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Chapter XI

Barbers Point, Hawaii


I arrived back in Hawaii just a little over 24 hours before Margaret Ann and Patti landed there. Hawaii is a wonderful place, if you have money. Without money it can be a nightmare, however. We had to spend our first 30 days in an old enlisted ma s barracks that had been sectioned off for emergency family housing. We wanted to stay longer, but 30 days was maximum allowable stay. We moved from the old barracks to the Army Rest Camp near Waianae. Our stay there was also limited to 30 days. From there we moved into a small house in Waianae. The rent was barely affordable. Besides, we had to live somewhere. Things seemed ok until we received our first electric bill. The bill was outrageously high. It was way beyond the scope of affordability. I checked the electric meter and it was whizzing around like crazy. I asked Margaret Ann to start unplugging things while I monitored the meter. One by one we shut off everything electrical throughout the entire house, but the meter was still spinning around like crazy. Next I started tracing wires and I discovered that the landlord had tapped into my meter. I confronted the landlord about his brazen larceny, and his attitude was if I wanted to stay there I would continue paying his electric bill.

I was lucky enough to run into another sailor who was transferring off the island shortly. His family was living in a Quonset hut in a small settlement called Makalualei. This small residential settlement was right next to a Navy communications station called Lualualei. There wasn t much at Lualualei that was t off limits to everyone except those who actually worked there. Lualualei had a nice cozy movie theatre that was open to dependants and admission was only a dime.

There was t a waiting list at Makalualei either. The lease at Makalualei was tied to the furniture. Whoever bought the furniture automatically assumed the lease. Life was beginning to look good again. Our Quonset hut was cozy, not too far from N.A.S. Barbers Point, and I was finally working in my career field again. We even had a banana tree next to our Quonset hut. The tree produced a fat stubby banana, and made fruit the year around. I tried to make a vegetable garden next to the hut but gave up after my first crop. The soil was fertile, but growing vegetables such as cabbage and lettuce were impossible. The outside of the vegetable would look beautifully healthy but the inside would be a rotten mess.


Margaret Ann bought me a Christmas present when we were living at Makalualei that gave me the scare of my life. She bought me an electric drill motor kit that contained a small assortment of drills, a rotary scrub brush and a buffing wheel. In order to show Margaret Ann how pleased I was with the gift that she surprised me with, I decided to use it to wash the car. I had a 50 foot extension cord that would reach the car with cord to spare. What I failed to notice was that the motor was turned off and on by a hard­to­ reach toggle switch, and the motor had nothing even resembling a circuit breaker or a dead ma s switch. I hosed and lathered my car down and started scrubbing it with my new found toy. Washing and waxing the car wasn t Margaret Ann s thing, so she brought out a lawn chair and was sitting there watching me work. Then, as quick as a wink, the extension cord managed to get itself wrapped around the drill motor shank. I was wet from hosing and scrubbing the car, and I was grounded about as well as I could possibly be. 120 volts were running through my body, and I couldn t let go of the damn thing. I could t find the off switch. I tried to tell Margaret Ann to unplug the cord from the wall socket, but I couldn t. Words would t come out of my mouth. I was in sheer agony and


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