Skip to main content

Naluai, Abigail Duarte

Camille Naluai [Ka‘iwakīloumoku]

Name: Abigail Duarte Naluai
Place of Birth: Honolulu, Hawai‘i
Parents: Joaquin Coelho b. May 1840 in Portugal
Elena Duarte b. January 1876 in Honolulu, Hawai‘i
Spouse: Raphael Kaleiahiahi Naluai
Married: 1935 Sacred Hearts Church
Places of Residence: Kāne‘ohe, Hawai‘i
Children: Clayton Naluai, Alan Naluai, Judy Mulcahy, Michael Naluai, Louise Babe Danilevicius and Buddy Naluai
Number of Grandchildren: 19
Number of Great Grandchildren: 18
Number of Great-Great Grandchildren: 2

It seems like everyone knows my grandma. She is one of those people who brings strangers in off of the street, welcomes them into her home, feeds them and talks to them as if they were old friends. But for us she is the keeper of the family. She is the glue that binds us together and the foundation that holds us up.

When I was younger I would have sleep-overs at my grandma’s Kāne‘ohe home. I would get there Friday evening. Grandpa was still alive then and I would sleep between them cuddling my strawberry shortcake pillow.

My grandma is a devout Seventh-day Adventist and it was always hard as a young child to forgo my Saturday morning cartoons in observance of the Sabbath, which is a Saturday for Adventists. Instead, we would catch the bus to town and go to the beach or visit the zoo.

My parents would pick me up in Kāne‘ohe in the evening. As I drove away in the back seat of my father’s Cadillac my grandparents, holding each other close, would wave to me until we turned off the street.

As a child my grandma used to have sleep-overs too. She would visit her Tūtū Apikaila’s in Mō‘ili‘ili. She has fond memories of that house. She remembers the sound the rain made as it hit the tin roof. The sound was like music to her ears.

There was a hill across from her tūtū’s house where fruit bearing plants grew wild. She often visited that hill to pick soursop, guava, and pōpolo; eating to her hearts content.

In back of her tūtū’s home was a stream. She would take her laundry there to be washed. First, she would send her bag full of dirty clothes down stream, grab a few tī leaves to keep her pants from getting too dirty, sit on the stream bed and let the water carry her down hill. After cleaning her clothes she would catch a few ‘o‘opu and haul it back up to her tūtū’s house.

“That was the hard part, walking up that hill,” she said.

Her tūtū would pūlehu the fish and they would eat lunch together.

Grandma hated to leave her tūtū’s house. Her parents, who had adopted her, didn’t allow her to visit her tūtū as often as she would have liked.

Grandma met my grandpa in 1932. She says he was a dream come true. She grew up hating men. As a child she had grown up around men who were mean, loud, and slovenly. It was her Tūtū Apikaila, whom she adored, who told her to pray for a good man. She didn’t think that man existed. Luckily for me and the rest of the family, he did.

He proposed to her under a tree in Kalihi. She says she knew he was going to propose and in 1935 they were married at Sacred Hearts Church.

Grandma says that grandpa always told her they were going to have 6 children, four boys and two girls. Uncle Clay was the first son, next was my dad. She calls them number one son and number two son. Numbers three, four and five would soon follow. It was number six, my aunty Babe, who showed up unexpectedly.

It’s another long story in my grandma’s life. To make a long story short, my grandparents lived in Kapahulu for a time. Aunty Babe was left on the doorstep of that home. My grandmother was so relieved; finally child number six had arrived.

My grandpa was an engineer for Hawaiian Electric. Grandma stayed home. My father always said that my grandma was strict. My grandma agrees but as her grandchild I can not attest to that.

Grandma feels so lucky. From her humble beginnings she and my grandfather created a family that adores and cherishes her. That, to her, is more important than any amount of material wealth.

I hope that I have left you with some sort of understanding for the type of person my grandma is. It is impossible to tell in the short amount of space I am given in this article.

It is because of my grandma that our family remains so close. You’re right grandma! We all love you.