Letter to the Editor for Wednesday — July 23, 2003

• Take HER picture with Hanalei

Take HER picture with Hanalei

In Hanalei town there is a molded plastic mermaid with a cut-out face. Every morning she is hauled out in front of a store, and every evening brought back inside.

This figure had proven to be a tourist attraction. More people than I would imagined want to be photographed with their face in the hole where the figure’s cutout face is. Non-blonde, Non-white, non-female, non-mermaids apparently are attracted to the idea of having themselves memorialized on film as a momentary mermaid with stylized hair, a scaled tail, and a clamshell top.

This is simple fun and one way to see and be on the North Shore. For a time there was another picture displayed nearby of a man with the last US President when he visited Kauai for the first time. I liked that picture because I have a lot of respect for both men but I don’t want to be remembered in that way.

If I were going to have my picture taken in Hanalei town, today, I would rather have one of me standing next to a man named Hanalei. Hanalei Hermosura. The man who, as coach, gives of his time, energy, and ideas to making the kid’s team work for our canoe club on this North Shore.

Unpaid, unheralded, not in flamboyant colors, and wearing his own face, he is an extraordinary Kauaian.

I would like to be remembered as standing by his side, photographed in today’s Kauai. Two neighbors. Not doing the impossible of trying to be seen as a mermaid. Not as a friend to a famous person. Instead, viewed focusing on the possible, of how to be at our best while contributing to making the North Shore a wonderful place to live as real people, as good neighbors, as Ohana.

Sherri Stam,



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