Post 74 — Hondalulu

Motorcycles roaring down the aisle during "The Samoan Fales" were always a big hit.

Motorcycles roaring down the aisle during “The Samoan Fales” were always a big hit.

Jean left the TV studio where she was now employed in the art department and headed toward the car. After three years on the island and copious amounts of salt spray and humidity, the gleaming white Datsun they had purchased their first month there was now barely intact. Large areas of rust spotted the exterior, and in some cases the actual metal had flaked away, leaving holes in the body. The most affected place was the front right quarter panel. On most days you could see right through to the wheel, but not today. Jean was delighted to see that someone had gathered a bouquet of wild ginger and hydrangea and carefully arranged them in the hole, as if the rusting hulk of a vehicle was a delicate vase. She smiled all the way home. She loved this place.

Our car has been rusting very badly but its motor is still good and we are not about to buy new one just to keep up with Larry’s new supervisory position. We have the most recognizable car on the island — fifty percent of the fenders are gone. One of the Samoan boys in my office puts bunches of flowers in the hole — it’s quite jazzy! The car is now being fixed and I have been taking the motorcycle to work. 

Hang on to your disapproval, we bought our own Honda! It is reputed to be the fastest bike on the island, however, this old lady isn’t about to drag race with anybody so I’ll never know for sure. We used the one we borrowed from George a lot and expect to use this one a great deal. Fortunately, the driving age here is eighteen or we would have an eager sixteen-year old breathing down our necks. 

I took Kathy for a ride on the new bike. She was a little apprehensive at first but my confidence won her over. The fact that I was relying on the glasses that make me seasick was the cause of her concern. My old ones cracked right up the nose piece, and these are better than going around blind. I am getting used to them and they don’t bother me too much. I am very conscious of the dark frames but they will do until the new ones arrive. 

Jean

Jean’s confidence in her driving skills had increased greatly since the first weeks on the island, when there had been an unfortunate incident that involved a suicidal pig and the front end of the new Datsun. She had sat in the car staring at the stunned pig in the road, unsure whether she should get out and try to administer first aid or drive away like a bat out of hell. She had gone with the latter and felt guilty about it for months. Now she had no qualms about riding the motorcycle through the villages armed with a big stick to bat away the packs of stray dogs who loved to chase Hondas. Life on the island had changed her perspective about many things.

We both realize we were a disappointment last year when we visited Detroit, but I guess the adjustment to coming home was just as great there as it was when we got here. We have both changed so much and we weren’t prepared to come back and have everything be exactly as we left it. I guess it was the fact that we had so little in common with the relatives and we all seemed a little strange. I hope that doesn’t sound disrespectful, or maybe I just didn’t explain it well. You all had common experiences and ailments and shared happenings while we just had Samoa, which after the first five minutes of discussion seemed to pale as a fascinating subject. 

Since we won’t be visiting this summer, we all have plans. The girls and I are going to spend a week in Fiji – sort of a consolation prize for not going home. Larry is going to California for several weeks to Stanford with another batch of Samoans. He will be charge of the group this year. And just to show you that we really are all well and happy, we have a surprise – Larry will be able to spend a week in Detroit after CA as a representative of the family! 

Jean

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