My introduction to McBryde Sugar Co. (1899-1996) came in 1971, when I was residing with my wife, Ginger, and our children, Michelle and Brett, in the old camp house of Ginger’s grandparents, Rita and Agapito Sadang, at Kapaa Stable Camp on Kaapuni Road.
I was working for John Batchelder, whose janitorial supplies business — Kauai’s original privately owned trash company — was located by the abandoned Lihue Dispensary, now the site of the Ahukini Road entrance to Walmart.
One of my weekly duties was to collect trash at McBryde.
In those traffic-free days, Emery Kaiawe Gifford would drive Batchelder’s military surplus trash truck from Lihue to the Westside, with myself and either Earl Torres or Stanford Garcia sitting in the cab with him.
While collecting trash, Emery drove and Earl or Stanford and I followed behind, house to house, lugging trash into the rear of the truck.
Our first stop was the McBryde manager’s ranch house, then situated mauka of the intersection of Kaumualli Highway and Halewili Road.
Next, we worked McBryde’s employee housing camps.
At one time, nearly a score of these camps ranged over McBryde lands between Hanapepe and Kukuiula, but by 1971, they numbered just five, as I recall.
There were about 65 houses at Camp 2 and Camp 3, and Camp 7 had about 50.
Numila was comprised of roughly 85 houses, and one or two houses were still standing and occupied at Camp 11 above Lawai Gulch.
Nowadays, only Numila exists, albeit greatly diminished, but in 1971, practically all of its houses were lived -in.
We also picked up trash at the McBryde mill, the Numila store, a handful of houses at Port Allen Camp, where a woman sold good manapua, and at some solitary McBryde camp houses.
The camps were quiet during our trash collections — only a few older residents and women with young children were at home, the others being at work or school.
We’d unload our trash truck as needed at the now-nonexistent county dump by Port Allen Cemetery and at pau hana head back to Lihue.