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 Kenneth Pratt
January 23, 1991
KP: This is an interview with Rodney West, M.D (RW). Who joined the Outrigger Canoe Club in October, 1939. This interview is being conducted on January 23, 1991 at the home of Ken Pratt, 4817 Aukai Avenue. The interviewer is Ken Pratt (KP) representing the Outrigger Canoe Club Oral History Committee. Rod, before we get into your early days at the Outrigger Canoe Club can you tell us something about yourself?
RW: Yeah, I still remember back then, I was born in Wailuku, Maui. My father was an Australian, born in Sydney. He came to Hawaii, I don’t know what for, he spent ten years in Fiji before he came here and he left there after his brother was killed in an explosion. My mother came here from Germany, she was born the day after the ship (which later became the Enterprise here) landed in Koloa on Kauai, so she came, you might say in utero, from Germany and was born in 1883.
I first went to school at Wailuku Elementary School, in first grade, and as a family we went to Yakima, Washington and spent almost two years there. My father thought it would be nice to go and raise apples, but he was not cut out to be a farmer, so we came back to the islands here and we ended up on Parker Ranch. From there we went to Hawi, Kohala with the Hawi Sugar Plantation Company and I went to schools there, in fact I went to eight different grade schools because in going from here to there we had to stop off in Honolulu so I attended many grade schools. Then I was sent to Honolulu Military Academy in Honolulu when I was in eighth grade and I was there for three years, and after that school closed and became the Punahou farm school I stayed there for the final two years and graduated from Punahou in 1927. I went from Honolulu to Northwestern University, three years of pre-med and then four years of medical school and came back here, took my internship and residency at Queen’s Hospital for a year and a half. Following which I went into general practice. I was called to active duty on September 7, 1941, I was in the Naval Reserve. I was there for about three months before December 7. I was stationed at Pearl Harbour on Ford Island on December 7, 1941, and was in the service until the war ended and started practice at Straub Clinic in January of 1946. I spent several months there and then went as a replacement for one of the doctors who had a vacation all during the War, so I was in the surgical department during that time. Then I went for a year to the Olaa Plantation where I was the Plantation Physician for the Olaa district. There were about three thousand people there I was the only physician for that group so I had the hospital, a 40-bed hospital, and the practice of medicine. Then the Straub Clinic asked me to come back to be in their OB-GYN department, so that’s what I did in July of ’47 and stayed there until I retired on December 31, 1976.
KP: Well, that’s very interesting. Now actually, you joined the Outrigger prior to going into the service, is that right?
RW: I joined the Outrigger through the influence of Dr. Guy Milnor. He used to go to the Outrigger almost every afternoon after work, and I found that by going down there, even before I joined the Outrigger, that I could go down there after work, lie in the sand in the sun, fall asleep for about 20 minutes, get up and take a swim and come out and I felt refreshed and ready to stay up all night if I had to deliver babies; and it was through his influence he said I should join the Outrigger because this gave me facilities there where I could put my clothes and so forth, so I joined the Outrigger in 1939.
KP: Well, was there a shortage of doctors then so that you had to work long hours?
RW: Not specially, but being an obstetrician you have to get up at night many times during the week.
KP: Now, you joined in ’39, is that correct?
RW: Right. October, 1939.
KP: It might be of interest, how much did you in dues, do you recall way back then?
RW: It was very reasonable, I think it was, er, the initiation fee not more than $150, maybe less than that because I didn’t have much money then, and maybe the dues were $5.00 a month, could be, I am not sure I could probably look up some old records and find out.
KP: I see. Actually Dr. Milnor was the one who talked you into the Outrigger or…
RW: He sold me the advantages of belonging to the Club if I went down to the strand as much as I did, so I joined.
KP: He swam a lot didn’t he?
RW: He used to, every afternoon.
KP: I remember several doctors from Straub who used to swim down there.
RW: Right. Dr. Doolittle. I think Dr. Straub was a member as well. That was before the days when there was a lot of golf played as there is nowadays.
KP: Actually, long before you joined the Club, I think back in the mid-’20 s you had an experience in a canoe. Can you tell us about that?
RW: Oh, yeah. This was about 1925. The American Fleet, as it used to every so often, came to visit Honolulu sort of an R&R stopover. Maybe the Fleet was coming from Australia or was going to Australia or was on some type of maneuvers, and they would bring the Fleet here to let the people get off and have a good time in Honolulu. They had to park in front of the south shore, out along Waikiki and along the front of Honolulu Harbor because there was not room for them to get into Pearl Harbor so they all parked out there, battleships and cruisers and so forth and one of the things we did, especially this day, Tommy Ellis who belonged to the Club asked a group of us who were at the Honolulu Military Academy to go out with him in a canoe and we got into a canoe at the old Outrigger Club and paddled out to the battleships and then we would go around the different battleships and wave to the people above and just look over the big ships because they were ships as far as we were concerned, most of them were four-stackers at that time all coal burning …
KP: I see, monsters. I see …
RW: So that is how we saw the Fleet.
KP: You know when the Fleet came in at various times before World War II it appeared that other countries like Japan would also put their training ships in there. Do you remember anything about that?
RW: Yeah, I do. I remember walking out in the Waikiki area and you would pass sailors from, oh one would be from France, and one would be from England, Australia, warship up here. Japanese warships would come in and they would be able to go around the whole island and go any place they wanted and take pictures. There were no restrictions, so they had their R&R here in Honolulu. It was not unusual for sailors of various countries to be here in Honolulu at that time.
KP: Now, did you ever go diving from the Club? Down to the harbor and dive for coins?
RW: No, I was not a diver, seems like every time I dove I’d get a headache. I know we had a tank at the Honolulu Military School and it would get so murky at times you could go hide-and seek in the tank you could go down and no one could see you. I found out that if I stayed there real long the next day I would have a headache; it probably affected my sinuses so I was never much a diver.
KP: Did you ever go down when Buster Crabbe and Eddie dove for coins? I thought you told me that once.
RW: No, I remember seeing that when I came back the first time from going to Northwestern. I looked out from the deck and who was down there diving for coins, Buster and Buddy Crabbe.
KP: Oh, that’s right, you were watching from the ship.
RW: I was on the ship and they were diving for coins. I don’t know if I threw them anything, I didn’t have much to throw. [Laughter]. Then I’d see them after the ship came in. and of course they’d be down at the beach and Buster and Buddy were showing young ladies how to surf and how to swim and they only thing about Buddy, he was a little bit fast and they weren’t too happy with him. That’s how Buster met his wife.
KP: Oh, yes, yes.
RW: She came on the ship and she saw him again on the beach and she didn’t like Buddy he was too fast for her, so Buster showed her how to swim and surf.
KP: And years later you used to visit them, Buster and his wife, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
RW: Right. Several times, Buster was in my class at the Military School and also at Punahou.
KP: Buster taught me how to steer a canoe back around ’25-’26, somewhere around there.
RW: My wife says to people. “You know Rod used to be on the same swimming team as Buster Crabbe, and I said, “Well, don’t tell them I did the plunge, and wasn’t good at that.” [Laugher]
KP: You were a plunger too, eh. I was just a plunger. What were you early recollections of the Outrigger Canoe Club?
RW: Well, the thing I remember even back in ’25, the building itself as a two-story one, or a one-story, there was an under part there where they stored the canoes. I think the Club had just been fixed up at that time when I joined, and so it had been refurbished and I think the upstairs part had been changed so it was a nice Club. I remember when we went out to the battleships that day it was an older building and all the canoes were stored under the building, right off the beach, the beach then wasn’t too wide. Other than that I couldn’t do much in the Club itself. I used it mostly as a place to go and swim in the afternoon.
KP: Now, actually, it was that time they lost their frontage on Kalakaua oh, that was the year before you joined, I believe. The 100 foot frontage on Kalakaua was turned into businesses the Bank of Hawaii that was when Vin Danford was manager of the Bank of Hawaii I branch there.
RW: Oh, I don’t know why they changed it. I remember when they built those shops on the front right off Kalakaua and you had to go between the shops in order to get back to the Outrigger Canoe Club.
KP: Yeah. Yeah.
RW: I didn’t know the reason for that, but I remember that now.
KP: DO you remember about any of the problems they were having? That was rather a tough time the Outrigger Canoe Club went through
RW: No, I guess I didn’t get involved. See in ’39 and then ’41 came along and I went away on a trip in early ’41 so I wasn’t around there very much, October ’39 and ’40, so it was only about a year and a half that I was really at the Club all during the early years, so I didn’t know anything about their problems at the time.
KP: But you recall the renovations there, the canoes, the Hau Terrace had been built, I guess.
RW: Yes, because that was all… that was another reason why I joined at that time because it was a newer club and the facilities were much nicer than they had been, and it was a more attractive organization to belong to.
KP: And they had the volleyball courts about the middle of the property there, ready to play volleyball, eh?
RW: On the ground level, could have been on the side, I don’t remember exactly, on the right side as you came into the Club …
KP: Yes, that’s right, that’s right. Sort of halfway between the front buildings and the office building, I guess where you changed for swimming was back there too.
RW: Yeah, the locker rooms were down below, and I would change there, go for a swim and come back and take a shower.
KP: Now, just about that time … oh, no, I guess it was just prior to that when the renovations were taking place, they used to go to the Moana Hotel, you didn’t do that at all, it was prior to your time. Ah, yes.
RW: We would swim and I think we’d go down there and eat, probably on a Sunday or sometime, that was the most we’d use the Club.
KP: Now, the Uluniu Club was located closer to the Moana at that time or was that … it was prior to their move closer to the Royal Hawaiian.
RW: Most of the wives of the members of the Outrigger belong to Uluniu Club because their dues were five dollars a year. All they had over there were lockers for their clothes and there was … the caretakers over there, I think it was Monday night and they would fix up a Japanese type meal and you could tell them how many people were coming and they’d fix it specially for the people who came.
KP: Ono sukyaki, I remember that.
RW: Right. That was a way of entertaining people, to take them to the Uluniu Ono Sukyaki. [Laughter]
KP: Yes, that was great, that was great. Then of course, you went to War and you went to Florida, I guess. Is that where you got your training to fly a plane?
RW: I went in the service; I was stationed at Ford Island. I stayed there until July ’42, then I was transferred to Johnston Island and was there for nine months. I came back to Kaneohe Naval Air Station and I was stationed there for about a year and then I transferred to Pensacola, Florida where I had flight training both in aviation, and in flying a plane. They wanted all of us who were going to be flight surgeons at least to have the experience of flying a plane so they’d take half the class, I don’t know how they chose us, but I was happy that they chose me. We spent six weeks of learning to fly an airplane, so we soloed and then we were assigned to the Naval Air Station as senior medical officers. Then I was transferred from there to Key West, Florida, I guess because my name was west they thought it was the place to send me. [Laughter] so I was at Key West until the end of the War and then came back home and I was at the Naval Air Station in Honolulu until I got my feet on the ground and then I got out of the service and took my … I had about three months’ leave coming, took the leave and went back to work.
KP: You mentioned Harrison Cooke over at Mokapu, over at the Air Station there now, he was on our Board of Directors at the Outrigger Canoe Club, did you know that? Do you remember that?
RW: No, I didn’t. There was quite a number of Honolulu fellows over at the Kaneohe Air Station, Wodehouse, Harrison Cooke….
KP: Now we are on the mid-forties, ’45-’46, they reactivated the beach services, do you recall anything about that?
RW: Well, go back a little further during the War , it was the place to belong to, because all the hotels were taken over by Navy and Army, the Moana Hotel and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel were taken over so there was no place to entertain, so if you were a member of the Outrigger Club you were sort of … people were very happy to go with you to a dance and dinner there because only members could go and this was one of the few places in Honolulu where you could really go out and dance, because you couldn’t do that at the hotels because they were usurped by the Army and Navy. So this was one of the big things during the War. You see I wasn’t away from here all the time, but when I was here, while I was over at Kaneohe and also when I was at Ford Island before the War started, we used the Club a lot to entertain because it was the place to entertain. It was very nice.
KP: That’s interesting you should bring up the dancing. I’d kind of forgotten about that, I had two left feet anyway! Was that up at the second deck where the dining room was? Was that when they had Banzai punch that really got things rolling? There was a Japanese fellow who could fix a punch that really was potent and if a party wasn’t off to a start, once they started drinking it really moved. [Laughter]
RW: No, I don’t remember that. It was a booming party, maybe that happened later on when I was away, away from Honolulu. It was upstairs where the dining room was and they pushed the tables to the side and used the middle of the floor, and that way had a dance there.
KP: So you were looking right over the ocean.
RW: A beautiful place to have a dance.
KP: This would have been about, what year about?
RW: It would be…. just before … see I was in the Navy from September to December, so those three months….
KP: Of what?
KP: Oh, ’41, I see.
RW: … and then when I came back again, and when my family came back, my family was sent to the Mainland, when they came back in July ’43, when we would use the Outrigger and entertain there. Although the entertainment part of the Kaneohe Naval Air Station was really… they put out the punch there, that’s for sure. [Laugh] they had big parties over there.
KP: Now, Sally Hale came in about the mid-forties, wasn’t it?
RW: I didn’t know him too well, I just …
KP: He was the one who ran the beach services, and I think for a while there most of the control there was at the Outrigger rather than at the hotels for the first part of time.
RW: Yeah. They sort of worked out, the Royal Hawaiian was so close they would be at the Outrigger and then they’d go over there to the Royal Hawaiian in front of the Royal Hawaiian and usually that’s where the tourists were, so they would teach the girls how to swim and so forth. There used to be a fellow, who was quite a masseur, he was always going around helping people with their backs. He had a limp, I can’t remember …
KP: Hawaiian fella?
RW: Part Hawaiian.
KP: I vaguely remember that, yeah. And didn’t they have a little platform above the surfboards where they used to do massage…. Massaging up there, as I recall.
RW: Could be, I don’t remember the details. I remember Mary Ann had a limp one day and he said, “I’ll fix that up” so he pulled her leg up and yanked, supposedly go get the joint back in place, I don’t know whether it helped or not.
KP: [Laugh] Yeah. Now, actually the Club was helped out financially by the military were they not? Do you remember that background? I know they came from almost broke in the late thirties to quite financially stable by the end of World War II.
RW: Well, it was the place to go, you couldn’t go any other place to dance. The only hotels were the Royal and Moana and they were taken over. They used to have dances at the Moana but you had to stay there all night, so the parties there I never did…
KP: You have to rent one of the Royal … [Laugh]
RW: Yes, that’s right. We used to call it Love Wednesday.
KP: Because you couldn’t drive at night you had to spend the night at the hotel.
RW: You had to stay at the hotel, so the number of people who could go there was limited by the number of rooms they had. The parties were not too wild; they probably changed because during the actual time I was away from the Island I didn’t know what went on.
KP: Well, after World War II in ’47-’48 and so on, we didn’t have a parking lot did we?
RW: No, we parked across the street. If you were lucky you could get your car there, but I say you had to be lucky. I could come from work, it seemed like at four o’clock I think the … I don’t know if the parking was limited then, anyway I’d come from work and I’d get to park in the street in front of the Outrigger at about 4:30. I was always able to find a parking space on the street where I could stay an hour, because I put a nickel in or something and stay an hour, and that would be enough time to go there, get a nap for 20 minutes, go out in the ocean, get back and get my car, so I was able to stay there by using the meter. I parked on the street and sometimes if I was lucky I could park across the street. I don’t know, there was nothing over there much.
KP: Where the international market ….
RW: … Market place is.
KP: Yeah, I recall, it wasn’t too improved, I think it was a dirt surface.
RW: Right, you had to park sort of ….
KP: There weren’t so many tourists back in that time; so that’s why Kalakaua was available. Now it’s almost impossible to find parking there.
RW: Well, they don’t have any parking there now.
KP: No parking there at all now, of course. Now, Toots Minvielle came up with the idea of the race from Molokai to Waikiki, do you remember anything about that?
RW: No, I wasn’t involved in that, I was pretty busy.
KP: Busy at Straub ….
RW: Yes, it took up my time and I ….
KP: That’s when the Board of Directors first turned it down. Hui Nalu and Waikiki had the races, remember?
RW: Oh, yeah, yeah.
KP: I was kind of forgetting about that, too, but…
RW: Of course, talking about canoe racing, the big thing was to go to Hilo on the Fourth of July.
KP: Oh, yes, yes.
RW: They had a big time over there. That was a big day for Hilo. After the races the big thing was to go to Volcano House. So everybody went up there. It got to be a little dangerous, everybody driving up to the Volcano House at that time of night. They had big shindig at the Volcano House, that was the Fourth of July holiday, and that was the big social event for Hilo.
KP: Now, towards the end of the forties, maybe it was around ’47 –’48, Judge Godbold, “Lefty” Godbold ….
RW: Oh Yeah.
KP: …. Took over as President and he was there about six years. You knew “Lefty” pretty well ….
WR: Oh, yes I …..
KP: … can you tell us about him because he really did a lot for the Club.
RW: Well, I would see him there at the beach, I don’t think I ever saw him socially or other places, but he was at the beach. We’d see him at lunch time or on a Sunday morning eating, he’d be there with his wife, Virginia. His son was a good friend of my son. He worked very hard , because he was there checking on the Club every time I was there, so he was the person to be in charge because he really spend the time at the Club. He was a very affable person and very likeable, and we were good friends in a sort of a way.
KP: I am surprised he didn’t twist your arm to become chairman of one of the committees [Laugh], he was gung-ho on that, you know.
WR: I guess I always escaped that by saying that I was too busy with my practice, which was true.
KP: That was a busy time, wasn’t it?
WR: Oh, yeah, being an obstetrician, that’s why I used the Club, I could go there and relax and go back refreshed after just 20 minutes of resting in the sand and the sun, and go back and be ready to go out at night again to make house calls in those days and also to go to Kapiolani Hospital to deliver babies.
KP: I imagine they would get you up in the middle of the night sometimes.
RW: Oh, yeah. For a while I was sort of being one of the younger obstetricians in the city, I would have to go and deliver all of the, what we all ‘service cases’. Those are people who went to the Palama Settlement for their pre-natal care and then when they were ready to deliver they were sent to Kapiolani Hospital, and they’d call me up at any time. I would not have seen the patient before, so then I would have to get up, oh, sometimes two or three times a night. I was the only one who would take the so-called ‘the calls’ they didn’t have residents there like they do now, and so it was my responsibility to go and deliver all of the service patients and I would then change places with John Devereux, Dr. Devereux, who would take up the slack sometimes. That made me even more busy.
KP: That’s interesting. Now, in the early fifties, ’52-53, we had the uncomfortable knowledge that before too many years we would have to find a place to go, or buy the Club. Do you remember anything about those problem days?
RW: Oh, yes. They had plans for a new Club, of course no one really wanted to go there, they thought they were being ostracized from Waikiki and the humming part of the world there. No one was particularly happy about moving outside of Waikiki, it turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to us.
KP: You mean going down to the Elks Club?
RW: Right. And we had plans there at first to build a sort of central tower which would have rooms or apartments.
KP: Now this at the old Club?
RW: Well, no when we were moving to the new Club, in drawing the plans for the new Club at the Elks Club.
KP: I see, I see. Yes.
RW: We had plans to … someone came up with the idea of putting a central tower there which would have rooms, but you couldn’t get anybody to really put their signature on the line to take one of these rooms, and of course people were afraid that if they didn’t get them all signed up they would have a difficult time having people take an apartment, because most people were living in homes then, they weren’t living in condominiums or apartments of that nature so they didn’t have the foresight then, and Kaiser hadn’t come to Waikiki and so we didn’t have foresight then that apartments in Waikiki would be very valuable from the financial point, but it would have helped the Club immeasurably if they had such things rented out or leased out to some of the members.
KP: Now, before we went down to the new Club, did they have any parties at the new location prior to construction?
RW: I guess the Board of Directors wanted us to get used to being in that area, and so as introduction to the members of that spot there, which no one was wanting to go to, they would hold cook-outs there so we had quite a lot of fun going down there and using it as sort of a picnic area, just like we were going to the other side of the Island. That was far away, we thought, from the center of activity, so we got introduced to the area by going there first and I think it was arranged so people could bring their own things and have picnics on some nights when they would furnish the infrastructure for our parties. We had a grand opening and by the time they got it all built, it was such a nice Club that people soon forgot the old place and became much more active and went ahead with the new place, which was a wonderful thing in the long run.
KP: Yes, I remember Lorrin Potter Thurston, who was one of the fellas who held out about the move, do you remember that? He stood fast, and I don’t think he ever went to the new Club, come to think of it.
WR: People who stamp out like that sometimes quit.
KP: There was just a small group that decided to cop out right then.
WR: In any organization when you move or when you have a new building program there is always somebody who is unhappy and quits at that time.
KP: The only thing I missed was the fact that I could take a canoe out, you know to small surf or canoe surf or places like that, and not have to worry about the reefs. When we went to the new Club there was always that problem of the reefs there at Castle Surf. [Laugh]
WR: That was the big complaint why people didn’t want to move, especially with people who did surf, you weren’t right there where you could just go right out and catch a wave in front of Waikiki there, you have to go around the corner to get around the reefs to get over there.
KP: They did a marvelous job of dredging the beachfront there, putting in the sand beach, do you remember that?
WR: Yeah, because when they first put it in as the sand would seep down it would leave a lot of rocks up there, so we had to keep putting sand on top of the rocks until the sand sort of filled up the spaces between the rocks, so you could walk on it. It was very difficult to walk because of the rocks.
KP: Uh-uh. Could you tell us about the new Club in comparison with the old one? The changing facilities are a lot better, I guess, wouldn’t you say?
WR: Oh, a big difference. The showers and your lockers, the facilities are much better, we were used to the old ones, but we enjoyed the new ones. I had a nice locker there for many years, so I enjoyed using that, and later as I stayed on, I did more and more swimming in front of the Outrigger there and so I was very happy with it.
KP: Actually, you participated in three Castle Swims; it would be interesting to give us a little bit of the background on what you do to enter one of these. Do you train a lot?
WR: Well, before I retired in ’76 I would go out there, as I say to relax. I would fall asleep very quickly on the sand, and then I would wake up, go out and have a good swim, not too far out, maybe an eighth of a mile and come back in and take a shower, get dressed and go back to work. So this was fun; but when I retired I decided well, I was going to have to do something. I didn’t play golf, and so I decided that one thing I was going to do would be to go into the two-and-a-half mile Rough Water Swim, and I decided I was going to do this before I got too old to do it, so I started out by swimming longer and longer lengths, and the Castle Swim was just a mile and–a-half I remember was a good one to try on, so I went into a couple of those first to get my sea legs or whatever, to get used to the longer distances until I finally got up to the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The currents were sort of going the wrong way in those days and I got lost, I got off the track too, and someone had to come and say, “Hey, you are way off track; you’d better go over there on track, so I probably swam a little bit longer than the two-and–a-half miles.
KP: That was the Rough Water Swim?
RW: That was the Rough Water Swim, I know t took me three hours and I think I came second in my age class. I don’t know how many were in the age class…
KP: Ha, ha, ha!
RW: I said to myself … I started to get a cramp just as I was coming to the beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, and I said, “Boy, just like going to Medical School, I’d never do that again”.
KP: Ha, ha.
RW: Once was enough. When I got to the beach my son was waiting there for me because I was supposed to leave that afternoon and go to the Mainland, so he was there with his motor cycle, and I jumped on the back of his motor cycle and we went down Kalakaua Avenue with me in my bathing suit on to the Outrigger where I had my clothes. We changed and went back home; he took me to the airport and I went to the Mainland, so it was quite a day.
KP: You must have been tired … I thought they had somebody going along side of you on a surfboard, you didn’t have that?
RW: No. Well, there were people with surfboards around, that’s what told me in the Rough Water Swim, the long one, that I was off course. They sort of watched you. Sometimes I’d look around and couldn’t see anything but water around me, but there was always somebody, if you’d yelled loud enough somebody would have heard you.
KP: Now, your three Castle Swims, one was in November of ’79, they are all in November, of course ’80 and ’81. Did you win your age bracket in any one of those years?
RW: No, No.
KP: This would be about a mile-and-a-half, right?
RW: I wasn’t a fast swimmer, I was a good plugger. I never stopped or relaxed, I just kept swimming the crawl, and swam that way the whole way, but not too fast.
KP: Now, you would swim from the old Outrigger to the new, was that the distance? Where did you start?
RW: We started at the Moana Hotel and swam back to the new Outrigger.
KP: Oh, I see, I see.
RW: We’d go about a half-mile out and then swim parallel to the shore and then come back about a half-mile out form the Outrigger, and then come back in from there.
KP: You had buoys to keep you in line?
RW: It was well marked … The only thing in the two-and-a-half mile Rough Water Swim there were so many people starting there, I think there must have been a thousand, could it be? Anyway, I never saw so many feet in all my life. As I was not a fast swimmer most of the people passed me up and all I saw was feel all around me [laugh] from the beginning. I didn’t know until later that some of the fellows used to grease their legs because some of the people behind would grab a-hold of their legs …
KP: Oh, no!
RW: … so, they greased their legs or their ankles so they wouldn’t be pulled or held back by somebody else.
KP: That’s interesting. Can you think of anything interesting that happened at the Club, the new Club, say, that we should bring up?
RW: Well, I never had the time to be on committees or be chairman of a committee, therefore I didn’t know too much about the administrative working part of the Club, so I didn’t get involved, and usually on the day of the Annual Meeting that was always the night the partnership met at the Straub Clinic, that was a Monday night so I never even got to some of their Annual Meetings to learn of some of the problems they had then. I was not too involved; I wish I could have been more involved with the superstructure of the committees that help run the place.
KP: Do you miss the old Club in any way?
RW: Not especially, because no, when things are past, to me they’re past and I don’t hang on to the past.
KP: I see.
RW: …. Move ahead.
KP: Well thanks a lot for giving the time to tell about the old Club and the new Club. You were there a long time. Many, many thanks.
RW: Fifty years a long time.