Monday, March 26, 2012

Remembering Prince Kuhio

Today is a Hawaii State holiday, honoring Prince Jonah Kalaniana'ole Kuhio (1871-1922).  Visitors to Hawaii will recognize his name in Kalaniana'ole highway,  the route to Hanauma Bay, Sandy Beach and Makapu'u.  They may even recognize that a portion of Waikiki Beach is properly called Kuhio Beach.  Prince Kuhio was an member of the US Congress from Hawaii.  Wikipedia reminds us that he was the first native Hawaiian and the only member of a royal family ever to serve there.

My mother, who remembers things Hawaiian even when she misses holidays like Presidents' Day and sometimes the 4th of July, smiled softly and said, "I think the man who smiled and kissed my hand was Prince Kuhio."  Then she told the rest of the story.

"We lived in the country, and when my mother would come to town for shopping or other business, she would leave us with Auntie Alice.  When we were there Auntie Alice would walk us down to the beach, where we used the ocean-front lanai at Prince Kuhio's home as our base.  One day a man came out, on his way to somewhere else.   I remember his mustache.  I remember that he was very nice, smiled, kissed my hand.  I was about 4 or 5 years old."

That would have been 1918-1820.  Auntie Alice Lane was a schoolmate of my grandmother's and a lifelong  close friend.  Her husband, John C Lane,  had served as a member of the Queen's Guard during the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy in 1893,  was a staunch Royalist, a supporter and personal friend of Prince Kuhio.  Using the Prince's lanai was a perfectly natural thing for Auntie Alice.  So it became a natural thing for my mother and her sister.

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