The air hung cool but heavy at Kapālama in the early evening. The muted sound of a hundred and fifty voices lilted through the dense mist and over the waves to a hundred thousand radios. The campus sat, regally, on a mountainside, as a general surveying the common people on the plains below. Like a barracks, its buildings were uniformly beige with green tile roofs, but taller, grander, claiming aspirations that, for now, were above their station. On the grounds sat a round high building from which the muffled sound came. Entering, one could hear the class reach a crescendo, as the director signaled them to stop in a pitched silence. The silence lasted just a moment as a roar filled the corrugated iron gymnasium to its rafters. Charlie, one of the senior singers, caught his breath. Bedecked with lei, Headmaster Oleson announced, “And the winner is … the class of 1952!” Seniors always won.
The letter in the mail was thick. Addressed in pica type to Charles A. Makekau, the envelope read, “Harvard University - VERITAS” in Crimson, and was postmarked Cambridge, MA 02138. He'd been waiting all day, every day over spring break, doing nothing else. His heart pounded so hard he was sure his Japanese neighbors could see it beating in his chest. Back in the house, Charlie took his mother’s stainless steel letter opener and delicately sliced open the envelope, careful not to make any tears. The letter, on fine parchment, began: "Welcome to the Harvard class of 1956!"
The next day, feeling good, Charlie regarded himself in the mirror. He thought he looked Chinese with Hawaiian coloring and lips. His jet-black hair was slicked back and to the side. The overall effect was handsome enough. He looked at his body. His stomach was flat from youth but soft from indulgence and frailty. He thought of a girl he would see in Smith Library – something welled up in him, but he fought it off. He took a dress shirt off a hanger. He was appalled that men had recently started wearing florid blouses – he liked his shirts crisp and lily-white.
In the last days of high school, he seemed to form an unspoken bond with the two boys who were going to Stanford, Jerry Kamoku and Randall Hoʻopiʻi. The popular boys gave him big grins and raised their chins toward him as they passed in the hallways of Paki and Bishop Hall, as if to say, “You're one of us.” But they were athletes, going on baseball and track scholarships. Charlie was no athlete, nor was he on scholarship. He was going on brains, paying full tuition. But all agreed he was bound to be one of those success stories, a doctor in the new Honolulu, where racial boundaries were just beginning to loosen. He was happy to be leaving. Kamehameha was much too restrictive, like a mold that spat you out the way it wanted you. One exception was Pop Diamond, his photography teacher. He seemed to genuinely love the idea of a school for Hawaiians, while not trying to change them, or make them brown facsimiles of himself, like so many other teachers did. From Pop, Charlie gained an appreciation, if not a love, of opera, and with that a hint of the magnitude of Western culture.
Despite his brains, and because of his ambivalence, he had difficulty coming up with advice for the class in his salutatory address. What did he know about the world after spending the last half-decade in the Smith Library? The speech, despite all the usual references to song contest victories and innocent pranks – like the one about the boys who had nearly fallen off a cliff trying to get a peek into the girls’ dorms – seemed to fall on deaf ears and mute faces: “…and so, we beneficiaries of Princess Pauahi’s legacy must stay the course…” His impression was that it was a total failure. Dr. Oleson approached him after the ceremony. He didn't seem to think the speech a failure – Charlie had said utterly conventional things. “Charles,” he said, as if they were friends, “do you know you're only the third Hawaiian ever to go to my alma mater?” He beamed as if his connections, not Charlie’s incessant study or his mother’s unceasing pressure, had gotten him accepted. Charlie knew he wasn't the first. Alsoberry Kaumu Hanchett had gone to Harvard a half century ago, had gone on to become a doctor, graduating from Harvard Med, as Charlie intended to do himself. He was also aware that the first Hawaiian doctor was Matthew Makalua, from Lahaina, like Charlie’s own family. Makalua had gone to London’s Kings College in 1866. There was a tradition there he would uphold.
Before he left, there was a party, a big ‘aha ‘āina. His mother, Mui Makekau, a tiny and imperious but subtle woman – at times an outright fascist – said in front of the whole family and their Japanese neighbors, “We're proud of you Chah-leh, show them at Hahved what we locals – we Hawaiians – can do!” Sometimes he forgot she was a little bit Hawaiian. As everyone clapped, Charlie thought How could you possibly know? You who still speak Pidgin? He didn't know himself, and had to admit having only a vague and foreboding sense of what he would soon face.
He would miss his friend from childhood, Keola – a calabash cousin really, as their fathers were friends back at Lahainaluna. Keola Kawai was already working down at the docks after graduating from Farrington, but was a golden gloves boxer. His father, Uncle Joe, who'd been the toughest guy in Lahaina, trained him. Uncle Joe used walk down the street with his hands on his hips and if anyone brushed against him, he'd knock them down. He did this more often, and more to haole, after the Massie case in ‘32. Uncle Joe befriended the Kahahawai family when he moved to Honolulu, and around them he was a different man: merciful, kind. Unlike his father, Keola didn't have the temperament of a boxer. He was quiet and thoughtful, and in those days he hadn't been knocked about the head too much. He'd won all his fights. “Chah-leh,” he said, his soft voice contrasting with his hard build and reputation, “no fo’get about us maka’āinanas!” A hearty grin sprang to Keola’s face. Charlie looked at him almost tenderly. “I won't forget you, Ola. Never.” They sat together, content with the quiet respect they'd developed towards one another. A formidable pair, Keola could drop any man in the room with one punch, Charlie could debate circles around them, and they could have done these things to each other, but would not.
Charlie boarded the Clipper ship. Gaining speed along the water of Keʻehi Lagoon, the chopping ceased, and the pontoons lifted off the lightly rippled sea. He crossed the vast expanse of the Pacific. How could Hawai’i be a part of America if this separated it? It seemed endless, but he would come to know that it separated his home from another realm entirely, another world, not just far away, but alien. He stayed in California with his Uncle Sam, who’d been there since before the end of the war, and who half the family had given up on. The other half bragged about him between matches at Kam Bowl. Uncle Sam worked at the docks at Long Beach, made a lot of money and had a plastered-on grin. His manner was sickly-smooth, giving Charlie the vague impression Uncle Sam was juggling too many women, too much alcohol and, perhaps, awaiting an impending tragedy.
A week later, Charlie got off a train in New York and took a bus to Boston. The campus straddled the Charles River, the first real river he'd seen. Old, but stately red brick buildings made the skyline jagged in a way not entirely different, he thought, from the way it may have looked in the seventeenth century. But the historic buildings were flanked and juxtaposed by Harvard Square, a mottled, steamy, miniature version of the more literate sections of Manhattan. The newer business school on the Allston side of the Charles was connected to the older Cambridge campus by matching crimson brick bridges. He checked in to Elliot House. The common room had a grand piano. His suite had a Persian-style rug and a fireplace. His new roommates walked in gleefully, quickly pausing, seemingly taken aback by his appearance, and then just as quickly seeming to decide they would like him. “Hey buddy, I'm Alfred, Al…” “Harvey.” “I'm Charlie,” he said as he shook their hands haole-style, and a grin slowly appeared on his face, mirroring theirs. They were from Brooklyn and Long Island and had both gone to school in New Hampshire, at Exeter and St Paul’s. Harv Shapiro was the first Jew Charlie had ever met.
After an impossibly short time, Al said, “We've got to do something about your clothes!” They went to Brooks Brothers and got him fitted. He was dipping into monies he shouldn't have this early in the year, but it was worth it. He would write to ma for more. After the measurements were taken and the suits ordered, Harv said “Now … to John Harvard’s!” and there was no refusing him. Charlie spent far more than he meant to on beer and whiskey that day. This became a Friday ritual.
There were two other boys from Hawaiʻi at Harvard, but they were from Punahou. He ran into one of them, Howard Brigham, at a finals club called The Fly. Howard had a chance to get in, and so did Al. Charlie didn’t fool himself, he knew he didn’t have a chance – it was mainly a post-Exeter club. The young men there wore robes, smoked cigars, played pool and acted like kings. There were shameless flirts and rumors of oral sex in small rooms and closets. The club was filled with free women who had read Mary McCarthy’s The Group, but who weren't going to get pregnant. He knew from the Honolulu papers that Howard was a champion swimmer. “Charles, isn't it? From Kam School?” “Charlie.” Howard was with a group of other boys, and one of them said, “So you're from Hawa-yah, eh?” Another said, “By the way, how are ya?” His laugh excluded Charlie. Howard laughed nervously. These Punahou boys were conflicted mavericks who rebelled against their families by not going to Yale. Noblesse oblige required them to be cordial to a Hawaiian, but networking meant sticking with the Blue Book families their grandfathers had met while lobbying for Hawaiʻi's annexation. The kama’āina families cherished these connections above almost all else.
Charlie fooled around and got to second base with a Lesley girl. “Where are you from?” he asked. “Summah-vull.” He knew Somerville as a working class town of triple deckers adjacent to Cambridge and Lesley as a college with an ongoing insecurity complex simply for being next to Harvard. He knew that it was probably a big deal for her to go to Lesley. She would say “I seen” and “whatchamacallit” and he wondered why his Kamehameha teachers – all mainland haole – acted as if mainlanders all spoke the King’s English. Her ideas about Hawaiʻi were such that there was no way to even begin to bring them to an approximation of truth.
When he told Al and Harv of the encounter with Howard, Harv said, “Forget those goy snobs!” Al said, “Right. Besides, you're almost there, Charlie …” Where he almost was he knew, and knew not. The next time Charlie saw him, Howard looked at him without recognition.
In those early days he’d stand on the steps of Widener Library, then go into the stacks marveling at how much knowledge there was in the world. It almost made him weep the way Henry Ōpūkahaʻia had at Yale in 1810: “There's so much knowledge in this building and so little in my head!” By the time he was in High 11th grade he had devoured most of the books in Smith Library, but that was a tiny room, named for the right hand man and childhood friend of Lorrin Thurston, who overthrew the Queen. This, by comparison, was the largest private library in the world, named for a victim of the Titanic tragedy. The sense of how little he knew was crushing and exhilarating. His one consolation was that he knew, at nineteen, that he was young and still had time. He would browse the shelves for hours at Widener or in any one of the two dozen bookstores in Harvard Square, especially the scholarly Harvard Book Store and the Coop, when he should've been doing chemistry labs.
His first class was Zoology. During the dry lecture he wondered why a doctor would need to know about animals. His second class was Gov. 10. He heard the term “Gov jocks” as he waited in the hallway, and seemed to notice better physiques, under the required coats and ties, than in Zoology. But this class wasn't dry. It seemed to hint at an underlying order of things, a political structure. The version of this order that existed in Hawaiʻi would shock his professor and his sheltered classmates, who would find it despotic, brutal, unimaginable. The unthinkable, a change in concentration – from pre-med – welled up in his mind, but he fought it off.
When Charlie was called on, Professor Wadsworth said, “Make…?” “Mah-keh-kau” Charlie corrected. “Cow?” How could his exalted professor, famous on four continents, know that he was named after his great-grand father, the warlike chief of the battle of Nuʻuanu in 1795? Charlie had even written a short story about “Chief Makekau” in The Cadet, of which he'd been editor. Under King Kamehameha he had slaughtered men, and this professor wore a smirk. But he had to admit to himself he was more like his professor than he was like his ancestor.
Later, he began to speak out in class about the inequities of life in Hawaiʻi and Puerto Rico, another U.S. Territory, where they had taxation without representation. He even mentioned the unlikely rise of John Burns, a cop turned politician – actually he had lost every race so far – and how he had called Hawaiʻi's system one of “economic strangulation.” He told the story of Joseph Kahahawai and the Massie Case, and how honor killings still took place in America’s fringes. His classmates, from Connecticut and Newport, downplayed his protests as anecdotal, not representative of American political life. But how could they know what life was like on the edge of American empire? How his hardscrabble Portuguese friends from small kid time, like Skippy Gomes, scratched out a living as newspaper boys in Kauluwela, their skin becoming wrinkled at eleven or twelve? Yet he was covetous of these scions of the East Coast establishment families. While he championed the Kauluwela boys, he grew unrecognizable and unintelligible to them, the last trace of Pidgin draining from his speech into the gutters of Harvard Square.
At Kamehameha he had dominated class discussions, even in history, though he was known as a science kid. Here, occasionally the entire class disagreed with him. He felt himself shrink as the bile rose in his throat. How could they all be wrong?
He went late at night to The Tasty, a tiny dive of a diner right in Harvard Square. The air was cleaner at night, better for his breathing. He ordered eggs and asked for ketchup. The cook, who was also the waiter, looked at him funny. But an odd-looking fellow with shabby clothes would come in and take the attention away from Charlie. He had a funny-shaped head and a queer mustache. He'd always order apple pie and ice cream. The cook, who was from Southie, slammed it down and said, “You eat like that, pal, and you're gonna get a heart attack!” The odd fellow replied meekly, “I only rarely order this…” The cook shot back, “Bullshit! You order this every goddamn night!” “That's not true…” he came back, but his voice drifted off. His manner of speech made Charlie wonder if he'd once gone to Harvard, and whether it was possible to fall so far. Charlie saw him once at the Harvard Coop in the philosophy section, and once at Out of Town News reading Foreign Affairs and was baffled as to why he bothered to read such things when he was so obviously not a student or professor.
He got a D on a Zoology test and left the class feeling as if life was ending. It was his first D. He'd never gotten a C. When he complained to his roommates about his difficulties in his science classes, they tried to reassure him: “Small fish, big pond, all of that, old boy…” They were both business majors and had no academic troubles that would matter. They would go effortlessly on to Wall Street and summer in the Berkshires or on the Cape. They sat around like English earls sipping tea. They constantly made quips, trying to outdo each other Oscar Wilde-style. When they discussed annuities and the amortization of investments, Charlie tuned out their unintelligible chatter. But they were more clever than wise, Charlie thought. Once in a while, at end of term, the clacking of Underwoods could be heard from their rooms.
He only survived the first term by staying in the dorms over Christmas and combining that with the reading period before exams in January. There were few distractions to keep him from study as Boston’s population cut in half when college students were on break. He did well enough in Gov. 10, pulling a B, which he told his mother about. “Anywhere else it would be an A, Chah-leh.” He didn't tell her that his overall grade point was around a 1.7. He would do better in the spring, he told himself unconvincingly.
For the first time, he began to procrastinate. He erratically read philosophy – Descartes, Mill, Kant – in no order, with no plan, and when they weren't assigned. It did help in barroom conversations to drop a philosopher’s name. (The ritual at John Harvard’s now included Wednesdays and Saturdays). “Kierkegaard claims…” made people think he was deep and erudite, and they began calling him “Charlie the barstool philosopher,” which gave him a certain perverse pride. It also made him feel phony, like the characters he’d heard about in Catcher in the Rye. He'd stumble home in the snow over the rough, uneven brick sidewalks, centuries old, questioning his own integrity aloud in front of Harv and Al, who gave each other significant looks over his stooped shoulders.
He bought a record player, and listening to music became an activity, not just background. Jazz was a revelation, especially this new jazzman John Coltrane. Charlie was thrilled to think Coltrane had been stationed in Hawaiʻi and made his first recording there. He felt sure that Coltrane had listened to the Kamehameha song contest in ‘46 – everyone in Honolulu huddled around their radios in those days to hear the classes compete on the Friday before Spring Break. How different his music was from those predictable songs! Every song ending in “Haʻina ia mai,” with no bridge or refrain. His roommates found Coltrane repetitive, but Charlie felt that in playing two adjacent notes over and over, back and forth, he was looking for the space between them. When A Love Supreme came out, it was obvious that his playing was a spiritual practice and Charlie wondered if that space between the notes was, for Coltrane, where God resided.
He began to work in the Elliott House gardens, though he had shown no inclination towards plants before. He was now taking Botany, but it seemed to bear no relation to real practice. He even learned how to weed the flowers and get the dead material off, revealing the fresh plant beneath, and casting off the chaff. The deadwood was tossed to the side of the building, forgotten. All this was to avoid his chemistry work, and it tore at his insides like a spade.
It took a week to make the trip, cutting his summer short on both ends. On the Road had come out and he thought of his cross-country train ride as a Kerouacian misventure. He was far too timid to hitchhike or even drive. Kerouac’s prose, though, burned with an intensity he felt but could never match.
America stretched out in its endless sameness, except for the Rockies and California, where vistas were breathtaking compared to his truncated island world. America wasn't really states, as they'd been taught at Dole Elementary, he realized, but regions – the green and rocky East, the brown, flat Midwest, the grey Western plains. But, the Pacific! What was once simply endless now began to feel more like home than Cambridge or Honolulu. The breach, he called it. He felt he was crossing seas and centuries. He wasn't entirely comfortable in his skin or his suit in the East or in the islands, but here, in this space that America claimed to bridge, but he knew could not, nothing welled up nor needed to be fought back.
Many years later, his cousin recalled that at family gatherings, in the heat, Charlie had worn his Brooks Brothers suit, a felt hat. And carried a walking stick.
The relatives spoke of him in hushed tones, the future doctor. He sounded like a radio host, and looked like a local Frankie Avalon. But he had already argued with his mother about his spending and about possibly changing concentration, from pre-med to government. “Who ever heard of ‘government’ as a major? And how many Hawaiians you know in the government? It’s not the Twenties anymore!” He was too tired with the heat to explain that Harvard’s Government Department was older than the field of Political Science. “Things are changing, besides, I'm no good at it, ma…” “You were at the top of your class in science at Kam!” How could he explain that his classmates now were from the best prep schools in the world and he couldn't compete? Kam was still mainly producing social climbers and the climbers of telephone poles.
The uncles at the gatherings would approach him and ask, “How's Hahved Chah-leh, good?” If you insist on its being good, why ask? “Swell.” Then they'd invariably burst into the Kamehameha school song. What the hell did “allurements that your race will overwhelm” mean, anyway? Hawaiian culture? Religion? Incest? Most of the kanikapila in those days consisted of crass hapa haole music, but occasionally the old timers would sing something profound in Hawaiian. Maybe it was just the way they sang; even a simple song like “Ahi Wela” was given a certain weight. He thought of Saul Bellow’s question “Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus?” and thought surely the old songs from Kingdom days sung at these gatherings were the caliber of Verdi or Miles Davis?
She was at one of these gatherings. Grace Lee. She lived up in Pacific Heights and had gone to The Priory. Other girls, from blue-collar neighborhoods, were literally hurling themselves at him. But she lived in a rambling Rococo house in the Heights, granddaughter of one of the early Chinese merchants in Honolulu. She wore glasses and a dress, tight at the right places so as to still be tasteful. She seemed interested and they chatted innocuously, but he drank and by night’s end, he lay on the couch passed out, his arms, his stomach, his partly open lily-white shirt, flaccid. And the faint smell of vomit. Like everyone else who stayed past midnight, she was somewhat taken aback, but was gracious in a way befitting her class, and curious to better know the scholar-drunk.
He knew he was only one generation from the lanes in Kalihi and any relationship was doomed. His family had upgraded to a house in Liliha, a modern ranch-style that faced its back toward Oahu cemetery. Liliha was at the foot of Pacific Heights, but never quite there. He still remembered how narrow those lanes at his grandma’s were, and how he could almost reach from one fence to another as he walked along. How close those houses were to each other and how far from his comfortable lower-middle class life. There was no real middle class in Hawaiʻi, but his mother had married well – Chinese had been rising for three generations by then, though not yet threatening to displace the haole elite. And despite the Hawaiian name and mixed background, his father, dead now but well insured, was more Chinese in his ways than anything else. Also named Charles, everyone called him Kele. Trying to make it in the white insurance industry had essentially led him to an early death. But Chinese like him were the only social exception to the fact that Honolulu was still just a big plantation town. Charlie would laugh inwardly when his aunties, clinging to the meager status they held as Kamehameha grads, said in their singsong voices, “I loved growing up in Honolulu.” To him it was an ugly, blighted little town of warehouses, bars and brothels left over from the war. The way they said it was endearing though, their accents retaining a little bit of Pidgin from youth, before the Kamehameha speech pathologists beat it out of them. And there was just a trace of a British accent in there. Left over from Kingdom days?
Before returning to Massachusetts, he went out on the town with Keola. People seemed to imperceptibly turn their shoulders to let Keola by, except for the GIs. In Chinatown, they closed down the Pier Bar and caught a jazz show at Aloha Tower. It was the kind of jazz they listened to on the East Coast in the forties, so Honolulu was ten years behind as usual, but Charlie had a good time and was more relaxed then he'd been since returning. He and Keola seemed to have little to talk about - who was having a baby, who joined the union, who got in a fight or joined the service. “Harvard’s changed you, Charlie,” Keola said, noticing his normally dour mood had lifted slightly. Charlie, of all people, knew this was true, as he tasted the bitterness. Keola would be the only one to speak the truth.
He tried to study, but his roommates were always going out, carousing or just hanging out in the square. Sometimes they seemed to be doing nothing but posing, their Brooks Brothers suits cutting dashing figures, and speaking in clipped literary phrases, which suggested, but did not prove, erudition. Charlie wondered, “For whom?” They'd say, cynically, “Lesley to bed, Wellesley to wed, and Radcliffe to talk to,” but that didn't seem to Charlie to justify the time they wasted. These Exeter, Andover, and St Paul’s boys never seemed to have to study since they'd read everything in prep school. Charlie found himself missing literary references, trying to read those books, and falling even further behind in his assigned reading. The book everyone was talking about was Catcher in the Rye, which led him to take a couple of trips to New York, generally worsening his attitude and his grades. There he took in high and low culture. Puccini’s La Bohème was sublime, but Benjamin Britten’s operatic version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was too modern – he couldn’t quite get atonal music. The New York prostitutes were more hardened and insipid than the ones in Honolulu and he hadn’t seen junkies or queers like these. He observed but did not engage. On the bus back to Boston, he read Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, and it and made him homesick and nostalgic for the quiet fishing trips he'd gone on with his dad and grandpa, until later when Hemingway blew his brains out.
“Charlie! Phone call!” Normally they would call out the last name, but no one attempted this with him. Charlie picked up the pay phone in the hallway. Calls from his mother were extremely rare. “Chah-leh, your Uncle Sam died.” He looked at the crack in the wall. The plaster needed replacing. Of course, the building was from 1690. “Don't you care about anyone but yourself?” Charlie returned to the moment. “I'm very sorry to hear that.” This was how he’d gotten through Kamehameha, by saying the right thing, not by meaning it. But he wondered, if Uncle Sam couldn’t get there, who can?
Before Christmas, Charlie asked Al to drive him to the train station, since his trunk would be hard to take on the T with all his new clothes. Al demurred, making a lame and transparent excuse about his sister, who Charlie knew was at Wellesley and had her own car. Charlie felt an overwhelming nausea that was a kind of revulsion at the thought that everyone, despite all the “Buddy” and the “Hey pal,” was entirely out for themselves. It started at the bridge of his nose and sank to his stomach and made him feel seasick. He found it hard to breathe. It dawned on him that he’d been a project, one Al had now given up on. He felt he would never be there, and everyone, other than he, had known it all along.
The letter in the mail was thin. It read “Harvard University – VERITAS” in blood-crimson. Veritas – truth. His nose turned up into a sneer as Charlie took the letter opener again and carefully slit the edge. Though he saw it coming – he hadn't been asked to go home last Christmas – his head spun. This last time over the breach would be his last. The only part of the letter he remembered later was “You will always be part of the Harvard class of 1956.”
He fell into an abyss, and only left his room to raid the liquor cabinet or throw up in the bathroom. When the hards were gone, he went for the wine, some of it his father’s vintage. His mother only confronted him on Christmas Eve, when he chose to make one of his forays to the wine rack. She was beside herself and more disheveled than he'd seen her, making preparations for Christmas. She looked as if she scarcely recognized him. He was pale and bloated, his eyes shadows. “What you tink you going do now?” His lip curled into the kind of wicked smirk he'd seen at the finals club. “What I …tink?” Their eyes locked, and he knew what she was thinking. She had passed the English standard test to get into Roosevelt, only one in her family, and Pidgin only slipped out in the most fraught moments. He softened his look, and hers turned to a panicked beseeching. He turned into his room, sat on the bed he never left, and downed two glasses. He thought of the breach of his trust and the false bill of goods he'd been sold, for which he'd willingly paid his family and culture. He thought of the turmoil on both sides of the Pacific, and how neither side could ever understand the other. The unknowing innocents on this side and the clever wicked – unknowing of his world – on the other. And then, the Pacific between. The peace of it took his breath away and he fell, ineffably, into the breach.
Keola came over the next day. He went into Charlie's room because his mother would not. He came out and, without looking at her, shook his head, wordlessly staring at the floor.
The official cause of death was an asthma attack. Everyone was at the funeral: Keola, Uncle Joe, Pop Diamond, Grace Lee, Jerry Kamoku, even Dr. Oleson. They offered their condolences to his mother: “He was a fine, brilliant and cheerful young man…” She wondered why they came if they didn't know him. He was buried at Puea Cemetery in Kalihi, three plots over from Joseph Kahahawai. Kahahawai’s grave reads: “Born December 25, 1909, killed January 8th, 1932.” Charlie’s reads: “Born December 8th 1932, died December 25, 1953.”
Luriyer “Pop” Diamond’s book Images of Aloha is dedicated to two Kamehameha graduates, Randy Hoʻopiʻi and Charles Makekau Apo, “whose lives were far too brief.”
About the Author ‘Umi Perkins is Manoa Academy Scholar at University of Hawai‘i Mānoa, where he teaches courses in Political Science that are dual credit with Kamehameha Schools, Kapālama, where he also teaches Hawaiian history. He is a lecturer at the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, and Windward Community College. A graduate of Lahainaluna and Harvard, he has a PhD in Political Science from UH Mānoa and has written for The Nation, Summit and other publications.
About the Artist Rebecca Pyle is both artist and writer. This summer she helped complete an almost endless gold-and-green mural full of Celtic knots and dragons on a stucco wall in Salt Lake City; many years ago she was a set painter for a theater company in Kansas. See artwork by Rebecca Pyle at rebeccapyleartist.wordpress.com.