is my cousin.
WR: Oh, Tony is your cousin?
EP: I said, “Tony, I like job”. He said, “Where’s Spencer?” I said, “Oh, he went on the ship. I need job, I got to support these kids, they are going to school. Two of them are going to Thomas Jefferson”. Right away, he said, “you come with me”, and right away he took me to meet Charlie Hee, and Charlie Hee said, “You want to start now or tomorrow morning?” I was shocked. You know I said, “I don’t know what I am going to do, I’ve never run a switchboard before, I never do this kind of job inside the office”. Charlie was very nice, he said, “The girls will show you “. He said, “We want you on the desk”. I said, “Tony, wait, I no like this kind of job, I no can do the work”. He said “You can do it”. I said, “Look this switchboard, I never run this kind of board before”. You know when you look at them at first, strange!
EP: He said, “You learn it, you learn it”. “O.K., I need the money I am going to work”. I said to myself I got to work. So I went home and the next morning I was there at seven o’clock, we started at seven.
WR: Well, let’s continue with your work. You were on the front desk most of the time.
WR: Who was the office manager at that time?
EP: When I came it was Mr. (Henry) De Gorog, but he was just leaving, he was going, you know. So Gay came.
EP: Gay Harris.
WR: Oh, Gay, that’s right.
EP: Gay Harris came.
WR: What kind of a manager was Gay?
EP: He was OK. I liked Gay but ….
EP: He ….
WR: Yeah, I know, he had a little problem ….
EP: I was right there, you know. They had no tact. His guest was there and she turned around and she said, “You can’t bring a Japanese [Keo Nakama] in a Club like this”.
WR: This was … who said that?
EP: Terry. Terry, a Japanese, she used to work in the office and she told Bill Smith that.
WR: Bill Smith was bringing the Japanese guest?
WR: And who told Bill Smith he couldn’t bring the Japanese guest?
EP: Terry. Terry was the desk clerk, you remember Terry, her husband was the chef.
WR: That’s right.
EP: Down at the old Club.
WR: That’s when Gay was manager.
EP: Yes, when Gay was manager. You know they had no tact, and you know they didn’t want to approve people.
WR: [Laugh] I had almost forgotten about that incident. This is the first time we have ever put it on tape. [Laugher]
EP: We no like to talk about it. I never talk about it. I never tell nobody.
WR: Well, it’s all right because …
EP: I don’t like because …..
WR: … so many people remember that, and the policy has changed over the years.
EP: That’s true. Well, Gay, all I know is that he was kind and he tried to be a good manager. He tried. He tried to please everybody.
WR: Who followed Gay? Do you remember?
EP: Mr. Cain. He only stayed there a little while. He was not good, he used to go out and drink all our wine.
WR: Cain did?
EP: He used to go in the kitchen early in the morning. When I used to go to take the reading from the cash register he’s in the kitchen there drinking right from the gallon. [Laughter].
EP: I used to come down and tell the girls, “He’s drinking wine”. Early in the morning he’s drinking wine.
WR: Who followed Cain? Do you remember who followed Cain?
EP: Let me see… Mr. McGill.
WR: McGill, oh, Ted McGill.
EP: Ted McGill. He came three times you know.
WR: That’s right. Ted was quite a popular manager.
EP: He was. No fool around with him. He was good for the work.
WR: Smart. He knew how to run a club.
EP: But he had pilikia you know because this wasn’t his wife. She had husband up there. The detectives came and were looking for him.
WR: You mean he was playing around with somebody else’s wife.
WR: Oh, really! [Laugher]
EP: The detectives came to me and said, “You have a Mr. McGill here”? I didn’t know the score you know and I said, “Yes, he’s our manager”. “Where is he”? I said, “He was in his office, I don’t know where he is now”. So I went inside looking, he wasn’t inside his office. He must have got wind of it, you know. I never see him all day. I don’t know where he disappear, so Charles took over.
WR: Did he leave the Club then?
EP: No, no, no. He came back. Then Charlie Amalu, you remember when Charlie Amalu was carrying all that money in a big suitcase, $9,000. He came to us, he bragged to us and he said, “You know how much is inside here? $9,000.” That’s when the wife died. He was carrying $9,000. What did the FBI do? He went put it in his locker and the FBI went sealed that locker and they came and they took the whole suitcase. She owed so much money in taxes.
WR: Oh, she owed the money. Muriel, his wife.
EP: She owed the money.
WR: So he took the cash that was on hand.
EP: Well, evidently.
WR: And he put in the ….
EP: He put in the bag ….
WR: And he put it in a locker at the Outrigger Canoe Club [Laughter]
EP: He was carrying it in a suitcase, and he came to us and brag and said, “You know how much is inside here?” I said, “How much Charlie?” “$9,000”. He go like that to me, and I said, “Oh, you lucky. [Laughter]
WR: So the FBI….
EP: They took it.
WR: Well, what happened to Charlie” did they get after him all?
EP: No, he couldn’t do nothing. She could.
WR: She owed the money.
EP: But he was the husband, and naturally whatever he had they could take.
WR: Was Ted manager then or was this after Ted had left?
EP: No, Ted was still manager. Then he went back, he went back to California and then the Board wrote for him to come back again.
WR: Yes, I remember when he came the second and third times.
EP: That’s what Charles said, and then he came back.
WR: Who was manager before he came back? Do you remember?
EP: Mr. Cain.
WR: Oh, Cain.
EP: Then Ted came. He had to leave, you know. He had pilikia with the family, with the divorce … no give alimony. He had kids, too you know.
WR: Yes. Well Ted was there for a year or two, wasn’t he?
EP: Yes. He went and then came back for another year.
WR: Well, who succeeded Ted the second time?
EP: Gay. It was Gay.
WR: I remember some of the more recent managers.
EP: Mr. Ross.
WR: Oh, yes. He was a good manager. And Jake Tudor.
EP: Jake came after that.
WR: Ross and Jake and ….
EP: But Cline (Mann) never liked Jake, you know. Because he make it just like the Navy. He used to go put all those things up on the wall [Laughter] … and Cline used to get mad, he’d say, “Damn, that stuff going up there, he thinks this is the Navy?” He was putting nets, make it look nice, you know.
WR: Oh, yeah. I remember, with sea shells.
EP: With sea shells. Cline didn’t like that.
WR: … and the paintings… and the wishing well.
EP: The wishing well … [Laugher]
WR: Oh, I remember the wishing well, yeah… (Much laugher)
EP: Those were the good old days, they really were.
WR: I know, I remember. I had the unfortunate experience of having to give Jake his walking papers. We had a meeting of the Board, and Jake was a good maitre d’….
EP: … But not a manager.
WR: No, he really didn’t know how to run the Club. I remember I used to sit with Charles and we used to go over the books, and Jake just didn’t really know what was going on too well as far as operations were concerned, but he was a good maitre d’, he handled people well.
EP: Yes, yes. That kind OK, you know dining room manager and he went over to the Elks.
WR: Oh, that’s right.
EP: He went over to the Elks and he used to give me and Malia (Lutz) a job. When we pau Outrigger we would go to the Elks Club and every Sunday night they have a buffet and me and Malia used to collect the tickets and he’d pay us $10 a night.
WR: You mean, after you had worked at the Club you went over there and worked at the Elks Club?
EP: Yeah. And then we’d eat, we’d get free eats, after all these people we serve the ticket, you know.
WR: Now, after Jake, wasn’t it Art Jarl?
EP: Yes very short, very, very short.
WR: Before we got Ross.
WR: Then we got Ross that was just before, when we were working on the move to the new Club.
EP: Uh-uh, and then we got Mr. Van Dorn.
WR: Ross was a good manager.
EP: And we liked him, I liked him, I liked Mr. Ross. He was a businessman.
WR: Yeah. He was a businessman. Tell me about Van Dorn. He was manager when we moved to the new Club.
EP: He’s all right, he’s all right. But I don’t know, he was s-l-o-w…..
WR: He was very reserved as I remember.
EP: Yeah, reserved.
WR: Well, let’s see, then….
EP: ….. He’s helping Cec Heftel.
WR: Oh, he is
EP: Yeah. He lives right over here.
WR: I didn’t realize that.
EP: Yeah. He comes in, he used to come every Wednesday and we go listen to Hawaiian music down by the Elks Club.
WR: Oh, for goodness sake.
EP: Yeah. Every Wednesday, ten o’clock.
WR: Wasn’t Freddie Mosher, didn’t he run the Club for a while. Fred Mosher?
EP: Just before I came to the Club.
WR: Oh, that was before you came to the Club.
EP: He was just leaving then, he was just leaving. I had a little time with him and knew him and knew his family.
WR: Yes. Yes. Island family. Well, you’ve seen a long succession of managers, haven’t you?
EP: Yes … and Jane, the secretary, you know.
WR: OK. let’s talk about some of the employees. Who was working in the Club when you first joined the Club?
EP: OK. what’s that Filipino boy’s name? Maxie was the head waiter.
WR: Yes Maxie.
EP: The Filipino who was behind the bar, what’s his name?
WR: Oh, Bill?
EP: Bill, and then Helen, Momma Helen, and then ….
WR: Oh, then that good looking Filipino girl who worked in the dining room, Aggie Sayers.
EP: Oh, yes, yes, yes. I remember her… and then I forgot the cashier, now because we used to go cashiering too, you know. Kind of relieve them, Malia and I, they would send us upstairs to relieve the girl, or if somebody was sick, they call us and then we go.
WR: You mention Malia, Malia Lutz?
EP: Yes. Lutz.
WR: Tell us about Malia.
EP: Oh, Malia was beautiful, beautiful, but then she was always forgetting. Before she was OK when I first work with her, she was alert, good. But then as the years came, you know she was getting into her age, she was only 80. She was only 80 when the Club asked her to leave. She was already missing a lot and I was covering up for her, and Charles knew I was doing it, you know, a lot of her work for her. Because, I felt bad for her, you know.
WR: I was President at that time. We had a problem. We knew she was getting along in years and forgetful.
EP: Irritable. Very, very…
WR: Everybody loved her ….
EP: I know …..
WR: … She was a lovely person, and then we found out that we were actually violating the law because she was over 75 and she was still working, so we had to …
EP: Eighty…. She worked until she was 80 ….
WR: So we had no alternative. When it was pointed out to us that she was 80, we had to let her go. It was very difficult step to take.
EP: I know, yes. She was a nice lady.
WR: The front desk must have been a fun experience, to see all the different people ….
EP: Yeah. When Duke brought in Clark Gable and said, “I want you to meet Eva”. You know he’d bring in all these people and he’d talk Hawaiian to me, you know and everybody look around, and he’d tell me in Hawaiian he’s going to the canoe shed and no tell anybody that he’s here, he’s going to cover himself with the canvas and he’s going to sleep all afternoon.
EP: I’d know he’s in the Club, you know.
WR: This was the Duke!
EP: The Duke. Then he’d come in with this big bag of poi and he’d say, “Nobody mix the poi like Eva.” And I’d say, “OK.” I go upstairs and mix the poi for you”. So, I’d go upstairs and mix the poi and keep it up there, and he’d eat that for dinner.
WR: And he used to have canned salmon and onions with his poi. [Laugh)
EP: … And he used Hawaiian salt. [Laughter]
WR: Tell me about some of the other characters that used to come in there. Panama?
EP: Panama. Oh, Chick used to sit out on the Hau Terrace where they make the maile leis for the canoes.
EP: They spend all their money on the Hau Terrace, you know those boys. Chick would make say, $40. And Momma Helen’d get two pieces of $20. Then she’d get the tape and she’d tape it up and she’d say, “Now, here for you, put this in your pocket”. She’d take care of all the boys.
WR: How about Sally? Sally Hale.
EP: Sally, too yeah. And, let me see. You know Curley? He still write to me, he’s up in Snohomish, Washington. Way up Canada side. He lives with his son. His son is a school teacher and his son’s wife is a school teacher.
WR: Curley Cornwell?
EP: Cornwell. He takes care of children, but they are all big now. He is still family, he lives with his family. He live one apartment and they live the other apartment. Everything is down here.
WR: That’s wonderful. Steamboat. How about Steamboat?
EP: Steamboat Mokuani, his wife and the little kids. You know Steamboat, he … and, you know the Buck children, they used to come in with big piles of sand, and bring it inside and put it in the corner and play house, you know.
WR: You mean, right at the Club?
EP: Oh, yes. “Come here Mark”. “I never do nothing “, he said, “I never do nothing.” “Go, get the broom, sweep all that outside. You too Maile, you go get ‘em, too.” That’s the Buck girl.
WR: Yes, Maile and Mark.
EP: Yes. [Laughter] “Go sweep ‘em out oh, you good boy, you good girl”. They come show me, you know. You got to teach them. And Timmy [Guard]. You remember Timmy?
EP: “Auntie? “Now what Timmy?” “I borrow a dollar from you.” “Timmy, the last time you borrows from me, you know when you come in the Club, you go out back way, you go Moana Hotel side, you hide from me, but I see you over there. You don’t want to pay me, you go spend the money. You better pay me, you owe me now, I got IOU, IOU, IOU, look, three IOUs. Look Malia’s IOU. When you going to pay us?” He said, “My father going to pay you folks”. The next day the father come down and pay us. [Laughter] I don’t care, you got to pay.
WR: Sure, they got to pay.
EP: You know why? They want to go what-you-call, Waikiki Theater.
WR: Yes. How many of the kids used to bum money from you?
EP: Timmy, the Buck boys, Oh, boy, I can’t name them all now.
WR: They paid you back?
EP: Yeah. Every one. I make ‘em shame.
EP: I would say “Come here.” They know what I am calling them for. “When you going to pay me back?” I don’t talk loud so other can hear. I say, “You folks get allowance every week.” “This Saturday we bring back money. They bring it back.
WR: Tell me about Sunshine.
EP: Oh, Sunshine lived with us.
WR: He lived with you?
EP: Oh, yeah, with my brother.
WR: I didn’t realize that.
EP: Yes. We took care of him. Sunshine first came to our neighbor across the street with some Spanish people. He was on welfare, so he used to see me outside, every Tuesday was my day off, and I used to dig weeds in my front yard, you know, I used to clean my yard. So he would come over and he say, “oh, you go work and on your off you work all the time.” And I say, “Who going clean “mm. I got to do it.” So he said, “I’ll help you, with lawn mower.” So he used the lawn mower, but he was sick, he had asthma.
WR: That’s right, yes.
EP: So, I said, “No, no you sick, too much lawn mower.” So he say, “OK, I go weed. So he helped me with weeds, got the weeds out. So one time he went over talk story with my brother. My brother have a little room right outside, nice room under the building toilet and everything. So he was telling how the Spanish people mean to him, he only eats one meal a day, so my brother say, “You come our house.”
WR: So that’s how he came to stay with you?
EP: That’s how he came.
WR: When did he go to work with the Outrigger Canoe Club?
EP: I went ask Duke.
WR: Oh, you’re responsible for getting him a job at the Club?
EP: Yes. I went ask Duke, I said, “Give job Outrigger for our Ohana he’s just like family. He said, “What kind job he can do?” “Any kind, any kind, Duke, sweep, any kind.” He said “No, no sweep.” I don’t know what kind he gets; finally I heard he was outside in the parking lot.
WR: Oh, my, he ran the parking lot for years he was a fixture.
EP: “Sunshine, The Beach Boy”. You know who took that song away from him, eh? Andy.
WR: Andy Cummings?
EP: But he, he made the song. Sunshine.
WR: That’s right. I remember that. Andy stole the song?
EP: Andy stole the song.
WR: Well, what other characters can you think of who were members or worked there?
EP: The Obermers, they were very wealthy people. And then, er …. He’s an attorney, what’s his name; they used to be one time in here. The wife ….
EP: No. he got big shares down Hawaiian Memorial he and Felix.
WR: Oh, Bill Barlow.
EP: Yes. She was a very close friend, because she like Sunshine. See Sunshine used to go up there and clean the house ….
WR: That’s right, yeah.
EP: … and she was one Malu, you know.
WR: Yes. What was her first name, do you remember?
WR: Oh, I remember Rosalie.
EP: I used to go up there. Barlow used to go hospital, he asked me to go up there stay with her. And she’d call down Aoki’s store and order one case of whiskey. So he said, “Eva, you call Aoki on the side and you tell them, my orders, don’t bring no more liquor.” I said “I can’t do that. You call them from hospital.” You see he had surgery.
WR: Yes, I remember he went to the hospital to have surgery.
EP: He was very good to me. Very good to me. I took care of her too, you see, me and Sunshine.
WR: You and Sunshine.
EP: Sunshine cleaned the yard, and I helped in the house. That extra money for us, you know.
WR: How about Richard?
EP: Richard… that Christmas when he went dancing with the candle!
EP: … on the porch? [Laughter]. We went to see him he told Minnie and me, “Come see me down the Glades.”
WR: Oh, that’s right, he performed at the Glades.
EP: Minnie says we going down by Wo Fat, and I say, “Where Minnie? I don’t go down those places.” I said, “All my life I never go down there. We went chop suey, but that’s all.” And she said, “No, we go see Richard dance.” So Richard bought tickets for us and we went inside there for look. Oh, it’s a beautiful place!
EP: Hey, what’s that Hawaiian guy’s name?
WR: I can’t remember.
EP: Oh, beautiful. I said, “Minnie looks up. “ Minnie wanted to go lua, I said, “Minnie, which is the ladies’ and which is the men?” I said, “You’d better not go in the wrong one, you know.” [Laugh]
WR: What’s Minnie’s last name?
WR: Oh, yeah.
EP: She’s in the hospital, you know.
WR: Oh, she is?
EP: Yes. Three months.
WR: Oh, that’s too bad.
EP: Broke her hip. I call her every time she’s down Kailua.
WR: She worked at the Club a long time.
EP: I know. I hear the girls don’t even call her to see how she is.
WR: She came iIn the Club a couple of months ago. She was on crutches.
WR: I thought she was getting along better.
EP: No had to go back hospital, cut up again.
WR: Oh, I am sorry to hear that.
EP: I talk to her … I call her all the time.
WR: Oh, gee, next time give her my love will you?
EP: I will.
WR: I am very fond of Minnie.
EP: Me, too. I love her because we were very close.
WR: was Charles Hee the office manager when you started?
WR: He was office manager all the years you were there, wasn’t he?
EP: All the years. He’s been over here, too.
WR: Yeah. He only retired a couple of years ago.
EP: I know. He came to the employee’ … every year we have that employees’ Christmas party and he invite me, and he come. He was there this year. We went to the Ilikai nice party.
WR: I like Charles.
WR: I think everybody like Charles.
EP: Yes. He was devoted to the Club, you know.
WR: Oh, yes. I know, they asked me to make a little speech at his retirement party, and I enjoyed that very much.
EP: He looks good. You know the wife died.
WR: I didn’t know that.
EP: Oh, year, two years ago.
WR: That was after he retired?
EP: Yes ….
WR: Oh, that’s too bad.
EP: She had diabetes, you know. So, it took him many years to come back to himself, he says he plays tennis and he goes dancing. He loved dancing, you know, because he and his wife both took from Arthur Murray.
WR: That’s right.
EP: He took from Arthur Murray.
WR: He deserves the best.
EP: He takes care of his grandchildren. They live in Addie’s house. He built upstairs and he lives upstairs and his son lives down stairs with the children. I say, “Good Charles you did that, at least you got the family home.”
WR: Do you ever see Anzai?
EP: No. but Charles sees Anzai every day, they go play tennis together.
WR: Oh, they do?
EP: Um-um. He’s so busy with his grandchildren. He takes the grandchildren to school, Charles said. Charles takes the grandchildren to school, go pick ‘em up same time, the two of them.
WR: Was Anzai at the Club when you went to work there?
EP: What’s the other fella, the one went over to the Royal? I forget his name.
WR: Oh, my! I can’t remember his name either.
EP: And, then Anzai came …I still see the one over at the Royal once in a while when somebody takes me there.
WR: He went to the Royal after you joined the Club?
EP: Yeah, yeah.
WR: Then Anzai came?
EP: Then Anzai came.
WR: He had over 20 years when he retired.
EP: Yes. Yes. Nice fellow, nice fellow.
WR: Oh, what was the other bartender… the Filipino?
EP: Tony. Tony’s still here.
WR: No, no the other one, not Tony.
EP: Oh, year, er ….
EP: ….. Pete.
WR: He used to come to our employees’ … you know I used to see him every Christmas at the employees’ party, but this year he didn’t come.
WR: He was lot of fun, played the banjo ….
EP: He could play. He takes care of his grandchildren, too, while daughter works. That what he told me.
WR: You know, we had a succession of wonderful employee at the Club.
EP: Yes. I like everybody over there, and they liked me, too. I loved Elsie, I liked Helen, and you know that … I don’t know if she was German, Russian or what, Rose was her name.
WR: Yes, I remember Rose.
EP: Irish, I think she was an Irish girl.
WR: We had some interesting secretaries there, too.
EP: Yeah. Jeannie telephones me every once in a while. She lives at the Ilikai not Ilikai, but the corner one across from Ilikai.
WR: I know which one you mean.
EP: I got the address, they don’t have a name but they got just an address. She keeps herself busy, she does volunteer work. That’s what she says.
WR: You mentioned some of the old-timers, some of the guests that came in to the Club. You met Clark Gable? Red Skelton.
EP: Clark Gable and Red Skelton, and David Niven. I liked him. When he comes he brings us one big box of candy for the girls at the desk.
WR: Really. He was a gentleman.
EP: Yes. I liked him.
WR: What other movie stars do you remember?
EP: Tony Martin. One day I said to the girls, “You like to hear me call Tony’s name?” They said, “Ah, you no call him.” I said, “TONY MARTIN” [Laugh] And I heard my voice came out and said, “Somebody calling me?” I said “I was calling you.” He said, “Pleased to meet you.” [Laughter] it was fun, you know.
WR: I imagine also that you saw a lot of rascals around that Club.
EP: Yes, Pat, Wyman, Pat O’Connor and Billy Heilbron.
WR: Billy Heilbron?
EP: And you know, remember Joe, the watchman?
WR: Yep. Oh yeah.
EP: These boys used to go upstairs and wee-wee on him. [Laughter] … you know what he tell me, “The sons of bitches, you know that half Hawaiian boy and other boys, you know their names.” I said, “I don’t know which one you are talking about, Joe.” “Yeah, you know, the boy come in the afternoon late, he come swim.” “How I know, Joe, when I am gone home. I don’t know who they are.” I know who they are.
WR: I remember Pat Wyman was …
EP: Ooh, he was too much! I saw him one day recently, he came back you know, on vacation, I think.
WR: Yeah. In fact, he’s here now.
EP: Oh, he’s here now? Oh. I didn’t go to the Club this year yet, so I said. “Pat, you remember what you guys used to do? “Yes,” he said, Good boy now.
WR: Now he’s a distinguished businessman, successful business man.
EP: That’s why he comes back and forth.
WR: Yeah. Tell me about Bill Heilbron.
EP: Bill, pau with the wife, too, you know.
WR: Yes. Yes, that’s too bad, I liked her very much.
EP: I liked Billy.
WR: His locker’s right next to mine in the Locker Room. I am going to ask you some questions now about your recollections of Waikiki Beach, as a youngster.
EP: Well, I did a lot of surfing.
WR: You did?
EP: Yes. My brothers used to surf, and then Joe Akana, he used to take me out, that’s how I learned to surf. He would push me on small wave first and then show me how to catch the big waves.
WR: Did you ever know my aunt? My aunt used to be quite a surfer, Josephine Paris, Josephine Pratt.
EP: Oh, yes. Oh, she was a good surfer.
WR: She was a champion surfer; she used to surf with Duke.
EP: Oh, yes. They took her picture, eh, and put in the Club, eh?
WR: Well, I don’t … she had a trophy in there for a long time, maybe her picture is there, I think it probably is.
EP: Yes, yes. I saw with Josephine Hopkins, you know.
WR: That’s right. My aunt. Josephine Pratt was the first woman champion and then Josephine Hopkins was the second. They had the trophy and they both had their names on the trophy.
EP: Right and Lillie Bowmer May (Mackenzie). I used to go to school with Lillie.
WR: Oh, you did.
EP: Yes, at Liliuokalani, I only went there a short time. From Waikiki to there, I only went there short time, then I went Kamehameha.
WR: Well, you went to school with so many of the people I know.
EP: I can tell you some who were at Kamehameha… all those half-white girls, you know, Harriet Beamer, she was there; the one who owned the Willows, McGuire ….
EP: Kathleen. They were all there the same time I went. Plenty, plenty all hapa-haole girls, no more Korean or any other kind, the same with the Priory. It was only hapa-haole girls and haole girls, today they all Japanese.
WR: Yes, that’s true.
EP: You see we had free … Momma was pure Hawaiian. If you pure Hawaiian. You see Queen Emma left this legacy or something that they paid for our schooling.
WR: I see, at the Priory.
EP: It came under that, whatever, so my sisters went to the Priory and graduated two sisters and me and Eva.
WR: She’s a good looking girl. How old is Eva now?
EP: She’ll be sixty-six the 30th of March.
WR: My goodness, it doesn’t seem possible.
EP: Yes. She’s a good, good girl. She cooks all my meals, put ‘em in little containers, being ‘em up, put ‘em inside the freezer.
WR: Who lived along where the Outrigger is now? Were there any homes along that area?
WR: That’s where the Elks Club is now, right next door …
EP: … and McInerny, where the Japanese hotel …
WR: The Kaimana Hotel.
EP: The Kaimana Hotel, yes that was McInerny’s.
WR: Then Cunha was along there too?
EP: Cunha was down by the corner.
WR: Oh, yeah.
EP: As soon as you come up, then Dr. Murray, he married a Cunha girl. That used to be our doctor, our family doctor. Then the Holmes came.
WR: Chris Holmes.
EP: Chris Holmes.
WR: Where the Queen’s Surf used to be.
EP: Right. Then they start digging up, they made a nice swimming pool over there. They tried to stop everybody, but they couldn’t we used to go over there to swim.
WR: Now, where the old Club was located, were there any homes around that area by the old Club? Of course, there was the Steiner house.
EP: Oh, the old Club. OK, the Uluniu ….
WR: Yes, the Uluniu, was there a house there? Was that a home?
WR: Who lived there?
EP: I don’t know who lived there, the Wilders, I think.
WR: Oh, Wilder lived ….
EP: Further down, yeah?
WR: Further down by the Royal.
EP: Oh! OK. All inside there where the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, over there, that beach over there, that’s where Maria Piikoi and Eva King, you know?
WR: Yes, Eva King.
EP: … all live over there, and David Atkins and Maria Piikoi.
WR: In those days there was no wall, was there a beautiful beach there?
EP: Just beach. And Liko Vida and them…..
WR: Yes, Liko. Liko’s still alive.
EP: Yeah. I meet him once in a while.
WR: I was at a football game the other day with Warren Height and he and his wife were going to see Liko that evening.
EP: Liko looks good, only she not well. And Beck … did you know Alec Beck?
WR: Oh, very well.
EP: I still see him because he and my brother were good friends because they were old Shriners. Were you a Shriner?
WR: No, I am not. I never was. Eva, we’re coming to the end of the tape, so we’ll have to bring our interview to a close. We’ve covered a lot of territory. This has been a wonderful interview for me ….
EP: If you need some more of things to tell ….
WR: Well, I tell you what, let’s call it pau for now …
EP: Right. Yes.
WR: And if anything more …..
EP: And if something comes up, you come anytime.
WR: Eva, thank you very much for a wonderful interview. This has be tremendous fun for me. Thank you very much.