My Father and Mother were both from Okinawa. They had thirteen childeren , five boys and eight girls. I was the 10th child in the family .
I was born in Heeia on June 7 , 1930 . I was born at Home . In fact , we were all born at home... There were mid-wives in those days .
My Father was a peddler and owned a store . My Mother took care of the store , while he peddled groceries and medicin . He went house
to house on the windward side of the island and was known as the " Medicine Man " . We all had to work hard to survive in those days .
I remember when I was five years old , my brother Fred , Mom and I used to pick ginger flowers . We sold them for 5 cents a bundle
( a bundle being 100 flowers ) . My brother Fred used to play Tarzan and swing from the long vines where the ginger patches grew and I
played Jane. We used to have fun picking the ginger.
My Mother raised her own chickens and pigs. I used to help her gather eggs...... But ! A Goose bit me on the " OKOLE " once and I never helped her again . When I was three , my mother used to send me to Sunday School with my sister Eleanor . I went to Church every sunday
because that's how I got new dresses and shoes . I loved to dress up . Mostly I enjoyed Mrs. Goto because she taught me how to make
Japanese dolls and many other crafts .By the time I was eleven , I had gone to three other churches . After Japanese School I had to go to
the Buddhist Church . On Saturday , I went to the Seventh Day Adventist Church and I went to Catholic Church on the weekdays.
When I was ten we moved to Luluku in Kaneohe . There I helped my Mother sell ginger flowers , Leis ,bananas and papayas on the highway.
We called it ' DA BANANA STAND ' ! ! I even sold peanuts and potted plants. I did this every Saturday and Sunday up to 1946 .
When I was twelve years old , I remember making Beef Stew with the leftover steaks my Father brought home from peddling every Friday.
Nancy , my best friend , would come over to visit and I remember her saying , " WHAT ??? You have BEEF STEW every FRIDAY night "??.
And I would tell her " Yeah ! ! that's leftovers ! ! "
( Till today my " BEEF STEW " IS a ' SPECIALTY ; at PENNY'S . )
Nancy kept me company on saturdays because I had to do the laundry at night after I closed the Banana Stand . Sometimes I washed till
midnight . Since all my five brothers were still living at home , my sister Eleanor helped with the laundry too. She used to iron all day Sunday.
In 1946 , I left home and went to Farrington High School and graduated in 1948 . I supported myself by working at a soda fountain. I went to
Cannon's School of Business. In 1949 , I got married and had six beautiful children. Five boys and a lovely daughter. I left for the mainland
in 1950 and returned in 1960 .
I worked at a restaurant for three years after I returned to Hawaii . One day my brother-in-law, Steve said " You should run a lunch wagon so
you can support your children instead of being on welfare and working for someone else ". It sounded like a good idea , so I went to the bank
and they loaned me $5,000 to start the lunch wagon business.
( Since I started out without a "Penny " of my own ...........I named the business.... " PENNY ' S " )
Thank's to my brother Fred and my brother-in-law , Steve , I was successful. They both gave me moral support and pushed me through many
Mostly , I have to thank my children , John , Frank , Sam , Mike , Kathy and Richard who all worked very hard washing pots , serving
customers and cooking whenever I needed them. Till today we are still running the Family Business....and I want to thank all of you too for
being a part of our lives and sharing yourselves with us .
MAHALO , PENNY !