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My mother, Ann Machado Cazimero, worked as a musician for the Kodak Hula Show from the early 1950s until it closed in 2002. Back in the early years, all of us kids would go swimming while the show was going on. All the kids of the musicians hung out together and visited each other's homes from time to time.

The beachfront (what was called Sans Souci, but what is now called Kaimana Beach) was very narrow, not at all like the wide, white sandy beach that you see today. We used to walk out in the shallow water to the reef and pick limu [seaweed]. My mother taught us how to tell the good limu from the ‘rubbish’ kind. She loved lipe`epe`e, and there was plenty of this limu there. There was usually a poi pounding display during the program. After the show all the kids would scramble to get some of the taro that hadn’t been pounded yet. That was a treat for us!

 

My mother was a regular at San Souci beach, even on weekends, because she and my grandmother loved fresh limu. One day she went out to the reef in her usual garb - Japanese tabis, long loose pants and T-shirt, and a wide-brim floppy hat tied around her neck with string. Suddenly the string untied and the hat flew off her head and landed on the reef, top side down. A large uhu (red fish) jumped into her hat and frightened her. She gathered up her bucket, took the fish and went home to give it to my grandma, explaining the circumstances surrounding the catching of this fish.

My grandma told her that she had had a dream the night before about my mother catching this fish, and that it was a gift and we were to eat it. She also said that my mother could not go to the beach anymore to gather limu. Of course my mother didn't listen and went anyway. When she attempted to go into the water, the bottom of her feet started to crack and bleed. This happened several times over the next few weeks.

Finally my mother went to the doctor to find out why this was happening. The doctor said she was allergic to salt water! Of course, there was more to this story. Unfortunately, no one thought to share it with us kids. So to this day, I don't know what happened. After her trip to the doctor, she no longer went to pick limu at San Souci. And neither did we.

Lynette Cruz, 2003

Editor’s note: Hawaii’s shift to a tourist based economy has damaged Waikiki shoreline’s ecosystem in numerous ways, one of which is hotels letting their swimming pools' chlorinated water run into the ocean. This would either kill the seaweed growing on the shore or make them inedible.