When I was 8 I lived in a plantation house in Honomu.
What does that mean? Well, it was old. Not the kind of old that you find on the mainland….it was Hawaii old.
It was post and pier….except all the posts were sitting on river rocks. Some of the posts weren’t even touching their rocks and were just dangling uselessly because the ground had settled so much over the years.
Old in Hawaii also might mean termites. Our house was full of them. Sometimes if you pushed on the wall your finger might go through it and termite poop would fall out. My Mom would go and get duct tape and the right color paint from the utility closet. We’d tape the hole and then paint over it.
My room was pink. It wasn’t really pale pink either. I got to pick my own colors. Think peony pink with hot pink trim. Oh yah. My door was like the kind of door you’d find in a barn. It was divided into two sections so I could close just the bottom. I also had a bed with a ruffle canopy.
The kitchen was probably half the house. It was really, really big. So big that we actually had a sitting area between the sink and the fridge. No lie. Two chairs and a big turquoise wool area rug. The kitchen didn’t have any windows. The whole thing was screened in with a covered lanai that ran all the way around the back. It basically looked out onto a massive gulch and all you could see was jungle.
Strangely, even though the house was very private our neighbors were really close. If we yelled from our kitchen windows our neighbors could hear us. If one of the neighbor kids got head lice (called uku’s in Hawaiian) their Mom would scream out the window, ‘UKU ALERT! UKU ALERT!’ and then our Mom’s would check our heads for lice.
Of all the homes I’ve lived in, this one is my favorite.
I wonder sometimes how I ended up where I ended up. Was there one thing – one decision – one teacher – one experience – that made me want to be a sailor?
If there was one thing then I think it would have to be this house. We call it ‘the Honomu House’.
It was in this house that I learned to play outside. Really play. I built forts. I butt skidded (yes that’s what you call it) down the sides of gulches. I caught crayfish and crawled through culverts. I got pin worms from eating guavas off the ground (or maybe from playing under the guava tree and then sucking my thumb). I stepped on rusty nails under the house. I didn’t brush my hair all summer long (and then my mom would brush my dreadlocks the night before the first day of school).
It was in this house that I learned how to laugh. Like when I was zooming around on my roller skates on the back deck, and my Mom commented on the St Paulie girls cleavage – I laughed so hard I peed my pants and then had to hose out my roller skates. Or when our cat Roscoe had to get taken to the vet so we put him in a card board box….which he escaped out of as soon as we were in the car….he made the most god awful noises (which probably weren’t funny) but, we almost had to pull over because my Mom and I were cracking up so hard.
It was in this house where I learned to read and fell in love with books. The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle. I think this book was where I first realized there were adventures to be had at sea. I read copious amounts of books snuggled up in our comfy white leather chair. COPIOUS.
I think this house is where my eight year old self learned the magic of an adventure, of laughter, and of fresh air.
I don’t however, think she’d ever imagine combining all three of those things to become a sailor.
Would she be sad that pink got made fun of? Would she miss home? Would she wish that she had more friends or that it wasn’t so competitive? I don’t know.
What I DO know about my eight year old self is that she’d love star gazing at sea. She’d love a jaunt into town while in a new port. She’d love shenanigans at sea with her shipmates. She’d love the challenge. She’d love a cup of coffee on the bridge at sunrise and, I know for a fact my eight year old self would be incredibly proud that her bossiness was an asset.
(The inspiration for this post can be found here.)
(also, I wrote this in a weird writing frenzy…I typed it out as fast as I could on my iPad…I didn’t proof read it because I thought I might not post it if I did…I hope it doesn’t scream ‘conscious stream of thought’!)