Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Old Guy's Rambling Remembrances #40, a memory from 1951

I have been accused by some smarter than I, of wasting too much energy on times long behind us, but I excuse it as "savoring my life".  A lot of my life, such as it is, has been molded by experiences of my past.  Laugh if you wish, but I love the life I have lived.

Once upon a time, in a completely different world, I was a teenager living in a small town near the Texas Coast.  My dad was serving Our Country in Hawaii, while we dependents prepared to return to San Francisco to join him.  The events of our voyage is another story.

When we arrived at Pearl Harbor, my dad had found us a place to live in Kaimuki, which allowed us to attend the public schools in Honolulu, rather than being required to attend school at the base.

Although I had the raging hormones of a normal teenager, I was an exceedingly shy kid, and was not sure what to make of this huge, thriving metropolis of about 180,000.

On my first day at school, the ancient building with many "temporary" additions, "Robert Louis Stevenson Intermediate School", which still had carved over the entrance, "Normal School", was a brand new world to me.

I did not know how to react to these "big city" kids, comprising varied cultures and colors, but it took only days to realize what an opportunity had fallen upon me.

Having already been exposed to hanging out, learning the habits, and working side by side with those who then called themselves, "colored boys", I was probably better prepared than many of the hoale malahinis who would return to our apartment house sniffling and bruised.  I found the "natives" to be friendly and fun, even though different.

In algebra class, we sat at table-like desks with two students per each, and my deskmate was Wallace, a "Chinaman" (actually an American of Chinese extraction) with whom I became fast friends.

One day Wallace said that he and a couple of other chinamans were going to Black Point to swim on Saturday, and invited me to come along.  I asked how I would get there, and he replied "We'll pick you up.  Dress rugged, eh?, don't wear gabs."  I had already known that "gabs" was the word for the clothing one would wear to church or to visit his stockbroker, but I was still a little iffy on the varied accents, and was not sure what he had said, but agreed enthusiastically that I wanted to go!

My mom was not so cool with the idea, but she never intended to forbid me an opportunity to do something with friends.  She thought "Black Point" was a somewhat ominous name for a place for young people to go swimming, and I was certainly not going to complicate her misgivings by telling her I thought I had been invited to go skinny dipping.   "It's where Doris Dukes' house is!  You know, Dad's been there."

Saturday arrived, and the guys arrived to pick me up.  As I headed out the door with Wallace, Mom said, "Don't forget your bathing suit."

"Oh, yeah", as I fished the swimwear out of my drawer and tucked it into my towel.

When we got outside, and I saw that Wallace's beautiful older sister was driving the jeep, I was nearly petrified, being the unsophisticated youth that I was.  Was she going with us?

When she dropped us off, I realized that she was not going swimming with us, and when we got down to the little beach, I found that there had never been an intention to go skinny dipping.  Everyone (Wallace, Willie, Percy and Mervin) was appropriately attired.

After our afternoon at the seashore, we walked up the hill to our respective abodes.