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 Barbara Del Piano
October 20, 2017
BDP: This is Friday, October 20th, 2017. I’m Barbara Del Piano (BDP), a member of the Outrigger Canoe Club Historical Committee. One of our projects is to conduct oral interviews with long time members or former members who have interesting memories of the old Outrigger. It was then located in the heart of Waikiki, at site of the Outrigger Beach Hotel and Resort, from its inception in 1908 until it moved to its present location here at Diamond Head in 1963. We’re here in the club’s board room, and today I am interviewing Maydeen Fuller Allen (MFA), who we called “Deenie”. Good morning Deenie.
MFA: Hi there, Barbara.
BDP: Before we get into your memories of the Outrigger, could we get some background?
BDP: Deenie, where were you born and when?
MFA: In Honolulu and May 24, 1928.
BDP: I see. And your ethnicity is?
MFA: English, Hawaiian, German, Scotch.
BDP: What was the first one?
BDP: English, Hawaiian, German, Scotch. What can you tell us about your grand … Or your ancestry? Who was the first to come to Hawaii?
MFA: Well, let’s see. On my mother’s side, my grandfather came from Germany. Her maiden name was Mertens. Mertens they pronounce it. My mother … My grandmother was Hawaiian.
BDP: I see.
MFA: I think he had a smidgereen of Scotch in there, but we sort of narrowed it down because couple of my kids went to Kamehameha school and you had to have how much Hawaiian at that time, so I sort of figured out I have half English, one fourth … I can’t be. 1/4 German, 1/16 Scotch.
BDP: How much Hawaiian?
MFA: Hawaiian. 5/16, I think that should add up.
BDP: Your father was how much one?
MFA: Half English, half Hawaiian.
BDP: Half English, half Hawaiian. Interesting.
MFA: I don’t know anything … He was raised by a bachelor uncle, so we didn’t have anybody to talk to on his side, so I really … Except cousins and stuff.
BDP: I see. And where did you grow up? What part of the island?
MFA: Mainly Honolulu, but we lived in many, many places. We always rented.
MFA: My father rented, he was waiting for the real estate to go down. Cost a few cent. But anyway, we lived in … I was born at my grandmother’s house, in Makiki. We moved to Kaimuki, where the freeway goes through now, so it’s not there. And Kulao, I think that’s where we were when the war started, World War II that is. And then back to … Manoa and when the … It was a lot of places. Many, many places.
BDP: I guess so. And tell me about your siblings. You have-
MFA: I have my oldest sister, Rita. We called her … Well, her name was Marguerite (Kauhane), but we called her Rita. And Catherine (Fink), we called her Sissy and myself.
BDP: I see. And do have any special childhood memories?
MFA: Oh, yes. I don’t know that some of them are sort of dumb. I know I broke my tailbone skating on, up on Kalākaua, not Kalākaua. It was at … It was suicide walk and I remember falling and breaking my tailbone.
BDP: What were you doing?
MFA: Skating. Rollerskating.
BDP: Skating. Oh.
MFA: And, you know, but I remember went to … When it was kindergarten. And my sisters both went there and I cried so much that … The story that was told me, that I would cry and cry and cry and cry so Mrs. Williams, is a little kindergarten up in Kaimuki. She’ll say, “Well let her stay on the stoop outside the stairs until recess and then you can take her home.” And so, it was fun and I got to play, you know, with them before they went for recess. And I guess I learned my ABCs and the letters so when they got to transferred … When we moved to Kabaki again, I went to Thomas Jefferson School and I skipped kindergarten because I knew my ABCs.
BDP: So you did go to school at Thomas Jefferson?
MFA: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
BDP: After that, where did you go?
MFA: Then I went to Stevenson and then from there I think I got into Punahou.
BDP: And all your siblings went to Punahou as well?
MFA: Yes. I think Rita got there in seventh grade. Sissy and I got there in ninth and tenth grades.
BDP: I see. And when and why did you join the Outrigger?
MFA: Well, that was interesting. I forgot. When we were ten years old, I think they had a junior membership program. So we always went because daddy (Sam Fuller) was a member and we, you know, played in the sand and went swimming and everything and volleyball. But Sissy told me, when we were ten that we could join and be members. So, that’s when I joined.
BDP: When you were ten years old?
BDP: Oh. How did your father happen to join?
MFA: I don’t know. He was just always going to meeting all the time. And he smoked a cigar.
BDP: What was his profession?
MFA: He was a tax assessor at the-
BDP: A what?
MFA: Tax assessor.
MFA: And that’s what he did so they … I remember going down there … Visit all the businesses.
BDP: Oh. And when you joined, do you remember who your sponsors were?
MFA: I guess … Not really. Maybe my father.
BDP: Yeah. Did you spend a lot of time at the Outrigger?
MFA: Oh, yes. It was so much fun because it was … You know, all the fellowship, the friends we made, I made and my sisters made.
BDP: And how about water sports? Did you get into them?
MFA: Canoeing, paddling, and I remember surfing and I remember Joe Pang. I mean all the beach boys, but Joe Pang, he was shorter than I was, but he taught, I think mainly the person to teach me how to surf. He put me on his shoulders. I was amazed. I mean, he was shorter, but he was well-built. He could hold me.
BDP: So, did you paddle on canoes competitively?
MFA: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
BDP: And in those days, how many competitive were there?
MFA: I don’t really recall, really. There was lots. It was so much fun.
BDP: Oh yeah.
MFA: But I don’t think we had the big, you know, regattas and the big competition with all the other clubs.
BDP: I think that was Waikiki Surf and [inaudible 00:08:42].
MFA: Yeah. I remember [inaudible 00:08:42].
BDP: That was then.
MFA: I remember those names.
BDP: Yeah. And who taught you to surf and paddle? Joe Pang?
MFA: Yeah. Well, all the other beach boys, too.
BDP: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
MFA: Blue and [inaudible 00:08:58] and … Oh, there’s a whole bunch, but I remember Joe was … I guess he was always there when we were there. That may be … That’s why.
BDP: And did you play volleyball?
MFA: Yes. Now, I remember Sissy and I played volleyball more than Rita. I guess Rita was too … Four years older than me, so she was … Didn’t want … Kids.
BDP: And do you have any memories about December 7, 1941.
MFA: Yeah. That time were living at Kuliouou. And the three of us slept the one bedroom with … Like a dormitory with cots. And I guess, my uncle worked at Pearl Harbor, the airport. He worked at the airport. So he called at my mother to let us know that we’re being bombed. Of course, we were still sleeping then because that was seven o’clock in the morning. And so, you know, she woke us up and told us all that Pearl Harbor’s being bombed. And there’s a curfew and you can’t go on it. They said … I don’t know who said it, maybe me, maybe somebody else. “You mean, we don’t have to get and go to church?”
So, we went back to sleep. I mean, that’s how much it affected us. We had no idea, no concept of what was coming for the next how many years.
BDP: And World War II, of course, changed your whole way of life.
MFA: Oh, definitely. Yeah.
BDP: And do you remember how it affected the Outrigger?
MFA: Not really ’cause we … With gas rationing and curfews, we didn’t come to the Outrigger very often.
BDP: And now, could we … Could you tell us a little bit about your father and his contributions to the Club? I don’t there was ever an oral history about him.
MFA: No. Not really. I … Reading the book, that I’ve learned a lot of things that somebody wrote about the 100 years of Outrigger and I learned a lot of things that my father was involved in and the committees and activities. So-
BDP: He was, of course, president of the Club at one time.
MFA: Well, I knew that because I know that there was picture we had. We thought, he was all dressed up. Wasn’t in a [inaudible 00:11:30] shirt. It was dressed up.
BDP: I remember him most as dressing as King Kamehameha for the King Kamehameha Day regatta, which before the Walter Macfarlane, the Fourth of July …
BDP: … Regatta took over. That was our big canoe race. He was always dressed in a helmet with lei and a [inaudible 00:12:02] with a cap.
MFA: Yeah. And i remember somewhere in my pictures, I have … I’m going through so many boxes of pictures. And there was Sissy and I were in attendance in one of the programs, but I think it was Aloha Week Program because he was also King during Aloha Week. I don’t think we were … I don’t think … I don’t recall all of that.
BDP: Yeah. Well, I think I’ve read your father was on the Board when we went through that terrible financial crisis and Walter Macfarlane kind of saved the Club. He was involved in that. And then he was also involved when we, I guess, every member of the Club voted, whether or not to lease property from the Elks. And were Rita and Sissy also involved in canoeing and volleyball and surfing?
MFA: I think Rita was working more and other circle of friends. So she wasn’t that involved in surfing and paddling.
BDP: But you and Sissy definitely were?
MFA: Oh, yes.
BDP: Do you remember some of your old friends from the old Club?
MFA: Oh, yeah. It was, it’s … It was such good people. And fun people and people you enjoyed being around because they were … Told nice stories.
BDP: And can you come up with any names?
MFA: Well, there’s Iva Del [inaudible 00:13:55] and Helen Honey Kessner, well [inaudible 00:13:58].
BDP: Oh, yeah.
MFA: And in fact, and Tedda Morrison, Tedda Wynn. I have they have maiden names. And it was just so … I can’t visualize all of them, but there’s so many that … And Doris Berg was one.
BDP: Oh, yes.
MFA: And … But I’m just, you know, thinking of faces that I saw at that time.
BDP: Deenie, do you remember many of the old employees?
MFA: I don’t really remember. I was talking to Sissy, who lives on Maui, and she recalls a lot of them. And she knew them by name like Henry D’Gorog was the manager. And she said some other names that was sort of fuzzy for me.
BDP: How about Auntie Eva?
MFA: I don’t remember that.
MFA: I mean, I can’t visualize a person so …
BDP: How about Richard at the snack bar?
MFA: Oh, yes.
BDP: Everybody remembers Richard. Yeah. As you mentioned, Henry D’Gorog was the general manager. What did you do after you graduate from Punahou?
MFA: Well, my father believed, being raised by a bastard uncle, that’s … I mean, that I can figure out. He figured they just didn’t need to go work because they just get married and have babies and their role is take care of the babies. So he did not encourage us to go to college. And maybe he couldn’t afford it or something, but … So, we started working.
I worked … I think my first … Oh, during the summer, I worked at the Advertiser. Yes, it was adver [inaudible 00:15:55]. But anyway, with Sybil Baldwin. Remember her?
MFA: We were the only two … Rest were all oriental, but we were putting telephone books together. Standing at the round table, grabbing pages or sections for hours, not sitting, just standing and then we’d get a break. And I have a picture of that that I … And it was … And then I think it’s Sybil yearbook when she the thing. She says, “I remember that summer and I’m glad I’m never able to work there again.” It was tedious.
BDP: What did you think when the Club moved from Waikiki to Diamond Head?
MFA: It didn’t … I didn’t think about it because I guess I wasn’t active. Let’s see, because from working at the retirement … I worked at the circuit court. I worked at retirement system and then I started selling World Book Encyclopedia going door to door.
BDP: Oh, I remember that.
MFA: And that was … I did that for 34 years. And … But it was good because I had the three children. I got married and had three children. And I would drop them off at school and then go knock on doors until time to pick them up. And then I was home.
BDP: Oh, interesting. And of course, you remember lots of the old beach boys?
MFA: Yeah. Yeah. I wish I had pictures of them. I don’t.
BDP: But do you remember any of them, their names?
MFA: Yeah. Blue Makua and … Oh, there’s somebody by name of Young. Last name is Young. Can’t think of his first name. Sunny. Anyway. And then Joe Pang.
BDP: Who was that?
MFA: Joe Pang.
BDP: Oh, yes. And Turkey (Love).
MFA: Yeah. Oh, Turkey. Yeah. And of course there was … Not that he was a beach boy, but Tommy [inaudible 00:18:05] and O’Ryan and there’s so many.
BDP: [inaudible 00:18:11]
MFA: Oh. Yeah. Yeah.
MFA: Definitely. And Bill Barnhart, you know?
BDP: Oh, yes. Uh-huh (affirmative). And now that you’re no longer a member of the Club?
MFA: No because I got married and didn’t have time to come and didn’t have the money to … You had to have … Junior membership is … Was inexpensive. I think it was, I don’t even remember how much it cost, but daddy took the dues out of our pay. Either, you know, we got allowance. And so, we paid for it, but couldn’t afford it after. And then we moved, when I got married we moved to Waimanalo and there wasn’t any way, reason to come over here to go swimming.
BDP: Yeah. Do you come to the Club very often now?
MFA: When Sissy would come to visit because Sissy’s still a member.
BDP: Oh, she is?
MFA: And then … The old timers reunion thing and then when somebody was visiting that Sissy and Bill would entertain them, then you’d invite to come to the Outrigger.
BDP: So what do you think of the old timers?
MFA: You mean, having that-
BDP: The get-together.
MFA: … Get-together. Oh, yeah. It was so good to see everybody. And how we’ve all matured. Some … Most of us to the better. But it was fun. Yeah.
BDP: Yes. How do you think the old Club compares with the new Club?
MFA: Well, it’s … I think it’s better situated now because if we were still over where we were before, parking would be a pits and traffic would be awful. I mean, comparing it today’s traffic jams.
BDP: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
MFA: And we’d have to pay for parking and parking lots. I mean, there’s … Would have had to be major renovation over there. So I think this is … And it’s good. It’s out of the way.
BDP: Location-wise, yes, but the actual Club itself? How do you think that compares?
MFA: I think it’s all for the better. It’s improved, I think.
BDP: That’s good. And what has the Outrigger meant to you over the years?
MFA: It was like … In a way, when we were younger, you know, home away from home. We met our friends there all the time. That was … It was a good meeting place and making good friends and lasting friends.
MFA: For many, many years.
BDP: It seemed wherever you were going, you always met first at the Outrigger. Yes. Do you have any other stories you’d like to tell?
MFA: Well, this is … Oh, I’ll tell you this story. Those people that know Rita … You know, some people have good memories and some fabricate or embellish or what’s another word? To elaborate, you know, or they say they did this and it wasn’t … They didn’t really do it, but they … Lack judge … I mean, memories. Rita … Sissy and I would always say, “Rita knows.” And she remembered to the detail who they married, names of the children, where they worked and she’d … Didn’t get them mixed up, so you know that she knew that she knew.
I think it’s quieter over here. I don’t know about the people that come every day, but it’s … Just being in that area over there with police station and all the goings on and the people in the streets doing, you know, that they had put laws in that they can’t stand and be statues and attractive for tourists. I think it’s … You know, I think it’s nice.
MFA: I think it’s a good move.
BDP: Well, if … If there’s nothing more to add, we can bring this to interview to a close, Deenie. Thank you so much for being with us today and I’m sure your stories will be a valuable addition to our archives.
MFA: Nice to be here.