As youths in high school, a summertime job meant raising some bucks for college.

Back in the day, summers for most juniors and seniors meant a job at Hawaiian Pine, which later became Dole Cannery, in Iwilei.

Packers at Dole Cannery

Besides Dole, there was Libby’s. And Del Monte. Canneries depended on youthful hires when school was out. And Dole’s mammoth water tank, in the shape of a gigantic pineapple, dominated the Iwilei spectrum and could be seen from airline flights and from elevated Honolulu homes until tall condos blocked the views.

Girls customarily worked as packers, getting itchiness because of the acidity of fresh pineapple in the process of packing pineapple in tins.

Boys commonly had warehouse jobs, lifting boxes onto stacks on skips, prepping for delivery. I had a job in shipping – a checker – monitoring the skips.

Dole’s pineapple water tank

Some youths even spent summers harvesting the pines on the farms on Molokai or Lanai. Tough job, hot days, physically challenging. It was grueling, until payday.

Perhaps over the next decade or so, summers for many meant seasonal jobs at McDonald’s.

These days, however, kids have a thing about working at fast food outlets. So nowadays, many adults fill the ranks of cooking burgers and breakfast items or cashiering at the front counters.

So what was your summer job? Loved it or loathed it?


As a youth growing up, schools offered what was called a typing class, where you learned how to type on a typewriter. OK, if you don’t know what a typewriter is (because it’s obsolete now), ask your parents or grandparents.

If you knew how to type, you needed that typewriter as well as paper to insert, to see the fruits of your work.

Five-finger typing

In more recent eras, kids who wanted to type took keyboarding classes, to master the art of typing, not on a typewriter but on a computer keyboard. With keyboarding, of course, there’s no paper and the result of your input is displayed on the computer screen.

Typewriters were replaced by computers over the decades.

But there are precise memories of learning typing the old way.

If you took typing lessons, you surely remember the ubiquitous  sentence you had to master on your typewriter.  Over and over.

That sentence was The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, an English-language pangram—a sentence that contains all of the letters of the English alphabet.

Typewriter keyboard

If you could repeatedly type that, at a speed of, say 65 words per minute, you’d be somewhat of a master. Without making a typo(mistake).

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

It was redundant, but necessary, to take ownership and conquer the keyboard.

A vintage typewriter

And reflecting on the typewriter: if you made an error, you could erase it with a circular eraser attached with a brush; you needed a inked fabric ribbon to “print” your texts; if you had a deluxe ribbon, you could type in black and red ink; you had to return your carriage, to progress from one line to the next.

If you didn’t learn the five-finger way to type, you probably do the one finger-two hand hunt and peck system.

What memories, good or bad, do you have about the trysts of

typing? …


Depends on when and where you lived, Aala Park conjures many memories, some pleasant, many not.

I grew up in the Liliha-Palama area and attended school in Kalihi, so back in the day, Aala Park was a hub with a mix of merchants, park users and if memory is correct, served as a major transit point for HRT, the bus service known as Honolulu Rapid Transit.  If you were west bound,  this was the place to transfer – on King Street, which was two-way then — to hop on a Liliha or Kalihi bus.

Aala Park’s east side border is Nuuanu Stream.

Today, it’s a site overtaken by the homeless, with no shops, no legit commuter foot traffic, since its boundary streets – west-bound on Beretania, west-bound on Hotel, and east-bound on King – are all one-way. (Beretania is partially two-way). The three streets converge at Nuuanu Stream.

But what if Aala Park had a different destiny? That it didn’t become a hangout for druggies and the homeless? That it transitioned into a recreation destination?

Shops nearby Aala Park included a saloon and grocery store.

Aala would have evolved into a totally different place.

The retail cluster is long gone. I recall Japanese restaurants and movie theaters back in the day, and though I don’t remember ‘em, Aala boasted two baseball diamonds and at one point became the zone’s defining trademark. Aala Park hosted local baseball games with teams such as the Honolulus, the Kamehamehas, the Punahous, the Maile Ilimas.

Politicos gathered for rallies. Families shopped for gifts, at park bazaars and at merchants across the street.

The park’s old comfort station, built in 1916, was the city’s first public restroom.

Toyo Theatre was inspired by a Japan shrine.

An architectural gem – the Toyo Theatre – was a movie house built in the late 1930s with an ornate Asian motif designed by Charles W. Dickey, inspired by the Toshogu Shrine of Ieyasu Tokugawa in Nikko, Japan. The theater was located on College Walk, a stone’s throw from the River Street drainage canal that still is there. The movie house  was renamed Aala after WWII, and razed years later. And believe it or not, a Las Vegas-bound company of “Hair,” featuring the late James Grant Benton, was staged here.

OR&L diesel train, in Iwilei

Further across the street was the terminal for OR&L (Oahu Rail & Land) railway station,  which operated trains to Kahuku and back, between 1889 and 1971. I recall, as a youngster, we had a family trek to parks and beaches of Haleiwa and the remnants of the Iwilei station, across Aala Park, remain today. (There was a turntable for a turn-around in the city). The train carried passengers as well as transporting sugar cane and pineapple from the Ewa Plain to Kahuku.

But Aala became the spot to avoid and the stigma remains today. A skateboard park on the Beretania side of the park now offers recreational space for nearby tenants. The green space – grassy lawn, shade trees – is nice. But the stigma of a dubious past keeps folks away.

Do you have remembrances to share, about the Aala Park of yesteryear?