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 is available below the video.
An Interview by Barbara Del Piano
December 1, 2015
Good afternoon. I’m Barbara Del Piano (BDP). I’m on the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club and we’re meeting here to do an oral history. Oral histories are very important part our committee’s projects because they help us to preserve our Club’s history. We interview long-time members, who have made valuable contributions to our Club. Today, it’s my pleasure to introduce Peter Nottage (PN) who’s an old friend and an old member. Hi, Peter. How are you?
PN: I’m fine. I’m fine.
PN: My wife, Lois is there.
BDP: Yeah. Peter, tell us a little background before we get into the Club history. You were born here.
PN: Oh, background of me. Yeah, I was born here. My wife was born here. My mother was born here.
BDP: Oh, how far back does your family go?
PN: My grandmother was born here.
BDP: Oh. What were their names?
PN: Well, she was a Brown. My grandmother was a Brown. My mother was a [Gilman 00:01:33]. Brown was the captain of a whaling ship.
BDP: Who was your grandfather?
PN: Great grandfather.
BDP: Great grandfather?
PN: Was the whaling ship out of New Bedford and he took his wife with him on these tours. I don’t know what kind of guy he was. His lost a couple of boats but they were shipwrecked on the shores of China, I guess it was. Then he went down, bought a boat, came to Hawaii, and she said, “This is it. We’re staying here.” He stayed here while she went back and brought the furniture or something and lived here ever since.
BDP: Ever since.
BDP: Oh, so you grew up in Manoa, like I did.
PN: Like you did, right.
BDP: Where about in Manoa?
PN: Oahu Avenue, down the lower end of Oahu Avenue.
BDP: Closer to UH.
PN: Closer to UH, yeah. Neighbors were George [Alumis 00:02:43], Shirley [Tavares 00:02:46] and Vaughn Ackerman, we all were down there.
BDP: And Jock?
PN: Jock McIntyre.
PN: Yeah, oh yeah.
BDP: Wanda Grant.
PN: Wanda Grant. Oh yeah, you’re getting in deep there.
BDP: Yeah. Oh gosh and where did you go to school?
BDP: How about college?
PN: I went to Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.
BDP: Was it in high school that you and Lois started going together?
PN: Yeah. She’s still giving me instructions. Yeah. I made my big move on her, we were doing ti leaf sliding one night, up in Tantalus. I guess today, the kids don’t know anything about that but that was a big experience at the time. I don’t know how she got up there but we were sliding down the hill and having a lot of fun and I said, “Come with us, we’ll give you a ride home.” Took her home and that’s where it all started.
PN: We had …
BDP: She went to a college near Dartmouth, as I remember,
PN: She went to Colby Junior College, near Dartmouth.
BDP: Oh, I see. Yeah.
PN: She went to Dartmouth on the weekends usually.
BDP: When did you join the Outrigger?
PN: I first joined the Outrigger in, I think it was ’44. ’41, ’42. It could have been late ’42 or ’44, I’m not sure. Prior to that, we kept surfboards at the Uluniu Ladies Club and prior to that, John D. Kaupiko was the head of the surfboard rental place and he used to give us free boards to go out and surf.
BDP: You were into surfing a lot?
PN: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
BDP: How about canoeing?
PN: Well, did a lot of canoeing. The one big deal I have to offer is, Sally Hale was in charge of the canoes and somehow, I conned him into letting me take out the Princess, which is the big boat. I think it’s still around here somewhere and with sails. We sailed it out to Diamond Head. It was quite an experience. It was quite an experience for him too, he was very nervous about the whole thing but anyway.
BDP: You were into volleyball too.
PN: Into volleyball. In those days, we hit the ball with open hands and maybe hung onto it a little longer than we should. Played in the sand and really thoroughly enjoyed it.
BDP: When you came back from college, you came back to the Outrigger?
BDP: How did you feel … Then when did you get married?
PN: In 1951.
PN: I was in graduate school and her mother … My mother and her parents, my father had passed away, sat down in Manoa and decided, “We should let them get married.” We knew nothing about it. We got a telephone call back, “Yes it’s okay.” We came home, got married. Went up and finished graduate school and been happily married ever since.
BDP: How many years?
PN: How many years?
Lois Nottage: Going on 65.
PN: Going on 65.
BDP: Going on 65 years. Wow.
PN: Yeah. Four kids.
BDP: How many kids?
BDP: Four kids?
PN: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
BDP: Okay. How did you feel about it when the Club moved from Waikiki to Diamond Head?
PN: A interesting question because when I first heard the news, I went ballistic and I said, “Oh my God, how could they do this to us?” See, there was a period when I quit the Club because we moved over to the country, to Kailua and Kaneohe to raise our kids and I just couldn’t afford the Club and driving in here and all, and so we quit for a couple of years and then, got back in ’44 I guess. No, it’s later than that because they moved back here in my absence and I thought, “Oh God, this is going to be terrible,” and how wrong I was. It’s a beautiful location. More private, it’s got the waves. It’s got everything.
PN: I was certainly for it afterwards.
BDP: Then you began to get involved with committees and so forth.
PN: Oh, yeah, yeah.
BDP: Eventually, you were on the Board of Directors and I notice in 1999, you were on a committee involved with the Elks Club.
BDP: Can you tell us about that?
PN: Yeah. I can. I was in charge of a committee to negotiate with the Elks Club and people kept harping on me, “We’re not getting any action. You’ve got to move [inaudible 00:08:50].” I asked everyone to be quiet because the guys from over here, had told me that … Not the ones who were in charge but the ones who weren’t in charge, I said, “Don’t worry. We don’t have anybody here, who can act on that. They’re all got to come … I think it’s Chicago,” and so it was hot and cold, hot and cold. I got a little bit of hassling because I wasn’t moving faster on making the lease and I tried to explain what this person had told me. I waited and oh, I had guys coming to my committee meetings and pounding the table and say, “We got to have action. We got to have action.” Finally, the guys came up from Chicago and we had a meeting and we resolved everything in about two days and extended the same terms, the same deal, the same this. It worked out very well.
BDP: Were you also involved … No, I guess not. You’d have been too young, in the first negotiations?
PN: Out here?
PN: You mean the first negotiation where?
BDP: Late ’50s. No.
PN: Negotiations on this property?
PN: No, I was not.
BDP: Okay. Didn’t it have to go to arbitration?
PN: Yeah. There was a arbitration clause in there and I had a lot of people who wanted to be on the arbitration committee and it’s quite interesting, I had a lot of people who just … I had one guy, who’s so called nameless, who sat at this table here and he slammed his books on the thing. He says, “If you can’t work any faster than this, I’m out of here.” Well it was obvious that we couldn’t work any faster because these guys had told me, “We got to wait till the guys in Chicago come out and decide what to do.”
There was very little arbitration. I had a couple of people on my committee, I forgotten who they were right now but it was a foregone conclusion what we’re going to do. We were just going to take the same contract, adjust the prices, the same terms and it was sold that way. They weren’t about to budge on it. I suggested that we buy the property. The guys in Chicago didn’t want to sell.
Although the Honolulu members, I wish they’d been in charge because they’re going to hell in a hand basket over there. The league was run down and everything. They wanted to get some money, so they could fix it up and they would be gladly, turn this over to us. I tried that, it was barking up the wrong street. They didn’t want to talk about it.
BDP: Oh. Weren’t you sorry to see the old Elks Club come down?
PN: Oh, yeah, yeah.
BDP: That was such a treasure.
PN: Yeah, you’re right. It sure was.
BDP: I’m sure if historic preservation had been a bigger thing then, as it is today, it would never have been demolished.
PN: Right. I agree with you.
BDP: That’s the way it went. What do you think will happen … It’s less than 40 years now, when does the lease expire?
PN: Well I’ve thought about that and during the last time, I was kind of involved and I heard we were looking at a piece, a parcel out in Haleiwa and we’re looking at something out in Kuliouou and finally, people said, “Wait a minute. We belong here. We belong in Waikiki. We have the restaurant, the bar, canoe surfing and board surfing for people and that’s where we should stay always.” That’s what happened.
BDP: But we may not have that choice.
PN: We may not have that choice, however well it was pretty easy because the Elks guys said, “You know, you should be on that property, we just don’t want to sell it to you at this time.” It will come up again and see what happens. I don’t know.
BDP: Yeah. We won’t be around, I’m afraid.
PN: No. Right.
BDP: Now, you live in Kaneohe still. I understand you have a beautiful place on the ocean, on the bay [crosstalk ].
BDP: Lois is a landscape architect?
PN: She’s a landscape designer, architect. She’s done wonders with our property. Of course, she can go out and sit and pull weeds all day long. I get tired after pulling one weed.
BDP: Yeah. Oh gosh. Do you still come to the Club very often?
PN: Not too often. Probably once every two months, once a month.
Lois Nottage: You come when we go to the theater.
PN: Yeah. That’s what our favorite is, we go to the Ruger Theater. Stop there and have dinner.
BDP: Seen you there.
PN: Go up from there, it’s very convenient.
Lois Nottage: [crosstalk ] out of towners, we’d break.
BDP: How do you feel about the Club in general over your lifetime? Has it meant a lot to you?
PN: Oh, it’s meant a great deal to me and I think that it’s been run really well. We’ve had a few rough spots in the past but it’s been really good. I have friends out of Mainland, who just were coming in. We won a guest membership and they just love it. Just think it’s absolutely fabulous.
BDP: Yeah. It is, really isn’t it? Your kids don’t belong to the Club?
PN: No, no. I tried to get them interested and first of all, our twin daughters were into horses and mom lead them there and my son was into riding motorcycles. They just never really had a desire to come in here.
BDP: Yeah. I guess, when you live on the Windward side, that’s kind of the way.
PN: That’s right.
BDP: You joined the Kaneohe Yacht Club.
PN: Kaneohe Yacht Club, yeah.
BDP: Did you do sailing?
PN: Oh yeah. I have a catamaran that was designed and built by Joe Quigg.
PN: Which is 30 …
Lois Nottage: Was …
PN: 31 feet absolutely beautiful boat for its age and Joe just, he had to sell it after a while and I got a hold of it. It’s a beautiful high speed boat. We’ve gone inter island on it. I mean, it’s a dangerous boat if you don’t know what you’re doing.
BDP: I bet. What kind did you say?
PN: It’s a catamaran. A twin screw … I mean, twin hull boat. Yeah.
BDP: Oh, that’s interesting.
PN: That’s what we do really and I fish. Fish, do a lot of fishing.
BDP: Oh good and you also play golf?
PN: Sort of. Yeah. Once a week I go out with our makule members and we’re losing some at the top of the age limit and bringing in some at the new limit and I’m borderline, you know. We play all over. I really enjoy it.
BDP: That’s good. Well do you have anything else to add about the Club?
PN: I just think the …
Lois Nottage: Why don’t you do the Macfarlane race?
PN: Oh, the Macfarlane …
Lois Nottage: They don’t know anything about it.
PN: Yeah. The original Macfarlane race at the old Club in …
BDP: I was there, yeah.
PN: 1944, was it?
BDP: ’43, I think.
PN: ’43. Well I put together a junior team to race and we had the old … Was it Kakina?
BDP: Kakina, yeah.
PN: Kakina and I was the skipper and a race was a …
BDP: You were the what? Steersman?
PN: Steersman, yeah and our race was from the tavern, down to the Royal Hawaiian and we raced against Hui Nalu and we were doing really well, as we race passed Moana, until someone yelled, “14 change.” Everybody changed, the same moment a wave hit us from the side and we went upside down, so we never finished the race. That was the first Macfarlane race and we were all junior members of the yacht club and it was great, great fun.
BDP: Then they changed it from going parallel to the beach. [crosstalk]
PN: Yeah. Well they didn’t trust us in going in big water. I know that … What’s his name Sally Hale was in charge of the canoes and I guess, loved sailing them and I talked him into letting me take out The Princess with full sails and we took that boat out in pretty big swells. Had to break through the surf to get out there and it was probably the fastest, most exhilarating ride I’ve ever had in my life. Big boat and just roaring. We got off Diamond Head and we were in blue water and my guy said, “It’s time to turn around.” I replied that, I was trying to turn around but we finally did and came in.
BDP: You were the master of ceremonies at a few of the old timers get togethers, weren’t you?
PN: Oh, yes, yes.
BDP: How did you enjoy those functions?
PN: Oh, we really enjoyed them. We really enjoyed them and we were …
BDP: You were at the one this year too, with the name change, the Kamaaina.
PN: Kamaainas, yeah.
PN: [inaudible ] yeah. You were here long. You see it was formed by a bunch of ladies.
BDP: Actually, [crosstalk ] it was the Barnharts.
PN: Barnharts, that’s right. Whom we stopped calling Whiskey after so many years.
BDP: Yes, he didn’t like to be called Whiskey.
PN: His wife didn’t like us to call him Whiskey. The furious kid would find out about it, so we stopped.
BDP: Yeah. You never had a nickname, did you?
PN: Well, it’s interesting. I didn’t and there was a Cub member. Remember his Lois? The guy was …
Lois Nottage: What guy?
PN: He had a book of nicknames and he was going around getting everybody’s nickname.
BDP: Paul Dolan.
PN: Dolan, yeah. I heard what he was doing one day and I said, “What’s going on?” “Oh, I’m checking all the old members for names.” I said, “You could go back to, my name is Flash.”
Lois Nottage: No, it was Ace.
PN: Oh, Ace. I was Ace Nottage. I just made it up with a split second.
BDP: Yeah, everybody seemed to have a nickname, Vapor Damon, Mongoose. Remember Mongoose?
PN: Mongoose, yeah, Mongoose, yeah. Those were legitimate names. I mean, you had good reason to name them those things.
BDP: Rabbit Guild.
PN: Rabbit Guild, yeah.
BDP: Yeah. Well there’s wonderful old memories associated with the Club, especially the old Club. Can you think of any more? Do you remember Richard at the snack bar?
PN: Oh God, yes, do you remember Richard? You mean Richard? Well we ran into Richard at the Cub …
Lois Nottage: No, no, no. We were at a party and then we decided to go to the Oasis [crosstalk ]. I don’t know. [crosstalk ]
PN: Not the Oasis but the one down … South Sea Lounge or something on …
Lois Nottage: It was starring Prince Hanalei.
PN: Starring Prince Hanalei.
Lois Nottage: It was Richard and Prince Hanalei.
PN: It was Richard. We went down and saw them. Oh God.
BDP: During the set dance of seven veils?
PN: That’s right, that’s right.
BDP: Yeah. That was his specialty.
PN: Oh man. Yeah, Richard.
BDP: Oh God.
Lois Nottage: Oh, and Eva Pomroy. We loved Eva, she was so good to us.
PN: Yeah, she was. Then another interesting part of … In my mind was, to beat Pop Ford.
Lois Nottage: Oh yeah.
PN: Who returned after all those many years.
BDP: [crosstalk ] Did you ever speak with him?
PN: Oh, yeah.
BDP: Oh, I thought I was the only one.
PN: Oh, no.
BDP: Tell me about your conversation.
PN: Well, it’s kind of hard to remember but he just told me how it was here in the old days and trying to pull the Club and people together. I didn’t get too deep into it but I know this, it’s not to be repeated but …
BDP: Not very many people remember him.
PN: He would go into that men’s locker room and find a good pair of shoes and put them on and walk out.
Lois Nottage: He always had mustache … Mustard on his mustache.
PN: He had mustard on his mustache, yeah. He was a good guy.
BDP: Well this had been very nice Peter.
PN: Oh, thank you.
BDP: Anything else?
PN: No. I will say one thing that we did, which you guys know about is, volleyball was a much bigger deal at the old Club, than it is at this Club.
BDP: Oh yes, you can see it.
PN: Oh, yeah. Everybody walking in to [crosstalk].
Lois Nottage: Right in the middle.
PN: You could see it.
BDP: You were right there.
PN: Then we had the junior’s court and the two big courts and of course, when they wanted to play on the junior’s court but we got bounced from it fairly often.
BDP: Bounced from the small court?
PN: No, from the big court.
BDP: Big court, yeah.
PN: It became such a point, that I went in and asked to be changed to a senior member and I think I was the first one ever to do that. I got in under age, so they couldn’t throw me off the court anymore but of course, those days a game of volleyball was so ultimately different than the way it is. Everybody was hitting the ball this way and around the post. I remember Tommy Arnott could throw a ball up and on one of the Dolans, he’d go down the line, around the outside of the post and drop the ball in every time. But they’ve since, cleaned up the game but it was fun. The thing about the volleyball, was so much fun. The bar was right there. You could go up and sit in the Leilani and have a drink and wait till they call your number. [crosstalk ]
BDP: Right, exactly.
PN: We had the empty lot next door to park.
BDP: Had what?
PN: The empty lot.
BDP: Oh, yeah.
PN: To park our cars.
BDP: With Sunshine.
PN: With Sunshine, yeah right, right.
Lois Nottage: One cent for lunch, rice and gravy.
PN: Oh, yeah. I couldn’t afford the lunches at the Cub but I would go over to the … One was yacht club. What was the name of it? You know that little … Is that [crosstalk]?
Lois Nottage: Joe Fatts, the Huddle? Oh …
PN: [inaudible ]
Lois Nottage: There was the Huddle. They used to serve stew and rice. I mean, gravy and rice.
PN: I don’t know that that was it.
Lois Nottage: The Merry-Go-Round. Not the Merry-Go-Round?
PN: No. No. Anyway, we enjoyed the stuff there.
Lois Nottage: Good.
PN: It was great growing up and my parents would just let me go. I’d catch a street car in the morning. Go down and transfer to Pu’uwai and come here and stay all day. I don’t think I ever would have allowed my kids to do what my parents allowed me to do.
BDP: Oh, me too. Life was different in those days.
PN: Yeah. Life was different but we made it.
PN: That’s about it.
BDP: Well thank you so much Peter. It was a real pleasure to have you and I’m sure [crosstalk] your oral history will be enjoyed by many people for long time to come. Thank you very much.
PN: Well it’s been a real pleasure. [crosstalk].
Lois Nottage: When we got married. We were married at St Andrews Cathedral and the reception was at Oahu Country Club and we had that long thing with the big fireplace and that’s where the receiving line was. My mother and her garden club friends, went and got banana stumps and cut them at different lengths and sunk candles in them. It was very beautiful.
BDP: Sunk what?
Lois Nottage: Candles.
PN: Candles in the top of them.
Lois Nottage: [crosstalk ] either side and somebody went over and opened the mauka windows and it was windy and my illusion veil went into one of the candles.
PN: She went on fire. I went over, I went down.
Lois Nottage: His mother collapsed. His mother collapsed and three quarters of the people never even saw it and it’s a big wedding. As a matter of fact, when they had the [crosstalk].
PN: It was so big.
Lois Nottage: The Society Page, you know the … Always they had …
PN: The Society Page.
Lois Nottage: Yeah. We had the pictures in that, then they had, “And among the guests were …” And Tommy [Waddups ] was an attorney. He wasn’t invited. He wasn’t invited.
PN: But he made the cut in the newspaper.
Lois Nottage: He made the cut in the newspaper. He just cracked up. Catching on fire when you’re getting married too, is okay. The last thing.
PN: We’ve had a good life.
BDP: Yes, you have. A very good life.
PN: We’d go out and play volleyball and Lois would sit and play [kamau ] with the new girls on the side.
BDP: When we played on the small court, we’d get you .. Well you were younger, we’d get these … Yeah, you were the younger boys, to come and play with us, right? Tommy Haine, Pat Wyman, Mongoose.
PN: Mongoose, yeah.
BDP: All these guys. Probably, you were one of them.
PN: I don’t know. I thought I was much better than that but I guess I wasn’t. That was a great place to grow up. My parents thought it was wonderful because they knew where I was.
Lois Nottage: Mine, I wasn’t allowed to go to Makapuʻu. I went every weekend. We’d come down the yacht right here and we’d do whatever we want to do. Always got a car and go to Makapuʻu, go surfing, come back.
PN: Oh yeah.
BDP: Saturdays, Makapuʻu was [crosstalk].
Lois Nottage: It was the focus of your social life.
PN: No, no, no. Saturday was Waikiki Theater.
Lois Nottage: Oh yeah. Matinee.
PN: Was the matinee of the new film.
Lois Nottage: [crosstalk ] 55 cents in the first 10 rows and he would ask me to the movies and say, “I’ll meet you in the lobby, so I had to buy my own ticket.”
BDP: [crosstalk ] and remember how you had to have shoes and if you didn’t have shoes, you’d find somebody that did and then they’d go in and then they’d go to the side door.
Lois Nottage: Pass them out, right.
BDP: Pass the shoes out and half a dozen people would get in on the same pair of shoes.
Lois Nottage: Right. Oh God. [crosstalk] fun.
PN: One of the funniest things that ever happened was, Stanley [Stupenberg ] was sitting with us.
PN: Stanley [crosstalk]. Yeah, Stanley and he had to go to the men’s room.
Lois Nottage: No, that was Lucian Parish. I knew you were going to tell that.
PN: Oh, Lucian Parish.
Lois Nottage: That was Lucian Parish.
PN: Anyway, he had to go to the men’s room and he came by and while he …
Lois Nottage: Come back.
PN: Came back and he was slipping into the road, walking down like this, he realized he had forgotten to zip his pants up. He stopped and he zipped his pants up. He took one step and this girl jerked her head, he caught her in his zipper. In the front row, of the front row.
BDP: Oh my God.
PN: Yeah. We had great fun.
BDP: Yeah. Wonderful old memories.
Lois Nottage: [inaudible] days were same thing.