On December 21, 1975, Mom, Jen and I moved to Maui from Oahu. I was 8, just about to turn 9 and Jen had just turned 13. That was 37 years ago. It was a whole new start for us three, a start to a wonderful life on Maui.
Sunrise on Christmas Day, 2012
That era is over now as Mom is moving on. She sold the house and is moving this week to a smaller place Upcountry. (Still Maui, just a different neighborhood.) It's a good move, filled with new beginnings and possibilities and opporunities. But it's also a big huge sad good-bye to an amazing home and so many memories. It's a hard good-bye too because there is so much Jen in that house and Jack and GrandmaJane too. I cried every day I was home over Christmas. Every day. I missed Jen so much because of course she would have come to have a last Christmas there too.
I have to keep reminding msyelf that mom is not leaving Maui, just Spreckelsville. But it will be different from now on, especially with new owners because who knows how different the house will become.
I wrote down a bunch of memories of the house. One specific sound got me going on making a list. The sound of the squeak of the latch on the cabinet under the sink in mom's bathroom. It's made that same distinctive squeak for 37 years.
The ocean is a big part of mom's house. The house is not on the beach, but right near it (last house before the beach). You can be lulled by the sound of the waves, though it's not too loud. When the surf is big, then you can hear it really well.
Spreckelsville is under the departure path of the Kahului Airport (OGG) and I grew up listening to planes departing. There is the first plane out every morning around 5:45am, then clusters of departures throughout the day. The planes used to be so loud you could not talk on the phone when they went over. You would have to wait, then continue. Modern jets are much quieter, believe me!
We got to Maui when I was halfway through 3rd grade. I started the new school year at Lihikai Elementary in January of 1976. Starting a new school is always intimidating, especially halfway through a year. On top of that, I was the only haole in my class, in my whole grade! I took the bus every morning with about eight other kids from Spreckelsville. We would stop at the old housing near the airport (long gone now) where other kids would get on the bus. They were the "Kahului Kids" to us because they went to Kahului Elementary and would get dropped off before us. I rode the school bus for three and a half years, then switched schools in seventh grade to Seabury Hall and carpooled from then on.
The drive from Spreckelsville to Seabury takes you along Hana Highway to Baldwin Ave. in Paia, straight up to Makawao, then it becomes Olinda Road to Seabury. I was a passenger for three years, then driver for three years on that road, every school day, and then some. I know that road so well I feel like I could drive it with my eyes closed. Not much of the actual road has changed. But I knew things were different when they put a stoplight in at Paia, lo those 20 years or so ago!
Spreckelsville was a big sugar town, once upon a time, and all that is left is our neighborhood along the beach. (And that has actually grown grown since we moved in '75.) It used to be just the small sleepy roads from the Club (the Maui Country Club) to the end of Stable Road. (And there were horses and stables on Stable road when we moved there!)
My Small Kid Time Memories are many, but here are the highlights:
-Roller skating in the garage. It was the smoothest surface in the neighborhood.
-Slip and slide in the front yard down the hill.
-Eating ripe mangoes right off the (neighbor's) tree.
-Going from the beach to the pool at the Club and back, and back again.
-My good childhood friend Patty who lived down the block.
-Flossie and her dog Uku across the street! ('Uku means "flea" in Hawaiian and Uku was black lab.)
-Our cat Peach, who was a feral kitten when we found and adopted her, and Daisy, the beagle mix Jen found at the pound.
-Cane spiders in the house after the sugar cane was burned off before harvest. Maybe it's not a highlight, but more like a hard to forget memory that is so specific to that place!
When we moved there in '75 our address was PO Box F, Paia. Then it became 204 Kealakai Place, which it remains. It will be really hard to now have to look up my mom's new address! But THANK GOD she is keeping her phone number. Man, that would have really knocked me for a loop. To this day whenever I pick up a new phone to test, I always dial that Maui number.
One of my last best memories is that Harper took her very first steps in the house! How wonderful to have a big first for her there to treasure along with all the other memories.
It was so tough to say good-bye. I walked through the house about 3 times, crying every time, before actually leaving for the airport. I touched the walls and said "thank you" to all it has given me, to my family. I am very sentimental so this goes deep for me, almost like a death in the family. (Of which there have been too many already.) But in the end, it's just a house and my mom moves forward to new things and I can't wait to see where she goes!
As Lili'uokalani said so well:
|Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe
||Farewell to thee, farewell to thee
|E ke onaona noho i ka lipo
||The charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers
|One fond embrace,
||One fond embrace,
|A hoʻi aʻe au
||'Ere I depart
|Until we meet again
||Until we meet again
|ʻO ka haliʻa aloha i hiki mai
||Sweet memories come back to me
|Ke hone aʻe nei i
||Bringing fresh remembrances
||Of the past
|ʻO ʻoe nō kaʻu ipo aloha
||Dearest one, yes, you are mine own
|A loko e hana nei
||From you, true love shall never depart