Rare find an auction highlight

Sam Pratt was delighted with his purchase of the history books, “Koamalu: A story of pioneers on Kauai and of what they built in that island garden,” volumes 1 and 2 at Saturday’s silent auction to benefit the Kauai Historical Society.

What was inside those rare books was a pleasant surprise.

Tucked away were newspaper clippings, dated Oct. 31,1965, and May 28, 1974, which included information about Mabel Wilcox, Pratt’s great-aunt, and her influence on Kauai. She was a nurse, commissioner of public health, one of the founders of Wilcox Memorial Hospital and considered one of the island’s most remarkable women.

“I’m a Wilcox, so the clippings are pretty special to me,” he said. 

He knew the old clippings were in the books before he made the winning bid of $250, but didn’t know what they were about. Once he read them that night, he was elated.

“They’re pretty valuable,” he said. “I’m lucky to have bid on this.”

Pratt was joined by about 280 who attended the historical society’s annual paina fundraiser at Smith’s Tropical Paradise.

Visitors were treated to music by Larry Rivera, Cyril Pahinui, Jeff Au Hoy and Peter Wook Moon, as well a buffet dinner, a chance to view the beautiful ground at Smith’s and the silent auction, which raised about $9,000 for KHS programs and operations.

“I think the evening was such a joyful gathering of friends and supporters of the historical society,” said Donna Stewart, an event organizer. “We were blessed by good weather, a truly Hawaiian setting, tropical flowers, and ‘ono food. Everyone came dressed in their fine aloha wear and the silent auction coordinated by Melinda Uohara included rare books, Hawaiiana, including LP recordings by renowned Hawaiian artists, and fine art prints.

Uncle Larry Rivera was in fine form with musicians Richard Beach and Jess Montgomery, and daughter Ilima and her three daughters.”

A highlight was Pahinui, who shared stories and sang classics from his ki ho’alu repertoire with new arrangements. 

“He gave Jeff Au Hoy and Peter Wook Moon opportunities to show their abilities on steel guitar and ukulele, respectively. Looking on like a kind uncle and mentor, Cyril let them shine,” Stewart said. “It was so sweet to hear and see Cyril and to hear another generation of fine Hawaiian musicians.”

Smith’s Tropical Paradise, with its beautiful setting on a warm evening, was the perfect place for the fundraiser, she added.

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