Maui Girl

These stories from Donna Austin come from her rich Maui history and heritage.

01 August 2006

Sandwich Islands: Story One

She looked like a country girl, tall, apple cheeked, dressed in a coarse unbleached cotton dress, her long wavy chestnut hair trailing below her waist. She walked tall and proud, feet bare,coming from her school in Hana, her bare feet, making footprints in the red powdery dirt. She was feeling light hearted because school was over and her home was just around the bend.
“Rose! Rose is coming!” echoed her brothers and sisters glad voices, as they ran up the dirt road to greet her. “How was school today, Rose? Did you learn any new stories to tell us?” Their upturned eager bronzed faces glowed with inner joy as they scrambled along holding her hands, her skirts or her books.
Rose laughed and answered, “Not today, but I know a true story I’ll tell you later after we’ve done our chores for MaeMãe (mother).”
“What is it about? Is it funny or sad?” chorused the boys and girls. “Is it about the sea again?”
“Yes, it’s about the sea, but there is a parrot in the story too!” she said as she walked up the steps of the wooden clapboard house. “Mãe, a sua benção (mother bless me)” she called. Then she reached out and took her mother’s tired worn hands and kissed them.
Her mother traced the sign of the cross on Rose’s brow and said, “Deus te abençoeabençôe (God bless you)” After kissing her daughter she asked, “How was school today? Did you learn something useful? Do you have homework?”
“Of course mother, there is so much to learn and not enough time to absorb it all. Did you know Mae,Mãe, that the Hawaiian Islands were once called the Sandwich Islands? Wasn’t that a funny name for them?”
Her mother’s round jolly face mirrored her astonishment, as her other children curiously clustered around her. “Sandwich Islands?
I don’t believe it! (Samweech! Zha não believe!) The islands don’t look like samweeches to me.”
Shaking her head and smiling, Rose said, “It’s true, Captain James Cook came from England and he was the first white man to discover these islands in 1789. He named the islands after his friend the Earl of Sandwich and not because they looked like sandwiches. Captain Cook was killed in Hawaii just a year later in 1779 in a native uprising. Now isn’t that something? I love history, it is fascinating!” Rose said.
“Yes,” her mother agreed, “It is interesting alright, but it doesn’t get the bread baked, the supper fixed or the children bathed so let’s get started. I’m glad you’re home because I can use your help and enjoy your entertainment as well.”

2 Comments:

Anonymous nicol lea said...

Donna, I am excited to be reading your story and find so much feelings in the words you use. I am transported to each setting as I am reading each page. I am looking forward to the next page!
With Love, Nicol Lea

9:58 AM  
Blogger © CAMERAMAN METALICO said...

My english is not so good, but I like your writings...
Antonio Melao (Lisbon - Portugal)

9:57 AM  

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