Summers in Mākaha

Meet the author: Elsie Moʻi Peters Itutaua


When I was young,

my ʻohana would camp the entire summers in Mākaha.

From June to September we’d live at the beach.

It was the best.


Us cousins would stay up late at night,

checking out the stars, talking story,

any kine.

At first we would wake up super early and try fo’ go swimming

before dad, mom, uncle, aunty dem woke up.


We not supposed to go in the water

when the adults wasn’t up,

in case we drowned.

So we would wait,

forever sometimes.

And even when somebody finally woke up,

breakfast first,

girls wash dishes and boys rake up next.

Then, we was free fo’ swim,

all day.


Lunch was optional,

good thing, too, ‘cause sometimes,

we was having too much fun

fo’ stop and eat.


We used bamboo fishing poles

and left over kine bread

fo’ fish between the reef and big rocks.

We would steal mom’s butter knife

fo’ score ‘opihi too.


Hā‘uke‘uke was plentiful, could eat ‘em anytime we like.

Break em open, right there at the water,

suck the orange stuff

and use the eye fo’ bait fo’ our bamboo fishing poles.

We just had fo’ keep one eye on the water,

never turn our backs to it.


Dad and uncle them would go diving too-

One big, black tire tube with one ply board bottom; make shift raft,

three prong spears, masks with snorkels,

and empty, white juice jugs as floaters.

Fish, lobsters, tako- they caught.

We cooked ‘em up on the grill.



Right before sunset we’d come out of the water,

rinse off with the old syrup jugs filled with water

and changed clothes.

We all dry.

The sun would be setting by then.

Yellow, purple and orange would blast the sky.


When the first star appeared, it was our

favorite thing fo’ wish upon.

Soon, all the stars filled the night sky.

We would talk fo’ hours, anykine.

What we going fo’ do tomorrow?


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