Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Hawaii’s World

By A.A. Smyser

Thursday, January 25, 2001

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Fifty-five years
with Star-Bulletin

IT was 55 years ago tomorrow that my late wife and I ended a drive across America in a breakdown-prone Chevy and turned the car over to Matson in San Francisco to ship to Hawaii.

I had a promised job with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and would get paid for the cost of our passage if I stayed at least a year.

To celebrate 55 years I am joining with a 46-year veteran, editorial assistant Trinidad Peltier, in inviting our staff to a pizza lunch in the city room at noon tomorrow. Pizza lunches are our way of celebrating news staff events.

My Star-Bulletin ID card shows my employment date at Jan. 26, 1946, the day the Chevy was turned in for shipping.

Trini's ID dates her employment at Feb. 14, 1955, the day after she graduated from Honolulu Business College. This Aiea girl then was Trinidad Ayau but soon married Edward Peltier and mothered six children. Put our tenure together and it totals 101 years. We must like this newspaper.

The central figure in both our histories with the paper is Riley H. Allen, the editor who hired us. She started as one of three secretaries to whom he dictated letters with machine-gun rapidity. Many went out to mainland editors to push the cause of statehood for Hawaii.

A national clipping service kept Allen up to date on the egregious errors U.S. papers made in referring to Hawaii as foreign, as a kingdom or as not using U.S. currency. His letters gently corrected his colleagues and wound up with a plug for statehood. Trini was a part of that team.

My hiring took place on a Saturday night in November 1945.

The jammed ship carrying many of us home from Asia for war's-end discharge paused at Pearl Harbor to refuel and resupply. I had seen enough of Hawaii in wartime stopovers by our troop-carrying ship to decide I'd rather settle here postwar than go back to the Pittsburgh Press.

The editor of the Honolulu Advertiser had a Pittsburgh past, so I counted on him as my best contact. But when I called him at home he said he couldn't see me until Monday, when my ship would be gone.

A call to Riley Allen at his Pacific Heights home got a happier result. Allen drove right down to his Merchant Street office to interview me, offered a job as soon as I could get back, then drove me to Waikiki to rejoin my shipmates.

MY wife came to Philadelphia for my discharge as a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve.

We had not seen much of each other since we were married in New York City, her home, on Christmas Day 1943. But she was from a Navy family, had seen Hawaii pre-war, and was ready to join me in trying the Honolulu job for a year.

I wound up covering politics for the Star-Bulletin and being unabashedly for statehood, on which the rival Advertiser was dragging its feet. Betty made a name for herself doing a TV show called "Conversation" for almost 25 years before she died.

When I retired in 1983 after being editor of the editorial pages I was invited by then-publisher Phil Gialanella to be "contributing editor" and write commentary columns for our editorial pages, as I still do.

My current temporary office is right beside Trinidad Peltier's desk, a very happy reunion. Her title of "editorial assistant" covers about 1,001 responsibilities, all of which she handles with cheer and "can do" ease.

A.A. Smyser is the contributing editor
and former editor of the the Star-Bulletin
His column runs Tuesday and Thursday.

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin