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.
By J. Ward Russell
February 8, 1991
JWR: Today is Friday, February 8, 1991. It is a beautiful sunshiny morning at the Outrigger Canoe Club. I am Ward Russell (JWR), a member of the Outrigger Canoe Club’s Historical Committee which for some time now has had a program of conducting oral interviews of some of the Club’s long-time members. It is my distinct pleasure this morning to interview Dr. James Beardmore (SJB). Do you like to be called Doctor or Jim?
SJB: It doesn’t matter, I’ve been called all kinds of things, some a lot worse than . . . [laughter]
JWR: Suppose I call you Jim.
SJB: That’s fine.
JWR: OK, let’s start out by talking a little bit about your background. Where were you born?
SJB: I was born actually in Honolulu, but my parents lived in Waialua and my mother came in to Honolulu to the Beretania Street Maternity Hospital. I was born in 1918.
JWR: During World War I.
JWR: I was born in 1917, I beat you by a year.
SJB: You must be old! [Laughter]
JWR: Well, you have a very distinguished family, the Beardmores of Waialua – I went to school with some of them. How many brothers and sisters did you have?
SJB: I have three sisters, all older.
JWR: Olive . . .
SJB: Olive is the oldest, then there’s Helen and Dorothy.
JWR: Let’s see if I can remember, I know that Olive married, who was it at Hawaiian Electric?
SJB: She married Vic Schoenberg . . .
JWR: Vic Schoenberg . . .
SJB: He passed away, and then about three years ago she married Charley Dole. They were classmates at Punahou and both lost their spouses, and they both got together and got married . . .
JWR: Class of ’32.
SJB: . . . they are happily married.
JWR: Helen was in my class, she married, er . . .
SJB: Kenny Wood of Maui.
JWR: Kenny passed away, didn’t he?
SJB: No, Kenny is still going strong – Helen passed away.
JWR: Helen passed away. Then Dorothy . . .
SJB: Dorothy Greig . . .
JWR: . . . Greig, that’s right. As a matter of fact Dorothy and her husband bought my house on Hunakai Street.
SJB: Oh, really.
JWR: I think they subsequently sold it.
SJB: They did. They moved to Noio Street, in Kahala.
JWR: How about you – your parents, when did they come to Hawaii?
SJB: They came from England. My father came here, I think, in 1902. He followed a brother here who was B. F. Beardmore at Alexander & Baldwin and was there for years in the insurance department. Then he went back and married my mother in England, probably around 1905 or ’04, somewhere around there, brought her to Waialua – that must have been quite an excursion. No good roads, no automobiles, kerosene lamps, wood stove. You know coming from a civilized community in England to rather remote Waialua . . .
JWR: In the Sandwich Islands!
SJB: One of my recollections was sleeping under a mosquito net in Waialua.
JWR: How about your schooling?
SJB: I went to Waialua Grammar School and then to Leilehua school, junior high. Then I went to Roosevelt for one year — my ninth grade. My sister, Olive, was commuting from Waialua to the University of Hawaii in those days so we came into town with her, she drove, and we went to Roosevelt. I went there for one year and then I went out to Leilehua for one year, and then I went to Punahou for my last two years.
JWR: Did you get involved in sports at all at Punahou?
SJB: Oh, yeah. Most kids played all the sports. I ran track, played football – I was on the team but was never a star; I swam. I had the three sports.
JWR: I was going to get back to your sporting activities because that will tie in with the Outrigger I am sure. After Punahou, what did you do?
SJB: I followed a bunch of guys to Sacramento Junior College, a bunch of guys from here, this was 1937-38. We had nine guys there from Hawaii – “Fat” (Wesley) Petrie, Charley Bates, Conklin Wai, Robert Wai, Robert McCandless, Walter Love, Arthur Camara . . .
JWR: Speaking of Walter Love, I interviewed Alan “Turkey” Love, Walter’s brother.
SJB: Did you? That would be interesting.
JWR: Yeah, he was one of the famous beachboys.
SJB: I knew both Walter and “Turkey” at Roosevelt Junior High School.
SJB: Yeah, they were both in my class at Roosevelt.
JWR: “Turkey” is probably one of the few remaining beachboys.
SJB: He is still down at the Village, isn’t he?
JWR: He’s at the Waikikian. He has the concession there.
SJB: Then after Sacramento I went to Pomona College which I had been trying to get into anyway. My grades hadn’t been quite good enough to get into Pomona College so I went to Sacramento, brought my grades up and then I got into Pomona. At that time I decided to be a dentist. I was going to be a chemical engineer before that, but changed courses. I knew I was going to go to dental school so I thought I’d stay home a year, so I went to the University of Hawaii for a year, then I went to USC Dental School – in four years I went to four different colleges.
JWR: You got your dental degree from USC?
JWR: Then you came back and right into practice . . .
SJB: No, no, the War . . . I was in the Army then. They took us over at USC about the last year I was there – the Army and Navy took over the students, those who could pass the physical – there were a few, probably ten, who were 4F who did not get into either program – it was either Army or Navy. I chose the Army, and then they put us in uniform and sent us back to school. That was a good deal, we got paid – it wasn’t much, I think it was $43.00 a month or something like that, but it was pay. We had uniforms so all the little old ladies on the street wouldn’t come up to us and say, “Young man why aren’t you in the Army?” or something like that. [Laugh] They did that you know.
SJB: They’d see us at a movie, “My son’s in Germany, or England” or something like that you know, that was embarrassing. What do you say?
JWR: So then when did you get out of the Service?
SJB: In September of ’46.
JWR: You came back and went into practice for yourself?
SJB: No, I went in with a guy named Henry Sylva, who before the War practiced in the same office as the senior Robert Gibson – “Hoot” Gibson.
JWR: Was he Bob Gibson’s father?
SJG: Bob Gibson’s father, yeah. There were no offices available at the end of the War, so I saw Francis Sylva who was not doing dentistry any more – he was running the Mendonca Estate – and I asked him if there was any space available in his office and he said, “Yes, I have space which I bought for Henry, my brother, from Dr. Pritchard, Barry Pritchard’s father. Henry’s not doing anything with it – he is still in the Service – and when he gets out I am sure he’d like to go in with you.” So when Henry returned we opened the office together, but Henry only worked for about six months and then he quit completely so I had the office to myself. That was in the Dillingham Building. I started in December of ’16 after we cleaned the place up, that’s when I first started practicing.
JWR: Are you still practicing?
SJB: Yes, I still practice but this month started going only two days a week, so I am kind of easing out. I don’t know how long I’ll keep that two days a week, maybe a year/two years.
JWR: You’ve had a busy time.
SJB: It’s time. It’s time. I don’t feel I want to quit completely. I enjoy the people.
JWR: You’ve been practicing about 40 years . . .
SJB: Yeah. It’s time . . .
JWR: Well now let’s go back to the Outrigger Canoe Club – when did you first join the Outrigger Canoe Club?
SJB: I joined when I went to Roosevelt that year.
JWR: What prompted you to join?
SJB: My sisters were already doing something in the afternoon and I wanted to do something, too. I was on the football team at Roosevelt in junior high, but after football there was nothing to do. I ran track, too, but again there were times when there was nothing to do. . . The Outrigger was big and a good sports place and I liked water sports and things like that. They had a good junior program — it was cheap, too, I don’t even remember what it was, I don’t think there was any initiation fee for juniors. I think we paid $2 a month or something like that.
JWR: Did you have any classmates who were members of the Club?
SJB: Oh, yeah. “Turkey” Love, Frank Hicks, Les Hicks’ son, John Kelly (you know the guy who is head of Save our Surf).
JWR: Oh, yeah.
SJB: He was a good friend of mine at Roosevelt.
JWR: The activist.
SJB: That’s right. He’s become a real activist.
JWR: Well, you had a nucleus of . . .
SJB: Yeah, I knew some of the people, yeah.
JWR: Had you surfed at all?
SJB: We surfed at Waialua, yes, Haleiwa and Waialua.
JWR: So then you had a place in town to surf. So what year was that that you first joined the Outrigger?
SJB: That was . . . I think that was 1933.
JWR: ’33 – that was the year I graduated from high school. You were small kid at that time.
SJB: Small kid, yeah. A lot of big kids on the beach [Laughter]. You didn’t dare do anything wrong or those guys would slap you on the head. They don’t do that now, but they did then, “Hey, you small kid get over here” kind of thing.
JWR: Willy Whittle used to do that. You had to sort of pass your apprenticeship before he’d let you go out to Cornucopia.
SJB: Yeah, yeah.
JWR: So, how long were you a junior member?
SJB: I was only a member for a year and a half, two years. Then I didn’t use it after that — until after the war. I used to come down once in a while with guys like Frank Hicks as a guest, but not very often, at the most twice a month.
JWR: When did you become a regular member of the Outrigger Canoe Club?
SJB: January of ’47.
JWR: January of ’47, that makes it 44 years.
SJB: Getting close, yeah. That’s when Irving Blom was on the Membership Committee. He was a dentist and I knew him because we were both dentists. I remember sitting there when I was being interviewed for membership – like you and I are doing now – and he said, “Jimmy, how much do you think you are going to use this Club?” I said, “Quite a bit.” He said, and I think the initiation fee was $150, “That’s a lot of money,” and he said, “You better really consider that, if you are not going to use the Club that much, I wouldn’t advise you to join.” [Laughter] He was doing it as a friend, you know, but I used the Club so much I think in the first half year I got all my money back, plus more, and made a lot of good friends for life.
JWR: What was your first impression of the Club when you joined in ’33?
SJB: My impression was that it was a real going place. I didn’t know much about the finances, they were apparently getting into some financial trouble at that point, but I didn’t know anything about that. All I knew is that they had locker rooms and a place where I could get an ice cream cone and some stew, stew and rice. What was her name, May? Who used to run the snack shop. I know the cone I liked best was a raspberry sherbet, Holy Smoke! Home made!
JWR: Did you have any opportunity to use the Club during your college years or military service?
SJB: Unfortunately, no, but after the war I joined up. The early part of ’47.
JWR: Well, let’s see. I know you have been a very active Club member. What positions have you held?
SJB: I’ve been on a lot of committees. Ernie Stenberg was Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee way back, probably in 1950, around there. He was also editor of the Forecast, fore-runner of the Outrigger. He had me on the Disciplinary Committee. I was kicked off that committee after about . . . I was on it about four years. That’s another story, if you want to hear it, I’ll tell you.
SJB: We had a mountain ball team, you want to hear some of the guys who were on the mountain ball team?
SJB: Bob Clark, Bill Casey, Red Schafer, Bill Beers, Mark Auerbach, Archie Kaaua, Doug Philpotts. Bill Barnhart was our player-manager. Vic Kahn was our pitcher. Then later on Bill Baird became the pitcher, and Warren Ackerman, Pat O’Connor, myself, Johnny Conant, Jack Muirhead, Clarence Philpotts, Bill Cross, Bill Casey, Alex Williams, he died a few months ago, anyway those were the nucleus . . . they changed a little bit from year to year.
JWR: How did you get kicked off the Disciplinary Committee?
SJB: Well, after one of our games, we played over here at Kapiolani Park or we played up at the other end of Kapiolani Park where the Shell is now, they had a baseball diamond there and we played there sometimes. Anyway, after that particular game we came over to the Club as we usually did, and which the mountain ball guys still do. That was when we had the old Club, the bar was up above and we were down below having some beer. I guess we were getting a little rowdy and noisy, so the bartender, I can’t remember his name now, a Filipino guy, came down and said, “No more drinks, no more”. He cut us off and Clarence and I got mad as the dickens and we said, “We’re not drunk, we are going to have some more beer”. So we went up to the bar there and Clarence grabbed him . . .
SJB: . . . and started pulling him across the bar and he swore at him, needless to say we didn’t get any more drinks. The bartender reported it to the manager, and the manager reported it to Stenberg. A month or so later I was no longer on the Disciplinary Committee.
JWR: Conflict of interest, eh?
SJB: Young guys will be young guys!
JWR: Yeah. Well you said you served on other committees.
SJB: Oh, yeah. I served on the – they had a Canoe Committee in those days – I served on that committee, that’s when “Dope” (Harold) Yap was the Chairman.
JWR: “Dope” Yap, oh, really?
SJB: Harold “Dope” Yap, he was the Committee Chairman. Also, I’ve been on the Membership Committee, Nominating Committee, on the House Committee, Finance Committee, Volleyball Committee – I was on the Volleyball Committee for years, I was chairman for a number of years.
JWR: You were on the Club’s volleyball teams for years.
SJB: Yeah. We started, you know, when I lived in the country at Waialua. We had a team, we called ourselves – made up of Wahiawa and Waialua guys – called ourselves the Kua`ainas, which means you know, countrified – and we came into town and played in the various leagues. They had the Firemen, Jong’s Express, the Waikiki Beachboys, ourselves, and a couple of other teams. There were probably about six teams. It was a league, we didn’t play any tournaments. Now they have tournaments which they play on a weekend and they get it over with. The guys go in and they play all day and they play maybe four or five matches. We played, maybe, twice a week at night; we’d come into town to play. About three of us Kua`ainas also played for the Outrigger later on. The Outrigger didn’t have a six-man team to enter in those leagues at that time.
JWR: Oh, really?
SJB: They had a bunch of guys who were pretty good players like Bobby Dolan, Lloyd Chiswick and Waldo Bowman. They were good players, you know, but they never did get together and play as a team in any league. I used to play six-man with them at the old Club. They never really had a formal thing where you had a setter and spikers and that sort of thing; you’d just throw the ball and hit it. Anyway, I was the guy who first organized the group. Then we had an Outrigger team.
JWR: You were the first organizer.
SJB: Yeah. I used to go to all the meetings – they had a meeting to organize the league, and I would represent the Outrigger. I was the manager, and the coach and a player . . .
JWR: Yes, I remember.
SJB: . . . I had to do everything. I also had to go to the Board to ask for whatever we wanted, say, an entrance fee of $20 . . . I’d go and ask the Board for that. We never had any uniforms in those days, we had no coaches or anything like that.
JWR: What year was that?
SJB: That was about, er, well, the Kua`ainas were like ’47-’48; I think about 1949 we started with the Outrigger.
JWR: Well, it’s grown to be quite a sport.
SJB: Well, that was the thing, the Outrigger was kind of – almost the doormat of the league at first, and we slowly got better and better. Around 1952 we were really something to contend with, and around about 1953 we were the champs and we’ve been champs ever since.
JWR: Yeah, yeah.
SJB: In 1957 we wanted to go to the Nationals – that was the goal, that was the primary thing, you know, to get to the Nationals. Some of us joined the Central Y with the idea of playing in the Nationals because the Central Y was going to send a team. So some of us: Billy Cross, Pat Wyman, Tommy Haine, Bill Baird, Randy Worthington and myself joined the Y. We weren’t regular members of the Y, we joined the Y specifically so we could play volleyball. So we paid the dues, we practiced; there were six other guys that weren’t with the Outrigger and we formed a team. We had Juvenile Chang as the coach . . .
JWR: You did.
SJB: . . . Judge Calvin McGregor was the manager . . .
JWR: That’s right.
SJB: . . . and we all went to the Nationals in Washington – Seattle – that was the first time any Outrigger members had played in the Nationals, but we weren’t representing the Outrigger. Then the next year . . . this was something that was difficult to do at that time because we were still down at the old Club and we were looking to move here and we were trying – we were trying to build up cash, etcetera, etcetera. I went to the Board – I was on the Board at that time as a matter of fact – and I had to present my case to convince the Board to send a team to the Nationals. This was going to be in Dallas and I guess I presented a good argument as I got the Board’s approval. I told them that according to Ted Magill we probably had enough money to send a team to the Nationals, I also said we had a good chance of placing high up in the Nationals because we had people like Tommy Haine who were really All-American caliber at that point. He wasn’t All-American but he was All-American caliber and a few others like Billy Cross.
JWR: Was Billy Heilbron on one of those teams? I recall seeing him in a team photo.
SJB: Heilbron didn’t go with us to Washington. Cal was the manager when we went to Washington. Heilbron went with us when we played in the Nationals – when we played as an Outrigger team in Dallas. From that year on we’ve always gone to the Nationals. I feel kind of proud that I was able to pioneer it.
JWR: Sure. It’s something to be very proud of.
SJB: Well, you just kind of accept it now – the Outrigger going to the Nationals. But you know the first time we went to Dallas we didn’t get much money from the Club – they underwrote only part of it, so we had a luau down at the old Club and we got “Spoofy” (Dick) Cleveland, as the Master of Ceremonies – he was good at that stuff, you know, “Spoofy” could really talk. He didn’t mind talking to a group of people and we raised money at that luau and then we had a few other fund raisers, and then we also . . . I wrote a letter to members of the Club, and it went out with their monthly bill asking for donations. Quite a few people gave money, you know some people gave $100, which was not too bad in those days. When we got to Dallas I gave each member of the team about 15 names of people who had donated, and I said – like Bobby Daniels – I said, “You write to those 15 people, and you thank them for the donation,” and they did. We all sat down one afternoon and wrote cards to these people who had donated some money. That just shows that the Club was not giving an awful lot then, and we had to do it ourselves more or less but we had real enthusiasm to go there. We also had fine support from the membership.
JWR: I can remember when I was on the Board we didn’t have enough money to finance the teams, we were very strict about giving out money for paddling, volleyball, but now it’s the accepted thing.
SJG: It’s accepted – the coaches are paid, etcetera, etcetera. And getting a gym in those days was hard, you know, there weren’t all that many gyms around town that were available certain nights and some of them weren’t for hire. Now you’ve got quite a few gyms.
JWR: You know this is the first interview that I know of that there has been any mention particularly of volleyball activities of the Club. This is the first oral history you might say that deals with our volleyball program. Have you anything more to add on volleyball?
SJB: Well, I can give you names. We played in different places you know. We had these leagues, and we had a junior team . . . I guess it was more of a novice team, players who hadn’t played in Class A or B. It had some of the up and coming players in there like Jack Matisse and, er, Peter Balding, and they were in a league that was playing down at the Armed Forces YMCA. That was a difficult place to play because the roof was very low and if you set the ball too high it would hit the roof. . .
JWR: Yeah. I remember that.
SJB: . . . and we played in various gyms all over the place. We’d go to Aiea Gym and play, Kalakaua Gym, Haleiwa Gym, Kunia Gym.
JWR: Times have certainly changed. There are now a number of different classifications, the Open, the Masters, the Senior Masters and . . .
SJB: Well, these guys like Bill Baird and Tommy Haine, they were lucky they had these different age groups. When I was playing there was just one, you have to give way to the younger guys, that’s why I quit playing volleyball. I am too old now to make the Golden Masters and now the Golden Masters – you can keep playing until you are 60 years old.
JWR: I see you have some pictures there.
SJB: This is paddling; this is volleyball. We had a bunch of guys – some never progressed in the different age groups, like Hank Auerbach who played for us for a while. Rab Guild, Jim Muirhead, Bob Sayre and others never progressed beyond one or two leagues, but the rest of them, most of these guys like Billy Cross, Pat Wyman, Randy Worthington, Sorrell, Baird, Haine Matisse and Mark Auerbach played in all age groups. Then we had Bobby Daniels, too, he was a good player – left handed – and we were the first team in Hawaii to use multiple spikers and setters. Originally there were only single spiker and setter combinations – that’s the way they used to set it up years ago, when a guy would only set this one guy. Then we started with two setters and four spikers. There was always a setter in the front row, they’d switch, and that was revolutionary in Hawaii. They were doing it in California, but it was revolutionary here, and with Bobby Daniels, a left-hander, it gave us a lot of strong hits on what was ordinarily a weak side, for a right-hander to hit from the left side on his left, see, it gave us a big advantage – he went to the Nationals with us.
JWR: It must give you much satisfaction to have started it all and progressed to the Nationals.
SJB: I had a lot of support from guys, too. Ron Sorrell gave a lot of support, and the players were super. They understood what we were trying to do.
JWR: Anything else on volleyball? How about other sports?
SJB: Well, I did a little paddling. I paddled in the senior group, way back in the old Club But I didn’t paddle an awful lot. I remember I went with the teams when they participated in the Molokai-Oahu races, they’d sleep on the beach at Ilio Point, is it? . . .
SJB: . . . and we’d sleep on the beach there and then put the boats in the water – maybe that was for three or four years, and there was one particular year I was up there – this was probably about 1952. Outrigger won that year and George Downing was steering, and as they usually did, they had a kind of a feast on the beach the night before the race which was at one end of the beach and the guys were trying . . .
JWR: This was at Kaiwakiu?
SJB: I guess it was – way up on the northwest side of the island.
JWR: Yes, Kawakiu.
SJB: The last beach before the point.
JWR: Yeah. That’s Kawakiu.
SJB: We had a feast there, we had venison. Dennis O’Connor was on the team, he was a good strong paddler and he ate an awful lot of venision, filling himself up for the next day, and the next day he was as sick as a dog. He was first in the boat and after paddling for about an hour – they didn’t change like they do now. They changed – I am not sure about the rules – whether as much as your liked, or maybe changed twice or something like that – but I remember George Downing saying, “Are you all right, O’Connor?” He was paddling and we were right alongside in the escort boat, and he said, “No, I’m not.” So we took him out and he was sick as a dog, he laid down in the escort boat all the rest of the way. So we had three guys who never had relief. Mark Auerbach was one, Bill Baird was another one, and Archie Kaaua was a third. I have a picture here that shows . . . look at their necks, they are all hunched over and they are coming past Diamond Head.
JWR: You say we won the race?
SJB: We won it. We were about a quarter of a mile ahead, and we won it.
JWR: Let’s talk some more about canoeing.
SJB: In 1951 the Outrigger wasn’t doing too well and there was an article about this one particular regatta. Waikiki Surf, which were the perennial champs in those days, won and Hui Nalu was second, Hui Kalia was third, Koolaupoko was fourth and Outrigger was fifth. We only won one race, and that was the Junior Men’s, and that Junior Men’s team was undefeated from then on. They went year after year with the same group and they never moved up to Senior.
JWR: Oh, really?
SJB: They never moved up. Jack Cross was the steersman, and then they had Pat Wyman, Tommy Haine, “Breezer Bush”, Mark Auerbach and Bill Cross. They also had Chico Hansen in there part of the time. But they never moved up for a span of about five years, you know, and I remember that they were trying to get people to paddle on the Senior Men’s but those guys wouldn’t move up. They were really senior material, but they wanted that group together – they were a good group.
JWR: I remember, about that time or shortly afterwards, there was a group of seniors who paddled together for a considerable period.
SJB: Tommy Arnott, Thad Ekstrand . . .
JWR: Yeah, that group of guys.
SJB: . . . Al Lemes . . .
JWR: Was that the group they called “Duke’s Boys”.
SJB: I think so, yeah.
JWR: Duke was their coach . . .
SJB: That’s right. Duke was the steersman.
JWR: Duke was the steersman. Are there any other surfing/paddling experiences that you might recall?
SJB: Well, you know they have changed the rules. You can go up and down now. . .
JWR: Yeah, yeah.
SJB: Originally, once you moved up, you were there forever. Next year you couldn’t move down, and thereafter you were there.
JWR: I was President of the Association when they changed that. Now they can take a junior crew and put in a junior race, then put it in a senior race . . .
SJB: I know, it’s really flexible now.
JWR: Ironman situations. You were on the Board. How many years were you a member of the Board?
SJB: A total of ten years. I was on the Board at the Old Club for four years, two terms; and then down here at this Club for six, three terms.
JWR: You served as, what, Vice President?
SJB: I was Vice President a couple of years, and I was the Treasurer for maybe three years, and liaison to various things like Membership Committee.
JWR: I remember when we were building the new Club I had you on a number of key committees. Weren’t you involved in the Planning Committee?
SJB: Well, you know I was on the Board when this Club decision came up.
SJB: We used to have big meetings up there at the old Club.
JWR: We sure did.
SJB: There were a few people like Marty Anderson, who was the President at that time, he didn’t want to move, and Lorrin Thurston . . .
JWR: Oh, I can remember Lorrin Thurston . . .
SJB: . . . Lorrin wouldn’t give up the mike, and a few other people.
JWR: That was at a meeting at the old Club to consider the proposal that Trousdale-Murchison submitted to us.
SJB: Oh, yeah.
JWR: That was the key decision. They offered an opportunity to stay.
SJB: That was Avent?
JWR: No, this was before Avent.
JWR: This was before Avent came into the picture. The trouble with Avent was we could never get a firm proposal from him to put before the Club membership. There was always a lot of publicity about his offers, and they talked about it, but they never er put anything in writing that we could vote on that was more attractive than Trousdale-Murchison had offered us. It was at the meeting to consider the Trousdale-Murchison proposition when Lorrin got up and spoke at length on accepting the proposal. It provided that there would be an immediate increase in dues of something like $10 a month ultimately going to $25. We had so many members who couldn’t afford the increases that they voted to reject the proposal.
SJB: And then another thing. When the final decision came that we were going to move, Avent came into the picture and offered us something, I forget the amount, something like $200,000 . . .
JWR: That’s right.
SJB: . . . to buy up the rest of our lease. We accepted and went ahead and sold all the stock – I was Treasurer at the time – I was trying to think who was the President at that time, the fellow who was head of that chemical company in town . . .
JWR: R. Q. Smith.
SJB: . . . that’s the guy – he and I sat down there in the office, we had all these stock certificates which Les Hicks had advised us – when we had enough cash, he’d advise us what stock to buy, so we’d buy all this stock. The market was low then, but we needed the cash to build a new building at the Elks Club site. So we sold all this stock, and we probably lost $100,000 on that transaction because the stocks immediately – well, not immediately – but some time later they went back up again. We sold at a bad time. Then in the final analysis the Avent deal fell through because they had the Master Lease, and we were subleasing from them.
JWR: That’s it – there was a one-day hiatus when our lease expired and reverted to Matson, then Matson had it for one day and then it reverted back to the Queen Emma Estate.
JWR: . . . Matson wanted a consideration, $50,000 or something . . .
SJB: It was substantial. Yes, that really stopped the whole deal, and then we were stuck with all this cash [Laughter] . . . anyway . . . that was interesting.
SJB: Those were interesting times . . . I think the last year I was on the Board was 1958, then I chose not to run for the next few years. Then, I forget, about . . . in the middle ’70s I got on the Board again.
JWR: I think I was instrumental for that because I was on the Nominating Committee.
SJB: I don’t know whether to thank you or not. [Laughter]
JWR: You know I felt you should have been President at that time.
SJB: Well, we had other people on the Board at that time who wanted to be President more than I did. I didn’t care if I was President or not, I just served time, you know, doing what I could, but there were a few people who wanted to be President. Bob Anderson wanted to, and Bill Eggers wanted to.
JWR: I can say now that I was on the Nominating Committee one or two times about that time and the intent was that you would be President, you had been Vice President before and we looked forward to having you as President.
SJB: Thank you, thank you, I appreciate that. Well, I don’t know if I could have handled it as well as some of the other people did anyway.
JWR: Any other incidents that you think would be of interest to the annals of the Club?
SJB: Well, I’ve got a lot of names here but I don’t think they are germane, I think we’ve covered most of the things we were talking about.
JWR: What’s your impression of the Club today?
SJB: It’s really an on-going thing, it’s got a great reputation, national and international, the sports program is good – sometimes I think there are too many people looking for a hand out in sports. It’s kind of an easy way to get a uniform, you get free meals sometimes and . . .
JWR: Because you are not earning it the way you used to . . .
SJB: . . . That’s what some of us oldtimers feel because we had to go it the hard way. Everything is kind of thrown at these guys and I think sometimes they don’t quite appreciate it.
JWR: Luaus and . . .
SJB: Yeah, we expected that.
JWR: . . . huli chicken and things of that sort.
SJB: We expected that. I think the paid coaches first came in when it was volleyball and maybe a little bit of canoeing, but mostly I think it was volleyball. Some of the coaches were spending a lot of time coaching and they felt well, ‘Gee I can’t do this unless I get some renumeration’.
JWR: I remember I was President when the first appropriations from the Board were for paddling and that was when they wanted to send a crew to the Catalina race.
JWR: The Board really had never subsidized a jaunt of that nature. As I recall we put up only a part of the cost – around $1,000. We said, “All right you can go to Catalaina, and we will put up so much money” – I think the total cost was maybe $2,000 to pay all expenses – “but you will have to raise the rest.” So they went out and conducted a number of fund raising activities. That was the beginning, they did so well, of course, that . . .
SJB: That was when you get your wedge in, you see, like I did with volleyball. [Laughyter]
JWR: Yeah. They got the wedge in.
JWR: Is there anything else? Have you any anecdotes, or any old recollections that you think would be interesting?
SJB: Probably a lot of them.
SJB: I remember Harry Shupak.
JWR: Oh, Harry . . .
SJB: Do you remember Harry Shupak? He was a hell of a paddler in his day, you know. In the old bar they had a lot of tropies, silver cup-like tropies, and a ot of them had Harry Shupak’s name on them, two-man, four-man, six-man, Harry Shupak, Harry Shupak, Harry Shupak, and one day some of us were up there in the bar, upstairs there, and we decided – Harry Shupak was also there – we decided ‘To hell with this Harry Shupak’ you know, we got some of the trophies and we threw them out the window onto the volleyball sand court below. Harry was really upset about that, [Laugh] and he said, “Hey, you gusy”, (he was a pretty big guy you know), “Hey, you guys, I earned those trophies, it really means a lot of me, now stop doing this”. He was really upset. [Laugh}
JWR: Oh, I do remember Harry. There was a Trans-Pacific race, I can’t remember what year it was, but the Club sponsored the Pursuit. It was the first time I can remember that the Club actually sponsored one of the boats in the race, and we invited all the crew to come to the Club for a cocktail party. It was on the upper deck of the old Club. Well, they didn’t invite the membership to participate and that really rubbed Harry the wrong way He crashed the party. I was President at that time and he got after me and Yabo Taylor. He made quite a scene.
SJB: He got mad, eh?
JWR: Well, reflecting on it he had a point. It should have been a membership function, not just a Board function. We learned our leasson, thanks to Harry, and from that point on every time we sponsored one of the boats in the races we had a membership party for the crew of the boat. Harry, he was really teed off that night.
SJB: Harry, when he wanted to make a point, he wouldn’t give up.
JWR: Is he still alive?
SJB: He died – about three or four months ago, I read it in the paper.
JWR: Speaking of that, Bob Singlehurst has passed away.
SJB: Oh, yeah. I saw that last night in the paper.
JWR: Services this afternoon.
SJB: I never really knew him.
JWR: He and I were very close friends. . . Well, anything else?
SJB: Well – probably a lot of things I could think of, you know, funny things that have happened.
JWR: Well, I tell you what we can always do, we can have a sequel if you would like to add to this interview. What we do now is to make a rough transcription which will be given to you to edit.
SJB: Oh, yeah?
JWR: You can add things to it, change names and dates and make corrections for a final form that you approve, then it will be typed up for the Club’s records. You will get as many copies as you want for you and your family, the rest will go into the Club archives; you’ll sign a release for publicity purposes and that is about it.
SJB: OK. Thank you. I enjoyed chatting with you even if it is on tape. It must be fun doing this.
JWR: I’ve had some interesting experiences. One of the best interviews I’ve had was Bob Bush.
SJB: Oh, yeah, “Buckaloose”.
JWR: “Buckaloose”, yeah. He had some vivid recollections, particularly of the old Club – the engineering aspects of it, he remembered the buildings. He was one of the best interviews we’ve had in a long time. Weve had some very interesting interviews, and they are all available to read.
SJB: You must be building up quite a volume.
JWR: Yes, I think they have about thirty now – more than that. This goes back to some real oldtimers. We try to schedule so many during the course of the year. I have Pam Anderson to do. We don’t have too many women, we have some old-timers like Mariechen Wehselau, so I am looking forward to doing Pam . . . OK, my friend, many thanks.
SJB: OK. Thank you very much.