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Sharing Mana‘o

Recently, a friend commented that a byproduct of COVID-19 seems to be more time spent “wallowing in the past.” Regular readers of this column know that, even before the pandemic gave us excess leisure time, I’ve always been the wallowing type. But I prefer to think of it as honoring our past.

Now, with Thanksgiving Day approaching, I’d like to express my gratitude to those who not only honor our history, but work to preserve it with the goal of bettering our future.

The Nisei Veterans Memorial Center envisions a community where all people act selflessly for the greater good. Its mission is to ignite human potential by inspiring people to find the hero in themselves through the legacy of the nisei veterans. Through exhibits, workshops and lectures, the center offers educational opportunities both in person and virtual. Go to nvmc.org for information on these events and activities, as well as the current online auction, which ends Saturday.

The Maui Historical Society is committed to preserving and sharing the history of Maui and, like the veterans center, has had to adjust to pandemic protocols. Happily, after more than a year of COVID-induced shutdown, Hale Ho’ike’ike at the Bailey House, has reopened for in-person visits. Current museum and gift shop hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In keeping with COVID-19 precautions, visitors are urged to schedule appointments online at mauimuseum.org. The hourly slots are limited to 10 people and all are required to wear masks while inside the museum and gift shop. The website also features virtual tours and shopping.

While best known as the operator of Hale Ho’ike’ike, the historical society also collaborates with organizations and individuals in other ways. Its extensive archive, an invaluable community resource, is currently closed due to the pandemic, but some of its records are available online.

Several photos from the archive appear in the “Historical Photographs of Saint Anthony Church & School and Community 2022 Calendar,” which is now available for purchase while supplies last. Researched and assembled by Ron and Leola Muromoto, this marvelous publication includes information and images dating back to the 1880s. My favorite photos are an 1886 view of Wailuku town and a 1940s snapshot of servicemen hanging out at Frankie and Johnnie’s Lunch Counter on the corner of Market and Vineyard Streets. In that photo, several soldiers are getting shoeshines from a trio of local boys who, I imagine, might have returned to that building a couple of decades later for their wedding tuxedos, when it became Gilbert’s Men’s Formal Wear.

The calendar may be purchased for $18 at the church office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the St. Anthony Church Building Fund.

Lastly, I want to thank Maui Matsuri for giving our Japanese community the opportunity to honor our ancestors with a bon dance this weekend. For the past two summers, the traditional Obon festivals were cancelled, another COVID casualty.

Presented by the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui, Maui Matsuri is usually held in May, on the UH-MC campus. But, as co-chairperson Jennifer Sumida explained, “… it has been nearly two years since we were last able to enjoy the Japanese cultural festivities … Before the end of the year, we wanted the community to have an opportunity to honor their ancestors — and especially those who we’ve lost over the last two years.”

The 20th annual Maui Matsuri will be held at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center Friday and Saturday evenings. International Culture Night, 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, will feature multicultural entertainment and fashions. Saturday’s festivities, from 3 to 8 p.m., will include Japanese entertainment, martial arts demonstrations, a cosplay showcase and two bon dance sessions. Because of pandemic restrictions, participation in the bon dance is limited, so preregistration is required. Go to mauimatsuri.com to secure your place.

* Kathy Collins is a radio personality (The Buzz 107.5 FM and KEWE 97.9 FM/1240 AM), storyteller, actress, emcee and freelance writer whose “Sharing Mana’o” column appears every other Wednesday. Her e-mail address is kcmaui913@gmail.com.

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