Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 20, 2022

Aupuni 3 2022

Yandra, although not a member of the family, made herself worthwhile to mom in every way she could without being too much in her hair.

I know mom appreciated that a lot. As a way of getting to know Yandra beyond the fact that she was my girlfriend, Jana and Jen came over and hung out with her or took her places to go eat and shop. Those three were thick as thieves in a very short time, which was a significant relief for me because, typically, my sisters were very stand-offish when it came to any girlfriends my brothers or I brought him. More so, myself since I'm the youngest. By Monday, Yandra had to fly back to Miami but not before telling me that she was surprised to see that there was a Wells Fargo here in Honolulu. 

"It feels like after you're done learning what we need to from your mom, you may not end up coming back. But I think I could move here and be with you since there's a branch of my office here in town," she said. "What do you think?"

In less than a month, Yandra was back, and we found a nice for now-ish kind of place in town near the University. The drive to mom's house was less than ten or fifteen minutes, depending on the traffic. The first night I sat with mom, Yandra sat off in the kitchen or mom's room, where she would offer Yandra her laptop or watch TV. If not, Yandra would drift over to the kitchen table and do some reading. It was 8 pm when I sat on the floor and made myself comfortable. I had a thick notepad and a pen, and I was ready. Mom and I prayed together in Hawaiian before we began, and when she opened her eyes, she said to me, "What is that?" 

"What?" I didn't know what she'd meant, and usually here in Hawai'i, you don't reply to a question from your parents with, 'what?' That's cause for an automatic ass-whupping.

"Those things in your hands," she confirmed. "What is that?"

"Oh," I chuckled. "Pen and a notepad; I'm gonna take notes."

"No," she smirked. "No pen, no paper. I talk, you listen, and each night after we are done, you will repeat everything back to me."

She wasn't kidding. No matter how long the lesson took or how short a lesson might have been, in the end, I had to orally repeat everything back to my mom. So that was the course of learning for three years, every night. No breaks, no holidays. "Why don't we take notes?"

"Some things, we write down for posterity, like our moʻokūʻauhau; our genealogy. For those things, we write down family stories, how a parcel of land came into our family, how our land was stolen, or where our ancestors are buried. For those things, notations are important. But, notations cannot be done for what you and I are doing because if your notes fall into the wrong hands, they can be used for mercenary purposes. They can be exploited, and some non-Hawaiian person will take credit for what belongs to us, so, no notes," she said. "You keep what I tell you in your mind and your heart; that is something no one can steal from you because that is something only you can teach it when the time is right."

That was my first official lesson of the night. There was more, of course, as the night went on, but man, what a way to start off.


...to be continued



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