Whew! The 91st Maui Fair is now history. The dust has settled, and I've survived another year of food booth duty. Mahalo to those of you who stopped by the Mana'o Radio BBQ pork booth to support our station or just to say hello; you made the hours fly by. My fellow volunteers all agreed that the best part of working in the booth (besides having all the pulled pork sandwiches we could eat) was seeing so many old friends and making as many new ones.
With each year that passes, old friends mean more to me. And the sentimental fool in me speaks more loudly and wields greater influence. For example, even though it means a longer, more strenuous walk from the fairgrounds to my car, I choose to park at Baldwin High School so that my daily $5 parking fee goes to support my alma mater's athletic department. A few years ago, I'd leave my house an hour early, to find prime parking and avoid that darned hill between the school and the gym. This year, I actually enjoyed the nightly uphill march.
Trudging up the steep incline with my backpack slung over my shoulder, I thought about the hundreds of trips made between the locker rooms behind War Memorial Gym and the upper campus. As freshmen, we hated the hike to class after PE, but we practically flew down and back up the hill when making our unauthorized visits to the vending machines in the gym.
One night during fair weekend, I tried to recall each of the teachers who occupied the classrooms I passed on the way to the parking lot. Mrs. Tanabe (Spanish I), Mr. Valdes (Spanish II); above them, in the math wing, Mrs. Oura (Algebra I), Mrs. Ching (Geometry), Mrs. Shishido (Algebra II). If it hadn't been so dark, I would have extended the memory game and strolled the entire campus.
Fortunately, Baldwin alumni will have an opportunity to take such a sentimental journey next week, as part of the school's 75th anniversary festivities. The BHS tour and talk story session is scheduled for Oct. 18. Besides taking in the changes to the campus, the flyer promises BHS trivia and reminiscences over a school lunch. The cost for the tour is $10, a bit more than the 75 cents we used to pay for lunch. Or, I should say, the 75 cents we would have paid, had we not snuck off campus to Dairy Queen for a real hamburger instead of the supposedly healthier A-burgers served in the cafeteria. We used to speculate that the "A" stood for Awful. Or some other unappetizing A-word.
The tour is just the beginning of the celebration. The BHS golf tournament will be held at The Dunes at Maui Lani on the next day, Oct. 19. I hear the prizes include a Honda Fit car and a trip to Las Vegas. The registration deadline is tomorrow, by the way, so golfers who haven't signed up yet should call Desiree at 344-8223 or visit the official anniversary website: www.hpbaldwinmaui75th.com.
The 75th anniversary banquet will take place that evening at the King Kamehameha Golf Club, with entertainment by Asian Blend and the presentation of the first inductees to the BHS Hall of Fame: legendary Hawaiian sumotori Jesse Kuhaulua, who wrestled as Takamiyama; Jeannette Alo Barrows, who wrote the words to Baldwin's fight song, "Come Rally," part of the "Our Director" march; the late state House Rep. Robert Nakasone; local baseball icon and retired BHS faculty member Glenn Oura; Major Leaguer Kurt Suzuki. And the woman who put the greasepaint in my blood and continues to inspire me daily, Drama Queen Sue Ann Loudon.
Sadly, I won't be there to see my mentor honored, as I'll be performing on Oahu that evening. But Miss Loudon will understand; the show must go on, as she instilled in hundreds of us Baldwin theater geeks.
And I do plan on attending the rest of the commemorative events, including Rally Night at the Baldwin Gym on Oct. 22 and, of course, the Homecoming Game on Oct. 25. I wonder, if I bring my own drumsticks, will Band Director Stephen Rodrigues let me play in the Pep Band for old times' sake?
The celebration wraps up with the Ho'olaule'a on Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the school quadrangle. Entertainment, food booths and more will be provided by Baldwin alumni and current students.
The Ho'olaule'a is free, other events will require reservations and/or registration. Information on all of the anniversary activities may be found online at the website mentioned above.
I'm thinking about taking the tour next Friday, as long as they're not serving A-Burgers. Otherwise I may have to cut out at lunchtime.
* Kathy Collins is a performance artist, broadcaster and freelance writer whose "Sharing Mana'o" column appears every Wednesday. Her email address is email@example.com.