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Thread: Storytime

  1. #11
    STORYTIME: The Coconut-seed Family

    STORYTIME: The Coconut-seed Family

    The Coconut-seed Family

    When Dad was a kid, Dad was told the story of Johnny Appleseed. He was about eight years old. He read the stories, and had conversations about them with his family. He's not quite sure who came up with the idea of applying this idea to coconuts, but it was someone in the family, probably one of the kids. So his Dad, Grandpa Robert, taught them how to plant coconuts.

    Coconuts are three-sided. When you plant them, you generally put them on the ground so they’re slightly submerged, with the flat side down, and the more angular, slightly curved sides up. About 2/3 of the nut is above ground, and 1/3 below.

    Then they planted coconuts in this fashion all throughout the Keaukaha district. These were family-oriented adventures that extended into Puna. Dad's not sure how much his mother, Grandma Helen, participated, tho he's sure she did. It was mainly the five kids and his Dad.

    Years later, while he was teaching at the university (The University of Hawai’i at Hilo, where Dad taught biology), a student came up to him, and said “The tsunami must have extended further into Keaukaha than we realized, because of all the coconut plants in the area.”

    Now Dad thought ‘You came to the right person to hear this.’ Then he told them how his family went out and planted coconut trees.

  2. #12
    STORYTIME: Dad on the Blister Rust Control/Dad, Practical Joker

    STORYTIME: Dad on the Blister Rust Control/Dad, Practical Joker

    I have a story that fits two files of similar stories at once. It happened while Dad was in the Blister Rust Control, so it fits that. It involves pranks, so it fits with the practical jokes, too. {Smile}

    I hope you like it. {Smile}

    Pranking the Prankster

    I went to visit my Grandmother Shiras in San Jose before I went to the Blister Rust Control. She was very happy to see me. She said “I have something to show you,” and she took out a bottle about 4 inches high. It was a bottle of very concentrated incense, and it was very feminine. She gave it to me, and she said, “I don’t care who you give it to, but don’t just throw it away.”

    I took the bottle from her. At room temperature you didn’t smell it much. It had an odor – a very floral odor, and definitely feminine – but it wasn’t very pronounced. I said “Who will I ever give this to?” But I was off to the Blister Rust Control, so I took it along with me.

    Well, at the Blister Rust Control, there was one fellow in camp who loved to play practical jokes on everyone, and not the nice, harmless kind. His favorite was going around from tent to tent, putting pieces of rubber tire on everybody’s heating stoves to make it stink up the tent.

    I and everyone else in camp put up with it for a time, but eventually, enough got to be enough.

    One day, everything fell in place just right. I took the little bottle of mixed incenses my grandmother had given me, and put it in my pocket. Then I went over to the prankster’s tent, and went inside.

    The prankster came into the tent, and said loudly, “I know what you’re up to. You’re trying to stink up all our stoves!” But that was what he was doing. He was trying to stink up all our stove, and then he was blaming us for it, when he was the one who actually did it.

    Quite a crowd of people had gathered round them by that point.

    I had the bottle of incense in one hand, having set everything else down. The prankster grabbed my hand, and wrestled with me for a moment.

    Then the prankster sat down on his bed, bursting a condom full of water that someone else had hidden there, and soaking all the bedding. He leapt up, and said accusingly “I know what you were going to do. You were going to take this, and stink up my place with this condom.”

    “No, I hadn’t planned on doing that.” I was really mad at him. I quickly grabbed the bottle of incense, opened it up, and dumped it out on his stove.

    His place really stank up with ladies perfume. Oh, he was really mad, but he didn’t put any more rubber on anybody else’s stove.

    Interestingly enough, the prankster’s tent-mate didn’t seem particularly upset with Dad, despite the stinky stove. Dad suspects he was fed up with his tent-mate’s jokes, too.

  3. #13
    STORYTIME: Dad and the Tornado

    STORYTIME: Dad and the Tornado

    Dad and the Tornado

    This happened in Pittsburg, Kansas, and involves Ray Anderson, a friend who particularly influenced Dad, his outlook, and the way he relates to others. {Smile}

    Ray Anderson was moving from The Methodist Student Center to another place. Ray heard that a storm was coming, so he asked me to go over to his new place and close up the windows almost all the way.

    So I went over there, and did exactly what Ray asked him to. I closed all the windows 7/8ths shut. Then I wanted to go back to Ray. I got in the car, and shut the windows almost all the way. I was going down the street, by some young maples that had just been planted to replace the elms, which had died of Dutch elm disease. The wind was blowing so hard, the maple trees were bent over, and were brushing the sidewalk with their tops.

    There was a spell of intense wind – the tornado – that picked up my car. For a while, I turned the steering wheel, and it turned very freely, so there was no contact with the street. The car rose up off three wheels, so only a non-steering wheel had contact. Then the car went back down to the street, and ran right into the curb. The tornado had turned the car ninety degrees.

    Then I got out of the car, since I was at Ray Anderson’s at that point. I went into the house. Ray was so happy to see me, because he was afraid I had been hit by the tornado. Ray wanted to know all the events, so I told him.

    Afterwards, I drove around for quite a while with my brakes engaged, trying to dry them out, because the tornado had driven water up into the brakes. When the brakes began to engage again, I went home and went to bed for the night.

  4. #14


    I am collecting family stories. Currently, I am concentrating on my Dad's stories, because he's sick enough in a nursing home, time is a concern. Plus, he has quite a lot of them. However, my Mom and an aunt have contributed stories as well. So this thread is a collection of stories from real life. If anyone else would like to contribute a story, please feel free. Or if you'd just like to respond to one, please do.

  5. #15
    Dad on the Blister Rust Control: A Bad Snake

    Dad came up over a hill, and saw two others in the Blister Rust Control trying to kill this rattlesnake. It was a hot afternoon, so the snake was really active. There were several other men standing around, back a ways, watching. The snake was attacking the two men one after another, back and forth. He was a good, long snake. You really had to watch that snake every second. He’d attack one, then turn around and attack the other in the next second.

    Then the snake turned around and attacked Dad while he was standing back with his mattock in his hand. So he joined them in fighting the snake. They just had to keep at him, with two attacking while one would rest. Between the three of them, they did get him eventually.
    Last edited by Anne Elizabeth Baldwin; 03-12-2017 at 01:15 AM.

  6. #16
    Dad on the Blister Rust Control: Rain

    There was only one rainy day in all three summers Dad was in the Sierras, on the Blister Rust Control.

    Dad woke up one morning in July in the second summer. All the needles of most of the pines had beads of water along them, about an inch or so apart along their six to seven inch length. The sugar pines were different. Their needles were shorter, but there were more per bunch. Dad thought it was beautiful. He looked out, and all the trees were sparkling.

  7. #17
    Not quite all the stories I'm collecting are about Dad. This one is about Mom and her next-oldest sister.

    Mom and Aunt Marjorie visited California

    A story gathered from the memories of Elizabeth Mae Marcallino Baldwin (Mom), and Marjorie Marcallino (Aunt Marjorie). It also features Mae Dobson Marcallino (Grandma) and Valentine “Val” Marcallino (Grandfather).

    The plantation Grandfather worked for gave upper echelon workers a 3-4 month vacation if they left the Territory of Hawai’i. Grandfather qualified as the sugar chemist, so he and Grandma took Aunt Marjorie and Mom when my aunt was 9 and Mom was 11, which was roughly two years before Aunt Valerie was born.

    Their headquarters for the trip was the Hotel California in San Francisco. There, Grandmother liked to explore the stores. Grandfather didn't, so she'd take my Mom and Aunt Marjorie with her. She kept getting lost on her way back to the hotel, so Grandfather made Mom and Aunt Marjorie memorize the names of the streets. Aunt Marjorie can still recite Kearney Grant Stockton Powell Mason Taylor Jones Leavenworth Hyde Larkin Polk Van Ness.

    They drove from San Francisco up to Vancouver and Victoria, which took days and days. Legal speed limits were much lower than they are now. Aunt Marjorie was very susceptible to motion sickness, and got carsick every day. So their father bribed Marjorie: if she didn’t complain during the day, she could pick dinner each night. She complied… and discovered lobster the first night out. She had never had it before. She loved it, so she asked for lobster every night as her reward for not complaining about her car sickness.

    That meant going to a lot of restaurants that specialized in fish. Mom has never been at all fond of fish. In fact, she’s been consistent about wanting to avoid it. She will eat shellfish like shrimp and lobster, but even then, every night was a bit much. So one night, she searched all over the menu for something else…

    …and found an omelet. It could be ordered plain, as well as with assorted seafood. With the omelet the only non-seafood available, that’s what she ordered. The waiter was beside himself. A plain omelet? Just plain eggs? In his establishment? With all the fine seafood available? She wanted plain eggs?

    Yes, she did. She insisted. Her parents weren’t particularly surprised, either. Only the waiter was upset… but boy, was he! {Smile}

    They also went to Yosemite during their stay on the Mainland. They spent the night at the famous hotel there. When they left in the morning, it was very cold, and a hotel worker poured boiling water into the car's water tank so it wouldn't be frozen. Mom and Aunt Marjorie saw their first snow there. There was a little patch beside the road, and Grandfather stopped the car so they could touch it.

    There were no airlines flying between Hawaii and the Mainland so they traveled by ocean liner, the Lurline one way and the Matsonia the other. Aunt Marjorie, of course, was seasick most of the time, while everyone else was enjoying the wonderful food and amenities. However, on the way home they ran into a typhoon. Passengers were confined to their cabins. The stewards brought trays with chicken sandwiches and apples. Someone dropped an apple and Aunt Marjorie remembers it rolling back and forth on the floor. The ship was rocking so badly, everyone was miserable. Aunt Marjorie laid in her berth and was secretly glad that for once, the others knew how she felt throughout the trip.
    Last edited by Anne Elizabeth Baldwin; 03-13-2017 at 12:20 AM.

  8. #18
    Dad on the Blister Rust Control: Oops!

    One day, Dad was digging out gooseberry bushes with a mattock. The bushes were growing near some rocks, and when the mattock hit to rocks, it sparked. Some of the sparks started a fire. Dad quickly dumped his canteen on it. He used half his drinking water for the day. That meant he was thirsty later, because they didn’t give extra water. Still, he did put out the fire before it could spread.

  9. #19
    Those are a lot of great memories! I chuckled aloud at the stove story. It's pretty amazing that the coconut plants are still there!
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  10. #20
    {Chuckle} The stove story is particularly funny, isn't it?

    Yes, the coconuts are still there. I suspect they have children, grandchildren, etc. now, too.

    I'm glad you're enjoying them. Sometimes I wonder how many do.
    Last edited by Anne Elizabeth Baldwin; 03-14-2017 at 02:07 AM.

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