OHE October 13, 1998

Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 00:05:49 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Waimalu valley in 1973 (fwd)

Received this intriguing post and thought it would be of interest to
folks on OHE-L.  I've omitted the name and email address of the sender.

FYI, Ponohale Street is just mauka of where H1 dips down to pass over
Waimalu Valley, just before the Pearl City offramp.

--DKT
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 13:14:14 -1000
From: ----
To: turner 
Subject: Waimalu valley in 1973

I grew up in the Waimalu valley and lived on Ponohale Street with the big concrete wash behind my house. This was my concrete gateway to a charmed and adventurous life in the lush undergrowth of the valley.

At seven years old I began to hike back into the valley every day after school let out. I hiked alone except for my small dog Gerhart. On one such occasion I was hiking along the left hand side of the entrance to the valley and Gerhart was, as always, several paces ahead of me. It was raining very hard that day and I was hugging the base of a small outcropping of rocks that loomed above me creating some shelter from the downpour. Water was running down the face of the rounded rocks above and was eroding the 3 foot high base of the outcropping. As dogs will do, Gerhart found an opening in the base of the mud wall and went in.

As always, I carried my knapsack that contained a small flashlight along with misc. other things I thought I needed. I took out the light and peered inside. I couldn't see much so I knocked more of the dirt away with my foot (I always hiked barefooted). With light in hand, I climbed inside, thru a mud puddle and the up into a dry room of the cave. The room drew to the right a bit and then opened up to a larger room. Here I could see two small skeletons, each layed on a small elevated shelf like area of the cave. To the left of them I found what appeared to be a half of a small wooden canoe, the outrigger type. The canoe was in very poor condition but had never been disturbed by human hands. On the walls of the cave I saw little mud shelves with small wooden objects placed on each shelf. Almost as if the objects were toys left for the children to play with.

On the floor of the cave I saw a small woven basket that appeared to contain old feathers of some sort. In addition to all these things I also noticed that each skeleton had very old leather shoes where the feet would have been. The leather was very old and hard but what stood out to me the most were bright green copper buckles on the shoes. The copper was almost furry looking and very green like penny looks sometimes. I left that place untouched and decided to return with a camera to take some pictures.

I never got the chance. A developer had purchased the land at the mouth of the valley to build these God awful townhouses. Bulldozers just a week later covered the mouth of the burial cave. I never told my father about this cave because I was told to never enter caves on my hikes. I knew I'd be in hot water if he knew I was crawling around in those kinds of places. After all, I was only ten years old when I found it. I didn't realize until much later that that cave was probably of significant importance to the preservation of the Hawaiian culture and history. To me, this story epitomizes the tragic losses of the Hawaiian people whom I love and respect. In the end, it's the greedy developer and the crooked politician that I hold responsible for all of Hawaii's cultural losses.

Thank for listening & Aloha,


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