My mother in law sent me a Mainland thing about lines you never hear anymore.
I started thinking of lines you never or rarely hear anymore in Hawaii. God, I’m ooooold. This is what living in your Grandma’s house will do to you.
And in Hawaii…
Hemo da light.
Hapai da mattress, I goin’ tuck in da sheet.
Po’o pa’a, you!
SOMETHING YOU NEVER SEE ANYMORE Hawaiian ladies at the beach — standing in a circle, wala’au, their holoku billowing around them in the waves.
(When we had party lines) Wuz dat our ring? Quick! Pick ’em up, ‘das Auntie Margaret’s ring; ask her if she get any eggs.
Baby, go move da rabbit ears, dis t’ing comin’ snow. Daddy gotta go up da roof, move da antenna.
Oh, honey, you get ukus. Come heah, I goin’ wash you head wit’ vinegah!
A hana kuka lele, you broke my ukulele!
(On Maui) Jan ken a man ken a socka socka po! Wailuku! Wailuku! Bum bum sho!
HOOOOOOey???? (when you walk up to the back door, instead of knocking)
As’ why hahd!
Lucky you live Hawaii.
(Poking a toe into a pile of slippers on the porch) Who wen steal my good slippahs?
Wheah my bango? I getta go work!
(In a mill town) Ho! Da bagasse strong today, yeah?
(Walking by a house where slippers are piled a foot high at the back door) Ho! Da Satos get pahty?
Wheah my papale? Today Kaahumanu Society. (In Catholic households) Wheah my sash? Today Sodality. (Japanese house, summertime) Wheah Daddy’s good happi? Today bon dance. (Filipino house) Wheah Papa’s barong? Today Tita’s wedding.
Come, baby girl, Tutu Wahine goin’ teach you crochet … nana lauhala … iron a shirt … sew a buttonhole … cook rice …
(Saturday morning) Ey, Leilani, get yo’ hula stuffs. Moki, wheah you karate belt stay? Hurry up, you goin’ miss class!
(Lu’au day) Moki, go help you uncle uncovah da pohaku. Kimo, you brought da banana leaves? Leimomi, come help Auntie grate da coconut. Daughta, how da squid luau comin? Oh, sister, what a beautiful cake, put ‘em in da kitchen whea no mo’ flies. Daddy, dat taro ready for make da kulolo? When Kinshiro comin’ wit’ da fish. Ey, we runnin’ outta ti leaves, an’ wheah da salt pork? I gotta get dese laulau made. Momi, go get da poi cloth.
And later: Babay, go get Auntie one beah!
(Haole lady on the phone) Ruthie? It’s Mavis. Can I have The Coat next month? We’re going to Frisco! (When several women shared a single winter coat, wool or fur, and passed it around for Mainland trips)
(Coming up the porch in mango season) Oh, no! More mangoes! Who w’en leave dese?
(Summer in a Chinese neighborhood) Weylund! Go on the carport and put dis jar of pickle lemon.
(Summer in a Japanese neighborhood) Kenji! Light da hibachi!
(Saturday night) Go tak a bat’, get church tomorrow.
(Sunday morning in a Portuguese house) Wheah your rosary, wheah you missal, wheah you good shoes? Hurry up, I no like walk in when Mass already started — make shame. Remembah, no eat not’in, we going communion.
(Local boy asking a girl to go steady.) Honey-girl, get chance?
(Local boy asking girl to dance.) Silence. Eye flash. Head tilt toward dance floor.
(Local girl after dance.) Ey! He’e hands, no ma-a-ake!
Ey! Who took da all da milk caps and lef’ da milk bottles open?
In the Mainland, they had the Good Humor man. We had . . . da mosquito truck!
Turn on da radio, time for my stories.
(At Christmas) Norfolk pine nice, no mo’ needles fo’ drop but too bad no mo’ smell, yeah?
(At Honokawai Store, every time you walked in the open barn door.) Hot, yeah?
Put your shoes on for school, boy. You’re in third grade now. No can go hadashi anymoah.
Honey, go get Gramma one candle, I getta wax my iron, stay stickin’.
Chieko, go in da pantry get Bachan some new fly papah.
Put da sugah bowl in one saucah wattah so da ants drown.
Daddy, you get one tobacco bag? Da one on da faucet stay leakin’.
Ganfannit, erry time I wash clo’se, da buggahs go burn da cane!
Lani, put da babies on da hikie, dey no going roll off.
Sonny, get da pillow fo’ da punee, cuzin stayin’ ovah tonight.
Ey, you! Come wash da rice.
Ey, you! Take out da slop bucket, you Uncle Manuel comin’ pick ‘em up fo’ da pigs.
Ey, you! Go see if da laundry ready fo’ da wringah.
Ey, you! Come sprinkle da laundry fo’ Mommy. Ironing day today.
Ey, you! Go in da garden, pick me one papaya.
Ey, who wen cockroach da bluing? Auntie! Wheah da starch, gotta do Daddy’s church shirt.
You not goin’ anywheah dis morning; we goin’ pick guava. Gotta make jam!
(In Portuguese houses, the worst curse) Coo-dee-ahb! (Ass of the devil!)
(In my house, Grandma’s worst swear word). Oh…oh….sugar!
Another good one from my mom in law this evening: Save the rice washing water to feed the orchids.
Good stuff, Wanda. Made me laugh out loud a coupla times.
Wow, your Hawaii only phrases brought back many, many memories (especially since we now live on the Mainland for the last 25 years). Even though I was living in Honolulu, I spent so much time during the summers in Makawao, Maui, where I experienced and heard all the phrases that you listed. On Maui, my uncle lived next door to a Portuguese family and right near the Filipino camp, so all the “talk” is familiar to me. The only thing I would correct was the phraseology of “go light the hibachi” …. in those days it was “go light the hichirin” ….. hibachi was the more recent, accepted westernized word for the bbq grill.
And I too lived in the Seattle area (actually Everett, WA). I went elk hunting, salmon, trout, cod fishing. Digging clams, catching dungeness crab, picking wild berries, strawberries in Marysville, etc. etc. etc. So you comments about living in the NW also brought back good memories!
What a fabulous missive! I loved every word of it! Mahalo, Wanda!
My father, having grown up at Palama Settlement, spoke wonderful Palama pidgin. One phrase I remember so well, though I’m not shuah ah da spelling: Pehea o ka piko.
Membah dat one?