Friday, June 29, 2007


The dog Koko had a friend. There was another dog that was allowed by his owners to run loose. It was a big gangly thing, half again as big as Koko, who was the size and coloring of a miniature Schnauzer. The two of them played together every day. They had the run of the neighborhood.

Having been rejected almost to death by my parents, and now feeling relegated to being an animal by the ones I thought were there to rescue me, I felt I had more in common with the dogs than anyone else I knew.

There was a child about a year older who was willing to hang out with me. I'll call him Jackson. Jackson was the adopted son of military parents. His adoptive parents were white, he was Puerto Rican. But he identified with Hawaiian natives. Maybe because of the common color. He was doing what my Father thought I was doing, picking up Pidgin from the other civilian workers.

Jackson was mean. He frequently hit me and insulted me. He hit me on the head with sticks. He kicked me. Until I fell out with Lani and Lono I didn't think I needed Jackson enough to put up with the abuse. But afterward he was about the only company I had.

One insult sticks out in my memory. There was some greenish dog shit on the ground, and he called it honowā. I didn't recognize that as the hawaiian word for shit, I'd learned a different word. He said, there's different words for different kinds. Honowā is the kind that when you step on it, it won't come off, and it stinks the most. Then he said, "You're honowā." A little later he said all white people were honowā.

In spite of a constant flow of insults like that I followed Jackson around and took part in his activities. One of his activities was to sneak into houses. It was pretty easy since almost nobody locked their homes at Schofield Barracks, even when they went away for the day. So it was all entering, and no breaking.

One day we were snooping around inside a house and one of us knocked over an open bottle of writing ink. Did I mention this was 1952? People used fountain pens in those days, so every house had an ink bottle out in the living room somewhere. Usually people would think to close it. These people didn't.

There was ink all over the living room table and all over the carpet. Now, part of Jackson's routine was to leave things exactly the way we found them. He wasn't a thief, he was more of a 4 year-old voyeur. He got off on peeking at and touching things he wasn't supposed to. But he didn't want to leave evidence. So we tried to wipe up the ink with towels.

Naturally, that just spread the ink around, and now the towels had ink on them. Then I got a brilliant idea. It was black ink right? The opposite of black is white, right? So let's get some milk and cancel them out.

We were pouring milk all over the ink when the owners of the house came in. My parents and Jackson's parents were called, and all stood around arguing about whose parenting caused this mess, and my parents ended up agreeing that they should pay for a new carpet, and there was yelling and a spanking when I got home.

Then, they put me to bed, and I heard them laughing for hours about my brilliant idea.

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