Jun 16, 2023

Seven Hours Of Bad Home Movies

These are the home videos from the tapes that I was talking about yesterday of my family's trip to Hawaii in June and July 1988.  Now I know that no one in this world, including my friends and family, are ever going watch someone's home video from 35 years ago.  You wouldn't want to see this even if it was in pristine condition and shot by someone who knows what they're doing, let alone to endure over six hours of static, dizzying pans, bad jokes, muffled audio, and random moments when the VCR started to eat the tape.  It's not interesting to anybody in this world except for myself, so my advice to you is to back away now before I channel my inner Patty and Selma.


Ok... you asked for it.

Here goes...

This tape begins on June 15, 1988 at the Chicago O'Hare Airport and picks up after we've landed on Oahu and gotten checked into our room at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki.

Next up is the four of us at Nuʻuanu Pali - the cliff of the Koʻolau Mountain, which is what remains of an ancient volcano that first erupted over 2.5 million years ago.  The cliff overlooks Kāneʻohe, Kāneʻohe Bay, and Kailua.  It's also the site of The Battle of Nuʻuanu, in which the future King of Hawaii, Kamehameha I, led his army against the army of Oahu's King Kalanikūpule.  The Oahu army was pushed back through the Nuʻuanu Valley to the cliffs at Nuʻuanu Pali, at which point they either jumped or were pushed off of the 1,000 foot cliff.  It was reported that construction workers who were building the Pali Road discovered 800 skulls which were believed to be the remains of the warriors that fell to their death at The Battle of Nuʻuanu.  The area is extremely windy.  You have to plant your feet at times to keep from being blown over, as Pop Pop nearly was while we were there.

After that is a few minutes of the four of us at Makapu'u Beach on the eastern side of Oahu, and it ends with our trip to the Honolulu Zoo, which is the first time that I've ever been to a zoo.  

Pop Pop was a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Class of 1948, and this tape is different events from their class reunion.  I'm not sure where the first event in this video was filmed, but the second one was in the Kekuhaupi'o Gym.  After leaving the gym, Pop Pop filmed the Kamehameha School chapel and both inside and outside of the Heritage House.

Next is another class reunion event from a different day (either late June or early July 1988), but I'm not sure where it was.  Fun side note: If you listen closely toward the end of the tape, you'll hear my grandmother threaten to "kick my face in" if I keep making noise while she is trying to record.  I heard so many threats like this from Mom Mom, Pop Pop and my mother throughout this trip that I barely took notice.

Most of the information I have on this is from the VHS tape label.  This all happened 35 years ago when I was just a few days shy of my 8th birthday, so my memories of these events is fuzzy at best.  I'm not sure who in this recording is related to Pop Pop, but I'm assuming that some of them are.

The tape label said:
1. Picnic At Duttie's
2. Logan's Son's Wedding (Bula and Kelly)
3. Picnic At Elmer's

In the first few seconds of the tape, my grandmother asks my mother where I am and she told her that I was at the beach (these folks had a beach and the Pacific Ocean literally in their back yard).  I do have a memory of this because I almost drown in the ocean, and one of the other kids saved me.  I never told anybody about that, so only me and this kid know that it happened.

This video was taken on July 1st 1988.  The only reason that I remember the exact date of this one is because my family brought me to Sea Life Park in Waimānalo as a present for my 8th birthday.  This was the first time I'd ever been to an aquarium and I had a great time.  You've seen parts of the park if you've ever watched the 2004 Adam Sandler / Drew Barrymore romantic comedy 50 First Dates.  It's where Adam Sandler's character works in the film.

This video starts off in Oahu on the Old Pali Road where we took turns swinging off of vines, and where Mom Mom fell down in the process.

The footage then picks up in Kona on The Big Island.  We're staying at a villa, but I don't know what it's called.  Mom Mom mentions the name of it after she's finished filming the ducks.  It sounds like she's calling it the "Intag Court", but I don't think that's right.  I tried to search on Google for something, but nothing came up under "Intag", and you get a million results when looking for words like Kona, Villa and Court.  After that, we stop at Mokuaikaua Church (Hawaii's first Christian church) and Huliheʻe Palace, both of which are in Kona.  The video ends at a luau that I believe is at Pop Pop's brother's house.

The next clip is at Waikoloa Villa right after we had breakfast.  I believe this part was filmed in the last week of June 1988, but it could have been the first week of July.  We then went to see the Kīlauea volcano, the sulfur pits, and through the Thurston Lava Tube to a garden and a small island that Mom Mom and Pop Pop used to bring my Uncle Kuana to when he was a baby.  We also visited Rainbow Falls and Punaluʻu Beach (Black Sand Beach), and explored the volcano.

The footage then picks up back on Oahu at the Halona Blowhole and Hanauma Bay, and  there's a few seconds of us with Don Ho.  He's related to Pop Pop somehow, but if it was ever clearly explained to me how they are related, I've forgotten.  I think they were cousins, but I can't say for sure because my maternal side of the family had a habit of calling lots of different folks Aunt and Uncle who were not at all related to us.  Hell, I was taught to call our next door neighbors Aunt and Uncle when we lived in the house on First Street in Hazleton back in 1988. Anyway, we called Don Ho "Uncle Quack" in the family (again, I'm not sure why).

The last 13 minutes of this tape are in pretty rough shape.  There's a shot of Mokoliʻi, which Mom Mom (my grandmother) refers to as Chinaman's Hat, followed by some footage of the back of the passenger seat of our rental car when my grandmother didn't know she was recording.  She's trying to apologize to me at this point by saying "How many times did I threaten to kill you... 75?  You know I'd never hurt you."  Yeah, Mom Mom... I knew.  I was a hell of a lot to handle at that age, during a time when they didn't really know what Autistic Spectral Disorder was, so the fact that they didn't chuck me into the volcano is a credit to their love and patience.

Pop Pop pulled over the car so that Mom Mom could get a shot of the Crouching Lion rock formation (while my mother complained that she's "getting it from the ass end").  Next is a quick shot of the Mormon Temple (my maternal grandparents, and a lot of the members of my family on my mother's side are Mormon).  This part was filmed on July 4th, 1988 when we were on the way to the Polynesian Cultural Center.  I'm not sure if this was the same day or a different day from the Chinaman's Hat and Crouching Lion footage.

Next is a couple of minutes of footage from the Polynesian Cultural Center.  My grandmother must have either been asked to stop recording or was running very low on tape space, because there isn't too much footage of this, and it's exactly the kind of thing she would normally film as much as she possibly could.  After that is about a minute at Pop Pop's mother's grave.  She was born Julia Kaonohi Hipa on January 17, 1893.  Her name was Julia Kaonohi Tom when she was married to Pop Pop's father.  When she passed away on February 28th, 1949, her name was Julia Kaonohi Hipa Lovell, having taken the last name of her second husband.

There's a few minutes at Pop Pop's brother's house.  His name, and his son's name (Pop Pop's nephew) is Thomas Tom (or "Tom Tom").  You can see me on the living room floor for just a few seconds.  I remember this well because I was playing video games with my cousin Danny, and it was the first time I had ever played (or even seen) a Sega Master System.  We were playing a game called Great Baseball, which had just come out the year before.

The last few seconds is us at the airport on our last day in Hawaii as we were coming back home to Pennsylvania.  One of Pop Pop's sisters saw us off, but I can't remember which one (Mom Mom just referred to her as Auntie on the tape, which is what we called all of our Aunts).

Well, that's the end, and if you watched all of these videos, now might be a good time to research a good therapist to help you understand why you spent seven hours of your life watching home videos from 35 years ago from some random middle-aged nerd on a mediocre blog.  If you start seeing hula girls in the ink blot test, you can totally blame me.