Editor’s Scratchpad

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Lost moments of
wonder at Queen’s Bath

The magical Big Island swimming hole was a crack in the lava full of brackish water, favored by Hawaiian queens of yore. I think of it and smile, re-living a daytime date with a schoolmate who was pure Hawaiian; seeing opae (shrimp) flitting about and me wishing for a net; weekend days with Pahoa High School friends, some brave enough to dive from the high rock.

The memories also make my heart heavy -- lava flows from Kilauea filled it in 1990. My children will never feel that cool water or those smooth lava rocks beneath their feet.

One day long ago, as Linda Enriquez and I left Queen's Bath in my dad's old 1969 Rambler station wagon, a radio announcer in Hilo, "Waltah" Pacheco, dedicated a song to those cruising home all wet from the beach. We looked at each other and wondered aloud how he knew.

More than 20 years in broadcasting since then has taught me that, without fancy consultants, "Waltah" was intersecting with his listeners, and the wonderment of the moment remains.

--Erika Engle

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