told by Jeff Gere
The introduction to this story is a story. As the City & County of Honolulu’s Drama Specialist, I tell and hear stories in Senior Centers regularly. I heard this tale, The C. C. Camp, in Waimanalo’s Alu Like Native Hawaiian Meal Site Program (federally funded Hawaiian food!). It was my second visit that year. On the first visit, Abby, a regular at the Center, told me a very intense family story. She said a Stone had changed its shape to prevent a Japanese Mama-san from murdering her son and his Hawaiian girlfriend (Abby’s sister), a forbidden love to the Japanese then. Later that year, appearing at a Hawaiian Civic Club Convention in Los Angeles, I stood preparing to speak. A big Hawaiian said, ‘you ain’t brown enough to tell stories here, bruddah!’ OOoohhh… and I understood- I bear the burden of my race- history, white whalers came with disease and white plantation owners oppressed the natives. I can only change that legacy with what I add to it, and my contribution is storytelling. But it hurt, and it gnawed inside me. Am I a rip-off? Do I have no right to tell the tales I hear from other ethnic groups? Am I a lie, a cheat, a predator? So I returned to the Alu Like Native Hawaiian Meal Site Program to tell Abby’s tale, in front of her and the other Hawaiians, to get their blessing or curse. They blessed me. And outside, a white-headed Hawaiian with a stringy ‘fu man chu’ beard told me this tale. You can tell it too, but “you gotta tell ’em right!” (listen to the story to understand.)
Find this C. C. Camp (and Panui, the Stone Saves Lovers from Murder Tale) on my CD Haunted Hawaii #3, and on my new(ish) DVD, Haunted Hawaii LIVE! (not on website yet, $15). Listen to any of 40 themed story radio podcasts at www.talkstoryradio.com. Come to the 23rd Annual Talk Story Festival in Honolulu Oct. 7 & 8, 2011, Neighbor Island Tour follows. Info at www.honoluluparks.com. I’m TOTALLY EXCITED to contribute and support NSN’s story postings, the beginning of a bigger goal: a national storytelling radio. See you in Cincinnati at the National Storytelling Conference & the Florida Story Camp 2012.