'Hints' heir takes Hawaii to heart


POSTED: Friday, November 21, 2008

Plumeria and passion fruit are the two things that Heloise misses most about the islands. “;We used to go into the front yard and pull plumerias off the trees, make our own leis,”; she said. Now living in Texas, she resorts to ordering frangipani products. “;Smelling that scent takes me back in time.”;

The popular newspaper columnist (given name Ponce Kiah Marchelle Heloise Cruse Evans - even though her American Express card simply reads “;Heloise”;) lived in the islands as a girl, attending Pearl Harbor and Aliamanu elementary schools from second to fifth grade. Her mother, Eloise Bowles Cruse, was the original Heloise, writing the household-tips column “;The Readers' Exchange”; beginning in 1959.

Having inherited her mother's work, Heloise II is now syndicated in about 500 newspapers. This summer, the column was added to the Star-Bulletin's Home section, where it runs every Friday.

She recalls the days when her mother began the column in the Honolulu Advertiser: “;My father set up a typewriter for her, a small office at home.”; She also spent time working out of the newspaper offices.

Just two years after she started the column, it was syndicated under a new name, “;Hints from Heloise,”; and by 1962, 158 newspapers had picked it up.

It was a time when few women worked outside the home. “;No one else's mom traveled like she did. She did the 'Tonight Show' with Johnny Carson. She was ahead of herself businesswise - I didn't know anyone else's mother who worked like mine did. Until I saw her on TV, I didn't realize how big and successful she was.”;

Her mother once ran a contest in her column that drew 100,000 pieces of mail, all of it delivered to their Foster Village home. “;I came home from school, all of the living room furniture was pushed against the wall and the dining room table, and a couple of card tables were being used to open letters. There were boxes and boxes of letters - it went on for weeks.”;

When the original Heloise died in 1977, her daughter took over the column.

Like her mother, Heloise II has a number of interests outside of homemaking. “;My mother was really a Renaissance woman. She made fabulous silk muumuus, painted and wrote music and poetry.”;

Heloise II rides her motorcycle or goes hot-air ballooning for relaxation.

“;I'm no thrill seeker, but I don't mind trying something new. When I was 11 or 12, I used to skateboard in Hawaii. I was the only girl that would go halfway up the hill and down,”; she said.

“;I've had my motorcycle since 1974. There's just something about fresh air ... it's calming and good for your health. She recently acquired a Russian-made bike with a sidecar, which “;gives me someplace to put my purse.”;

Heloise still plays her mother's Hawaiian albums on an old-fashioned record player. “;Hawaii is like my second home,”; she said. “;It's in my heart and soul.”;

In fact, she still has the hula implements that her mother bought for her. “;She wrote my name on the inside so when I went to hula lessons, they wouldn't get left behind.”;

Sounds like the kind of tip Heloise - either one - would pass on.