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Kenneal's Memories

A belated posting of Kenneal's "Memories" that were shared with us by Alan Maii (full of liberal editorializing and stomach wrenching laughter) at the Post-Golf Tournament dinner at the Chun's on June 23, 2012. 

 

Memories of  Iolani School from a member of the class of 1962

My earliest memories were of being in the kindergarten class for year 1949-50.  There were 2 classes, one taught by Miss Wugan and the other by Miss Hook.  I was in Miss Wugan’s class along with ½ of the grade. (See yearbook picture)

Our classrooms were adjoining rooms of a converted barrack which later was moved adjacent to the Headmaster’s home and functioned as classrooms for our junior high and high school classes.  (one was Mr. Reed Taylor’s class room and the Imua room in our later high school years.  The kindergarten “campus” was about in the same area as the present one is now and had its separate playground from the rest of the lower school.

I remember watching some of my classmates on their first day at school crying all day over the experience.  The only reason why I didn’t cry was that I had gone through it one year earlier at St.  Elizabeth elementary school.  I was a veteran.  I remember Dicky Lau being dressed in a Halloween costume as a black cat. 

Grades 1-6 were taught in the larger area beside the kindergarten.  The main building was a converted warehouse. the mauka ½ was walled and partitioned into classrooms and the principal’s office was midway from the ends.  There was a grass field with swings, slide and jungle gym for the lower grades to play on the mauka side along Convention Drive.  On the makai side was a asphalt and concrete flat top with basketball nets on the ewa end and open area on the diamond head.  Diamondhead to that was an open grass area and the Quonset huts housing the lower school chapel and which later became the music and choir room and the band room.  Even later one of them became the boathouse for the rowing team.  Playing consisted of chase master, football where the usual play was student body right or left, or everybody run out for a pass. Teams were assembled by the “choose up, junk ken po” ritual usually involving John Ishikawa, Kenneth Ching or Mike Nakama. There was pickup basketball, even tennis-hand ball baseball with the posts for the basketball nets serving as bases.  Thomas K. Sakamoto was an avid participator in this. Across from the main building was the art room and first grade classrooms.  No one was allowed to play behind the art room since this was out of sight from the central building.

Everyone had to wear shoes since the ground consisted of dredged up coral from the Ala Wai canal onto which nails and glass had fallen from the military occupation of the land during WW II and the subsequent “remodeling/demolition” which took place to make a “school” Over this ground was layered a very thin sheet of dirt to try to help the grass grow to cover the previous debris of occupation.

I remember playing kick kick with Gordon Ito and his football.  And for years I couldn’t figure out why when I kicked the ball with all my skinny might it always went a shorter distance than with Gordon’s almost effortless kick.  Only with the senior course in physics did it make sense with force= mass x acceleration. 

I can recall my elementary school teachers. Miss Plantson of first grade, a career teacher a bit scary, not especially warm but decent.  The use of an occasional ruler slap was delivered to some classmates on occasion.   Mrs. McDermott, second grade, a warm, friendly encouraging older woman.  Mrs. Vaughn of third grade with her southern accent.

Mrs. Demarest, fourth grade tall divorcee who was friendly and capable and a success at meeting her new husband Mr. Ernest Jackson at Iolani. Rough and tumble, no nonsense fifth grade teacher was Mrs. Alice Rogers who then lived close to me and eventually became one of my patients years later.  Mrs Deane of sixth grade, a well meaning long time teacher who unfortunately had a feared reputation as being a strict teacher but she seemed ok to me possibly mellowing in her old age and from having been ill part of the year.  Her afternoon substitute Miss Sally Akers, a young single pretty woman  was capable and very enjoyable as one of heartthrobs for preadolescent 11-12 yrs boys.

There were other teachers also.  Mrs Street was the principal for most of my years there was a warm woman who seemed to command respect  in a positive way..  There was the other heart throb teacher, Amaryllis Lilles, single, young and beautiful music and band teacher.  Miss Cornu who had moved from Alaska, youthful with ample bosom and all.  She introduced us to Eskimo yoyos, made from authentic leather and reindeer sinew.  She was a warm and friendly woman.  There was also Miss Vera Day, old and pretty dried up, icy, unusual for a elementary school teacher.  Not the usual warm and fuzzy.  I recall that she had a line marked out in tape on the floor about a foot or 2 from her desk and students were required to stand behind the line if they wish to come up to address her.  She was Creighton Kudo’s teacher.  Mr. Robert Friberg was our PE teacher and JPO advisor and trainer, drilling us marching around the campus.  I remember him most for his lecture and description to preadolescent sixth graders of the new equipment we would be required to have for PE in the seventh grade.  He introduced us to a jock strap beginning his description and discussion with advising us that it was not a face mask and then proceeding to spellout the details including modesty destroying group showers after PE Class. 

Highlight activities of Elementary School included the lower school multiclass   performance choreographed for each class by Mrs. Josephine Flanders. This was during our second grade year.   My class was dressed as jailbird prisoners in homemade striped suits and hat singing and portraying, “If I had the Wings of an Angel”.  The other second grade did a routine involving wearing farmers or cowboy hats.

Mrs. Harmon’s third year classes would put on an annual show for the elementary students to enjoy.

There was no cafeteria on campus. For those who bought lunch food was catered privately by Mrs Chu and her helpers out of trunk of her car, orders having been put in the day before.  Side snacks included small home packaged potato chips which for some odd reason some of my schoolmates would douse with shoyu.  Unfortunately, there was one spectacular episode of mass food poisoning which I witnessed then and never again even in my years of medical practice.

Also I recalled that either in the 5th or 6th grade we were all tasked to learn and recite the Gettysburg address.  The best performer, I think, John or Miles was to perform at the parent teacher meeting.  In my adult years I have long appreciated the early exposure to this masterpiece of oration although it took years for me to fully absorb its full significance and beauty.

JPO camp at Mokuleia.

Iolani’s animal mascot Pogo the burro.

Participating as acolytes during the Episcopal Convention held in Honolulu and trees on campus were dedicated to the various diocese in America.  Some of these trees still are standing but many have be plowed under with the extensive construction done over the years.

Fifth grade choir participation in the Easter and Christmas services at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.  Don’t know what the school got out of it but we were not on the payroll during those kinder and gentler times.

The coming of the high school to the Ala Wai campus was in 1954.  Up to that time my understanding of the address of  the lower school of Iolani School was 750 Laau Place but with the coming of the high school the address changed to Kamoku St.  The only 3 new structures were the central I building, St Alban’s Chapel and the dormitory for dorming students.  The radio tower for KPOA and later KPOI was on the ewa campus next to the parking lot.  The pink gymnasium affectionately referred to as the pink barn, Mrs. Flanders dance studio stood behind the baseball diamond was designated the cafeteria and later  the library and even later the study hall. The warehouse on the mauka side of Convention Drive near the Headmaster’s home was the maintenance building, woodshop, classroom, and audio visual meeting room.  There were outdoor basketball courts for PE and intermediate basketball team practices.  There were 2 outdoor tennis courts. The cinder track was later built with the help of the maintenance staff and volunteer parents and faculty.  It was edged with 2x4 lumber and was apparently 5 yards short of 440 yards. High jump and polevault pits received a load of saw dust at the beginning of each season and would be nicely packed down and rather hard by the end.

 The gymnasium was the site of  PE classes, study halls, student assemblies.  Football gear was hung in a central cage in the center of  the locker room and was the site for at least one player being unfortunately  locked in it in his birthday suit once.  PE students were assigned a little basket to house their belongings in a large dressing room.  An extremely limited supply of exercise weights were available and there was no such thing as exercise machines. 

The baseball diamond was largely as it is today in location but there were no dugouts or bleachers, just benches for the team and ground to stand on for spectators.

The foot ball field for practices and JV games was the outfield area and named Bray field which no longer exists and is now Hamada Field.  In later times the football field was situated behind the pink barn in the infield of the track.

There was a Quonset hut boat house for the rowing team near the Manoa/Palolo Stream branch of the Ala Wai.

The student union building and new cafeteria was built during our upper school years for the sum of about 1 million dollars if I recall correctly.  It has served Iolani School well but is to be replaced by bigger and better things.

Besides the physical plant, activities of the students were the heart of the school.  There many dedicated teachers and staff whom we may or may not have appreciated during our stay but later came to understand their commitment to Iolani. To name a few, David Coon, Charles Halter, Valerie Haas, Lorraine McCarthy, Arthur Ward, Robert Burdick, Edward Hamada, Paul Simpson, Albert Alberts,  Bing Fai Lau, Betty Iwasaki, Bill Eng, Joyce Kawamoto Feldhaus,  and many others. 

There were other teachers I remember, some colorful or outstanding in my mind and others  unusual:  C. A. Edwards the typing teacher with is during class smoke breaks outside the back of the class as we practiced, fiery Adam Makkai, weird Bat Donoughue, stout Mrs. Miller whose walk reminded me of someone who was bent on getting to the nearest bathroom asap and was not to be deterred, Mr. Shepherd who had a night job as a bartender so his horrible teaching schedule and program got him drummed out of Iolani after the first quarter,  Pretty Mrs Johannes for German, unfortunately associated with the condome episode.  George Reiger, whose junior English class was a riot and the envy of the more conventional one next door held by Mr. Taylor.  In regard to the last teacher.  I remember one incident when we were to read passages out loud in class in turn.  One of our members was caught sleeping and was called upon to begin reading lines which began: “I am an idiot.”  Our classmate was totally in a fog trying to get up.  His punishment was to return after school to write the lines 100 times:  “I am an idiot but will aspire to the moron class.”

Notable celebrations or episodes although only single or few  times occurring:

1. Peanut day

2. Fag day when there was noimplications of political correctness attached to the term.

3.  Statehood day.

4.  Interclass tug o war in the courtyard between the main building and the covered walkway.

5.  Mr. Alberts introduction of cheese into our diets at a time when all we knew was velveeta..  Camembert remains one of my favorites. An example of a teacher exposing his students to something of the outside world beyond the insular society in which we lived then.

Other less formal activities for students were:

Sandlot tackle foot ball and flag football after school

Lunch and after school free time wagering with coin flipping match or no match, coin toss to the wall

Food fights in the old cafeteria.

Locking of an inquisitive study hall teacher in the student locker room  during a study hall in the pink barn

Turning back the clock in the pink barn  before the study hall teacher arrived so we could get dismissed early.

Strategic placement of condoms at the door of designated teachers (females of course.)

End of the year overnight camps at Hanauma Bay and Yokohama Bay (one of the times there was a quickly aborted attempt to walk to Yokohama. remember, Conroy?)

The memorable Iolani dances where it seemed more people were sitting or standing on the side, boys away from girls except of course at proms when we each had his date and were more sociable with the opposite sex.  Thank goodness for changing to coeducational instruction.

Recurrent iso peanut sales on campus encouraging eating in class as a substitute for chewing gum.

Each of us has recollections of our days at Iolani and there are many more which I could   mention of my own but part of reunions are for all of  us to contribute what we wish to the collective remembrance to further celebrate the occasion.  Regretfully I will not be with you on the 22th  to enjoy this  occasion.  Hopefully my ramblings will contribute some thoughts along with the others that the rest of my classmates can dredge up from the past. 

Aloha,

Kenneal

Thanks to Kenneal for providing us with the unedited version.