OK, what da heck went happen to summatime, hah? Nowadays, kids get year-round school, so summa vacation cut short. And even den, we put ‘em in summa school, send ‘em to camp, give ‘em jobs, tell ‘em fo’ grow up and ack their age. Used to be, summatime was t’ree months long, da kids all get vacation and da whole island drop to second gear. Even if you grown up already, come da first week in June, you feel kinda carefree, li’dat. Das’ ‘cause all da energy coming loose from da kids, changing da vibes of da island. I mean, not to sound hippy-dippy, but Maui get its own spirit, its own personality, come from da mana (power) of da ‘aina, da forces of nature, and da people. Any one a dose tings change, da whole island feel ‘em.
In our hanabata days (small-kid time), summa vacation was da season of change, one rite of passage. Daddy said summatime ‘spose to be vacation, one a da perks of small-kid time, like tooth fairy money or bedtime stories and lullabies. You only get ‘em when you still yet young and cute.
First day of vacation, our school shoes go in da hand-me-down box and we get to wear rubbah slippahs every single day. No need wait until recess fo’ play marbles, milk covers, jacks, or Chinese jump rope; you can play until dark. Our parents neva worry if we stay out all day; in fack, they make us stay outside, drink wata from da hose and eat stuffs right off da trees—tangerines, Surinam cherries, and mangoes, no matta if green or ripe. Sometimes we would pick plumeria fo’ make lei, sit in front Bailey House an’ sell ’em to da tourists, fifty cents each. In August, we start fo’ get excited about going back school, ‘cause we get to go Kress Store or Ben Franklin fo’ get one new pencil box and maybe even da sixty-four-crayon box with da built-in sharpener.
Dat was da good ol’ days, when customs was more important than convenience. Maybe because we make our kids grow up too fas’, das’ why Maui stay grow too fas’ too. Maybe we gotta make new rituals for nowadays, or jus’ make time fo’ rememba da old ones. I wonda how much da tooth fairy would pay fo’ Tutu’s dentures?
Tita is the pidgin-speaking alter ego of local actress and Mana‘o Radio cofounder/DJ Kathy Collins. Both Tita and Ms. Collins grew up on Maui.