Nostalgia: by Henry Louis Paul Weber (1907-1991)

Nephew of Rosine Weber Janssen

I was born on April 29, 1907 (there were 30 states) in the Weber home in Waimea, Kauai, Territory of Hawaii. I was christened by Rev. Charles P. Milliken. We lived in a house that was next to the Waimea Stables where Pa was the Manager Pa managed a thriving transportation and livery business and carried out a prosperous draying and carriage for rent business, feed company, and had a stable of fine horses and mules (donkeys) for hire. Grandpa Weber (Heinrich Eberhard Weber, 1829-19 08) who brought Pa and his Mother and sisters to Hawaii from Germany in May 1883, lived with us at this house until he died in 1908. Dot was born here on December 5, 1908, Fred was born on December 3, 1910, and Bill was born on October 23, 1912.

I started to Waimea Grammar School when I was six years old in September 1913. The school at that time was next to the hospital. After school I played with other boys in the stables where the old buggies and wagons were kept. I used to go to the Waimea landing and help pull in the hukilau nets on Waimea beach next to the wharf. The Hawaiian boys would always give me fish to take home for dinner or drying. I also liked to watch the workers loading the bags of raw sugar onto the ships at the wharf. The water was so clear we could see the fish and turtles swimming in the water off the end of the landing (wharf). At the stables we would also watch the tourists getting horses to ride up to Waimea Canyon and to take in other sights; a guide would always go along. Later, the Waimea Stables started using automobiles to drive the tourists from Nawiliwili to the different Kauai sights: Barking Sands, Waimea Valley and Canyon, Spouting Horn, Hanalei Valley, and the Haena Caves. Kauai had real good roads compared with the other islands.

Grandpa and Grandma Mengler, Ma's parents, and their younger children left for California in 19 [Note: There were 9 Mengler children.]

Then, in 1915, we moved to our second big house in Waimea, between the Catholic Church and the Japanese Language School. Marie was born there on February 7, 1915. Bill Bomke had come to live with us in 1912. We had a big vegetable garden in the back yard and Bill and I kept the garden. I remember that Pa had some Chinese banana trees out back of our house and a grass tennis court. There was also a swing, and an iron bar for climbing, some hand rings attached to ropes, and a see saw. I also used to walk along some railroad tracks, past a group of honey bee hives, to the Ewarts place to see George Ewart. They lived down on the beach and his father was the Manager of Waimea Sugar Company.

One year (I think about 1917 or 1918) Aunt Louisa (West) and the four West children came and stayed with us. There was Alice (1906), Nelson (l907)j, Rodney (1910), and Eleanor (1913). Aunt Willie (Wilhelmina) and Aunt Meta also lived in a small cottage in our backyard and taught school at the Waimea Grammar School. They were all Ma's sisters.

To have spending money we would pick kiawe beans (Algaroba trees) and sell them for $.25 a bag (big gunny sack bags) to the stables.

Most summer days after his work Pa used to take all the children in a truck to swim at a beach near the Faye home on the Waimea-side of the Chinese graveyard.

On Sundays we would all go to Sunday School and then to church at the Waimea Foreign Church. I am not sure who the ministers were then but Reverend Carver (well know Kauai minister - wrote poem, Beautiful Kauai)and his family lived above the hospital. Close by there was a marker or plaque on a stone slab from Captain Cook's visit there. Mr. Brandt, the Banker -- Bishop Bank I think --lived nearby and above the school. The Hofgaards lived on the Kekaha-side of the Church and Dr. Tuttle and his family lived a little further down on the Kekaha-side of the Hofgaards. The Wramps lived in that house after the Tuttles left. The August Kruse's lived on the other side of the Catholic Church.

We walked to the Waimea School and home everyday. We'd go past the Waimea Sugar Mill, the Waimea Stables, the Blacksmith shop, and the bicycle shop where there were some Hawaiian homes in the back. We then crossed over a culvert (with very little flowing water), past some stores, a saloon, the rice factory (Willgroth's) and then up the hill past the town hall to the school. Sugar cane grew all above the road and in Waimea town the police station was located near the intersection of the valley road and the main highway. Then, there was the Hofgaard Store, the Ah Ko Store, and below them the road. I think there was also a small hotel and also a church next to the Ah Ko store. On the Kekaha-side there was an ice house with a butcher shop near the Waimea River. Uncle August Bomke had been a butcher at the ice house when they lived in Waimea Lots of homes were along the beach between the wharf and the river. The sand on the beach would block up the mouth of the river almost every year when summer came and there was little water coming down the river from the mountain rains to push the silt out into the ocean.

When I started to school in 1913: -- I think my teachers were: First Grade: Aunt Willie; Second Grade: Aunt Willie; Third Grade: Aunt Meta; Fourth Grade: Mrs. Wright; Fifth Grade: Mr. Kinikaka; Sixth Grade: Mrs. Dorsey at Mana School; Seventh & 8th Grade: Kekaha School.

Every summer when the wild fruit trees got ripe Pa used to drive us to the Halfway Bridge between Koloa and Lihue to pick boxes and buckets of guavas and mountain apples so Ma could make a big supply of jellies, jams, and pickles. Pa used a car from the Waimea Stables. We also drove to Hanalei Valley and the Haena Caves. We also picked mangoes for Ma to make chutney.

Pa went on a trip to San Francisco in 1915. I remember that he had a mustache before he left and came back without it. The trip was given to him by the Waimea Stables.

I got a bicycle for Christmas in either 1916 or 1917. Ma always hung a sheet in front of the Christmas tree to hide the presents. The tree was usually set up in one corner of the living room. Ma would light all the candles on the tree and then take down the sheet on Christmas.

I also remember that in 1917 and 1918 we used to knit socks and wash cloths at the minister's house in Waimea for the soldiers fighting in World War I.

The Matas and the William Kruses lived in Kekaha, and we would visit. Fred Weber had a finger crushed at the August Kruses' when he and Fred Kruse were playing with the washing machine and his finger got caught in the gears, That was after we got washing machines.

Midori and Onogawa were with us in Waimea, and he used to tell us great ghost stories. We lived next to the Catholic Church graveyard and were kind of scared in the evenings anyway. We also used to get some terrible Kona storms with all of the thunder and lightning and very heavy rains with lots of wind and ghost stories went with all of this.

We moved to the big house in Mana in 1918, when Pa became the section overseer for the Mana section of the plantation. Ma and Pa lived in that house until he retired to Kokee in 1938. Pa bought a Model-T Ford for $500.00 and Aunt Meta used to drive us back and forth to Waimea School from Mana, until the end of that school year. Aunt Willie, Dot, Fred, Bill Bomke, and I were all ride~8 to Waimea School. The following year Aunt Willie and Aunt Meta lived in a Waimea School teacher's cottage. Bill Bomke and I used to ride horses to the Kekaha School -- it was six miles to and from the school, in 1918-1919. The rest of the kids went to the Mana School which was first grade through eighth grade and Mrs. Dorsey taught all the classes. Dot then went to Sacred Hearts' Academy in Honolulu. -

Midori and Onogawa went with us to Mana and Pa bought some Holstein cows (they were very black and white) so we could have fresh milk, butter, and buttermilk out there. I think Onogawa used to milk the cows and take care of them and when he left us he had also planted a big garden and lots of Mango and Papaya trees around the reservoir. There was no electricity and we used kerosene oil in the lamps and Ma cooked on a big wood stove. Pa and us kids used to saw and chop kiawe wood for the stove. (NOTE: The plantation used to deliver firewood to the homes and camps but it had.. to be chopped and sized to fit in the wood stoves.) We also had to regularly clean the ashes from the outside chimney and the fire bed in the stove.

Our clothes were boiled and scrubbed in an old kerosene, 50-gallon drum that had been cut in half and mounted on rocks over a fire bed. They were rinsed in another and hung out to dry on long lines with clothes pins or hung on hangers in the trees. A sewing and ironing room was part of the main house -- a great big room-like sleeping porch.

Pa used to take us boys hunting for ducks over in the swamp and rice fields below the lower railroad tracks. We also went up to the hills for pheasants. We rode horses and mules or walked on these trips.

We got our drinking water at the house from a stream up in the valley above the house. One time after a big storm we found dead cows in the stream water when we checked the streambed. After that a tunnel was built at the entrance of the fresh water spring up in the valley so that we could pipe down clean spring water.

Eleanor was born at Mana on December 18, 1918. Doctor Dunn came out and Miss Seghorn helped Ma.

I also remember Bill Bomke working during the summer vacation. He worked with a mule one year -- I think plowing the cane fields. (NOTE: Bill delivered firewood to the homes and camps on a dray pulled by a mule that summer.)

I graduated from Kekaha School, the 8th grade, on June 24, 1921. That summer I worked in the fields as a hoe hana luna (the boss over a group of workers that hoed the weeds in the cane fields) and a hapai ko luna-- most of the workers were then Filipino boys. After work Pa used to drive us all to the sandy beach near the Barking Sands for the most wonderful and cooling swims.

We had ducks, chickens, and some pigs besides the cows and horses. Pa always had at least two horses -- Dick, was the tame horse we could ride to the store to get things in case Ma wanted something in a hurry. Not necessarily a hurry --it was six miles from Nana to Kekaha and back. Pa always rode a horse or mule to work. One day when he came home for lunch riding a mule Bill Weber wanted to ride the mule around the yard while Pa was eating. After he got the mule going he couldn't control it and it started to trot out of the yard and back on down the road toward Kekaha. The rest of us started running and caught up with Bill on the mule a few miles down the road. We got that darned mule turned around and back to the yard at Mana before Pa finished eating.

Bill Bomke went to IolaniSchool in Honolulu, for one school year in 1919-1920. Then he came back to Kauai and since he was through high school he went to work at Kekaha Sugar Company for Mr. William Kruse, the mechanic and engineer, in the Machine Shop.

During the 1900's all the plantations had their workers on teams for baseball and soccer competitions. Pa used to drive us all over the island to watch these games on Sundays and we would also pick mountain apples on the way to or from the games. I remember one Sunday when Pa was too sick with the flu to go out and so he let Bill Bomke drive the Ford so we could see a baseball game. Dot and I went along with Bill and we picked up Selma Kruse (Ralston) in Kekaha. Then we drove to Eleele Park to watch the baseball game. While driving back home a strong gust of wind blew the Model-T Ford over on its side. We all got up and out and pushed it back upright and drove on back home.

Bill Bomke also rode a bicycle the six miles to and from work everyday from Mana to Kekaha when he started to work. After about a year of riding back and forth he decided to live in Kekaha at the Boarding House. He became the Night Engineer in Kekaha, and in the late 1920's he moved over to Lihue Plantation where he stayed until 1945.

Pa sent Dot to the Sacred Hearts' Academy in Honolulu for her schooling. I think she went from the seventh grade through high school.

I went to the Honolulu Military Academy starting in September 1921 through June 1925. We went back and forth from Kauai to Honolulu by boat from Nawiliwili or Ahukini. The ships were usually the Claudine, Kinau, or the Kaleakala. The fare was $4.00 round trip and the trip was overnight. During the Summer of 1925, I stayed in Honolulu and I worked in the pineapple cannery. I stayed with Aunt Meta who was then married to Uncle Paul McCandless. I bought my first suit that year and went home to get ready to go to the University of Hawaii after a summer of work.

Fred went to St. Louis College -- it was really a high school, at the River Street location, after graduating from grammar school. Then he went on to the University of Hawaii. Bill Weber graduated from the Mana grammar school and also went to St. Louis College, but he was at the Kaimuki location. Both Fred and Bill worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) in 1931, on Kauai. Bill then went to work at the Kekaha Plantation Office and Fred went to Grove Farm Plantation.

During the Summer of 1927, I worked in the Kekaha Sugar Mill. Previously, in the summerof 1926, I had worked at Mana. During the Summer of 1928, I trained at the Oahu Sugar Company mill in Waipahu, on Oahu, along with Bartley Black. We watched all the workings of the plantation. We got our meals at the Waipahu Boarding House and slept in the single men's quarters. This was a six-weeks course.

Then we were sent home for the rest of the summer and I had to write a report of the things we had done and seen on the plantation. Dot typed the papers for me and I submitted the report when I got back to the University of Hawaii for my final year -- January 1928 to May 25, 1929. I graduated on June 2, 1929.

From June 1929 to October 1931, Bartley and I were also at the Waipio Substation of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association (HSPA) learning the work there and writing reports on what we observed. Bartley left Waipio and went to Kohala to work as the HSPA Representative there. I worked on Kauai for a few months as the HSPA Representative there under Mr. Jim Langley. In November 1931, I was moved by the HSPA to the Hilo office to work under Mr. Bryan. At that time I was given notice by the HSPA boss that I would be on my own after the three years were up so I got a job as an Agriculturist at the Honomu Sugar Company starting on March 1, 1932. I moved to the Hakalau Sugar Company as an Agriculturist on May 1, 1937; became the Honohine Section Overseer on October 30, 1939; Hand Harvesting Superintendent on November 1, 1948; and Cultivation Superintendent on May 14, 1962. I retired from Hi]~o Sugar Company on July 25, 1965e I vacationed until September 18, 1965; moved to Honolulu. On August 1, 1966, I started to work at the Foster Botanical Gardens as a Nursery Aid. On July 1, 1967, I was promoted to Plant Propagator and then, once again I retired from the Gardens on December 28, 1973.

NOTE: Henry and Vi (Theodora Violet Helbush) were married on August 7, 1937, in Hilo, Hawaii. Their daughter Bunnie was born on November 20, 1939, at Hakalau, Hawaii, and their son Arthur on April 9, 1945, in Hilo, Hawaii.

Photo of orchids grown by Robert T. Vorfeld

Copyright Judy Vorfeld.
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