Circles and Colorization

Learning photo editing has been and continues to be an adventure. As you know, I decided to learn GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) so I could design my own eBook and paperback book covers.

My two latest projects are learning to wrap text around a circle and colorizing  black and white photographs. Text around a circle could make for an interesting effect on a cover. And I have several black and white photos from the Library of Congress that I am considering using as book covers. 

Prior to the mid-1940s, photos were black and white. Color was hand painted on a print of the photograph. This was an involved and time-consuming process. Now, of course, with computers and programs such as Photoshop and GIMP, colorizing has become computerized.

I designed this book cover using a photograph from Pixabay and text that wrapped around a circle.

I practiced colorization with a photo from The Library of Congress. This is the black and white photo.

This is my colorized version.

Next, I colorized my grandparents’ wedding photograph. These are my mother’s parents. The first photo is the “before” picture (in sepia). The second is my colorized photograph.

When I decided to learn photo editing, never in my wildest dreams did I envision myself learning photo colorization.

The information on colorization is from The History of Photo Colorization.

The source for the photo from the Library of Congress is Digital ID: (digital file from original) bellcm 20124, Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-bellcm-20124 (digital file from original), Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA This is the link.

The Progress of Image Manipulation

As you may know from other pages and posts on my website, I learned GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) so I could design my own book covers. I wanted to show the process – the steps that I took to create my latest project, an illustration for one of my upcoming novels. I started with this photo from Pixabay.

Then I added the heroine. I found her on Pixabay as well.

And then came all the luggage she’s brought with her on her cross-country train trip to visit her cousin. I brought in her luggage one photo at a time.

And here we have the final stack luggage added.

The house, the heroine and all of the luggage were on Pixabay. It’s a free stock photo site. So, now you see the creative process of using “layers.” The house, the woman and each picture of luggage is a “layer.” If I were to add text to this image, the text would be another layer.

Once again, the photo-editing program I’m using is GNU Image Maniuplation Program and it is free. There was definitely a learning curve with this program. I put in many hours into learning it over a month’s time period. There are many tutorials on YouTube. To me, the time I spent is worth it because I now have the skill to create my own book covers. I figured I’d have to pay to have my book covers created one way or another. I could either hire a freelance cover designer and pay with money or I could pay in the time and effort it took to learn how to do it myself. I chose to learn how to do it myself.

The Value of Service Providers

Before I decided to self-publish, if anyone had told me how much work it is  in addition to writing,  I may have continued in my attempts to secure a literary agent in an effort to traditionally publish through a publisher. After self publishing for almost a year, I now have new appreciation for the freelancers who offer editing, formatting,  cover-design and tax preparation  services to self-published authors. All of these services take much time and effort.

I learned to do  everything, but still use the services of a freelance editor because even though I edit and revise numerous times, we never catch everything when it comes to our own writing. We writers know what we meant to write, what the story’s supposed to be – and that’s often what we read, so we miss things that don’t “jive” with that.

But I do everything else myself. I format my manuscript for eBook and paperback publication. I publish with Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon. And I learned photo editing to create my own book covers. It took a month and a half for me to learn and get comfortable with photo editing. I just did an illustration in which I put the image of a woman into a backdrop and then put another woman’s face on her body – the face of the character in my pending story. Admittedly, putting another face on a body was new for me so it probably took longer than it would have if I’d done this before, but it took two and a half hours to accomplish this and it’s still not quite as professional looking as I would like it to be. So, I’ll be working on it some more. 

Oh, and I also prepare my own  state and federal taxes. However, I worked for the Hawaii State Department of Taxation for fifteen years, so I have to admit that I had the background to be able to do my own taxes. If I hadn’t had this experience, taxes would not have been easy for me to catch on to it.

Hiring those who provide services can run into quite a bit of money, but good formatters, editors, cover designers and tax preparers earn every penny they charge. But my experience in self publishing has taught me that I like being able to do as much of the process as possible; I like the control and enjoy the creativity.. 

Here is the image that took two hours and twenty-five minutes to create. The Library of Congress photo of the barber shop is one layer. The woman’s body is another layer and her face is the third layer. For the face, I took another image, cut the face out, brought it into the barber-shop image and then had to scale it down to fit the woman’s body. As with each new project I take on, I learned a great deal and reinforced other things I had learned.

This next image took me an hour and fifty minutes to create. Again, it’s three “Layers.” They are: 1. the barber shop; 2 the the woman’s body; and 3. the woman’s face (which I cut from another image).The woman’s body and the face had to be scaled so they fit in the barber shop and the face had to be scaled so it fit the body.

The story that these illustrations will go with is one set in the late 1800s in which the man female character learns to be a barber.

My journey in self publishing has given me a new appreciation for all the skilled people who offer their time and knowledge to all of us.

Teachers, attorneys, doctors, caregivers, janitors, food service workers – all of those who make our lives better deserve to be valued and paid a wage they can live on without having to resort to two and three jobs.

When Learning is an Adventure

I’ve never been so busy as I have been since where we could go was restricted by COVID-19. First, I learned how to self publish on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). With tutorials, many of them on YouTube, I learned how to format my manuscripts for eBooks and paperback books and how to design my book covers using Kindle’s Cover Create.

The next thing I learned how to do was copyright my manuscripts and also some of my photographs that I use in my cover designs. I learned this with tutorials on YouTube as well.

Knowing that I’d need an author website, I decided to learn how to create a website in WordPress. I learned this reading a book – WordPress to Go bay Sarah McHarry.

After taking a workshop on self publishing, I decided I wanted more flexibility in designing my own book covers than what’s possible with KDP. Not that KDP’s Cover Create isn’t wonderful; I designed some very nice covers with it. But the user is restricted in where she or he can place the text on the covers.

The workshop’s instructor said she uses GNU Image Maniuplation Program (GIMP). Like Photoshop, it’s a photo editing program. Unlike Photoshop, it’s free. So, I decided I wanted to learn this program. The instructor told me there was a steep learning curve, but I was certain I could learn. And if by some chance, I found it too difficult, so what? It’s free.

Well, guess what? There was a learning curve. During the first week I struggled with the program there were many times I wanted to give up. But when I wasn’t thinking I wanted to give up, I was thinking that I didn’t want to pay someone to design my book covers if I didn’t have to.

By the second week, it got a little easier and by this time, I was too invested in it to give up. I’d spent a lot of time learning what I’d learned up to this point.

By the third week, I was doing pretty well. If any of you reading this blog want to try it, believe me, as you get familiar with it, it does gate better. You’’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with it.

Again, I watched many tutorials on YouTube.

If any of you are curious as to where I’ve found the images that I use, I’ve found many of them on Pixabay. All of the images are in the public domain and all are free to use. Some of the photos I use are from the Library of Congress and some of them are photos that I took.

Here are some of the items I created.

This is Main Street. When working in GIMP, like Photoshope, you work in “layers.” There are six layers in this image: 1. the background with the sky and mountains, 2. most of the buildings, 3. the Assay Office, 4, the boardwalk, 5, the galloping horse with the rider, and 6. the other horse and cowboy. Each layer must be scaled so it fits with the other layers.

The next image, Woman in Butterfly Frame is two layers – the woman’s portrait and the frame. The portrait had to be scaled so it fit in the oval opening.

The next image is a greeting card. I took the photo of the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Fort Street Mall in Honolulu, Hawaii. I then created a template in GIMP for the greeting card and then added the cathedral as a layer. The wording on the back of the card is another layer.

For this greeting card there are four layers: the template, the image on the front, the text in the image (“Thinking of You”), and the text on the back.

This birthday card was easy. The image already I used for the front of the card had the words and artwork in it. I just added it to the template as a layer and moved it into the correct position. Then I added the text on the back of the card. With the “Color Picker” tool, I copied the green in the image and put it into template background so the entire card would be the same color. So, there are three layers in this image – the template, the image and the text on the back.

Last but certainly not least, this is my God son Gabriel. This image is two layers: the photo of Gabriel and the image with the picture frame and the flowers on the desk. I positioned the layer with Gabriel’s photo behind the image with the picture frame. The center of the frame is “transparent” so whatever is behind it shows through.

And there we have it. I began my journey learning the GNU Image Manipulation Program on May 16, 2021. I don’t know how to do everything this program can do, but I’ve come a long way from when I started. It’s been an adventure. Now, I can design my own book covers!

King Kamehameha Day

On December 27, 1871, the Hawaiian Gazette published the following item:

BY AUTHORITY:  King Kamehameha V, on December 22, 1871, at Iolani Palace, Honolulu, proclaims Kamehameha Day, to be held in honor of his grandfather and predecessor, Kamehameha I, founder of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

The first observation of King Kamehameha Day was held on June 11, 1872. According to Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate’s recount of the history, “Early celebrations of Kamehameha Day featured carnivals, fairs, and lots of racing – foot races, horse races and even velocipede races.” Over the years, the events became more elaborate.

These days, those of us familiar with the tradition think of the lei draping of the King Kamehameha Statue and the parade with the pa’u riders. The King Kamehameha Hula Competition attracts hula halau (groups/schools) from all over the world.

The 2021 King Kamehameha Festival has been canceled, but we look forward to the event in 2021. To keep up with the news of the Festival and to read further about the history, visit the King Kamehameha Festival website by clicking HERE

Visit the King Kamehameha Hula Competition’s Facebook Page by clicking HERE.

King Kamehameha Statue, Hawaii State Archives. Year not speicifed.
King Kamehameha Day Celebration, year not specified.. Hawaii State Archives.
Joe Medeiros standing vigil at the King Kamahameha Statue, waiting for his King to come to life and step down from the pedestal. Hawaii State Archives. Year not specified.
King Kamehameha Day Parade on Bishop Street heading toward Honolulu Harbor.. The procession of what looks like a Hawaiian Civic Club is passing the Alexander Young Hotel. Hawaii State Archives. There was no information as to what year this photo was taken or who the people were in the procession.

You Can Succeed!

It’s a challenge to learn something entirely new. Something you’re not familiar with and have nothing to relate it to. But each new task gets easier the more familiar it becomes. It really does.  

Knowledge is learned. Skills can be learned and practiced. If you pursue them enough, the tasks that you do with this knowledge and these skills become easier because the knowledge and skills become more familiar. With the acquired knowledge and skill, you gain an understanding of the task at hand. There’s that “Ah-hah” moment when things click into place and you get it. 

 A year ago, I was pursuing being traditionally published. I had no desire to be self published. No way was I going to hassle with that! I had no idea that in a few short months, I would decide to ignore my fear and learn how to self publish on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing. 

There was a learning curve. There’s a great deal of information that must be navigated. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has very thorough directions on its website. There are also numerous tutorials on YouTube on how to publish on Amazon with KDP. There is also a myriad of information on the internet that’s posted by not only KDP, but other people and companies advising the reader how to publish through KDP.  With perseverance, I was able to navigate through this. I started with video tutorials that were put on YouTube by KDP. Then as I used KDP to publish, when I got stuck, I “Googled” my question. My searches brought many, many responses. I chose the items that were from KDP. 

The tutorials gave me a good foundation and then I learned as I went along. It gets easier as you go, as you get more familiar with the process. On March 26, 2021, I published my sixth book in Kindle format to Amazon through KDP. I sailed through Kindle Create and my book turned out looking just the way I wanted it to look. Kindle Create formats your manuscript for Kindle. I also learned to use KDP’s  Cover Create, which assists authors in designing their book covers. Again, following tutorials, I learned how to format my manuscripts in Word and publish my books as paperbacks on Amazon.

It took time, but I did it. These are skills; skills can be learned and practiced.

Early on in this endeavor, I decided to register my writing with the Copyright Office. Again I used tutorials on YoutTube. I used the tutorials that the Copyright Office has on YouTube, although tutorials that people not affiliated with the Copyright Office are there as well, both on YouTube and in written format on the internet.

The last thing I wanted was a website. Initially, I was going to pay someone to design one for me. I’d had a book on WordPress for beginners for some time, but had put it aside. Fear that I couldn’t do it had gotten the best of me. But, then I thought, “I learned how to use KDP and I learned how to copyright my writing. Maybe I can learn how to create my own website. So despite my apprehension, I did it. In less than a week, I had a website that I had created. 

As I pursued it and played around with the website, the more I learned and understood. 

And then I arrived at the point where I wanted more flexibility in creating my book covers than what I was able to do in Kindle Cover Create. Make no mistake, Cover Create is an excellent tool. I was able to create beautiful covers in this functionality. It gave me a good foundation in creating my own covers and the desire to be able to do more. But, KDP gives you templates, you are limited in what you can do. Although you have the choice whether to use their images or upload your own images, you are limited to certain places where you can put the text on your front cover. So you have to keep that in mind when choosing an image for the front cover. You don’t want the title c  covering or blocking anything you don’t want covered or blocked. 

In a workshop on self publishing, I found out about the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). Like  Photoshop, it is a photo editing program; unlike Photoshop, it is free. Even though the workshop instructor told me there was a “steep learning curve,” I was convinced I could do it.  “After all,” I told her, “I read a book and learned how to build my own website in WordPress.

To which she replied, “WordPress is so much easier than GIMP.

After the workshop was over for that day, I promptly downloaded GIMP. I quickly found out there was a steep learning curve, even with the tutorials I found on the internet. So many times during the first few days that I was struggling to learn this program I wanted to give up.  But the more I pursued it, the more invested I became in it and the less willing I was to give up. 

After a week, I’d created an eBook cover. Then I was able to create a paperback cover, although I didn’t quite remember what steps I’d taken after it was done. But I kept persevering. I’d come too far to give up. 

At the two-week point, I had created three book covers and a greeting card. It’s finally fallen into place for me. I have a good, basic understanding that will allow me to do what I want to do with this program – create book covers. 

There is still a great deal more that can be done with GIMP that I don’t know yet. I still make mistakes and have to “play around” with each project to get it to be the way I want it to be. But now that I’m familiar with the program and the terminology it uses, I can look up what I need to do in the help function and also on the internet.

I am amazed at how much I accomplished between September 2020 and June 2021. I never thought I could be so focused and self directed.  

I firmly believe that we are all capable of much more than we realize – until we challenge ourselves.

The Last Royalist

Joes de Mederos, ca. 1914, Hawaii State Archives
A pupuli man posing in front of the Iolani palace

On January 17, 1893, Queen Liliuokalani was deposed and would be imprisoned on the second floor of the I’olani Place. The Hawaiian monarchy had been overthrown. Joseph Medeiros was 12 years old. His 13th birthday was on March 27 of that year.

It was at age 13 in this year of great change for Hawaii that he took up the solitary vigil that would become his life’s work. For more than 35 years, Jose de Medeiros, or Joseph Medeiros as he bacame known, stood near the Kauikeaouli Gate on Honolulu’s South King Street fronting I’olani Palace worshiping the gilded statue across the street, waiting for the return of Kamehameha. It was Kamehameha the Great, holder of much mana, who could restore the monarchy.

In the beginning, his parents tried to keep him home. “Momma, I have to go. Something in here,” he’d say, pointing to his heart, “makes me go. You can punish me, do anything to me, but I must go.”

Joe was never strong. He wanted to help his father, who was a stone mason, but the work was too difficult for him. And so this frail boy began to love the mighty Kamehameha and wish for his return so he could meet him.

King David Kalakaua was on the Hawaiian throne when Jose de Medeiros was born on March 27, 1880 on Sao Miguel Island in the Azores. Jose and his family arrived in Hawaii in March 27, 1882 on the bark Karl of Dalhousie; it was the same year that King Kalakaua completed the new ‘Iolani Palace. King Kamahemeha III first used the former site of an ancient temple as a palace beginning in 1845. Following the death of Kamehameha IV, the name was changed from Hale Ali’I which means Chief’s House to I’olani, Hawaiian for hawk. It was torn down in the 1870s due to extensive termite damage. The year Jose arrived in Honolulu, there would be a grand new palace.

In 1879, King Kalakaua commissioned Thomas Gould, a sculptor living in Italy, to cast a statue of King Kamehameha the Great. It was unveiled in front of Ali’iolani Hale in 1883. In 1883, no one could have foretold that Joe Madeiros would become a fixture in front of Kalakaua’s palace waiting for the gilded Kamehameha to come to life and step off the pedestal.

As Joe stood sentinel over the years, Hawaii moved further and further away from being the kingdom of his childhood. Upon Queen Lili’uokalani’s deposition, the Provisional Government of Hawaii, was proclaimed on January 17, 1892. The Provisional Government had taken control of Hawaii and took control of ‘Iolani Palace as well.

Both Queen Lili’uokalani and Princess Ka’iulani would lobby President Grover Cleveland to restore the monarchy, to no avail. The Republic of Hawaii began on July 4, 1894. ‘Iolani Palace was now in the hands of the Republic. With the adoption of the Newlands Resolution in the United States Congress, the Republic was annexed to the United States and became the Territory of Hawaii on July 7, 1898.

 Eighteen-year-old Joseph Medeiros still stood at the Kauikeaouli Gate waiting in attendance on Kamehameha. Behind the King, the American flag now fluttered above Ali’iolani Hale’s clock tower. ‘Iolani Palace now housed the Territorial Government.

The city bustled and swirled about Joseph. In 1908, William Matson’s ship Lurline brought visitors from the mainland and Joseph Medeiros still made his daily trek from his home on Sereno Lane off Kuakini Street to his post in front of ‘Iolani Palace.

Automobiles replaced horses and carriages and Joe, wearing tattered clothes and treading on bare feet still paced back and forth in front of the Kauikeaouli Gate. At other times, he stood motionlessly gazing at Kamehameha, a thin figure in faded denim overalls and faded jacket. A battered, old hat covered his thick, dark brown hair as it turned white over the years. He was burned by the sun and often drenched by the rain. And he was a tourist attraction, photographed many, many times.

In late 1930, the denizens of downtown Honolulu began to notice that the Statue Worshiper was not there. As people continued to wonder, it was remembered that Joe lived with this sister, Mary Caminos, and a reporter from the Honolulu Star Bulletin went to their home to inquire after him.

The thin, frail limbs that had once been clad in faded overalls as he stood vigil were now paralyzed by two strokes. After the first stroke, Joe continued to return to his post; after the second stroke, he could not. He lingered for two years.

On July 2, 1932, Joseph Medeiros passed away at the age of 52. A most unusual life had ended. A color from the fabric of the Hawaiian quilt of life in Honolulu had disappeared.

© 2021 Jeanne Alice Moore


“Hawaii’s Last ‘Royalist’ Nearing Trails End; Statue Worshipper ill,” Honolulu Star Bulletin, December 24, 1930, p 1

“Joe Medeiros, Worshiper of Statue, Is Dead at 52,” Honolulu Star Bulletin, July 4, 1932, p 9

“ ‘Statue Worshiper’ Goes to Join King He Venerated,” Honolulu Advertiser, July 4, 1932. p.1, c 6

Matson Company, History, Matson’s Contributions to Hawaii (website)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ark_70111_0gvJ.0.jpeg
Joseph Medeiros (Jose de Medeiros), 1899

Photo Credits::

The photo at the top of this blog is of Joseph Medeiros standing by the I’olani Palace gate. Title: King Kamehameha Statue; Description – “A pupuli man posing in front of the Iolani palace. Call Number is  PP-46-11-009 Date – ca 1914; Courtesy Hawaii State Archives. Link:

The photo at the bottom of the blog on the side of the statue is also Jose de Medeiros (Joseph Medeiros). Title – Kamehameha Statue; Description – Opera house is in the back; Call Number – PP-46-11-016; Date – ca 1899. Courtesy Hawaii State Arachives. Link:

A Woman in the House

Jeannette Rankin
Jeannette Rankin

According to the Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), “118 women hold seats in the House of Representatives, comprising 27.1% of the 435 members in 2021. The women represent 36 states; 87 are Democrats and 31 are Republicans.”

The first woman to be elected to the U. S. Congress House of Representatives was Jeannette L. Rankin. This was in 1916. In 1917, she, along with 49 other members of the House of Representatives voted against U.S entry into World War I. This destroyed her chances of reelection in 1918. She then ran for the Senate in 1918 and was defeated. For the next twenty years, she campaigned for peace. In 1940, she won her second term in Congress. During this term, she served with six other female members, including Margaret Chase Smith. Since then, the number of women in the House has increased and today, there are 118 women in the House.


 Jeannette Rankin, United States Senate

Women in the U.S. House of Representatives 2021, Rutgers CAWP Center for American Women in Politics 

Photograph Credit: Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, Call Number: BIOG FILE – Rankin, Jeannette [item] [P&P], Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-8422 (b&w film copy neg.).

What’s in a Name?

Female Indian telephone switchboard operator – “Helen of Many Glacier Hotel.”, 26 June 1925

Her name wasn’t Helen. She wasn’t a telephone operator at the Many Glacier Hotel in Montana. There were no Native American telephone operators at this hotel. It is highly unlikely that there were any Native American employees there. The photograph wasn’t even taken in 1925; according to historian Ray Djuff, it was taken in 1913.

Hoke Smith was an editor at the Minneapolis Tribune hired by the Great Northern Railway to work in its advertising and publicity department. It was his task to sell the railway to potential travelers, especially by promoting the newly created Glacier National Park (1910). Combining fact with fiction, he wrote stories that were picked up by the newspapers. He created a Blackfeet princess named Dawn Mist. And the public, not aware that Dawn Mist was fiction, believed it.

Several Blackfeet women took on the role of Dawn Mist. We don’t know who this woman is posing in what was probably a publicity shot for the Great Northern, but she could be one of the four Blackfeet who portrayed the fictional princess.

Glacier National Park borders the Blackfeet reservation. During the time when Hoke Smith was writing publicity for the Great Northern Railway, Blackfeet were hired by the hotel to perform for the visitors. They drummed and danced. They spoke about their culture. The hotel insisted that they spoke their native language and used sign language; it insisted that they wore authentic regalia. In a harsh world where Native Americans were forbidden to speak their languages and practice their cultural ways, this helped the Blackfeet hang onto their heritage. And in that world where employment for people of color was difficult to come by, the income they made performing during the summer helped them through the winter.

But it wasn’t all a “bed of roses” so to speak. The Blackfeet performed outside and were not allowed in the hotel. So, it is impossible that there was ever a Native American telephone operator wearing Native dress in the hotel.

The stories that Hoke Smith fed to the public were fiction and to this day, remnants of that fictionalization are still passed on as fact. The fictionalization is passed on in the photograph of “Helen of Many Glacier Hotel,” which is in the Library of Congress. If you search the internet, there are photographs of “Princess Dawn Mist;” in one of them, she’s standing with “Abraham Lincoln” in front of a teepee. The Library of Congress holds a photograph of Princess Dawn Mist with President Calvin Coolidge.

Real history is so much more than the fictional accounts, but we must search for it.

I began my journey to find out who Helen was by contacting the Glacier Park Foundation. Carol Dahle forwarded my email to the board members. Ray Djuff, has researched Waterton and Glacier parks, contacted me with a wealth of information. I am indebted to him. He has several books on Amazon.

Photograph Credit: Female Indian telephone switchboard operator – “Helen of Many Glacier Hotel.”, 26 June 1925. Digital ID: (digital file from original neg.) ggbain 38272 Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ggbain-38272 (digital file from original negative). Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Bygone Days: Charlie

Nu’uanu Valley was once the cornucopia that supplied the Honolulu area with most of its food. The taro lo’i (taro patches) were irrigated by auwai, a sluice-type irrigation system that carried water from the streams to flood the taro fields that terraced the mountains. In those olden days, passage from Honolulu into the lush valley in the Ko’olau Mountains was a trail. Hawaiians traveled it regularly by foot, but it was difficult for most others.

King Kamehameha III traveled over the Pali on horseback on June 27, 1845. The old footpath had been widened for travel by horseback. Accompanying Kamehameha III were Dr. Garrit P. Judd and the premier, John Young; their journey officially opened the Pali Road. Oahu residents could now travel between Honolulu and the Windward side without going around the island.

In the early 1900s, when Kauai-born Charles Kaulaloha began his maintenance career along the thoroughfare, the Pali Road was still traveled by horseback and horse-drawn carriages.

As a general laborer who maintained the road for the City and County of Honolulu, Charlie had plenty of work. Heavy rains caused minor landslides; stones disturbed by the high winds rolled down the hillsides onto the road. With his broom, pick and shovel, Charlie kept the road clear.

The city and county gave him the title “cantonnier,” which means “road mender” so that he would be paid a little higher than other general laborers. At the city offices, few people knew him by his real name, but knew him as “Charlie Cantonnier.”

Horseback riders and open carriage occupants had little protection against the wind. The wild and whistling gusts that ripped through Nu’uanu Valley knocking stones down the mountainsides into the road also carried off wayfarers’ hats.

Charlie retrieved the hats and collected them in his home at the bend where the road headed toward Kailua. People knew to come to see Charlie at what they called the Halfway House to retrieve their hats. To Charlie, the dwelling was Ku’u Home, Hawaiian for my home.

Visitors who came calling for their lost hats at Ku’u Home had time to stop and talk. Sometimes they’d bring gifts of food. Although Charlie lived alone, he had many friends in those days.

Times were slower then. Charlie patrolled the road on horseback; other riders had time to stop and visit. And while he was at work along the side the road with his boom, pick and shovel, he’d pause as each traveler passed and raise his hat with a courtly bow in greeting. Over the years, he became known as Hemo Papale, or Hemo ka Papale, the man who doffs his hat.

Closed-sedan cars changed the pace of life. It was faster. And there were no more stray hats, no more people coming to see Charlie to claim them and make friends. People were in a hurry; they no longer had time to notice Charlie.

But the lone figure by the side of the road still greeted each passing vehicle, raising his hat with a courtly bow.

On the morning of September 10, 1937, sometime between 5:30 and 6:00, Wong Pa, a friend and fellow workman, called for Charlie as he did every morning. On that morning Wong Pa found his friend hanging from a rafter in the tool shed behind his Pali home.  Charles Kaulaloha was 68 years old; he had been the Pali cantonnier for 28 years.

Charlie worked the day before as usual. He discarded his work clothes for his Sunday best. His bed had not been slept in and his home was spotless.

There was no suicide note, no explanation as to why he took his life. A widower, Charlie left behind six adult children, a nephew, nine grandchildren and three adopted children. He was buried at Kalaepohaku Cemetery in Honolulu.

Charlie’s Kuu Home was an isolated three-room shack beside a Nuuanu gorge near an auwai amid yellow ginger, kukui, banana other lush foliage. A family moved in briefly after Charlie’s death, then moved out. No one ever lived in Ku’u Home again. It became known as the Haunted House Along the Pali.

Lingering memories of suicide, the isolation, and the gusting, whistling winds sounding other-worldly in the dark could all have conspired the make the house seem haunted. It stood for 12 years after Charlie’s death and was torn down in September 1949.

These days, traffic speeds to and from Honolulu, Kailua Kaneohe over the Pali Highway through the Wilson Tunnel, bypassing the Old Pali Road. Pieces of the old road still exist although they are closed to vehicular traffic. The former road has reverted once again to a trail that is still used by hikers. The memory of Hemo Ka Papale is lost in times past, down that old road where the trees and lush foliage listen to the wind.

© 2020 Jeanne A. Moore


“Hemo Papale Is Cantonnier; Keeps the Pali Road Clear. ” By John Williams, Honolulu Star Bulletin, Saturday, March 16, 1935, page 1

“Death Takes Picturesque ‘Pali Hermit:’ Charlie Kaulaloha, Who Doffed His Hat to Everyone, Hangs Himself,” Honolulu Star Bulletin, September 10, 1937, Page 1

“Pali Highway, Once a Path, Was 104 Years Old Monday,” Honolulu Star Bulletin, June 28, 1949

“Haunted House Along Pali Will Soon Be Memory” by Mona F. Shephard, Honolulu Advertiser, September 12, 1949, page 1

“Nu’uanu, O’ahu,”

The Auwai of Nuuanu Valley,