“Sitt yo’ butt in dat noho ‘for’ you get da puke
thrown at yo’ head, ‘lil keikei!” The woman
teacher said to me when I
arrived late for Puka Shell Bracelett shop class at
King Kamehameha elementary school in Waianae on
the island of O’ahu, Hawai’i.
The teacher then said, “How much
you bring fo’ me t’day, keikei?”
I reached into my pakekes, but I had nothing but stinking pukas,
just like the shells that we gathered from da beach
the day befor’.
“Me sorry, Hoaaloah, gotta me pukas,
natta mor’.” I said.
She scratched her chin, as if coming up with an idea.
“You bring yo’ iola t’morrow and it’d be kay kay, okay,
keikei?” she said.
“Okay.” I said.
The next day I brought my dog, Gunner, ge a good
iole. I gave the teacher a beautiful red pua also and she blush. She say,
“You a good boy, still yet, I t’ink.” and then
“Do you have an iole, too, lil keikei?”
I shook my head no and said “aole.”
“Then I bring you one tha ‘morrow and she
be good fun for you and Gunner.
I thanked her as I left.
Come again to learn dem letters an’ numbas, too, keikei. Aloha oe.”
she said and I said back to her,