Julianna Esquirra Beralas

The daughter of Filipino immigrant parents from Cebu, Julianna Esquirra Beralas (1928-1992) was born and raised at Kapaa Stable Camp, once located on Kaapuni Road, just mauka of the intersection of Kaapuni and Olohena roads.

In 1947, she married Al Beralas, a World War II Army combat infantryman from Lihue Camp — situated adjacent to and south of Poinciana Street, until it was demolished during the 1960s.

They would have six children and would also raise a niece and a nephew in their home in Lihue Camp “A” on Jerves Street that they purchased from Lihue Plantation in 1951 for $2,000.

Julie worked for a spell at Hawaiian Canneries in Kapaa, where Pono Kai Resort now stands, and in the late 1950s became a waitress and bartendress at the famous Club Jetty restaurant and nightclub on the seawall at Nawiliwili, which was owned by Manji “Papa” Ouye and Emma “Mama” Ouye.

For many years, until it was destroyed by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, Club Jetty served delectable Chinese food, and its dance floor featured nightly entertainment performed by musicians and singers from Kauai, Honolulu and the Mainland — and even a few exotic dancers out of Honolulu.

Actors John Wayne and Lee Marvin, on Kauai during filming of “Donovan’s Reef” in 1962, were among the many celebrities who visited Club Jetty.

Beginning in the 1960s, Julie found employment as a bartendress in the “House of Happy Talk” bar at the Hanalei Plantation Hotel above Hanalei Bay, and worked as a waitress and bartendress for the original J J’s Restaurant on Haleko Road, Lihue, and as a bartendress at the Kauai Surf Hotel on Kalapaki Beach, and in the Menehune Restaurant of the old Lihue Airport.

But that pretty lady behind the bar could also survive off the land and sea — fishing from the ocean shore, or in steams for opae, oopu, bass and blue gills, and catching frogs, or gathering Kokee plums, pepeau, button mushrooms and wild fruits.

Her generosity was boundless. And, it can be truly said, that my mother-in-law, Julie Beralas, enjoyed life.


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