28 February 1954
At sea, enroute from
Pearl Harbor, T.H. to
San Diego, California
Aboard the Winston
Even after you have been in the Hawaiian Islands for a few weeks, you will still fail to
believe on small portion of the world could be so crammed with wonders.
There are mountains. They rise in great purple heights, clothed forever in forest, with
waterfalls such as the ‘Upside Down Falls’ drifting down, with clouds hanging above them.
They are among the loveliest in the world, accessible, close to the sea, an intimate part of
the island life. We arrived at Pearl Harbor the 15th of December. On the pier to greet us
was the Navy Band of the 14th Naval District. After securing the Special Sea and Mooring
Detail there was much hustle and bustle getting the dependants off the ship. About 35
members of the crew brought their wives and children along on the ship. They were given
special quarters in the Wardroom Country and to our surprise were not bother at all. Also
was the hurry-up to get the cars unloaded, good shape and a blessing to have along with
The climate was wonderful, even if at Christmas it was nice to be where the average
temperature is 77 degrees, and is only seven degrees higher than that in January. He
highest ever recorded is 88 degrees. This pleasant climate is caused by the northeast
trade winds which blow almost incessantly, driving in the rain clouds that they isle of Oahu
is known as the Windward Side. The winds are known as Marbles and Jackknife to the
people of the isle.
The people are the real glory of the islands: Japanese, part Hawaiians, pure Hawaiians,
Caucasian, Filipino, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Korean, and many miscellaneous.
All these peoples live together in reasonable harmony, working out a manner of life that is
a lesson to all of us.
Most of these peoples came to work in the sugar-cane and pineapple fields, the chief
exception being the Hawaiians, who were already here and who, like all sensible
Polynesians, saw no reason to work. When the Chinese were brought in, they saved their
money, studied and became merchants and doctors. Portuguese, Japanese, Puerto
Ricans, Koreans, Spaniards, and Filipinos were used in turn, but the islands air of freedom
affected them and they started to act like Americans, they became businessmen and
began sending their sons to college. All the islanders use certain Polynesian words so
expressive that visitors pick them up with glee. Absolutely necessary are ,haeole, which
means a white man, kamaaina, a long time resident, and malihimi, a newcomer. After a
few days you branch out with a lot of hoomalimali (applesauce), too much pilikia, trouble,
and the delightfully compact, pau, which means finished or washed up. If words fail, you
will roll your eyes, and cry, “auwe! auwe! which means almost anything dire of doleful.
Many times during our two month stay at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard we toured the isle
(Oahu). One highway carries you across the Pali one of many cliffs that stretch for miles
along the coast, green clad with deep serrated valleys as if massive fingers had shredded
the mountains then along the windswept beaches and past the great military
establishments and on over Kolekole Pass into desolate desert. The mountains are
extraordinary majestic and the swift transition from jungle to desert is breathtaking.
Hawaiian cooking is generally pretty bad. Or at least I never found a place that prepared
Hawaiian food that I considered eatable. They use seafood of various kinds, coconut in its
various forms and breadfruit. As for poi paperhangers paste without a brush it may be the
world’s most digestible starch for babies, as claimed by pediatricians, but I feel sure that
notion has developed only because babies are too young to protest.
One big puzzlement in Hawaii is the, muumuu, a billowy and shapeless nightgown that
passes for a dress. At evening parties women often wear it as a kind of tribute to old
Hawaii. Bet IVe seen 1000 women wearing these tents and I have never seen one at
which one would look twice. I was told that the, muumuu, has been devised by
missionaries to kill all sense of sex. No moral experiment was ever more completely
Waikiki Beach has suffered both from unfair criticism and unwarranted publicity. True, it is
disappointing in size, and busses run very close by. But is has two endearing virtues. It’s
unusual underwater coral structure produces long, tumbling breakers on which,
surfboards will ride at dizzy speed, and it’s free. Every beach is public in Hawaii, and fails
to have a good time; there is no hope for him. I like the joyous life, the beautiful girls, the
incessant trade winds, the exciting surf and the fat women with armfuls of leis and those
crazy banana hats. I guess I just like the place.
Night life in Honolulu isn’t for just the birds. All of us enjoyed ourselves at the lively places
while the ship was undergoing yard overhaul. On the Hotel Street Sector, entertainment
was steady. With western bands at the Hoffman Safe, the Black Cat, and Johnny Welch s
Port Hole. I don’t care very much for that style of music but did drop in once in a while with
some of the guys. I usually tried to take in the Dixieland music... especially the jamboree
of jazz cut at the Orchid Room of the Waikiki Tavern. Then at the Niumalu Hotel in the
Canoe Room, we usually took in the fine show Hawaiian style. Real honest to goodness
hula gals, grass skirts and all, backed by uke and guitar playing that’s full of the island
flavor. Singing, sword dancing, almost too much for me to describe.
The Four Knights were playing at the Dan Yee Thais of Waikiki. Sometimes we would
spend the complete evening there taking in every show of the evening. For good chow, I
sure Harry Des at Waikiki can’t be beat, maybe it was just that extra service one of the
waitresses gave us fellows. All in all when Hawaii calls you can bet Ill be listening.
Now that we are underway for Aan Diego IM not too sorry to leave these wonderful
islands for Mom and Dad are scheduled to be at Broadway Pier when the Winnie docks
The sea was pretty bad the first two days out. According to the navigators 1200 report
today we have made good 1200 miles from Pearl Harbor and have 1114 miles to San
Diego. Just little better than half way. Forgive me for this informal letter writing but at
times it’s the easy way out.