Monday, January 7, 2008

1/3 rd or not, I AM!

I don't have the 1/3rd required indigenous blood to own land here..heck, I don't have a single drop of indigenous blood but I have come up with my own list of 20 reasons why I
consider myself "LOCAL"

1. I received my childhood shots at Dr. Torres known as Northern Marianas College.

2. White Sands Hotel (now part of what is known as the P.I.C.) was my playground but I never vandalized it in any way.. : )

3. I've ridden on a plane that landed in what is now, Koblerville.

4. I learned to play pool at "The House of Chang" and to Cha cha at "Mariana's Inn".

5. I picked up tons of live ordinance off the beach front from Agigan point to the now PIC Hotel and probably saved a life or two from being blown up by it :)

6. I went to Sr. Remedios Pre-school when Sr. Remedios still taught there.

7. I had my first Holy Communion at Mt. Carmel Cathedral many years before it was a cathedral.

8. I was the proud owner of one of the very first mopeds on Saipan brought in by Mitsubishi motors (now known as Triple J Motors).

9. I grew up playing on the old sugar king train tracks that ran along the beach in San Antonio near the PIC ( they are long gone now).

10. We drove the longgggggg drive down to Garapan on weekends to get our banana's at the "Banana Store" in Garapan

11. I remember Kagman long before I, II, III or IV were ever part of the name..when Kagman consisted of one road with 4-5 houses.

12. I lived at the Coast Guard Loran Station...yes, Saipan use to have a Coast Guard station

13. Our families weekly grocery shopping was done at the "Villagomez Store".

14. I attended Mt. Carmel school from 1st grade through the 12th grade. That's a lot of tuition money! Oh, and there was NO such thing as Air-conditioned classrooms back then!

15. The tennis shoes I wore from 1st grade to 7th were bought at Tun Kato's (I don't know if this was the actual name of the store, but this is the name everyone knew it by) at the corner near the Stop light to Mt. Carmel. (Does anyone besides me remember this store? It was always packed with so many misc. items and smelled like moth balls). My dad got upset when the price of my shoes went up from $3 per pair to $5.

16. Not only do I remember Saipan before traffic lights, I remember it before 3-4 lane roads..heck, in some places saying that the road had two lanes was a stretch. It was more like one pot hole filled stretch and you pulled over if you saw someone coming in the opposite direction to let them pass.

17. I survived Typhoon Kim!

18. Taking showers, flushing toilets, etc from a bucket was normal to me. I never had 27/7 running water till I moved away to go to school. Same goes for hot water...

19. I lived here back when we actually had live clams on the beach, octopus, fish, sea urchins and a lot of other sea life that lived in the lagoon.

20. I remember life on Saipan before poker machines and garment factories and it was beautiful!


Boni said...

Remember the old Matsumoto Theatre, the Saipan Farmer's Market, Diego's Mart? That's a classic Tami, and you are local.

Anonymous said...

You are DEFINITELY a local. Gawd, this list takes me back. The old theatre, the original farmer's market, Torres!

Tamara said...

OMG! Who can forget Matsumoto Theatre (now Kevin's store). We didn't watch movie previews, trivia or commercials on the screen before the movie started, we watched the shadow's of the giant rats running across the bottom of the screen..ha ha ha..And God forbid you felt something run across your foot during the movie because for sure it was a cockaroach..EWW! But I loved that place! and I loved the slush they sold there! We just don't have any place on island you can get slush like that anymore..our kids are missing out!

"Majic" said...

oh man, the slush!!! I remember that, too! Ah, the memories. Remember how Garapan used to look?

Oh, btw, I linked you, too Tami! :)

Tamara said...

oh, oh, oh, and I totally forgot to list "The Ice Keki Man"...back in the day he would park outside school in his little van and you could get any flavor for .10 cents each..

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Hey T-Money,

I like what you've got going here. Why don't you tag 7 people and have them write their 20 oldest memories of Saipan? Doesn't matter if you've been here for 1 year or 100 years.

I think this could be fun.


Please tag me.

"Majic" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
"Majic" said...

What a cool idea! It's in your hands now Tami! ^_^

I wonder what else people will bring back...

Boni said...

TAG ME!!! TAG ME!!! I really loved that ice keki man!

lil_hammerhead said...

I remember when the Paseo de Marianas was a "family" area.. if your family liked hanging out in the boonies :)

I remember the dock at American Memorial Park before it was taken over by the NPS and developed. We used to swing into the water on ropes tied to several of the pine trees along the boat entry. We had to time our swings in-between the incoming Managaha ferries and other boats. Fun fun.

Tamara said...

ok...How do I tag people??? Remember Im fairly new to this Blog thingie...Do I just go onto their page and leave a comment tagging them or do I post a blog telling them they have been Tagged?


Tamara said...

OH YES! Smiling dock (where the smart use to cut class) ha ha...I loved swinging from that rope!!!!

Boni said...

That's the place we used to play hooky at! I remember the rope burns. Woah, this is too much. I am totally in the DeLorian now.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember the old matsumoto theatre, but I do remember the Garapan theatre :}

Anonymous said...

I member when the whole Island events took place at the memorial park pavillion..

Jeff said...

Did they advertise via links to naked celebs at the Villagomez store?

Tamara said...

Oh, anybody remember when Micro beach was actually a huge beach with yards of grass and sandy beach before you reached the water?? That place has majorly eroded over the years!

dekada lawyer said...


Yeah, the rat shadows at Matsumoto theater, I had forgotten that.

Oh, yeah. The Camacho theater in Garapan -- it had some of the best movies ... and eventually became a garment barracks with laundered undergarments hanging out front to dry facing Beach Road.

And remember, the Legislature was on Kilili Beach ... only it wasn't Kilili Beach then ... and the District Administrator's, then Resident Commissioner's, then Governor's office were in the Civic Center, along with the Trial Court ... this could go on and on ...

That store in CK near the Mt. Carmel intersection, you mean the one with no parking, where Fishing Tackle is now? If so, yeah, I remember it. The owner was Tudela, right?

It was Supertyphoon Kim. The Beach Pub was just days away from being ready to open. Kim came along and took off the roof. The storm surge came all the way up across Beach Road to Morgen's building. The high water line was marked two and a half feet up on the walls of my building. The beach eroded out at the end of the seawall right up to the front door of the building and straight down at least five feet!

I don't remember how many cubic yards of coral it took to backfill, but it was a lot. It cost me thousands to repair the damage. I not only had to replace the roof but rewire the entire building as well. But the ironwood trees felled by the storm provided the material for those great ironwood bar stools we had, which eventually ended up at Rudolpho's after we sold out to them.

dekada lawyer said...

I love the first communion picture.

Tamara said...

Oh yes, it was definitely SUPER Typhoon Kim. I have been through many typhoons but so far that is the only one that I have seen take down cement walls....

G'ma said...

Oh...the all make me feel so ancient (which I am), but nice to read all the memories. I don't think anyone reading the blogs or has one is as ancient as I am to remember back when almost all along beach road was just tangan tangan. The beach across my place (south of PIC) was 'jungly' except for a little path that led from the one lane road to a little tin-roofed shack used by the nuns (MMB's). Yes, we would walk from the convent (where Steve mentioned) to the "nun's beach" as we farmed across the street where we grew our own veggies and tapiocas, etc.
Yes, Steve, the store Tami is talking about was Tudela's (Sen. Frica's family), ran by their uncle Torquato (sp?). There was a bar attached to it later on, and motel type rooms upstairs. Escolastica store was across the road, west side, on the way to sugar dock.
Herman's bakery was next to where Matsumoto theatre was. Post Office was in a little building just east of the new P.O now, ran by Ron Sablan's father. I think Blanco was before that..not sure. Public Health in the same area. Joeten was a little bldg. in Chalan Kanoa. Late Tun Sablan had a gas station and little store nearby around the Meitetsu area now.
Bull carts were main mode of transport of goods from farms, stores, etc. People walked :-) except for jeeps here and there, and an old military bus used by the nuns between Maturana Hill and Chalan Ka. Convent.
In the early '60's the only "hotel" was a quonset building up on Navy Hill, with a few rooms. Then development brought in Royal Taga Hotel, which was the only hotel for a long time.
SA-16 (Albatros) was the only plane travelling between the islands (Micronesian Islands)and Guam. If you were a 'nobody' like I was, you could be bumped in Guam or wherever for days or even weeks. Most 'nobody's' travelled by ships: MV's Gunners Knot, Errol,Pacific Islander, etc. to go home for summer or returning home after finishing high school.
Only two high school on Saipan. (Mt. Carmel and Hopwood).
Typhoon Kim was in the '80's, but the worst flood I've seen here so far was in 1978, where the Susupe Lake overflowed all the way to the cemetery, and flooded most of the houses in that area. The rain was so intense for weeks, the garapan main road was filled up to the knees in most places. Quite scary for many. This was either in July or August of '78, and Marianas Variety reported on it then.
Sugar Dock was a popular place for swimming then as it is now.
I'm happy to see the "360" open, as most of you will remember when the gov't of Nauru ran it in the
Will end this as I can go on and on and on...and you are too young to remember most :-)
One of the things I treasure most is knowing almost every family on the island. Might not have known everyone's name, but knew of which family they belonged.
I hope 40-50 years from now, you will have as good memories of our islands as I do now of the past. ENJOY!!

dekada lawyer said...

Wow, g'ma, thanks for the post. That goes back way past my time. You do inspire a couple of additional quick recollections, however:

1. Remember when Payless was a quonset hut?

2. Yeah, I remember when Susupe lake flooded.

3. How about getting to Tinian for the fiesta by M-boat?

Tamara said...

Mom aka G'ma,

You need to start your own blog..You have way too many cool stories to tell...especially the ones about who you dated way back then and whose daughter I could have been...ha ha ha ha....Love ya!

Boni said...

Susupe Lake flooded and there was Tilapia everywhere! Herman's Bakery right next to the theatre, how could I forget? During recess time at Mt. Carmel they'd ring the bell from an old tank hanging in the quad. I remember the Camacho Theatre too. I also remember the long shores Tami. There was enough space for lots of picnic rugs and tables and even to run a kite! My dad fished almost every weekend, spear fishing. I also remember being scared to ride in the car up San Vicente hill, it was so high and my ears always popped! OMG

Saipan Writer said...

In the mid 80's, when I was still relatively new to Saipan, I wore a two piece bikini (and yes, I was mucho thinner, younger and hotter then) to the beach in San Antonio. It was low tide and I waded out. There was a group of islanders, women in full dress, sitting on some coral, doing something and I was curious, so I walked over to them.

Turned out I knew one of the women, Gloria Deltang, who even then worked at Karidat (only it was called Catholic Social Services). She knew me too.

I was embarrased to be in a bathing suit. She was embarrased to be in clothes. haha!

She and friends, family were poking a long pole with a hook on it into crevices and holes and pulling out sea urchins. They had a pot of rice sitting on the higher coral outcrop. That was the first time I had sea urchin sashimi. Yum!

I remember that store on the corner of Beach Road by Mt. Carmel. I think some of us haoles just called it the carpet store, but I'm not sure why. It had everything!

And I remember the old theatres--first time I went to the one in Garapan, two haoles in line behind me warned me not to put my feet on the floor during the show--rats, they said.

Tropical Color was in CK.

The Hyatt and its neighbor hotel (now Dai ichi) were still being called the Continental and Intercontinental in daily speech, although their names had already changed.

I arrived when the White Sands had already been renamed the Surf.

Remember when Tenda tenda opened?

And since Boni tagged me, my "20" are up on my blog now. This was a great idea -Angelo and Tamara.

Tamara said...

My mom would do that all the time! We would be out swimming in San Antonio and she would be cracking sea urchins open and eating them right there on the spot. Sometimes she would bring a lemon with her and squeeze a little in there for taste, but most of the time it was straight out of the shell.

G'ma said...

HAHAHA!!! Sweety, you're so funneee! :-) Yeah, you could have been Tamara ??? (whatshisname), but then you might not be as good looking and smart as you are as Tamara Hunter...LOL :-) Love You!

Yes, Steve, I remember the Quonset hut. The M-Boat was owned by the late Elias Okamura, and we could even drive our cars right onto the boat and go to Tinian. Good 'ol Eli...the Coast Guard finally put a stop to his ferry :-) for safety reasons.
You guys are too young to know, but back then in the '60's we had to have sweaters! Oct. to Feb. were cold months, and if you go out in the evenings or early mornings you needed a sweater.
saipan writer, there were so many urchins one could just walk down any of the beaches (my favorite was south of Royal Taga Hotel), and fill up a whole 50lb. sack. I used to fish and sell octopus to the Micronesians who were here for the Constitutional Convention held at the old White Sands Hotel. They were plentyful then.
Any of you remember the U.N Day parades?? and how the U.N delegation would come once a year and our 'leaders' would get everyone scrambling to spruce up the island for their
Oh well....the good 'ol days!

Tamara said...

How about this one...Gene's Barber Shop..Anyone Remember him? If I remember correctly he eventually sold his shop to the Irinaka's..or did they just open thier own in the same place? Can't remember for sure, but I remember Gene's was where my father and brothers would get thier hair cut.

dekada lawyer said...

Sure, I remember Gene's. Lot of guys swore by it. Very traditional or old-fashioned basic men's and boy's haircuts. I had my hair cut there once because it was highly recommended (and less cost).

The style, cut just wasn't for me, so it was only that one time.

DATALIG said... all bring old memories about Saipan in the day. I grew up in Saipan in the 70's and moved in the 80's and came back in the 90's.

I grew up in the old "Trailer Park" now part of Tanapag before moving to Navy Hill. I remember going to Marianas Inn and learn to swim in their pool and joined the Saipan Stingrays Swim Team when I was only 7-8 years old.

Boni....I did remember the "Hot-Diggity_Dog" shop in Garapan. That was one of our treats for being a good Do you guys remember when KFC first opened in CK. Yeah....I remembered the Ice Keki man driving around Navy Hill selling.

I remember Royal Taga Hotel and actually having dinner years ago in the Nauru Building called 360.

I remember Kagman was a place I'd go to watch my Uncle Drag Race on the old airport runway.

I remember flying from Rota to Saipan and during the bloom of Flame Trees, the Island seemed covered in Red.

I remember going through As Lito in Red Clay Mud and huge pot holes just to get to the Airport from Dr. Torres Hospital (the dad would say). Oh, and I remember our car (at the time) had a "plug-hole" that I would love to look down at the road when we go through there.

I remember hanging out at Microl Beach in the summer nights or at Smiling Cove after dancing the night away at Lights club located where DFS is now.

I remember going to Saipan's "Self Serve Car Wash" and cleaning car and driving through Middle Road to air dry the car.

Anyway, just some of my memories back in day.

Oh...and last memory. I remember you as my classmate in Mt. Carmel School in the 2nd/3rd grade. Wow....long time ago.

David Atalig

Tamara said...

Hey David,
I sure do remember you and your beautiful wife! I stopped by your blog to check it out and my has your family grown. Your children are Gorgeous! Hard to believe that we are old enough to have grandkids..ha ha..I don't have any yet, but I'm sure it won't be long..he he..

Thanks for stopping by my page to share your memories! I was a lot cuter and A LOT smaller in the 2nd grade..he he..

I'm going to link your page.

Boni said...

Wow Dave. I was starting to think I'd dreamed it all. Was that also the place where you could get those ice cream cones drenched in hard shell chocolate? That is a vivid memory for me.

Chalestinian said...

Talk about memories, some of them I remember, some I was too young.. or not even born. Does anyone remember one of the most gorgeous flame trees on beach road in between Kimchi Kabana on Oleai and the old Marianas Variety?? I was so sad when I came back and it was gone. :( I too remember Micro Beach extending out forever, with sand bars and so much beach. I also remember when the buses from schools had to drop you off along beach road because they couldn't climb Terlaje hill! I too remember Dr.Torres Hospital.. and what Amercian Memorial Park used to look like, with those old buildings, either used for karate classes or something! Thanks for teh memories peeps!

"Majic" said...

If that's the Flame Tree that used to stand at the bottom of Quarter Master Road where an ugly green restroom now sits, then I agree. It was beautiful. What a shame it was destroyed.

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Marc said...

OMG, I wasn't paying attention and unsubscribed, but I re-read the post. Once again, it took me down memory lane. I'm not as matured as some of you finer wines, but I can relate to quite a bit of this stuff. If I had to pick a favorite, it'd be between #'s 17 thru 20. Not that there weren't poker machines when I was a little scrapper, but there definitely weren't as many as there are now (at least when I left once again back in '08).

I sure do hope the island eventually finds the right weed killer for those damn things.

Marc said...

...and the old matsumoto theatre...can't forget about that. Boni's 1st post hit it on the head.

memo to self: use ONE damn login, jeebus...

Katz said...

Tam, your birthday parties at your house.. yeehaah! But wow, all flash back dai... : )

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Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember Len's Restarant in Susupe? Or the Royal Taga Beach Club?