By Lance Nobui
The LHS Class of 1964 celebrated their 50th Class Reunion during July 4-6, 2014. We are the first class of eighteen Baby Boomer classes to celebrate a 50th reunion. The reunion was a wonderful series of events beginning on Friday with the Fourth of July community celebration, that included a Welcome Back karaoke and dance potluck, followed by dinner at the Senior Center. Saturday included a visit to the Lanai Cultural Center then participation in the Pineapple Festival. Sunday was spent touring Maunalei Gulch. The fifty years that have passed, and changes that have occurred, only enhanced our spirits in reestablishing relations like we did so many years while growing up on Lanai. As is the case with all reunions, after the initial period of reacquainting and learning about each other’s fifty years, we spent fond moments recollecting our years on Lanai and what it means to each of us. We all agree that time has passed very quickly and we have some words of wisdom for future celebrants. That is, to cherish each moment from your past, present and all the time to come.
Each of us traveled a long way in 50 years. Our Senior Class Motto was “Learn Today and Lead Tomorrow” which was so important in formulating our lives after leaving high school. Life on Lanai prepared us well with lessons from LHS but also the lessons we learned from the many family, friends and community members that guided us during those years. Today, our special recognition and thank you again goes to our parents (who were our special dedication on page 4 of the 1964 Ka Hoku) because without them we would not have had the motivation, structure, support and encouragement to pursue the many opportunities in our lives. Even if most of our parents no longer survive, we know their spirits are with us and they know how grateful we are for their lessons. The Class of ‘64 thanks our parents and all the people of Lanai that were a part of our lives and gave us the direction we needed for success. Very importantly, there are educators that require special mention like Ms. Kubo (Akahoshi), Mrs. Helen Fujie and Mr. Patrick Esclito who served as class advisors/counselors during our senior year. Also, many others played a major role educating us in our high school years, such as Mr. Jacob Hueu, Mr. Stanley Oshima, Mrs. Molly Sakamoto, Mr. Howard Sakamoto, Mr. Donald Matsui, Mr. George Ito, Mr. Edward Kuboyama, Mr. Robert Saiki, Mr. Albert Murota, Miss Vivian Matsumoto, Mr. Elbert Ryan and Mrs. Sylvia Mitsunaga, (Please know that there were many others but this article would not have the space to accommodate everyone). These educators gave us the knowledge and confidence to look ahead and become good contributing members of society. Thank you all.
On Commencement Evening in June 1964, there were 38 of us that were in the graduating class. However, there were many other students that have been a part of “our class” through the years, but for greater opportunities or circumstances, left our class before June of 1964. We include them as “our class”. If we have inadvertently omitted someone from this list, please accept our apologies because some memory lapse is typical of our age group. So, our class is as follows (by high school names): Lorraine Agliam, Edna Allas, Antonio Arucan, Myrna Awa, Placido Ballesteros, Everett Cabanilla, Eulogio Cabotaje, Julia Dahang, Danny Del Rosario, Alvin dela Cruz, Jimmy Fernandez, Jane Hayashi, Elsie Hayashida, Glenn Herolaga, Elizabeth Hobdy, Roger Hubin, Michael Kawasaki, Norrine Kubota, Gary Largo, Leslie Lukela, Francis Miyamoto, Al Donna Nishimura, Lance Nobui, Patrick Obado, Aileen Oda, Fernie Olsen, Eric Onuma, Warren Osako, Glenn Oshiro, Sidney Oyama, Stewart Oyama, Estella Ann Pagay, Penny Remilya, William Park, Phillip Ruidas, Francine Sagawa, Paulette Samonte, George Stegmuller, Carolyn Suetos, Jane Tesoro,
Jessie Tesoro, Edith (Puanani) Tolentino, Evelyn Tolentino, Tom Urpanil, Jr., Ricky Washauer, Pee Wee Weaver, and Alan Yagi.
Our lessons on Lanai ensured that each of us became a contributing member of society and we will leave this world better than when we were brought into this world after World War II in 1946. Our class song was “He” but another class favorite was “Climb Every Mountain” and we did. How have we contributed in the past 50 years? All of us have found our niche and worked diligently for five decades. Most of us are certified “household engineers” that prepared the future generation that will take our places in society. We can tell you without a doubt that the next generation will do as ours have and will leave this world better than when we brought them into this world. Many of us went on to a wide variety of professions that included educators, medical specialties, marketers, customer service/salespersons, corporate specialties and executives, religious servants/leaders, civil/military service and also entrepreneurs of our own businesses. We share this with everyone to give re-assurance, like classes that preceded (and succeeded) us, that even small town Lanai continues to produce some of the best. There are no doctors or lawyers amongst us but we can assure you that we are doing our part to ensure that these professions will continue for years to come, especially the medical professionals.
The class of 1964 “learned” and “led” as we committed ourselves to do 50 years ago. For several years now, most of us have begun the next stage in our lives, which is retirement. Whether it is the joy of being a remote control specialist and/or couch potato, indulging in a newly found or long lost hobby, community volunteer or traveling to see the world, we are content with how life has been formulated from our Lanai roots. For many, it also means experiencing the joys of being a grandparent and for a few extra fortunate ones, great-grandparents.
This was a great setting to celebrate our reunion events. Some of us “practiced” a little before the main events and gathered on Tuesday and Wednesday before our Thursday surprise gathering by the generous offer of Stewart and Julia Oyama. Of course we met at Blue Ginger for breakfast meetings. Michael, Lance and Stewart played the great, well-renowned, free golf course called Cavendish. Anyone that does not play Cavendish is missing a great opportunity.
On Friday, we started our formal reunion with a gathering at the Senior Center. We all knew this location to be the former public library. Attending the dinner were Edna (Allas) and Chole (granddaughter) dela Cruz and Everett and Fran Cabanilla, Betty (Hobdy) and Dan Applebaker, Stewart and Julia (Dahang) Oyama, Warren and Susan Osako, Michael and Shauna Kawasaki, Lance Nobui, Patrick and Billye Obado and granddaughter Aulii Olsen, Myrna (Awa) Bedford, Evelyn (Tolentino) and Herman Calbero with Wendy (daughter) and Kanoe (granddaughter) Macario, Billy Park, Linda (Pagay) Rivera and Eric Onuma. We took a moment to honor and remember those classmates that have passed on to eternal life and had to leave us way too soon. They are Jane Hayashi, Roger Hubin, Al Donna Nishimura, Phillip Ruidas, Francine Sagawa, and Jessie Tesoro. We’re still processing the 50 years of history we received. The best part is seeing that after all these years, none of us look like our pictures in the “annual” but we are all better looking than 50 years ago. It was fun to see that Julia and Stewart, Evelyn and Herman (and others) are celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary soon.
When we met for breakfast at Blue Ginger, we recalled the old days when Tanigawa’s, the Lanai Inn, Sportsman’s Bar and Lui’s Restaurant were the only restaurants on the island. How nice it is to see that Lanai has changed from a plantation town to one with world-class venues. We also learned that we might have to save up a few Social Security checks to eat at a couple of the resorts. But, we all felt great to see these changes.
Classmate Warren arranged for us to visit the Lanai Cultural Center. We were so proud to learn that Warren is one of the mainstays of the center. The center showed the life on Lanai before, during and after our years growing up on Lanai. We toured with much laughter in seeing the good old days picking pineapples but also shed tears of sadness knowing that those wonderful years are now just memories. We are grateful for Warren, Kepa and Onaona Maly, Albert Morita, Simon Tagiri and others that are saving the history of Lanai.
Our Saturday afternoon activity was participation in the Pineapple Festival: so many of us have heard about this wonderful event but have not been privileged to attend. Julia, Evelyn and Stewart organized the #1 team in the parade and what a terrific and memorable occasion it was. Those that braved the parade were Stewart, Edna, Michael, Lance, Billy, Eric, Betty, Linda, Everett, Patrick and Myrna. What a treat it was to see so many familiar faces from the past but it also brought sadness to know that many others should have been out there with us or watching along the route. After the parade we all gathered at the Senior Center for treats and refreshments.
Then it was Sunday morning and the final activity for the Class of 1964. We took a journey that was not offered 50 years ago; a tour of Maunalei Gulch. It was the usual bumpy ride to Maunalei that most of us have forgotten what it is like to ride on Lanai roads. The tales of Maunalei Gulch came to life for us on this day. What a treasure.
Upon return to the city, we had to head our separate ways because our great weekend came to an end. We know that we will always cherish the memories from 50 years ago, the spirited 2014 Pineapple Festival and the wonderful memories of this great 50th Reunion weekend. The Class of 1964 would like to give a special thank you and congratulation on a job well done to Julia and Stewart Oyama, Warren Osako, Michael Kawasaki and Evelyn and Herman Calbero for planning, organizing and executing a great series of events. We are also very grateful for those like Warren, Albert and Kepa that continue to live and save the legacy of Lana’i past, present and future.
Again, to those that have proceeded us thank you for your guidance and support. For those that follow in years to come, keep up the good work and, as the Class of 1964 will tell you, be proud of your Lanai roots.